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July 28, 2017
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  • Martin Emptage

    What made the Marysville climb slightly better than just pure suffering was the SufferFest boys up there giving suffer scores.

    • Thanks Martin! We had a blast and we saw some high quality Suffering out there. Hope to see you back next year!

  • martin

    Was such a great day out. With the exception of seeing a couple of people become unstuck along the way it was smiles all round too (from riders, spectator, crew, etc).

  • Michele

    Can’t comment on the event – aside from saying I wish I was there.

    Photos / recap looks great. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves – and a speedy recover for the 3 hospitalisations.

    I do have a query.

    What’s going on in this photo?

    Shades of a Chinese GF by any chance? :)

    • Just behind the camera is a giant hairpin bend which also intersects with the Acheron Way (where riders entered the intersection from). The final climb of the day takes riders up to the right, to the top of Mt. Donna Buang. The road to the left takes you back down to Warburton (where the event started and finished) once you’d finished the final climb. That corner had traffic management controllers to ensure there were no incidents.

      • Michele

        Cheers Matt,
        That makes perfect sense, though you could’ve attempted to explain it using a Google Map screenshot and some MS Paint :)
        Glad to here it went off so well.
        Well done to Wade and the CT crew.

        • jules

          a few metres behind that photo was a whole team of crack traffic managers, with cones separating oncoming traffic and patiently directing delirious riders into the correct lane.

        • Because you asked so nicely. ;)

          • Michele

            That’s brilliant Matt. Gold.
            Not so much the graphic, but the fact CT could so readily explain and answer my smart-aleck question – this probably typifies how organised you all were in running the event in the first place.

          • Dave

            That graphic is waaaay too good.

            No Chinese GF organising for you!

      • velocite

        Knowing the route I did wonder how that intersection would be handled: there was real potential for major impact. It was handled perfectly, congratulations.

  • jules

    what a great day. thanks CT for hosting. some people are cynical about paying to participate in GFs but this was truly memorable.

    what worked:
    – fantastic course. absolute cracker. gravel is the new black.
    – organisation – everything looked spot on from where I was sitting. great traffic management.
    – the signs along the way, some were pretty funny and they were good for keeping spirits up. impressive how many there were.
    – repair stations on Acheron Way – thoughtful.
    – the event ‘city’ and car park were good – convenient, effective.
    – convincing Canty not to stomp on us – good for the ego.
    – live, running commentary by Keeno. wait, he was talking to someone while I was on his wheel.
    – seeing CT people riding – a nice touch, better than having you running around like headless chooks.

    what might be changed:
    – easier course to attract more, less serious riders. there aren’t any obvious short cuts though.
    – later start time – although having now done it, the reality was not as bad as I feared it would be. I’d do it again.
    – not trying to hang on to fast riders up Reefton climb. OK that’s probably up to me.
    – if you could move the finish line to the bottom of that loop at the top – the last 15m has agonising.
    – more info on what, if anything, was going on at the finish? I was too shattered to say or do much, but I wasn’t sure if there was much to hang around for. presentations?
    – I wasn’t clear on what the SufferFest people were doing. at first I was thrilled when they held a number up which I thought was my ‘race’ position, but maybe was suffer score? this may have been my fault for not reading the program properly? I tried to maintain that ‘position’ all day, boy was I wrong – probably helped me though. good to see them out there, partly as it meant I finished 1 place higher up. in hindsight this is obviously my fault :)

    • TonyN

      That voice makes everything Keeno says sound like commentary.

    • Michele

      Jules … what score was the Sufferfest people holding out?
      If it was a high number, than obviously it was your suffer score.
      If it was a low number, than it must have been your race position.
      Leave it open for interpretation I say. :)

      • jules

        I can’t remember the number but he did have to quickly grab the sign out of his boot. he looked like he was packing up

    • Paulmapp

      Good summary Jules. Would of been better if i didnt have to carry the Grand piano lodged in my back that last 7 clicks.
      Kudos to Wade for stopping and sorting that nasty crash on that tight left. Might need a few more signs on that one. Seemed the only real dangerous corner for the “new to the area” rider.
      Maybe the local bakery or local clubs could have profited better from a ground presence for more food options?
      Burrito was tasty but the wait was a drag and i got in pretty early.
      That said, the beauty of that back road is stunning!!. Thanks and well done CT’s i’ll be back.

      • jules

        well someone had to play Mozart’s 5th up on the summit, don’t complain :)

    • spicelab

      Funny you mention the last 15m as I literally wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I won’t forget in a hurry the experience of trying to push my 39/25 gearing up the final km with quads that were cramping and threatening to seize completely. Smashing it across Acheron Way was probably not so wise in retrospect..

