saturday 9th feb – benara rd

a forecast for strong easterly winds usually means a good ride along benara rd. this road runs directly east-west from caversham to noranda and goes for about 8kms. it may be a bit of a slog to get out to it, but coming home is always going to be fun.

bit of a weird week, weather-wise, as we finally got a reprieve from the oppressively hot days only to have the entire february rainfall in one day. even though the rain has cleared up, the cloud cover was still thick when i got up this morning. this kept both the morning temperature down and the actual daylight also low. damn daylight savings.

the route would be fairly simple today. out great eastern hwy, onto guilford rd, up west swan rd, hard along benara, down to whatley crescent and home. guilford rd would be hard into the head-wind and it was going to be a bit of a test to see if the group stayed together.

michael and i rolled out at the front of the pack and set a nice uneventful pace up great eastern and over the bridge from ascot. no dickhead drivers either, which made a pleasant surprise. along guilford rd the wind began to pick up and the leading riders were having to work a lot harder to keep the pace. occasionally some of our stronger boys would come to the front to lend a hand, but luckily not to increase the pace too much.

turning into west swan rd and we were all still together and it seemed that the boys were itching to go once we hit benara rd. i had previously stated that we could go all out on benara as long as we kept it together before, and regrouped after. surprisingly, it didn’t happen as soon as we turned the corner. everyone was kind of waiting to see who would make the first move first. it finally picked up and next thing we know we are doing 50km/h and are strung out. i wasn’t in ideal position, so had to drag myself up to the front in order to stay with the lead group.

the one problem with benara rd, is even though it goes for 8km, there are numerous stop lights and round about to contend with. the first round about comes up not long into it and immediately caused mass confusion. a car was coming from the right so the call was made and everyone chucked on the anchors to let them through. unfortunately, the lady in the car got scared and also stopped. this meant that we were trying to wave her through, she was trying to let us through and both riders and cars were not sure who was going through. in the end some slipped through while others waited and the car ended up somewhere in between. the road rules are that we give way, and we were doing that. unfortunately we didn’t come to a complete stop as we expected her to keep going so then we could automatically keep the pace up. it didn’t end up that way, but luckily no damage, just another driver that probably now hates us.

with a longer stretch to play with, the pace makers hit the front again and did a fine job of smashing the pack. by the time we hit the lights at altone rd, a very select group of five or six made it through as the lights went yellow. mike and cade were on the front and stopped pushing as we usually wait if the group gets trapped by the lights. not in this case, we are trying to push every advantage we can, so i went to the front and set the pace for a while. we continually swapped off the front and had a nice but very hard pace going until we caught the next set of lights at tonkin hwy. it would be a bit of a miracle if we actually got through those lights, so i was expecting a regroup at this point.

most of the group caught up, but we still had a way to go so back to the front to keep the pace high. we managed to string it out again, but everyone was beginning to waver a bit as even with a tailwind, the continuous efforts were taking their toll. it’s times like this that we really appreciate ryans limitless energy and single bloody mindedness that can often keep the pace up.

as we left benara rd, the pace slowed significantly allowing everyone to catch back up. a pleasant cruise through the suburbs of morley and bedford allowed everyone to catch their breath and get some fluids down. i realized that i had not really drunk that much along benara rd as i didn’t really have time, or enough breath to swallow between gasps.

there are a couple of rolling hills before we hit whatley crescent and we usually hit them hard. i had requested that we keep it together and the pack set a nice pace and didn’t try to smash it.

once we dropped under the rail bridge and onto whatley crescent, i was waiting for the pack to start hitting it hard. it was double lane almost all the way back to the coffee shop and there are a few rolling hills to contend with as well. ideal conditions with a tailwind and the blessing of the group meant that someone was bound to go. no-one went. not sure whether people didn’t know that they were on the final stretch into town, or that they didn’t know it was whatley crescent, but none of the usually suspects set out to smash the field.

michael and i were back about mid-pack and waiting for the break to go. i told him that on the hills ahead that we should go if no-one else does. we managed to spring off the front and surprise the head of the pack getting a gap straight away. michael neatly paced me up both the small hills before we started swapping off turns to try to keep the pack at bay. cade had broken away and was starting to bridge across, before we were held up slightly at a set of lights. the delay was not enough for the main pack to catch us, but cade jumped on once we were off again. we continued to swap off turns until around maylands station, i looked back and saw scott leading the group and right on our tail. i told michael we had been caught and we eased off the pace.

a perfect time to counter attack is when a break has been caught, and mike and cade went off the front together. a bad combination for the rest of us as both these guys could put some serious time into us. the pack was unorganized as people had been going hard for a while and the two of then managed to stay away. luckily, or should i say typically, they were held up by the lights at the graham farmer overpass, and we managed to regroup.

heading into the final sprint along riverside drive, michael and cade were on the front and itching to go. the lights had changed to allow a car to turn, so when they changed back, the two of them expected that ours would go green allowing us to go. unfortunately the light changed and allowed the riverside drive traffic to go, not us. cade and michael had anticipated the change and were already out in the middle of the intersection, so had to continue through. just like the paris-roubaix a couple of years ago when a few guys on the discovery channel team went under the rail crossing barrier, these boys were clearly in the wrong and have been duly disqualified.

the sprint opened up with doug and john hitting off the front as soon as we turned onto riverside drive. no-one seemed keen to go as it was still a long way to the end. we upped the pace to get on their wheels but still no-one jumped. i decided that i might be able to make the distance so took off hard to try to keep chris off my wheel. i managed to gap the field and kept the pace on. i had to look back a couple o
f times and rode like i was scared to keep them away. i was eventually caught at the victoria ave lights where i was held up.

when we pulled into the coffee shop, i had a look at my video camera and saw that it was off. damn thing keeps turning off after a couple of minutes of filming. will have to send it back. i’m a bit disappointed after it seemed to work well last sunday.

anyway, nothing else was really news worthy in the photo sense, so i took a couple of snaps of jerry’s new mavic r-sys wheels and dr paul was also really proud of his new pump as it does both valve types, so i got a shot of that too.

2 thoughts on “saturday 9th feb – benara rd”

  1. Hey Pete, just wanted to note my vote of thanks you’re going to in setting the tone of the rides and organising great rides each week. It’s fun to read your comments afterwards as well. Cheers.

  2. Was looking forward to a good ride this morning…
    Called out to the hospital at 2.30am and my plans went down the gurgler.
    All I can say is thank God I’m ditching radiography in favouring of the more cycle-friendly hours of coffee roasting!!!

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