Grey skies and the promise of rain was on the cards for those making the trip to Toodyay but thankfully that turned out to be more of a threat than a reality. The Main 3 team consisting of Claire, Rosemary, Leigh, Raj, Andrew, Jason and me assembled as planned and were looking forward to a ride around scenic Toodyay with the promise of a mostly flat course with one small Category 4 climb mid lap.
With the introductions and formalities out of the way we were off and riding. The run of out Toodyay turned out to be a little more undulating than expected and with a stiff headwind it wasn’t long before everyone was warmed up despite the gloomy weather. The rotation and pace was all worked out quickly and everyone was taking their turn on the front as we chased after the teams we could see up ahead. Most of the chatter seemed to be coming from our teeth as we rolled along on the power sapping, hand numbing coarse bitumen!
First turn off the main road was the promised climb and that soon had everyone strung out a little with lots of heavy breathing. There were plenty of other teams struggling along in various forms of motion from walking to wobbling and the Cat 4 turned out to be a bag of surprises with a few long false flats that belied the true effort required. The bonus for the effort was a very long straight downhill run of almost 8km’s! There were lots of freewheeling antics and plenty of time to try all the downhill positions we’ve seen at the tour! By the time we hit Toodyay town and headed off on our second lap we were all working like a TTT machine in full flight!
Lap 2 seemed to pass very quickly as we all knew what to expect. The hill was harder the second time around with tiring legs and with a few wet roads the downhill antics from lap one were toned down a bit as well. By now we were passing lots of single or paired riders left behind or searching for their teams and it was great to be still riding together as a unit just as we had started. Claire and Jason did a solid turn on the front to bring us home with a 25.4km/h average and respectable 11/30 position finish. 750m of vertical ascent in 60km is almost a Sunday hills ride!
The lunch was the usual Cyclo Sportif affair…hearty carbs and protein served in a big hall. Despite lots of prizes on offer we had no luck in the raffle but we are happy to report that Leigh won the prestigious Le Revolver jersey on the day for her daring acts of courage – having been sick with H3N2 influenza and off the bike for 5 weeks, she got herself out of bed to ride the Cyclo Sportif (and completed it!) because it was her husband’s (yours truly) birthday yesterday and the ride had been planned for a long time! Awesome effort Leigh!
A big thanks to everyone for the great team spirit which made for an awesome day out! Ride safe and see you out there soon!