saturday 9th august – sth lake

ride report by peter

so a good turn out this morning with over thirty riders ready to go. i was running a bit late so turned up to find a sea of green awaiting departure instructions. it is good to see and makes me feel good about this group. there are still quite a few riders without out new kit as we have picked up a few more since we did the initial order. hopefully we can get them all kitted out at the end of the year.

anyway, it was a crisp morning and even though the official temp said around 8 degrees, the wind made it feel much colder. when you were standing still (like at the lights) it hardly felt like any wind at all. however, once you were moving, it felt like it was a headwind. the official website said that it was 13 km/h easterlies, but gusting to above 30km/h. we must have had the gusts all morning.

with the cooler mornings i used to just put a wind jacket on. with the new kit i now don’t want to cover it up and have started experimenting. this morning i had on two jerseys and it worked a treat. brendan rocked up in his aussie crates sponsored kit and they provided him with a fully sponsored wind jacket too. it might be something that we look at in the next order.

the course today was one that we experimented with about a month and a half ago. it went down canning rd and onto nth lake rd all the way to berrigan drive. last time we crossed the freeway on armadale rd and it was very busy and not a very wide road. after that we would head home via nicholson rd and albany hwy.

i introduced heiko, our german vacation student, to the rest of the group and talked him up so everyone thinks he is a young jens voigt.

the roll out was pleasant enough. nice easy pace all the way down canning hwy. i was playing sheep-dog again and would roam from the front to the back occasionally to bark and sniff butts and nip at heels or whatever it is that sheep dogs do. we turned down nth lake rd and kept a very easy pace. i managed to find myself on the front again so that we could turn at the right spot. this time we were turning early onto berrigan drive and it was a corner that could creep up on you.

as we turned to cross over the freeway, the wind was fair howling into our faces. when we stopped at a set of lights, it seemed to be hardly a breeze at all. a very confusing and strength sapping day. we turned again and i began to doubt we were on the right road. the map had said turn right onto mason rd but the street sign said we had just turned onto jandakot rd. i had checked the satellite view earlier and i knew that we turned at the roundabout next to the shops and we seemed to be heading the right way. it was going to be a wait and see.

a bunch of guys all did turns on the front to ease the load in the wind, and pretty soon we came to the end of the road and turned onto warton rd. we were on the right road after all, just google maps had named it wrong.

the wind had not abated and we were now coping it as a head cross, which makes it harder to hide from. a few kilometres more and we turned onto nicholson, but the road hadn’t become double lane yet. this meant that we had to stay close to the edge and couldn’t hide offset from the rider in front to avoid the wind. i dropped back to find a number of riders struggling to hold on and a few of us drafted them back to the group.

we managed to catch up just as the group was about to be released by the traffic lights near livingston marketplace (home of livingston optical, for all your optical needs). this marked the start of the sprint section and i was trying to keep the group together before that point.

as the fast boys took off, nick came back through the group sporting a flat rear tyre. carl had commented to me earlier that both nick and himself had forgotten to bring any spares today. fate was teaching nick a lesson. i started slowing down but was in two minds as the group was racing up the road. they were too far gone to pull back now, but i needed to make sure that the didn’t take the wrong turn. luckily i saw chris dropping back to help him, so i pushed on ahead.

i was now stuck in no-mans land. the main group was up the road and around me riders were struggling to fight into the wind. i helped bec get back onto carls wheel and moved on up the road. there was a small group of about 3 or 4 riders off the back of the main group and i managed to bridge across to them. i came around the front to do a turn and pretty soon it was only rod and myself left from that group. we swapped off turns a few times, but could not make any ground on the main bunch.

we picked up a few more riders as we came closer to the finishing roundabout, but then the front guys anti-navigational skills saved us again. not sure who was leading, but nicholson road actually turns to the left at the roundabout and the guys kept going straight. the rest of us turned the corner and we could see them looking back to see which way we were going, before back-tracking themselves.

once they caught up to us, i had to really settle the group down to make sure some of the back-markers managed to rejoin the group. the field was spread pretty thin due to the wind and i know we lost quite a few. unfortunate route selection on my behalf today and we would have been better off doing benara rd instead. oh, well. whatever doesn’t kill you will make you… weak as a baby crying for your mamma. and later hopefully make you stronger.

as we cruised along the remainder of nicholson road, we didn’t actually see that many more riders coming up the road. not sure what happened, but sorry if you didn’t make it back on. we kept the pace to a minimum and i though about stopping, but by then we were on albany hwy going past the carousel shopping centre where there were cars everywhere and not much room for us to pull over. we pushed on ahead, but i made sure the pace wasn’t too high.

when we hit the albany hwy shep rd intersection it was all on to the end. dr melvyn made one of his trademark attacks from too far out and a bunch of people made their intentions clear, by taking off as well. the next set of traffic lights paid heed to their early move.

i was content to sit in a while and wait for the last hill before launching, so that if i made it, i could recover on the descent. a further surge went and everyone was moving around a lot, trying to be near the front. as we had swung around, we now had a tailwind into the finish and the guys were not as reluctant to be on the front.

just as we crossed an intersection where the lights were changing, i attacked and managed to get a bit of a gap. ben had sat on my wheel and was holding fast as we approached the next set of lights. everyone may have eased up a bit thinking that the lights would hold me up, but luckily they changed quickly so i took off again. i managed to get over the last hill in front, but now had ryan and brendon baring down on me. i recovered on the descent, but they kept pushing on and started pulling away. the traffic lights meant that we were soon back together as one group, although some of the guys slid up the side of the cars which is a no, no.

as we crossed the causeway, it seemed that brendan was doing most of the work and no-one was coming around to help. ryan had resumed his position a little way back to avoid the wind and get ready for the sprint while jerry assumed his normal position on ryan’s wheel. as we turned onto riverside drive, john took off like a shot. “too early” i cried out to the group as there is still over 2 kms to go before the finish. some of the guys didn’t listen and headed up the road only to be overtaken with
john less than halfway down the drive. ryan eventually went and took jerry with him. i tried to latch on, but the earlier effort had sapped me and my quads didn’t like what i was doing to them. i had to let them go and roll into the coffee shop a broken rider.

ryan took out line honours, with jerry bridesmaid again. i wasn’t stopping for coffee, so am unsure how the backmarkers faired on the way home. heiko, held his own well today and showed some glimpses of jens voigt with some strong riding. i think he will do ok.

i was off to take the young lad out on the bike and managed to make it up mounts street with him on board, but was a quivering mess by the time i reached the top. next week the collie-donnybrook race is on the saturday, so i will miss the morning ride, but will try to give you a good course with a tailwind the whole way around.