      • jules

        Donna is always to be respected! I kept a lid on things over Acheron Way.

  • Arfy

    Did it and loved it. Well, apart from the final Donna climb, where I had severe cramping in the final 8km but pushed on regardless, trying in vain to stay in the Top 100. Must train for the distance next year!
    Highlight was seeing Brendan Canty playing the Cameraman with his GoPro and Selfie Stick. The only time his heart-rate went up was when he’d drifted to the back of the pack, then made his way forward videoing everyone else suffering.
    Loved the signage, although I’m sure I felt more like the Nail than the Hammer. Would be good to have signage with “km’s to go”, perhaps even a profile of the ride with a “you are here” on it.

    • jules

      there were pace notes in the rider pack that some people stuck to their stem.

      • Arfy

        I did that, but actually I found the red on blue hard to read, especially with the angle of the sun. Perhaps wasn’t helped by the fact I had eye irritations from sweat.

        • Ian

          +1 invisible to me as well. But Thanks CT for an otherwise perfectly ran event. So many thoughtful and funny touches. 10/10

  • Simone Giuliani

    Thanks to the guys from Bikestyle Tours who not only helped after the crash but then when we got on our way again allowed us to shamelessly wheel-suck so we could rejoin the back of the ride.

    • Ryan McMullan

      Agreed. Even if I did burn a few matches hanging on.

  • Shaun Stenson

    Thanks Cyclingtips for a great day…. I always had a dream that my debut on Cyclingtips would be in Bikes of Bunch but I guess I will take being the main picture – even though it shows a look of complete pain and agony that all up was my worst day on the bike. Having your worst day on a bike in such a great location and well organised event leaves you with a smile and looking forward to next year. Simply stunning all round and now a must do on the cycling calendar.

    And to Simone, thanks for the chat up one of the early climbs. Hopefully you made it around and enjoyed the celebration of finishing.

    • Michele

      If its any consolation, I reckon you’ve nailed the all important sock height there Shaun.

  • Michele

    I reckon I’ve just spotted Matt Keenan in one of those photos above. I’m not 100% sure, as the helmet slant seems more akin to Kristoff.

    • Don’t let Keenan fool you with being scared of doing a Hot Lap. He’s still a gun on the bike.

  • Dodster

    Thanks CT, stunning, course, toughest day I’ve had, glutes are still feeling sections of Acheron way, the pain cave was a little dark on the final climb, but so glad I toughed it out, and the feeling of crossing the line, I was stoked.

  • Dale Smith

    Nice CT kit Wade. Will that be showing up in the shop any time soon?

    • Yes, we have some on order! Watch this space.

      • Dale Smith

        Woo hoo!! I’ll start saving!!!

  • velocite

    I don’t know anything about Strava’s segment matching algorithms but they clearly failed for many of us. My current place is “-/258”. “-” is not correct for me and I suspect that 258 is far from right for the total. When I do a search for the segment I discover that it lost me on the descent into Marysville, within a km of the town. My riding buddy didn’t get a guernsey (jersey!) either, and my age group is empty. I got Strava to match my ride to the “2015 Giro della Donna” segment so I know my own stats, but can’t see my true rank – and, I suppose, neither can many others. Having just read Strava’s knowledge base I can’t see what can be done about this, but it’s a bit frustrating. I did think of creating a segment based on my ride, but there are so many rubbish segments I didn’t want to add to them, and in any case mine would probably miss around 258 riders!

    It strikes me that for a long segment like that Strava’s matching algorithm could increase its tolerance. They oughta.

    • Arfy

      It’s probably to do with your GPS, if it wasn’t able to see enough GPS satellites then the GPS’s software algorithm may not have recorded your location correctly. It would be good if Strava had a “match to the nearest road” feature, but of course MTBers would want to turn that off when they’re riding trails. According to my Strava results (using an iPhone5’s GPS) I climbed over 4300m! It’s now clear why I didn’t win, as I had to do nearly 2000m more than everyone else!!

      • velocite

        You are obviously correct, Arfy. On close inspection, my track diverged from the road by about 30m on a bend, and Strava gave up on matching after 1.4 kms of this. This may have nothing to do with it of course, but I was quite close to a metal trailer behind a 4WD at this point. But I’m not the only one who lost the segment, so probably not it.

        • Arfy

          Most likely the “canyoning” effect, where direct GPS signals from satellites are blocked by overhead trees, and there are signal reflections off nearby mountains. Some GPS’s (with internal maps) try and rectify this by correcting to the nearest road, but of course this won’t happen if the GPS doesn’t have maps. Have you tried asking Strava if they have a solution, or are working on one? It would be good if you could click on an “align to road” or “align to segment” button to rectify this, even if it does mean you push me further down the Leaderboard!

