I’ve wanted to do Nic’s Cradle Challenge for several years now …
And I guess the good news is that I’ve still got that to look forward to, as the idea of riding up and down the gorge between Cethana and Moina – twice – was a bridge (well actually a chasm) too far.
So this year I did the Mini Challenge instead – a 66km ride from Moina to Cradle Mountain and back again.
|The start line.|
It was a good choice for me in the end as the ride turned out to be far enough to be challenging, but not so far that it wasn’t enjoyable.
Of course, as normal and despite being concerned over whether I could even ride the required distance, I couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the ride, but instead found myself constantly trying to chase people down, or sit in front and shelter the group I was in from the wind, or in some cases just get to the top of the hill without stopping … (which is another really good reason why I am glad I only did the 66km version).
But I made it out, and I made it back again, albeit I ended up riding by myself for over two-thirds of the route. It really is a gorgeous place to ride and I can see why so many events follow this route
So next year … maybe the full challenge? I’d like to think so, but I’ve got to get some serious riding in between now and then if I’m going to do that … and maybe I need a new road bike … one with more smaller gears 🙂
You'll definitely want small gears – last year my bottom gear was 39:25 and the two climbs were haaard. This year with a 36:28 was better, though still not trivial.
As I said in another forum, you really need to keep it all under control until you're up at Moina, because blowing up with 100km to go would be embarrassing!
It's an amazing sense of achievement, though – I got quite teary at the crest of the hill back in Sheffield.
The best thing is if you can find a group to ride with. I rode with about 10 people the whole way last year, and this year with a group that fluctuated between 4 and 10 up to Dove Lake, but ended up coming the whole way home on my own (not too bad because of the tailwind).
And why is my comment above from "A Girl's Game"? I think I must have created a Google blogging profile ages ago and it's stuck…