saturday 17 april – fast (ridge hill road)

ride report by daniel

The blog has been busy today and so have I – two reasons to keep this brief. Well, two excuses anyway. Let’s see how it goes.

I’d been hoping to do the Peter Clark Classic, but was not able to get the time I needed Sunday morning. As it turns out, this put me in the minority – when Peter called forth the fast group there were just nine of us. Sounds like a small but reasonable group to be riding with, but I did a quick check just to be sure: Ryan, Jerry, Ben, James … Mmm… it was looking like I was going to be working hard. Good. Sort of.

We headed off, our route taking us out along Shepperton Road and onto Albany Highway. We each did a turn on the front, and for my part, I was working relatively hard into the stiff headwind that was the order of the day. The reasonable pace continued as we turned onto William Street with no relief from the headwind just yet. We started rolling though somewhere along Hale Road, still keeping the pace reasonable.

At this point we were still riding into the headwind, and with one or two riders struggling, we decided to ease back the pace a little. Jerry suggested that due to the small group size we re-group at the top of Ridge Hill Road. Sounds like a plan, which we executed. Needless to say, I climbed Ridge Hill without too many problems but was not able to keep pace with the lead riders. We re-grouped, and with everyone back on, we started the descent down and headed towards Guildford.

After the initial descent, we started taking 30s turns on the front. This worked for a little while before some gaps opened up. When I took my next turn on the front, I tried but was not able to make any impression on the gap to Ryan and several others in the lead. When Jerry took the lead, he lifted the pace and was starting to make an impression on the gap. At this point, I was working hard just holding Jerry’s wheel, and thought to take a quick look back to see how the rest of the group was faring. Not so well; a gap had opened up and they were a fair way back. We continued, with Jerry showing no sign of tiring and providing an excellent wheel for me to hold. I however, even though sitting in and drafting, was feeling the heart rate rise a little too high and the legs starting to go away from me. As I started to fade off Jerry’s wheel, he noticed my predicament. He dropped the pace slightly, and after a quick signal to me, I was back on. Thanks. Given this, we did not manage to catch Ryan, Ben and Jerry until we reach Great Eastern Highway, where we all stopped briefly to get everyone back together.

We then kept a reasonable pace heading back into town along Guildford Road. I think it was along here that Melvyn dropped off the back. I was feeling it too. I managed to stay on, but probably only due to the small respite granted me by several of the traffic lights along Guildford road. I’ll take that.

We came to the lights at the corner of Guildford Road and East Parade, and as I was sitting at the front with Ryan we watched the Main 2 group sail past. No problems, we would be happy to go for the chase. The traffic lights cycle completed and we were ready to go. No joy – it seems some dear person had hit the pedestrian crossing button and then disappeared. Waiting, waiting. With the group ahead now given quite a head start we were off. I tried hard to hold Ryan’s wheel, but he was determined to catch the group in front and I couldn’t hold on. No major drama as I was still catching the group ahead, and I think they were held up a little at the freeway lights. Anyway, by the time we’d climbed the East Perth hill, we had managed to get to the front.

Now, Peter had indicated that we would not be able to sprint due to the Red Bull Air Race and the associated road closures. I considered this as we approached, but it looked to me like Riverside Drive had been closed just for us: one empty, inviting road. So, I lifted the pace as we turned onto Riverside Drive. Before too long, the pace was lifted past me as Ryan and others came past.

Until next time.

PS I’m not sure I really achieved the brief bit. Oh well.