From the coffee shop conversations this morning, it appears that about 95% of club members have tomorrow off work and there was much talk of a Friday ride starting at 7 am. I was planning on a hills ride – Welshpool, Pickering Brook, Observatory, possibly the Camel Farm loop and back up Mundaring Weir Rd to Kalamunda. However, if there is a preference for a flat ride (pick a route?), I’m happy to go with that. Please feel free to add comments, preferences etc and I’ll finalise it by 7 pm, so it can be included with the regular weekend ride routes post tonight.
Back in January Jordan suggested that we should team up for the 5 dams challenge. My first reaction was a preference to do the UCI event, but after some logical reasoning by Jordan, the commitment was made – the dams it would be. A couple of good training months followed with several 150 km+ rides, with the Good Friday 3 dams ride being the absolute highlight. Soon the big day dawned, and we were at the start line, full of enthusiasm, talking to a couple of other SPR riders (Richard, David, Daniel, with Alison a couple of rows back) about our goals. Being first timers, Jordan and I decided the main aim was to finish, anything else would be a bonus.
At 6.17.32 sec we rolled out and immediately formed into a large pack of ~60 riders up Gt Eastern Hwy. Mid 30s pace was comfortable with the only hairy moment at the lights at the Guildford pub when about 20 riders deciders to save a few seconds over 8 hrs by running the red light. When you ride with other packs it is re-assuring to know that SPR rides and riders are pretty good on safety. The Greenmount climb was pretty steady, A B-double fuel truck in the outside lane was moving only marginally faster than the riders, and this caused some traffic build up. Most drivers behind seemed to be mountain bikers and they were very supportive (a trend that continued for the whole ride). Getting into Mundaring, our pack was reduced to about 20 riders and we made good time to the first dam.
Jordan and I decided not to stop and listen to the drummers that were keeping everyone entertained. We kept a good pace along the Weir Road and by the time we reached Bickley Valley were still averaging 30 km/h and in a good pack. At Pickering Brook, we stopped for water – not a designated stop but we wanted to make sure we kept topped up. We lost the group at that stage and did the next 20 km together, kept company by the consistent rain that decided to avoid the UCI event and park itself in the hills instead.
We passed the SPR Sunday riders at Karragullen, as they sheltered at the petrol station and got a wave of support. The Brookton Hwy descent was a bit hairy as the continuing rain created pools of water on the road, but once we turned into Soldiers Rd the rain cleared. I was still feeling good at this stage and made sure Jordan was keeping a steady pace. We passed Churchman Brook, again not stopping, and soon after arrived at Wungong for the first big break. We stocked up on water, electrolytes and food and caught up with some of the other SPR riders. We were still feeling pretty good so decided to keep going (and I wanted to avoid the band who were playing – is there a cover band in Perth that plays any music written after 1989?), although I would have put up with more Van Morrison if it meant missing the climb out.
Canning Dam was the next stop and no sooner were we making our rapid descent in (waving to SPR 3 dammers going the other way), then we were making our slow ascent out. It was then time for Albany Hwy and the section I was dreading the most pre-race. The traffic gave us a wide berth and a couple of groups tried to hang on to us, lost contact, then got back on again. We passed the David Manners threesome, one of whom came off in the gravel and was being attended to (a few scrapes and bruises apparently) and just as we arrived at the Jarrahdale turn off, were joined by a quicker group. We latched on to them and covered the 30 km to Serpentine fairly quickly. 150 km down and still feeling OK, it was time for some more food, some Red Bull and a liberal application of sunscreen, given the rain was now behind us.
We then devised a cunning plan to start off solo again, with a view to getting through the hills at our own pace, then get caught on the flat and sit it with a larger group for the run home. The first part of the plan was executed perfectly as we wound our way past Karnet, then off the scarp. We safely negotiated crossing the SW Highway and heading back towards Serpentine the plan was starting to unravel. There was no sign of the cavalry behind us and my legs decided to start cramping. It was now that I was appreciating the true value of a team ride, as Jordan did some longer turns and kept me going with a few stories about country living. Up ahead we could see the freeway and finally we spied a pack of 8 behind us. We stopped for more water, snakes etc at the checkpoint and then it was teeth gritting stuff as we took off, still with the pack behind.
