ride report by peter.
after a wet day on the bike yesterday we were all looking forward to a nice dry ride and to forecast said it would be so. however, the lack of cloud cover meant that the temperature bottomed out at around 4 degrees over night even thought we were aiming for a top of 20. This always causes a dilemma for me as i know that it will be cold for the first part of the ride but hot at the end and i hate to overheat. we had a smaller than usual group at the start this morning and some of our regulars are away which kept the numbers down to about 15 or so. a couple of new riders came out and we found out later that this was to be jules’ longest ride he had ever done. the winner of this years menzies-kalgoorlie race, paul was also coming along with us today.
the course took us out welshpool road before heading around mundaring weir and through darlington before heading to coffee via kalamunda road. all up we were looking at over 100kms and over 1300m of climbing.
we rolled out and headed to welshpool via orong road for a change. the trip was pretty much uneventful though i did discuss the idea of mountain points for each of the main climbs with a few of the guys. basically to make the climb more “fun” a set number of points are available for the first 5 riders to crest the climb. on today’s ride there were four “categorised” climbs that would yield points. welshpool rd, two on the way round mundaring and finally kalamunda rd. each climb would give 10, 7, 5, 3, 1 points for those places. at the end of the ride, the points will be accumulated and at the end of the month, the climber of the month will be “awarded”. this “competition” will continue regardless of whatever races are on. for example, next week i intend to race the northam classic but since the hills ride will still be on, whomever turns up will still accumulate points.
so we hit the bottom of welshpool as a group and proceeded to find our own position in the group. we strung out fairly quickly and tackled the first section at a reasonable pace. after the first kink in the road ronny and alistar attacked and managed to gap the group a bit. with still quite a bit of the hill to go, i wasn’t chasing and followed my plan of sticking to mike’s wheel as he ground his way up. we eventually picked them up about halfway to the servo and spat ronny out the back. alistar jumped back on the train and the five of us continued to follow mike’s wheel. just after the servo ryan attacked and brendan and alistar went with him. i was still on mike and he wasn’t chasing anyone. i didn’t feel i had the legs to go anyway and thought i would stick to the tried and true mike method.
he continued to grind his way up the false flat section and onto the next pinch. it didn’t seem to slow him much and he continued up at the same pace leaving me fighting for air by myself. pretty soon he had caught the front three and they continued on. by about the third pitch in this part of the climb, brendan had been unhitched from the group and i was making ground on him. i managed to catch him on the second last bit of hill and saw that ryan had also been dropped by mikes relentless pace. i gauged the distance and realised that i couldn’t make up that much ground before the end so resigned myself to fourth place.
alistar – 10, mike – 7, ryan – 5, peter – 3, brendan – 1.
a regroup at the top and slowly the riders all filtered through. we were waiting a while for declan and ronny had to go looking for him as we were unsure if he had turned off or not, but he finally made it to the regroup point. we headed off through the picturesque bickley valley and onto mundaring weir road. lisa, declan and ronny turned off and up to kalamunda as the rest of us headed towards mundaring weir and onto mundaring township for the next regroup. this stretch contained two climbs that would yield points and i explained to everyone what was going on with the competition. it definitely revved a few guys up as there were attacks coming almost straight away as alistar and then paul went hard up the first part of the hill and i jumped on. we hit a good tempo but were reeled in by the first corner by a sizable group. it seemed that people were going to push that bit harder for some points.
the top of the climb was to be at the intersection of asher rd which was just after the crest of the hill. to get there, the road would step up a number of times and could be quite draining on the legs. our pace was nicely high and we slowly dropped riders until it was only the same five as the welshpool climb. just before the camel farm, ryan attacked and no-one reacted. i jumped around the group and told him that we had a gap. he wanted to know if that means we should go faster, but i said that if he keeps us away, i wouldn’t contest the points. we stayed away.
ryan – 10, peter – 7, mike – 5, brendan – 3, alistar – 1.
