NBRCC riding in Don Valley in Victoria - Photo courtesy Luke Chippindall @lukechip
It was about bring everyone together who has been part of the group for the past year and celebrating a year of awesome riding, the variety, challenges, camaraderie and bringing in elements of dirt, Vert (Vertical meters climbed) and a lot of hurt.
NBRCC - 12 months earlier
In the beginning 5 or 6 riders huddled around a fire place at cafe in St Andrews called ‘A boy named Sue’. It was cold, wet and freezing so we decided to create a group to organise rides, attract people of similar tastes which gave rise to the NBRCC. The group has grown organically and attracted like-minded people over the past year, who don’t look at the usual way of doing things but the harder option.
Exploring, adventuring and just being big kids
It’s the exciting part of cycling we used to experience as a kid, you go out with your mates in the woods and you don’t know where you are going so guess we are all big kids at the end of the day with ages ranging from 23 years old to 60. We all share the same enjoyments including getting lost many times.
More than just riding a bike
NBRCC on the Don Rd Climb near Don Junction - Photo courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh @melbacycle
It’s about being with your mates, sharing experiences together, it’s about talking about life and sharing the unknown and excitement of going onto terrain that is pushing the limits on 25mm tyres and occasionally getting lost.
An eclectic mix
NBRCC has an eclectic group of riders whose backgrounds range from riding mountain bike trails and navigating obstacles, pure mountain bikers, CX (Cross Country) and track cyclists all with different flavours that make us tick.
Keeping the group together & camaraderie alive
Photo courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh @melbacycle
With varying experience/fitness levels, it was about everyone experiencing the same sections of road and dirt together rather than being fragmented. The fastest and slowest riders are paired together (based on their 1 in 20 time - Mountain Hwy in the Dandenong Ranges), ie the fastest times were 15 minutes up to 22 minutes with the average being18 minutes.
You won't blow up trying beat the person next to you
As riders were match against either a faster or slower rider the competitive side of trying to beat your riding buddy was eliminated; whereby the slower rider will push themselves harder to keep up with the stronger rider and conversely the stronger riders efforts support and encourage. So riders wouldn't blow themselves up trying to race against the other rider and could enjoy social element that usually happens around the coffee table.
Pushing yourself - the feeling of elation beats the pain
At 200kms with over 4000m of vertical climbing, it was an epic day in the saddle. Throw in over 1000m of climbing on dirt and unpredictable weather to challenge the most hardened soul.
NBRCC_Mount St Leonards Climb - photo courtesy Ewan Hillsdon @thatguyfromtuesday
So with 120kms in their legs and 2800m of climbing behind them and already being a long day to this point, they looked at this thing (Mt St Leonards) at 12.5kms average gradient of 7% with the dirt pinches at 28%. It was like going to war, we had to do it, was part of the course and wasn’t going to avoid it so we put our war strips on and got up it.
Safety is the number one priority
This is how you roll - apologies authors caption - photo courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh @melbacycle
From the start if things got dangerous and sketchy they would absolutely turn back as safety is paramount but overall the mentality in the group is we have to get up it. Most riders have their earned their stripes having ‘Everested’ (8800m climbed in one attempt) persevered and shown their tenacity that they can get through hard times and ultimately hit the goal.
The weakest riders are the strongest in the bunch
NBRCC re fueling at Kinglake servo - photo courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh @melbacycle
The weaker riders (relative to the other riders) don’t get to train as often due to family commitments, work and life in general so it’s a matter of having to dig very deep compared to sleep up.
One rider who received the most respect on the day displayed so much tenacity by gritting his teeth and just arriving at each rest stop just as group was leaving.
Four Pillars Gin Healesville - photo courtesy Lewis Greenhalgh @melbacycle
Part of the ride included a tasting session at the 4 Pillars Gin Distillery in Healsville that would warm up the coldest souls and raise their spirits up to get up the Mt St Leonards climb.
One rider in particular managed to dull his headache after indulging in the gin sampling.
Solution driven - lessons for life
Everyone is an optimist and are extremely driven and determined to succeed. Pushing the limits and not giving up and most importantly, ‘we love doing what we do and being together doing it’.