Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sommerville AU Hillfest

Sommerville Sports Crew Re-grouping mid ride

Things are moving pretty positively heading into Spring & Summer for Sommerville Sports Australia; the further Brand Ambassadors had been named and a fresh official Sommerville AU kit had been released with plenty of compliments.Yet a cycling crew is only as good as the rides it takes; and after this weekend the bar has been set pretty high. A trip down to the Mornington Coast heading up the famed Arthurs Seat and out towards the back roads of Red Hill.

FRESH KIT - get yours in the online store
Heading from Melbourne meant an early morning catch-up, and I mean early, so early my daughter hadn't even woken up for the 3rd time that night. 6:15am out the front of The Captains house, the cold air had revealed what was looking like a cracking day out on the bike, the famed Benny of Benjamin's Patisserie (finest donuts in Ivanhoe, if not the world!) Faz another member of Sommerville and of recent Instagram face fame. A packed out Sommerville Team Car, complete with all 6 '2 of me relegated to share half my seat with Benny's Felt speedster and we were on our way.

Car journey's bring a team together, the banter, the poor choice in music, the Captain again not waiting for people who were following him and general discussions that will neither enlighten or save the world all rolled into a good hour and a much needed coffee stop.

A monster crew was there to greet us, including a few resident Sommerville Ambassadors that are based down the coast. Personally I was pretty excited, as a Northern suburbs rider I don't venture to far from home so this had the air of a great adventure. With close to 50 riders of various levels and abilities also joining us we had split them into lead groups of 10 or more, making sure we had a couple of locals in with us knowing we would get lost at some point.

Typical Tourist Photo
Early pace out of Mount Martha was great the rolling tight roads running high up along the clifftop made for a great scene, and it didn't take long to warm-up and get into a good rhythm early. Keeping the group together was always going to be tricky but plenty of chat and slow down sections made it possible. Grouping up as we came to the bottom of the first challenge of Arthurs Seat set a great scene as everyone was keen to set a PB. I knew it was steep, I knew it was short (3.5km) and I had heard and seen the switchback corners.

I went at it pretty hard keen to get under 15 minutes, thanks to Benny for nice little lead up the first few kilometers and then the Captain went past me on his way up, and that just ignited my competitive juices so I jumped out to stay with him. Captain Ivan the loveable leader of this band of Sommerville Studs & Wannabe Stars can climb hills, in fact I'm pretty sure he sleeps on a 10% gradient at night. If I could stick with him it was a clear improvement, if I challenged him I'd half impress myself. I did a little early flexing jumping out of the saddle on a turn to jump in front, I opened up a bit of a solo gap but being my first time up I hadn't checked how far to go, feeling like I was being stalked I just kept trying to turn my legs but seeing him slowly closing the gap. Having a little finishing stoush as we got to the top of the climb made for some early fun and set the tone that this was going to be as much about smiles as it was about training.

Once re-grouped we headed out and down, weaving our way up and over beautiful quiet back roads of Red Hill, with blistering down hill sections weaving through tall forests and rolling hills with vineyards to our left and right as the sun started to show itself. I honestly can't think of a nicer place to get out and ride with such a mix of views and scenery just made this region so wonderful. The group stuck together pretty good and continued to set good pace numbers and every climb gave everyone a chance to flex the chain rings a little.After 40km in we had found our rest point, reloaded with some great coffee and cheeky little breakfast burger before the final 30km back Mount Martha, heading up the backside to Arthurs Seat meant a white knuckle descent around the hair pin turns which was giving me flashes of that horror crash in Utah just recently, and then onto the flat rolling finish up to our start point.

Sommerville Sports Team Car Aftermath 
Closing out the day strong my legs felt great considering the punishment of 1,444m of climbing (and at a good pace mind you) the groups didn't split too badly even after the breakfast stop. This ride identified what I love about Sommerville Sports Australia, great riders, great scenery but more important great adventure. Meeting new locals that have the pleasure of calling those hills home, the discussion of coming down on my own and catching up with them for a ride, meeting the remainder of the Sommerville Crew and testing myself around strong riders only adds to it.

The great looking Sommerville Sports Australia exclusive kit is still available for sale and includes a great fit and vest for those cool mornings. The colours represent a nice blend outside of the normal Melbourne default fashionable black that most riders seem to wear. Stop us when you see us, ask me directly or get yourself to the online store and order. REMEMBER all custom kits are 5 Garment minimum, perfect that pro-look to the latte lap team on a Sunday! 

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