sunday 17th august – welshpool & observatory

ride report by peter

i knew i was going to be struggling today. after the collie-donnybrook yesterday and the late return home, it was always going to be hard to back it up. i was running a bit late again today and it was a family effort which delayed me. my sleeping in combined with ben’s early wake up combined with kate going back to sleep all meant that i didn’t turn up till a smidgen past seven. i had dressed appropriately for the cold start, but was concerned that i would be caught out later in the morning as we were headed for another beautiful day. i had double jerseyed again and also had leg warmers on. it was a brisk morning and i was happy with the extra layers.

i knew that ryan and stu would not be coming this morning as stu was probably staying done south after the race yesterday and ryan had a bucks night to go to as soon as he got home. i was hoping for not too much competition as i was not sure how i would cope with the climbs. brendan had turned up after yesterday race but he is training up for a pretty big race over east in a months time so is doing 1000 kms a week when he is on break. our sand-shoed friend from the saturday ride had turned up again, but i had not met him yesterday, so had no idea what to expect. there were a bunch of other regulars for a total of about 15 riders. brett was out for a change and i asked him how he got a leave pass. he said that jerry had left a message to his wife saying that he’d had a hard week so should be allowed out to play on sunday. she did not want to seem like and ogre so let him come and play. i think everyone is going to get jerry to leave some messages now.

the route today would be a looping affair with a trip up welshpool before climbing the harder side of the observatory, up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda, before heading down the zig-zag and back up kalamunda rd for coffee. that was the plan, anyway.

as we headed out, brendan remarked to me that he was so buggered after the race yesterday that he didn’t even bother to change his race wheels. he was on his tubular shod zipps and did not have any spares. if he got a flat today, he would have to ring the missus to come and pick him up. as we came along mill pt rd there was quite a bit of glass and brendan managed to collect a bit of it. he ran his gloves over the tyres and tried to shed as much as he could. we were hopeful he got it all. we picked up mike b as we headed out, so at least i knew who would be pushing on the climbs.

as we came through east vic park and were about to cross shep rd via hill view, brendan felt his front tyre going down. he took off down shep rd to try to get home before the tyre completely flattened. we continued onto welshpool rd and towards the hills. before we got to the welshpool/orrong rd intersection, we picked up holly who lives very close by. she watched us warily as we rode past before joining us as she had already joined the wrong group once this morning.

as we approached the base of the welshpool climb i was still unsure on who would be setting the pace today. the young lad with sand-shoes, alistair, headed to the front and had mike on his wheel. the young lad kept looking back to see who was going to go with him and a group of us were sucking onto mike’s wheel. mike was definitely feeling better than last week and soon came around alistair to up the pace. i was trying to hold wheel but my legs just didn’t want to play. i indicated for the guys behind me to come around as i was losing the wheel, but no-one did. i looked back and there was no-one behind me. i maintained my rhythm and tried to see if the guys would tire and allow me back on. we were passing lots of triathlon chicks on the hill as there were a few groups taking advantage of the nice weather.

i pushed on, marveling at the fact that this young guy was smashing us with just sneakers and toe clips on. i would hate to see him if he got some proper shoes and pedals. or i probably wouldn’t see him as he would be too far up the road in front of me.

anyway, closer to the servo, jerry and mark caught up to me so we pushed on together. we did a few turns but it was clear that we would not catch the two up the road. funnily enough the old man, mike, had put quite a bit of distance into the young lad, alistair. quite a bit by the top of the hill. we regrouped and headed towards the base of the observatory via glenisla rd. bit of an issue with quite a few gum-nuts scatted on the road during the fast descent near the sanitarium school, but no crashes luckily.

mike turned off to head home via lawnbrook as he had a previous engagement to attend, so i was left to deal with al on my own. mark went out hard for the first part of the climb but mainly to get to the top of the steep section as quickly as possible and we had all caught up by the top. as the gradient eased off i was not willing to attack but wanted to see just what al would do. i was on the front pacing up the hill and was happily to do that for a while as i was not pushing hard. al finally made his move and came around me to up the pace. i jumped on his wheel and sat in for the ride. we gapped the others quickly and pulled away from the pack. i thought i would test his legs out and as he backed off the pace i came around to stretch him. he sat on my wheel for a while but i eventually pushed him so that he dropped off. he clamboured back on so i attacked again and this time when i looked back he was looking behind himself to see if he could find another wheel. the rest of the pack was down around the corner so he made the decision to try to get back on. i was hurting by now and so had backed off the pace. he thanked me for letting him back on, but i said that i didn’t really have a choice. we continued up the rest of the climb together and waited for the rest of the group.

we took the descent down the observatory at a nice pace, always wary of that corner at the bottom which also had some broken glass on it this time. it was like there had been the national bottle breaking contest on during the week as there was glass everywhere. once we hit the bottom, there was a call to stop as dr mark had broken something on his bike. it turned out that he had thought that he had dropped his phone so had to stop to check. during that time, brendan called up to find out where we were. he had changed wheels and climbed up welshpool rd and was on glenisla waiting. i told him the direction we would be heading so he would reverse that and meet us along the road.

we headed down glenisla again avoiding the gum-nuts and headed towards mundaring weir rd. i had asked that everyone stay together as i wasn’t sure everyone knew the way but we would regroup at kalamunda. mark took off once we turned towards kalamunda and brendan, al and i started to chase hime down. my legs said no and i eased off and watched them head up the road. by the time we hit the second corner there was a clear split with brendan and al ahead of jerry and mark with dr mark and myself trailing behind.

a couple of corners later and i decided that i needed to make an effort. i said bye to dr mark and started chasing down jerry and mark as i could still see them up the road. it took a while and i picked up jerry before the false flat and he jumped on my wheel as i headed towards mark. i picked him up just on the corner before the flat and came around him. i put it in the big ring and ground out a plus 40 pace to the next pinch in the climb. i signaled for them to come around and i was done for this climb.

a regroup in the carpark and we had lost stuart a friend of brendans. he went searching and gave him a call but came up empty. we were concerned that he had turned right instead of left and was now heading towards the weir. we tried, so not much more we could do. he was a big boy after all.

a brief discussion and all in favour of m
issing the final climb and heading to the coffee shop say i. “i” was the call, with my legs being the loudest voice as they were screaming. the race yesterday had not been kind to me.

during coffee, stuart rang brendan to say that he had turned up lawnbrook and had to head home anyway, so he was fine. we broke bread as is the tradition on a sunday and enjoyed a coffee in the nicer weather. i should have taken this time to take off my leg warmers, but as we were sitting in the shade, i wasn’t reminded too.

we headed off and down the hill through lesmurdie with little incident. a smidgen under 75 km/hr for me on the descent, but the time trial along the flat took a lot out of me and i had to ease off. clare had joined us at the coffee shop after missing the start and was on the descent with us now. as she and holly lived just off welshpool rd they turned off early and would miss any of the sprints.

there was a big acceleration along welshpool, but i was not able to go with it, so not sure what really happened. i was happy to be still riding. the final sprint along berwick saw brendan unintentionally leading out as he needed to turn off just after the last rise, but couldn’t get out due to traffic. he just shrugged it off and kept pushing the leadout. i was biding my time and waiting to see who would go and when. it was getting later and later but then jerry started his move so i came out to jump on his wheel. i cut brett off by doing so, but apologised afterwards for doing so. jerry wound up but i managed to come past him as we approached macdonalds. shame i had no reason to sprint yesterday.

so a good ride if not a tad abbreviated due to lack of legs on my behalf. sorry to anyone who wanted to do that last climb, but the option was still open to do it if you wanted. coffee seemed like a much better option at the time.