Cogal Report – 2015 CogAdelaide
It seems that getting these Cogals off the ground is never without its challenges. Last year required a borrowed bike & 100k worth of riding the night before just to get to the start line, only to be rewarded with a ride in Satan’s furnace. This year, the weather & bike gods were smiling on me, but there was the small matter of re-routing the ride with a couple of days to go after bushfires & subsequent road closures put a fairly big hole in the first 1/3 of the ride…maps were consulted & changes were made, it was good to go!
There was a small group of the usual suspects chatting among ourselves on the cogal page, but on checking the bookface event I’d also set up, I suddenly realised that there might be upwards of 25 riders rocking up. How the fuck am I gonna manage a bunch that size on the road? The day arrived and as I rolled up to the cafe for a sneaky espresso, I was greeted with the magnificent sight of Barracuda & the V-Flag laying claim to a couple of tables outside.
As the numbers grew, quiet words were had with some trusty lieutenants about looking after various sections of the bunch and then after a quick spiel from yours truly about what to expect for the day, we were off.
The route change had the added benefit of taking us through some quieter suburban roads to the hills rather than a more traffic heavy main road, and soon we were all out on the first climb of the day heading towards the top of Corkscrew Rd, which in contravention to Rule #55, we needed to descend before climbing. It was here we lost our first casualty as a mate’s back up bike decided it didn’t like what he was expecting of its brakes & promptly blew the rear tube off the rim, wrapping it up in his cassette instead. Thankfully he managed to bring it to a stop while keeping it upright & as an added benefit we had an impromptu photographer half way up the climb.
After regrouping at the top of the climb we continued up through the hills, picking up the riders who’s skipped the Corkscrew and made our way down in to what’s known locally as “Little Italy” for its steep, narrow roads & gorgeous scenery. The subsequent descents & climbs were tackled with much admiration from the out of town & interstate visitors, though I could tell that the 1,500+ metres of climbing we’d already ticked off in the first 50k were starting to take their toll on Barracuda’s dodgy neck.
Arrangements were made for he & his mate to continue on to the lunch stop while we diverted up to the day’s sole gravel climb where we had a guest appearance from a friendly local cattle dog that still wanted to keep us company half way down the descent (easily keeping up with us at speeds in excess of 40kph). Lunch consisted of a bakery raid (although no one went for the meat pie option to Barracuda’s disappointment) and we were back rolling toward what would be the second last bail point on the route.
We said farewell to a few riders at this point (including a rueful Barracuda) and pressed on to traverse some more of the short, sharp rises that make up most of the climbing in the Adelaide Hills, the next of which prompted one of the riders to offer an interesting character assessment. “Mikael, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you’re a c*nt!”
More riders departed at about 80k in as we turned away from the city again & headed back out in to wine country for the final 50k of rolling roads. This left us with a solid group of 7 riders, happily rolling through the terrain at a much more consistent pace, without feeling the need to stretch the group out too much.
The back end of the route was designed around 2 things, the picturesque climb up the hills’ hidden secret, Aldgate Valley rd, and then the party piece from the inaugural CogAdelaide a couple of years back in the descent back to the city down Greenhill Road. Both attractions provided exactly what was required, and then all that was left was to negotiate a few inner suburban roads before BIER & FRITES at the Belgian Bier Cafe.
From my count it was 27 starters, with 7 hardy souls making the finish, and (hopefully) a great day had by all!
Pain, apprehension and drugs – my take on the Cogal in Adelaide – South Australia – TDU week.
Its true to say that your own mind is your worst enemy, having said that, your body can mess you up pretty well too!
Should I, shouldn’t I? Those thoughts went through my head daily as I contemplated making the trip up to Adelaide to attend the 2015 Velominati CogAdelaide with an injured neck that was not playing ball.
The usual suspects of “Not enough K’s in the legs”, “ Not enough hill climbing in the legs”, my skirt keeps getting caught in my chain “ and “ my brakes are rubbing “ kept entering my mind as decision time came closer. But mainly my neck issues had me nearly pulling out.
