6am-ers Sunday in the ‘nongs – 03/09/2011

(Ride participants: 2Laps, Mad Mike, Diesel, Horny, Crash Test, Taylo, Borris, Gus, Rocket, Smiling Assasin, Lumpy. 6am-ers guests: Brendan, Matt)

I need a word to describe the feeling I have when I get back from a weekend 6am-er ride which has just blown me away as a fantastic experience. I will have to ponder on that word.

In any case, this morning was just that. Sometimes I get back from a 6am-ers ride (or any ride for that matter) and have an extremely deep sense of satisfaction from the experience. There is so much that contributes to that feeling that it’s very hard to describe in just a few words – or just one. It usually includes:

  • a high level of physical effort
  • the company of lots of my really good mates
  • hanging a bit of shit on each other
  • a few non-racing races
  • the observation of some out-of-the-ordinary efforts by someone
  • lots of hills
  • sunshine (but not always)
  • Dandenongs or Northern Hills

The experiences we have as cyclists – and as 6am-ers in particular – are gold (not a word I use often!)… and they’re not things which the average member of our Melbourne community gets to experience. So often I head up those hills early in our ride, thinking about the fact that most people in our city are missing out by sleeping in until whatever hour. Some of them would say, “you fools” – yet many others simply don’t know what they’re missing.

So clearly – I returned home this morning from our ride with this deep sense of satisfaction.

The 6am-er ride today was the Classic de Nongs. A traditional route taking in some of the major climbs in the Dandenongs; One Tree Hill, The Wall and Slaughterhouse. The big group of 6am-ers joined the roll out and most of us tackled One Tree Hill before Rocket and The Smiling Assassin headed off up the Tourist Road for early coffee and return. Horny and Borris had earlier headed for easier climbs. The rest of us smashed it down to Monbulk before hitting the wall (not the normal figuritively ‘hitting’ – the 6am-ers kind of ‘hitting’) and then some more split off to the Black Kettle for early coffee at the top (Crash, Taylo).

The ride from Olinda down to Montrose was the most fun I’ve had on a road bike in quite a long while. It was superb. Smooth new road – a descent – but plenty of effort required to keep it moving along at a reasonable clip.

We then hit the Slaughterhouse (Invermay Road, Mt. Evelyn) and that pretty much finished me off! (a couple of k’s at 11ish%)

Of note, the effort put in my Matt Gunston today was outstanding. He’s come along the last three Saturdays in his MTB shorts and his flexi-MTB shoes and pedals. He’s hardly ever ridden road (yet a great MTBer) but made it through our first two climbs without a problem and then followed it up with a Montrose climb with Horny to finish off at coffee with everyone else. A truly admirable effort and I think a future force to be reckoned with. Nice work Mat.

A great chat over a quick coffee at the Black Kettle and then plenty of endorphins floating around and mixing things up on the route back home.


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