By now the sun was quite warm, every pedal stoke was causing cramping and if I tried to stretch out, another part of my legs would seize up. The ever-helpful Jordan mentioned the sight of a bandicoot just off the path. I nodded in approval, not having the heart to say I would have killed the bloody thing if it meant I could just get off the bike. Finally, after 62 km of ourselves we were caught by the group behind. We decided to stay with them, and hung on doing turns as required. I was beyond pain by now, knocking off 500 m sections of the course in between my legs almost giving up. We passed Thomas Rd (aim now to getting to Anketel Rd), Anketel Rd (aim now to getting to Rowley Rd), etc. The group was very encouraging, pushing everyone along. I knew the hill from Berrigan Drive up to Roe Hwy would be tough and sure enough I had a total shutdown in one leg near the top, but got through it. By South St I thought I could make it and once we crossed Leach Hwy, I knew I was OK. The last 15 km went steadily, again with great encouragement from all around. We reached the end of the freeway and into Mill Point Rd. I did one last push up the zoo hill, and with the finish line in sight cruised down with Jordan side by side and finally over the line – we’d made it. A man hug then followed and we parked the bikes and checked stats. Officially we did 8 hr, 1 min. When the Garmin took into account the Pickering Brook stop, we ended up at 7hr 53 min, an average of 30.2 km/h for 238 km. We were both in a world of pain, but well pleased with the effort.
However, the pain did not end there. The last 2 km back into Kensington tested the legs again (and Jordan had at least 10 km extra to do!) and, on arriving home, home my wife has to remove my shoes and socks, as once I bent my legs, the cramping kicked off again. A last I could lay out in a hot bath and think about the achievement. Some more food and water, then it was off to the Windsor to hear the war stories from 3 dams, UCI and the T word event in Mandurah, amongst great company.
As a postscript, a big well done to Alison, who finished first female in the 5 dams event. This was her 3rd time and she swore on the line that this would be her last. I’d also like to thank the many SPR rides who came along on early hills rides in summer and made those hours more enjoyable. To my family, thanks for the support over the past few weeks – even after the ride when you were laughing at Dad, when he couldn’t pull his socks off without yelling in pain! Finally, a big heartfelt thanks to Jordan for all his support during the race and especially between kilometres 180 and 220. A great team effort!!
In the past week, a few people have requested a hills ride on Friday. For those doing the 3/5 dams, or anyone wanting a long hills ride, I’m proposing meeting at the car park at 6 am, then heading out. The course is open for discussion and the following options may be considered:
1. The 3 dams course
2. Down Albany Hwy and pick up the 5 dams course going past Wungong and Canning Dams, then down to Serpentine and home (will be a long ride)
3. Another recommendation
I’m guessing there wil be limited shops open for supplies but we shouild be able to pick up water. There is also the Easter holiday traffic to consider – Albany Hwy may be busy. I’m happy to discuss suggestions and we can finalise the route on Thursday.
One of my neighbours discovered a Cervelo 3T soloist with Dura Ace running gear and Easton wheels, plus a helmet, in his driveway this morning. It looks like it was stolen and dumped there. If anyone know of someone who is missing a bike of that description, please reply. It has been reported to police, but so far no response.
On the warm down ride this morning I came upon a red light along Manning Road. I slowed to an almost stop then noticed the lights changing and decided not to un-clip and try and hold the bike upright. During this motion I crossed over the traffic light line by a metre or two and once the lights went green I was off. 200 m up the road a divvy van with lights flashing pulled up beside me and two very friendly members of the local constabulary decided they wanted a a chat. Both, as it turned out, were keen cyclists and could understand my actions, but recommended in no uncertain terms not to make a habit of the aforementioned practice of not un-clipping. Any further transgressions will result in a $250 fine and 3 demerit points. Being in full (matching!) kit at the time, the nice policeman said I should warn all members of the club against trying to jump lights – so please be warned.
Apologies to the club for bringing the club to the attention of the law.
With Peter away, it was great to see a few people step up and lead some of the groups. Thanks especially to Meg and Rob for safely splitting Main 1 and also to Owen for leading the Trannies and ensuring they were overtaken by the other groups safely. I believe Carol had a pretty good turnout for the Development group ride as well. The fast group had about 25 starters, which took some of the pressure off Main 1. There were a lot of smiling faces at Dome after the ride and everyone I spoke to enjoyed themselves. Next week there will be an extra people required to help, as will be explained later.
I have all of the remaining kit orders at my place ready to be picked up. Those who need to collect kit can email the club and it will be forwarded through. I’ll then be in touch to arrange a suitable time. I also have the t-shirts so if anyone has ordered a shirt and still hasn’t collected it, please let me know via the above-mentioned method.
Now for the important lesson from the weekend – don’t try and walk your bike around the edge of a cricket field and attempt to field a ball hit to the boundary at the same time. As usual, after the Saturday ride, I left Dome to watch my son’s cricket game. Having made it safely to Richardson Park I was walking the bike to the club room when I noted the ball rolling toward me. I backed back about 2 metres to collect it and doing so, my foot caught up in one of the pedals. This caused the bike to swing around and me to trip over it, followed be a backward somersault and finally getting back to me feet, retrieving the ball and being very loudly laughed at by the 50 or so spectators at the ground. Very much embarrassed, I made it over to the clubrooms and noted some blood on the back of my legs. Closer inspection revealed several lacerations caused by my legs hitting the big chain ring during the somersault. The final result was 3 hours in RPH and 18 stitches (11 in right leg, 7 in left). I did, however, make sure the accident was recorded as a trip/fall, rather than a bike crash, which the RPH nurse wanted to record.
