Beth and Seb tackle their inaugural 3fidi 350km

Last weekend saw us take part in our first ever “3fidi 350”. This annual Canberra tradition is an epic ride of 350km around the Canberra region in one long slog, but of course stopping at some cafes along the way. This year, the challenge nicely coincided with the Strava 79mile Challenge weekend.

BMC 79 Mile Challenge

Celebrate the 79th rainbow jersey with a 79 mile ride.

16/11/12 — 18/11/12

This September, 79th running of the UCI World Road Cycling Championships was won on a BMC team machine SLR01.

To honour that huge accomplishment, BMC is challenging you to go out and complete a ride of 79 miles (or greater) in one day.

Pick your favourite long training ride, prep your bike, fill up some bottles, maybe even sport a little bit of Belgian red/yellow/black, and push yourself to make it happen!

Now who, you might ask, is 3fidi? Well they are a great bunch of guys and gals from Canberra Australia, who started the group way back when the cost of a coffee was $3.50. More affectionately known as the 3fidi grind riders. Now of course neither BikingBethany or The Seb possess the prestige of this elite Canberra crew (with five finishes of the 350km ride between people on this ride alone); however on occasions such as this they could use all the leg power they can get!

So, at a tad after 5am on a crisp Canberra Saturday morning, our group of seven riders rolled out of West Canberra towards the Brindabella Ranges. Here is the route that we took so you can follow our commentary along the way: The Seb’s Strava file.

The first section of the ride is very pretty. There are a couple of dirt sections along Fairlight Road and Mountain Creek Road, the longest being under 5km, which were taken at ease due to a majority of us being on carbon road bikes. The promise of bacon for breakfast got Milly cheered up and we rolled into Yass for a quick egg and bacon roll and some instant coffee to keep us going. We had managed to get this far with only one flat between us, a good outcome considering the dirt roads. It was a well timed flat by Seb anyway, allowing us to catch our breath and enjoy the view.

Views of the Murrumbidgee River (photo by Milly)

Having just left Yass, Seb got a second flat outside of town. Milly got her first flat after a very pot-hole riddled section of road just after passing through Dalton. Steve also had a bizarre mechanical here, which started with us not really knowing what he was doing shaking his bike upside down and all the bearings falling off into the grass. Headset fixed and drama avoided, we were on our way but a bit behind schedule.

Next stop on route was a great little cafe in Gunning which served amazing banana bread and most importantly, good coffee!  This is also where we happened to bump into Martin, who was blaming his sleep-in on his non-functioning alarm.  Excuses! Martin and Milly headed a different route towards Goulburn while the other six of us headed the long uphill way to Crookwell to Goulburn. The hills just kept coming but it was lovely rolling terrain. The hills were not too big but big enough to blow me (Beth!) apart.  Dropping off and on the back of the boys like a yoyo, I was glad to ride the last 30km into Goulburn at my own pace (albeit with a two flats which eventually led to collection by car 15km out of town).

Goulburn brought the promise of pizza, pasta, more coffee and new riders with fresh legs! I am super happy to say that I have completed my first 200km road ride, and look forward to the prospect of exploring further and further out of town, now that I know how far I can make it in one day!

Topping up the energy stores in Goulburn (photo by Aaron)

I’ll hand over to The Seb here, as I got a lift home to Canberra in the car so I don’t know what shenanigans went on!

There’s nothing like fresh legs to inject some momentum back into a steam train running short on coal. Martin, Ron and Simon provided fuel in spades and mercifully the riding out of Goulburn in the Tarago direction was straightforward and our peloton of eight made excellent time for a pub stop around 4pm. Aaron Coles ‘Jackson’ duly punished yours truly in the traditional town sprint after a textbook display of how not to get a surprise jump on the pack. We received some unusual looks from the locals at the Tarago pub which is fair enough but this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of a cold coke which seemed to be the drink of choice by popular vote. Next stop was Bungendore however this section was rather undulating and provided significant resistance to our tired legs. Martin and Simon pulled a monsters turn and the long downhill into town was way too much fun.

A watermelon stop had been a topic of discussion for much of the day but I was sure that the slight nip in the air and impending climb would put heed to such shenanigans on what was to be the last stop of the day. Chris T was not to be denied though and duly walked out of the supermarket with half of an enormous watermelon and got stuck into it. I’m assured it went down a treat although Chris was looking rather chilly before we started riding so it may have impacted his core temperature more than desired.

Smith’s Gap out of Bungendore had been dreaded by all but passed without too much fanfare. Once we all regrouped our three chaperones left us to take the shortcut back to Canberra and it was left to the five souls remaining to finisher ‘er off! The wind hadn’t been overly kind to us throughout the day but a nice little Nor-Easter had been brewing during the afternoon and it was time to reap the rewards. Shingle Hill Way passed in record time and not even the multitude of bogan d!ckheadsin utes on Sutton Rd could dampen the increasing sense that we were on the home stretch. Turning onto the Fed with a tailwind to roll along at 40+kph after almost 350km of riding great way to ride back into town and it was high fives all round when the time came to part ways.

Unfortunately for non 2602 residents like Sebbeth, a lot of inner city-centric rides end with a plod home and while the other finishers tucked into food and beer. It was time for me to get payback for the extra half hour sleep I got in the morning and do my final 20km. I’d mentioned the idea of finishing with a rep of Black Mountain because it seemed an entirely unnecessary thing to do after such a long ride. Steve had jumped on the idea and proposed a case of beer should I actually do it. I must admit part of me did seriously think how nice it would be to head straight home to a shower, nice meal and Beth but the other part was saying what a beaut evening it was and how I’d be an idiot to pass up on 15mins of discomfort for the easiest case of beer I’ll ever receive. So sanity prevailed and I was rewarded with an amazing sunset over the Brindabellas from the top. I hope this becomes a traditional finish to this ride.

I can’t help but feel an amazing sense of achievement doing such a ride and privileged to share this day out with a great group of people. All full and partial participants succeeded in finishing the Strava challenge and we were even leading for a while until some even crazier people uploaded their adventures. It is extremely comforting seeing there are thousands of other like-minded insane people around the world willing to ride their bike silly distances for the sake of adventure and some internet kudos.

Bring on the next one Sebbeth says!

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