Well the BWA 2012 Swan Valley Cyclo Sportif has been and gone but stories of the fun and camaraderie shared on the day linger on!!! There was a sea of green and black on the day with approximately 50 members across 7 teams flying the club flag on the day…whoo hoo! SPR certainly dominated, taking out first place (team #1) not only in riding but also in vocal projection/endurance (team #3), most colourful cross-country effort (team #4) and longest domino crash of the day (team #6)J.
Many thanks to all those SPR folk that assisted in the organisation of the event (before, during and after) and of course all of you that took part on the day.
Check out some of the stories that are sure to make their way through the SPR grapevine.
SPR Team #1 – Through the eyes of Luke!
There is pressure in being on SPR’s Team 1. If SPR 2 catches you, you failed. If SPR team talk-a-lot (Team 3) catches you, you failed, and you will never, ever, be able to forget it. If you don’t beat last year’s time, Ryan will remind you ‘that’s a bit slower than last year’, you failed. If you don’t win overall, you failed. So, in the end, I think we won, won, lost & won!
We started with 9 brave souls with the understanding that 9 may not finish (is this Sparta?), perhaps not quite in-line with the sportif theme… we didn’t care.
We set-off just in front of the other SPR teams to give them something to chase. First lap roll-throughs were smooth and fast and, we quickly gained time on team Rota-m (the other contenders in the race “participation ride”). As we passed them they took the opportunity to latch on and we were down to 8.
Third lap Rota-m moved in front to do some work and realised there was a headwind, so we had a messy lap where the groups were a little…umm…combined. With a lap and a half to go we sought to snap the lackey band and all put in a big effort to ensure they couldn’t catch a draft. By that point we were down to 7 and rota-m were long gone!
Final lap and the pace picked up, there was lots of communication, big efforts from all and we were down to 6. A nice strong run to the finish where my Garmin said 40kmh+ and under two hours (BWA seems pessimistic/wrong with their timing)… 4 minutes ahead of the next team.
Great day out and great bunch of guys to ride with, the highlight for me, was this pic of Bonner showing a little discomfort, the first time I’ve ever, ever, seen it!
SPR Team #2 – Through the eyes of Jordan!
After a quick round of introductions to ensure we all knew each other, SPR 2 set off into the cool, but thankfully not as cold as forecast, morning air. We ended up in a SPR dominated convoy for short ride out to the starting point. A quick nature break with about 200 other riders and we took our places on the starting line. After a minor problem with the timing band in my last Swan Valley cyclo (well, no one told me it was supposed to go on your ankle), I double checked everything was in place on my ankle, and away we went.
As with just about every ride/cyclo/race I’ve ever been on, the plan was the standard “steady at first, set a pace and then see how we’re going.” Normally, that goes out the window when you cross the starting line, but strangely enough we stuck to the plan! We quickly settled into a paceline, doing 30 second turns on the front and then peeling off down the line. That worked well until we turned into a surprisingly strongish crosswind on the back straight. We had a couple of attempts at setting up an echelon, but having to pass a few other teams, and some unfamiliarity with the technique meant it wasn’t too successful at first.
A left turn and we were flying with the wind at our back, onto the long gradual decline back to the start/finish. The first lap was completed with no incidents, and so we settled in for a great ride. On the second lap, a solitary SPR rider came into view on the back straight. We quickly caught him up, to find it was Keith, who had popped off the back of the SPR #1 Express. We were all too happy to have an additional set of legs, so he quickly slotted into place, and we had 10 riders for the next 2.5 laps.
The team (Julian, Alistair, Stuart, Jeremy, Jedd, John, Ben, Richard, myself + Keith The Interloper) settled in for some solid riding. We got the echelon working perfectly along the back straight, even though we were at times held up by some cars who were being a little too courteous to the riders on the road. The speed slowly started increasing with our average rising from about 35 on the first lap to just shy of 37.
The increase was starting to take it’s toll on the group, with Jeremy dropping off with about 1.5 laps to go. A quick check with him to make sure he didn’t want us to slow up, which he was cool with, and we were off. Then we lost Jedd to cramp with about 1/2 a lap to go, and I think possibly another rider close to the end. Julian started counting off the remaining kilometres, and the speed kept ramping up.
We entered the home straight ready to open up, only to be confronted by a rider in the middle of the road wandering around like it was 3AM in Northbridge. We started yelling at him to get out of the way, and he responded with a few choice words that made it sound like we were the bad guys!? We got past him, and I settled in behind Julian and Alistair for the rush to the finish. Julian peeled off and Alistair gave the big engine free reign and took off like a rocket. Realising that I was about to get dropped by my lead out (probably not a good idea) I latched onto his wheel and watched the speedo climb above 50. Still he kept accelerating! I was about to yell out that there was no way I was going to go around him if he kept getting faster, and he waved me through, with less than 50 metres to go.