steve soon bridged across to us as we continued downhill towards the weir. we were riding like it was a race and people were taking turns and occasionally rolling through to keep the pace high. we picked up another group out training in the hills and they hung onto us for a short time before our pace was too high. we smashed it down into the weir and up the other side. staying together well on the climb, it wasn’t until the final pitch up to the round-about that ryan attack and brendan and alistar went with him. ryan was first to the top and did a victory lap of the round-about while mike turned left and continued onto mundaring township. i mentioned to them that it was first to the roundabout in mundaring town, not mundaring weir, but they never really listen to instructions anyway.
mike now had a sizable gap on us and the chase was on to bring him back. unfortunately, getting him back on a hill usually takes a big effort that none of us were willing to make. we took turns setting the pace and still had him in sight as we crested the last climb. i was on the front and had just looked at my hr monitor to see it peak at 188 bpm when alistar attacked and tried to get away. ryan and brendan jumped across and this seemed to take some impetus out of his attack and he slowed enough for me to catch back up. as we got closer to the final roundabout we had made up some ground on mike but it still looked like he would nail it. i attacked and made an attempt to bridge across. brendan and ryan jumped on but alistar swore loundly as we screamed past him. a moments hesitation from me as we caught mike entering the traffic islands around the round-about and brendan and ryan slipped past me before i managed to also get around mike.
brendan – 10, ryan – 7, peter – 5, mike – 3, alistar – 1.
the rest of the group all filtered in and i made a point to make the sprint line a bit further up the road as racing into an round-about was not ideal. we continued onto darlington and most of this was generously downhill and even the uphill sections were taken at a moderate pace. we came up over ridgehill rd past the base of the zig-zag which was celebrating some type of zig-zag family day. it meant that we had a couple of impatient motorists behind us that wanted to show how tough they were by passing us very close. nice.
we had to wait for jules once we got back to kalamunda road and this should have been a warning sign to us. new rider, struggling, says he is alright. we should have asked about food and drink, but we will get to that afterwards as it was discussed in depth at the coffee shop. we took off and paul and clare turned for home as did doug. the rest of us were headed into the final climb.
mike was on the front early and pushed his relentless pace to the point were i fell clear of his wheel. i dropped back a bit and alistar set the pace for a while to try to minimize the losses to mike. on the first “plateau” ryan sprinted across to mike and i tried to join him. alistar was left swearing to himself again but soon caught me as i only made it halfway across. at the next pinch, he dropped me as i had nothing left to chase with. i went into damage control mode for the rest of the hill, but kept an eye behind me to make sure brendan or steve didn’t zoom past for the points. no need to worry as brendan said he bonked on the hill and went into hunger flat. it was soon rectified at the coffee shop.
mike – 10, ryan – 7, alistar – 5, peter – 3, brendan – 1.
as we refueled the starving bodies, dr melvyn came in quite late with the new guy, jules. jules looked like death warmed up and we quickly realised that he had totally hit the wall. we threw food and drink at him and he then went to order dome stuff inside. it turns out that it was his first hills ride and also the longest one he has ever done. he went out with the bike force guys on saturday and they mentioned this ride but said it was pretty hard. he thought he would have a crack anyway. with no breakfast, no food and just one bottle of water, he hit the wall on ridgehill road and totally died on kalamunda rd. we had a big discussion on pre-ride nutrition and what to bring on the ride. i will have to make an effort to ask any new riders about this before we head out again. after devouring a coke, hot choc, bread roll, a couple of croissants he was right to go.
lisa was still at the coffee shop once we got there but after turning off early she did two repeats of kalamunda road before meeting us for coffee. so at the end of the day she also managed four pretty big climbs.
the return trip was pretty uneventful. i was talking to jules with brendan and steve in front of us. we got separated at the lights and never made it back onto the group until vic park. i lead the group home along berwick and brendan and i kept and eye on ryan to watch him do the “i can’t clip in” thing at the second last set of lights. we were held up at the final set but when they changed, he shot up the right lane and over the hill. jens and i chased him but i ran out of puff by the time we came down the hill and watched brendan and steve fly past. ryan managed to hold everyone off till the end.
so, 108kms on my speedo by the time i got home and over 1400m of climbing. no wonder i am tired. hopefully this puts me in good stead for the northam classic next week which covers 125kms with five times up the hill leading out of northam.
the final wash up of mountain points were as follows –
ryan – 29
mike – 25
peter – 18
alistar – 17
brendan – 15