I found myself on the startline for the Bowral classic rather by accident. A flurry of entries from enthusiastic others, and the inevitable pulling out which happens with a percentage of these due to various circumstances coincided with my failure to enter the sold-out event. So thanks for the ticket BT – it really was a grand day out. Although in the preceding days it wasn’t looking so inviting. The fear, especially for Anita, was the combination of rain AND cold. Cold by itself can be countered by throwing on more layers. Rain, on the other hand is a little more of a serious predicament. In any case, the weather gods cracked a wry smile. There would be no rain, but no shortage of wind, the other factor that wrinkles Anita’s enthusiasm.
I’ll not sugar-coat it. It was bloody cold on the start line. The temperature during the day remained so subdued that my gillet and arm warmers stayed on the entire day, and I only went through a touch over 1 bottle for the 160 km. But we weren’t alone as we inched forward in the start corral; eager to get the legs moving and escape the overenthusiasm and aural assault only Crafty knows how to dish out. Ahh the serenity, as we finally snuck out of Bowral and onto picturesque country roads.
My initial impression of the route (and hence event itself) was that with several out-and-back segments, the route was somewhat contrived and hence not quite worthy of classic status (as billed). However my impressions changed somewhat as the day unfolded. The terrain was sufficiently varied that none of the segments felt repetitive, and the first 100 km warmup was a substantial softener for the main course; the last 60 km which contained the brilliant Kangaloon circuit. This final loop was chock full of difficult pinches, country surfaces, A-grade properties (with A-grade prices), stone walls, magnificent hedges, some stunning views, and country avenues overhung by grand old eucalypts or stands of native forest. Tough riding matched by impressive scenery. All in all, well worth the effort, despite the wind which was cold and ever present, coming from one side or the other as one noodled round the clover-leaf shaped course. Extremely well organized event, and great vibe at the finish too, with sausage sandwiches washed down with beer whilst basking in the sunshine as the band played. For those who missed out this one is well worth adding to your palmares next time.