          • velocite

            Strava already matched me to related segment upon request, but I subsequently asked them to comment on the general problem of long segments. I wouldn’t be pushing many people down the leaderboard though..

  • renae

    Such a great day. So many friendly people on the bike and off. It was great too see the locals on Woods Point Road out the front of their houses waving and saying good morning/good luck. Felt really bad for the photographer part way up Donna Buang who discovered he had leeches all over his legs as we rode past. Looking forward to next year!

  • Robert

    The things that impressed me,

    1. Not being asked to raise money for charity. I love charity and donate because I want to, not because I want to ride my bike,
    2. The ride had probably the best behaved bunch of riders and friendly vibe that seems to be missing on others mass rides, although maybe it is because it is not mass yet. Although I like to think it is because all the CT readers are just nice people:)
    3. The drivers. Didn’t meet that many cars but the local drivers we came across (we were a fair way back taking it easy) were very courteous and obviously locals.
    4. The standard of dress was very high. Barely a pair of baggy Lycra Knicks or ill fitting jersey in sight.
    5. The number of women riders. Much higher than the average G Fondo.

    Only thing I would do is maybe start the ride 30 minutes later, if police permits allowed, so I could grab a bit more sleep…

    • CC

      On points 2 & 3, please don’t turn this into a mass event. Limit entries, respect the area and keep it & event special. Well done guys,-)

      • bc

        Yep, definitely agree with all of those. Especially number 2, plenty of laughs, time for a stop at Marysville, great fun all the way to the silly sprint I had for ???th place.

        P.S. you obviously missed the bloke in the Queen jersey, lucky he wasn’t landing a spacecraft on a comet ;)

  • Tomas Varsavsky

    I’m very glad the photo of me on the final squeeze was taken from the back, I’d hate to be photographed sobbing on the internet. :)

    Amazing day, great scenery, just awesome. Well done to CT for putting on a great event. I really appreciated all the little touches that made it special, from the personalised numbers to the road signage and the funny build up emails. Special mention to the repair stations on the gravel section, a godsend after my double puncture! The extra mile was well noticed.

  • ed

    this looked like a good one – i do miss the cycling events in Victoria – good terrain and mostly well organised. kinda looks like it was a gentleman’s race.

  • Kane

    Kudo’s to the Cyclingtips team and all the volunteers that made this event an absolute standout success!

  • Dylan Nicholson

    What was the “official” (or at least approximately official!) participant count in the end?

  • roklando

    Having lived and ridden in three continents, that was probably one of the best/most beautiful rides I’ve done, ever. It is definitely the toughest. I was second to last finishing, or so I was told by a sweep guy called Peter who very encouragingly talked me up the last 5kms of Donna Buang (Thanks, Peter!) My legs are sore, and it took us (with 2 kids under 5) 12 hours to drive back to Canberra on Monday, and I can’t wait to give it another shot….thanks!

  • spicelab

    Absolutely loved it. Aside from losing my friends before the start and waiting for them at Marysville for 45 min it was one of the best days I’ve ever had on the bike.

    I’ve done a bunch of Gran Fondo’s in Oz and overseas and this was the classiest, best organised and most enjoyable of the lot.

    Acheron Way tied the course together brilliantly and put a completely unique stamp on the event.

    Huge props to CT and the crew!

  • Wagga boy

    Wade congrats to you and the team for a superbly organised ride. I was worried that there would have been a much more bunched up ride but everyone rode sensibly and at no time did it get scary. Maybe as i was way out the back the traffic was much less. The marshalls were well organised and the people on the side of the road with their thermos and deck chairs were great. The climbs were gentle enough and the dirt road was the best… I’ll be back over from Singapore next year for sure:-)

  • Greg Maclaren

    Hey guys, I was one of the 3 riders that finished my ride in the back of an ambo. I just want to say thanks to all the riders that stopped to offer assistance and also to those that relayed phone messages to my wife (I was out of phone coverage at the time of the crash). I also want to say a big thanks to Wade Wallace who called me personally to check on my condition and to support my recovery (broken collarbone).
    It’s this sort of support that makes me so pleased to be part of the cycling community.

  • Greg Maclaren

    Hey guys, I was one of the 3 riders that finished my ride in the back of an ambo. I just want to say thanks to all the riders that stopped to offer assistance and also to those that relayed phone messages to my wife (I was out of phone coverage at the time of the crash). I also want to say a big thanks to Wade Wallace who called me personally to check on my condition and to support my recovery (broken collarbone).
    It’s this sort of support that makes me so pleased to be part of the cycling community.


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