On Australia Day I decided to race my mates to Mermaid Pools in Tahmoor, about 100km away but they were driving cars.
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The day started early with the alarm clock going off at 5.02 am. I got up nervous to the challenge I was about to face. Started riding at 5.30 am, give or take. Pitch black outside and I had no front light installed on my bike. The night before I even considered alternative ways to make the ride a bit easier, specially considering that in the first 10km of the ride I would climb a large percentage of the day's total ascent. Decided to brave it out and go head first!
I was quite excited to watch the sunrise from Sydney Harbour Bridge but the sky was too cloudy, which proved to be a blessing in disguise, as temperature never rose above 22 degrees Celsius, giving me absolutely perfect weather conditions for a ride like this.
As the km's build up, I kept a close eye on my injury, a busted ACL on my right knee, and eventually had to stop around the 50km mark for a quick rest and refuel. At this point, I wasn't sure if the knee was going to hold up till the end of the ride, specially with a sizeable climb around the 80km mark.
Rolling hills were taking their toll on both my fitness levels and knee. Finally the big(ish) uphill was here. A country road with enough space for 1 car to get through. Filled with blind corners, switchbacks and a steep last section, it forced me to stop for a few minutes and enjoy the view.
Up until this point, I deemed the race as lost. The cars were about to get there if not there already. I still had 20km to go on country roads, meaning a few uphills along the way.
Shortly after, I get a call from my mates and due to a mechanical problem, I was back in the race to the finish. This lifted me up immensely and gave me the extra power to race to Mermaid Pools. When I got to the carpark for Mermaid Pools, I realised the guys weren't there yet and I had won.
The hardest part of the day was to follow. Doing some research the night before, one website mentioned that the hike to Mermaid pools was nice and easy, whilst another website mentioned it was a really hard hike. I decided to trust the one that said it was an easy walk. The hike was about 25/30min long with the bike on my shoulder, making the actual 100km ride there seem easy in comparison.
Once we reached Mermaid Pools, I realised that the cliff jumps were quite high and the ONLY way to get out of the water was literally rock climbing. I decided not to jump in in fear that the rock climbing after would put too much strain on my knee.
There were 5 jumps at Mermaid Pools, the smallest one being 8 to 10 meters tall and the tallest being a whooping 30 meters tall.
This ride reminded me why I love bike riding so much, especially when you seek out to find new places, new roads, new uphills and downhills. I missed this so much and am looking forward to the next one.