Then, my wife ever so subtly reminded me that on the Cogal I organised a year earlier, the one with temps in the high 1000’s and bitumen that melted into the earth below, @Mikael Liddy had ridden 100+ kms the night before from Adelaide in the dark to attend, then completed the 100+ k’s in that heat. There was no comeback for that, so off we went.
With V Flag in hand and Rule #5 being repeated over and over I arrived at “Hey Jupiter” to meet the crew. Espresso’s were consumed and damn they set the mood for the great weather and crew that rocked up to participate.
Riding on the hot mix roads in the Adelaide CBD is a rare treat and it felt good to be rolling towards the hills with the smell of the TDU in the air.
Perfect day and great group.
Needless to say I was in the “slow group “ from the get go, but an excellent route allowed for a couple of rest stops while the mountain goats belted down, then back up the Corkscrew climb.
The next section of road called Little Italy, was a highlight for me as I’d never ridden a climb that looked like something out of the Giro. Not in height or gradient, but just that it took me to a place that I’ve longed to ride, Italy.
After a Lunch stop in Lobethal, my neck was starting to cry enough. So with my tail between my legs Hugh and myself made our way back up to Norton Summit for the decent back down to town, whilst the main group led excellently by the effervescent Mikael charged on.
80kms, 1600m of climbing, and a big arsed burger & Leffe Blonde later, I was happy that I came, saw and somewhat conquered. Well done Mikael on a great day and thanks to all the fellow Velominati for coming along.
Sam Sam the Climbing Man
Suggesting a group ride in mid January of 120+kms with close to 3,000m of vert was met by me with a “What? No way. It’ll be 40+ degrees!”. However, after I giving myself a stern talking to it was decided that, absolutely, why not, what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger… right?”
We were darn lucky as the weather gods were on our side and the day was superb. A good crowd gather early and introduction and pleasantries exchanged. There were a few interstaters present and it’s always great to have the chance to show off some of the fantastic riding around the Adelaide Hills.
Mr Liddy led the way all day making sure no one was left behind and that those upfront knew where they were going. Rule #5 was, on more than one occasion, employed as the competitive streak that runs through most cyclists was on display but as the ride wore on the legs wore out and we lost a few to daily life chores. However, for those that stuck with it an ice cold beer was waiting back in town. Lovely rehydration.
A top day that I look forward to again in 2016.
Big thanks must go out to Mikael – the route was terrific as were those that rode it.
Interstaters Alex & Scott
Scott has known about the Velominati for a little while and we were familiar with the rules (although Scott is definitely breaking at least 10 of them) he mentioned that there was a ride in Adelaide that we could go on if we got there in time. The stars aligned and we found ourselves (albeit late) to the cafe where a fairly sizable group were listening to Mikael describe the ride. We missed most of that part but it didn’t really matter (the bunch always waits). Both Scott and I had never been to Adelaide before so this ride was pretty much the perfect introduction. A few flat k’s to warm up the legs before we climbed into the hills and although they’re much shorter than the mountains we were climbing in Victoria a few days prior, some of them are definitely punchy! Corkscrew got the legs burning and then a little further along we were accompanied by the fastest dog i’ve ever seen, just running at a casual 40kph to keep up with us.
We got ample stops for food and water refills and the ride took us all around the scenic roads in the hills. The climbs were always rewarded with great descents and the view from Mt Lofty (which was the last hill of the day) is pretty fantastic and gives you a great idea of the layout of the city.
Although not a ride for beginners, I’d definitely recommend this ride to visitors because it gave us a good feel for what riding Adelaide is like. Plus everyone was really friendly and we made some excellent riding contacts!
Can’t wait to go back to Adelaide for the TDU next year and to ride with the bunch again.
Some say a picture is worth 1,000 words, in which case, the video below could be the longest ride report ever…
There were more pics posted to instagram on the day, can be seen here – http://www.enjoygram.com/tag/cogadelaide