ride report by peter
a smaller than expected group turned up this morning. the overnight temperature was quite a bit above the expected low of 4 deg as it was closer to 8 or so. this made the decision to wear a jacket or vest a hard one to make as you know that there will be cold spots in the hills, but at the same time, we are climbing a lot which makes it hot. i went with the jacket, and covered up my new kit, as the coffee shop is notoriously cold.
i received a text from ryan before we left, stating that his broken cranks, the cold weather and his lack of sleep all conspired to keep him in bed this morning. bit of a pussy really. without ryan or mike, the main contender on the climbs would be stu. but we would see what transpired.
the route today was a new addition to the suite of sunday climbs in our current arsenal. there would be a few new roads as well as a number of more familiar ones cobbled together to form the new route. it was planned to be a little over 100kms and climb over 1000m vertical. it would be a bit deceptive though, as there would only be three main climbs, but lots of little bonus climbs.
we would head out great eastern hwy but turn to head through belmont and across to maida vale to access ridge hill road. this cuts the corner somewhat and goes to the south of the airport rather than around the northern side. from ridge hill rd we would snake our way through a new route to darlington and back up to great eastern hwy. jump the hwy and into john forrest national park before jumping back to travel to mundaring township. down past mundaring weir and onto coffee in kalamunda. a wild convoluted route, but we need to go exploring some times.
as i said, not a big group and we probably only had 12 roll out with us. we cruised out to belmont and found our way across to kalamunda rd. they were good quiet roads and made it easy to get out to the hills. it gives us another option for both our saturday and sunday rides. along the way we picked up doug and russell to boost our numbers.
our first “bonus” climb was ridge hill road. we normally come up the other side, which is definitely harder, but today we were really just using it as a way to get to darlington. the pace started to increase and it was obvious who would be leading the climbs today. stu, brendan, rob and sam all rode to the front and left the rest of us behind. my tour de france coverage induced lack of riding is starting to catch up with me and i am just not able to hold the pace that i used to. i let the four of them scamper up the hill and over the top. we lost dr paul and wally at this point as they set their own route up the zig-zag instead.
we regrouped and headed through to darlington via clayton rd. this contained mainly rolling hills which were not tough enough to hurt the group until the last one near the end. the road did a sharp left hand turn and started a quite nice climb. the boys headed up the road again, but came to a intersection and milled around awaiting further instructions. i was confused as i had only ever come along this road from the other direction. russell lives close to the area and he provided direction. we turned down glen rd and continued to climb up to darlington proper. another regroup point, as this route has a lot of intersections to negotiate, and we lined up for the final climb up darlington rd. there was a bit of a shout and it turned out to be our marketing director, lorraine, going for a jog as she also lives close by. she is still not on the bike after taking a tumble and breaking her wrist. she likes to pretend that it happened during a final sprint along mounts bay rd where she was giving ryan a run for his money. we will just pretend that it is true.
we have never taken a group up this part of darlington rd before, as it terminates on great eastern hwy and doesn’t leave us with many choices. today however, we would use it as an alternative to riding greenmount as it will also get us to the enterence to john forrest national park. i had only ridien this hill twice before and really didn’t remember how long or how steep it was. the other guys also didn’t know this climb, so everyone was playing it conservatively. about five or six of us climbed it together as we dropped the rest of the field earlier on. anna stayed with us for a while but the constant tempo on the steeper sections eventually unhitched her. the same four from the previous hill finally dropped darren and i on the last pinch up towards the hwy where we regrouped again.
our detour through the national park did not contain any real climbs and was really just an excuse not to ride on great eastern hwy. the rough and windy roads made for an interesting ride as it forces you to ride quite hard in order to maintain a decent pace. michael and brendan di most of the pace making and soon we were back at great eastern hwy again. a nice easy cruise back up to mundaring taking thomas rd which parallels the hwy. we regrouped and set off for the final stretch to kalamunda.
the plan was to do the whole road without stopping as everyone pretty much knew the way to the coffee shop from here. the group held together well down to the weir which contained a great fast decent. once we hit the other side it was a different story.
the previous four and michael started the climb out of the weir and i scrambled to get on the back of that group. michael pulled off at the carpark to wait for emma while the rest of us continued at a decent pace. i was suffering again and the temp had dropped dramatically as we came down into the valley. my left quad started having the same tight feeling as last week so i am deducing that it is the cold that is affecting it. i need to get some knee warmers, i think.
halfway up the climb, brendan, stu and sam stepped up the pace a bit and rob began to fall away. i accelerated to come around him and tried to latch back onto the wheel in front. the effort took it’s toll and i also began to fall back. rob came past me again and set himself a tempo to try o catch back up. i recovered slightly and tried to just ride myself back into a tempo that would allow me to catch back up once the road flattened. it didn’t happen.
i just didn’t have the power in my legs and it depressed me greatly. i used to be the guy that would push the pace all the way back to kalamunda and would shed off the weaker riders with a tempo on the hills. now i was the weaker rider. my heart rate was not high so i didn’t feel i was working hard, but my legs felt leaden and did not want to push hard.
on the final climb before the decent into piesse brook, i thought i saw a rider a bit behind me. from that distance all i could see was they were wearing black. michael was wearing black, but i thought that i couldn’t be himas he was riding back with emma. i soldiered on hoping the decent would allow my legs a bit of respite.
once i hit the final climb up to kalamunda, i had decided to well and truly punish my legs for not being available today. i left it in the big ring and selected a cog from the middle of the cluster. strength endurance work it would be.
it turned out that it was michael behind me as he caught me on the lower slope of the climb and kept on going past me. i just sat down and pushed out the big gear, only standing if i needed to get on top of it during a change in gradient. the coffee shop finally appeared before me.
at the coffee shop we got the news about the accident in roleystone. see the previous post for more info.
we headed off on our descent and had a good run down lesmurdie rd. at the intersection with welshpool, there was a jag waiting to turn right. we rolled up behind it as there was some traffic approaching. as it cleared, we clipped in and started moving. however, the jag didn’t move. we had to skirt around it and by t
hen there was another car coming. it cleared and we looked at the jag and it still didn’t look like it was going to move, so we went. there is an added lane once you cross the traffic coming up the hill, so you don’t really have to wait for the opposite traffic to get across the road. we have no idea what the jag driver was doing, and didn’t care as we were now heading down the hill.
the wind, or lack of meant that the descent was not breaking any records. michael took off just before us and managed a good gap by the time we reached the bottom. we were all pedaling on the descent to try to make up ground, and then time trialed it along the flat, but still didn’t catch him. a long wait at the lights meant that the group was all together and didn’t need to wait at the usual spot.
with no ryan or melvyn present, there were no riders willing to sprint it out at the two mcdonalds sprint points. it actually made for a very pleasant return to perth.
so a nice ride with little to no rain besides a few drops on the return to perth. the new route is nice but quite convoluted coming through darlington so may not feature as regularly as others. but we will see. again, our thoughts go to the riders that got cleaned up today in roleystone and i hope that they recover well.