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Congrats on completing it.. Looks like a nasty route. How are the legs? To be fair though, not substantially worse than the other days you've been doing lately, just slightly longer. ;)
It's a great ride - really worth doing, with enough training. The legs actually feel good - no worse than any of the training rides. One of the toughest things about it is riding constantly for so long - no proper lunch break, so it's hard to keep up energy and not bonk in the sun on the way up Buffalo. After a proper feed at the top I was feeling great again, so would consider something even harder like the 250km version.
I felt a bit sorry for all the people who'd registered for this route, and ended up riding Buffalo three times instead. That'd be a much less interesting ride, and psychologically a lot harder - turning around for the third ascent would suck.
Yeah, I don't really know how how my legs would fare without the specific training you did prior, but the great thing about cycling is that if you keep a steady pace, you can go a long way without tiring out too much. Not sure if it applies to a day of climbing like that though. You can't exactly cruise up a 1000m ascent.
I've done a number of tours with some serious climbing (Cornwall, Scottish highlands with long 10%+ gradients and 20% at times..), 130km days and 30+kg on the racks, which makes a huge difference on the climbs... But not that kind of distance and not without a lot of rest stops to refuel. But with a lighter bike and fresh legs, it sounds like a lot of fun.
Oh, and yeah, this felt like just another step up in difficulty, not an epic leap. I was actually much more tired and in more pain after the solo effort up to Merrijig.
Congratulations Steven! A top effort, especially unsupported.
Makes me even more impressed at your time!
And yeah, David, these long distance lightweight training rides really are fun. Especially that Jambulla one - I had this giddy feeling in Merrijig knowing that I'd started the morning TWO HUNDRED KILOMETRES away :) I love cycle touring as well, but it's amazing the distance you can cover when you go ultralight and cut down the stops.