We got across the line in 2:08:48 at an average of 37.4 km/h, and I was confident that my timer issues wouldn’t raise their head again. I even made sure I walked around the timing banner on my way back so I didn’t set the timer off. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be as we didn’t register a time. Le sigh.
Nonetheless, it was a fantastic day on the bike. The team was perfectly matched, with everyone giving a great effort for their teammates, and everyone doing their share of the work. One of the best rides I’ve had for sure. Thanks to everyone for their work, and also thanks to the club and organisers for making sure it all worked so well. A great day.
SPR Team #3 ‘Don’t get chicked’ – Through the eyes of Anna!
As any good all-female team will tell you, we started the day with several toilet stops and discussions on how many of us had menstrual cycles in sync. It was going to be a moody, tearful ride…but no, our positive team leader Amanda chanted to us that rule number one was to have fun. We never broke this rule.
From the start line our energies were high. As Gary introduced us all, he looked a little nervous that we might get carried away in our own hype and burn our bras. Lucky for him, we’re nearly as competitive as we are noisy!
I actually cannot provide much detail on the 80km itself as it just went so quickly. Time really does fly when you’re having fun. What I do remember is the camaraderie, the communication, and the contributions that everyone made. We just got better as the ride went on, with an increase of 0.3km/hr on our average each lap. For those of you who have queried our riding ‘chat’, I think most of it was around “What Spice would you be?” I think we got as far as Shorty Shorts Spice, Smart Spice, Slowing Spice, Sensible Spice, Podium Spice, Ring-in Spice, Ginger Spice. You can decide who is who.
As we crossed the finish line, with a lot of whooping and squealing, it was lovely to see that SPR#1 and #2 had waited to cheer us in. It was testament to the fantastic culture of the SPR club.
Whilst most of us have completed cyclos before, this was a first for a few of us in an all-female team. Whilst we have appreciated the dragging, sucking, pushing (not as kinky as it sounds trust me) of our past Cyclo male team mates, it was really good for all of us to feel that we had actually contributed to the 34km/hr average we achieved.
Whilst I am not one to sit boys on one side and girls on the other, I am so proud to have been part of such a strong all-female team and I hope that we can continue to promote women in cycling, through demonstration.
A huge congratulations to Kat for completing her first Cyclo Sportif. I hope it is the first of many.
SPR Team #4 – Through the eyes of Graham!
Team #4 had a great day out and stuck together like glue for almost the entire ride. The highlight, apart from our strong finish, was when domestique supérieure, Stephen Cooper (aka “Legs”), apparently got somewhat bored midway through the event and decided to spice things up by spontaneously adding an off-road Mountain Bike element to the route. With no prior warning, half way around the 3rd lap Steve suddenly left us and rode off the bitumen into the gravel. I have to say it looked suspiciously deliberate to me (and perhaps it was? Can anyone PLEASE tell me if there is any truth in the rumour that has since surfaced that he was actually being bribed by the girls in SPR #3 not to get too close to them?! And if it is true, what was the bribe?!). Quickly assessing the unexpected situation that had arisen, the rest of Team #4 unanimously decided against following Steve’s bold example and watched with great admiration and some might say bemusement, as he calmly rode down the gravel embankment… on his own and then rejoined our happy and rather less adventurous throng, several hundred metres further down the road… all without missing a single pedal stroke! Well done Steve… but don’t cross your fingers hoping it will become an official part of the ride next year!
SPR Team #6 – Through the eyes of Rosslind!
The tone of team #6’s ride was set when I asked Shane to hold my bike at the start line while I went to the bathroom. I returned to find Shane (6 ft 4) riding around on my XS ladies purple Giant. We were there to have fun.
LAP ONE – Even though I had hard core flashy wheels this course was not going to be mine…tight corners (blegh), gravel (agghh) and head winds…really make me question why I like cycling in the first place. We took off on the first lap under instructions from Shaw… stay in a line, tight through the bends. The boys could see SPR #5 in the distance so we chased them down. I started getting dropped “ease up!”. We caught up with the #5 gang and formed one super group.
LAP TWO – We settled into a really good rhythm with the stronger cyclists taking turns on the front, powering down the back straight and in slow motion I watched as half of the team went down (Jason in a fairly spectacular flip). We pulled over and helped everyone off the road and made sure nothing was broken. Lots of ripped clothes and shaken up riders but nothing major.
LAP THREE – Was very quiet with many of our riders a bit shaky and some of the bikes a bit damaged. We held a good pace and worked together well taking turns at the front.
LAP FOUR – We picked up the pace and starting to make up for some of the time that we had lost. Owen and Shaw surprised us all with an importune sprint up the hill. We crossed the finish line as a group with an average of 30km/ph.
The next Cyclo Sportif is on the 15th July 2012 in Waroona. Pencil it in on your calendar…information to follow shortly…yabbadabbadoooooooooo!!!