The upshot is I’m off the bike for 10 days whilst the wounds heal and someone will be required to dish out the instructions for the rides on Saturday morning and also make sure there are enough leaders to go around. I’m sure someone will do it – I’m giving you plenty of notice to volunteer!!
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A team of 6 SPR riders entered the C grade event – Andrew, Simon, Morrison, Colin, Des and I. Unfortunately Morrison didn’t make it to the start and I’ll leave the explanation as to why up to him. Conditions defied all predictions, with a sunny start, very little wind and the road a bit damp from overnight precipitation. There were about 30 in the field, with a big number of South West riders joining the fray.
The first 10 km on the flat started with Andrew and I leading out and handing over to Des and Colin. No one else seemed interested in making the pace until the first climb. I was feeling pretty good and decided to mark any attacks until things settled down. By the time we passed the first KOM climb, there was a group of 6, with Andrew and I amongst them. On the last climb before Dwellingup, the South West rider in the group made a small break and was let go by the rest of us. We maintained the gap at ~200 m, whilst working together to keep the peleton behind at bay. Once in Dwellingup we were joined by one of the peleton who informed us that no one else was willing to work. The six chasers then pushed on, maintaining the gap to the solo break and ever mindful of the chasers behind.
By the time we climbed the last hill, the group behind were nowhere to be seen and we still were leaving the man out in front. Andrew backed off a bit on the descent, due to concerns about his bike, but was back with us as we came into North Dandalup and crossed the highway. As we approached the Perth –Bunbury railway line the lights started flashing and we all slowed. This allowed us to catch the guy in front and we nervously looked behind as the train passed. Luckily, the main group were still at least 500 m behind so the last 20 km started in earnest with a great roll through at about 42 km/h.
We spied the pack on one of the turns and they were at least 800 m behind so I figured the 7 of us would contest the sprint. The pace stayed in the low 40s with the kms counting down. I asked Andrew how he was feeling and got a good response. My legs were starting to go but I was willing them on as the pace quickened. I did a roll through at 2 km to go and noted no one following so decided to stay out front and keep the pace on, knowing I would be cooked when the sprint started. Andrew was holding good position behind and I was confident he could go when the pace picked up. At about 400 m, the sprint started and I pulled off and watched it unfold from behind. Andrew timed in perfectly and hit the lead with about 100 m to go and held on to the end. I did the typical tour pose of celebrating from behind as a team mate won.
It was congratulations all around at the end. The 7 in the group worked really well and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of the sprint. Des and Simon led home the peleton behind and informed us they were criticised in the group for not assisting the chase, but were happy and safe in the knowledge team mates were further up the road. I believe Colin was a bit further back in the pack.
Back at the tent it was time for a Coke and discussion of the race. My final stats were 69.2 km at 35.5 km/h. It was smiles all around and Andrew offered to shout the team at the bar. Unfortunately I had to get back home but still managed a trip to the bakery. A great effort by all and a brilliantly timed ride by Andrew.
A pretty brief report for this week’s Sunday long ride. 33 of us set off, only 8 braved the long course, which featured 5 climbs in just over 80 km. We were nearly taken out by Ms Dickhead in a white Hyundai, who decided the fastest way to see the Dalai Lama at Burswood was to do a left hand turn from the middle lane of Great Eastern Highway. Let’s hope his holiness dished on some spiritual enlightenment on correct driving techniques.
Climb 1 up Welshpool and Lesmurdie was made (only slightly) easier by a weak tail wind. Jarrad got the points ahead of John B, myself, Davin and Lim. Quick regroup at the servo then down Lawnbrook and up to the Observatory. Top 3 the same and Lim took fourth from Davin. Straight down again and almost straight up again as we tackled Camelberg. Top 2 the same on Camelberg, Davin pushed up to 3rd on this climb ahead of myself and Lim.
The continuing theme of straight down and straight up continued with the Weir Rd climb. Jarrad set an early pace but eased back. I took the points from John B, Davin Lim and Lisa. Then it was down the zigzag and up the Goose. John pipped Jarrad, from me, Davin and Lim.
We split up here, Lisa and Davin headed home, Peter, Rupert, Jarrad and Lim headed for coffee and Peter and I decided to play ‘Mr Bonner’ and go back down the zigzag again and up Kalamunda Rd. It seemed like a good idea at the time and we were both spent by the top. A quick refuel and it was back down again, detouring around a pretty bad smash on Lesmurdie Rd. The detour unfortunately meant more hills, so by ride’s finish I’d climbed 1500 m. Peter topped out at 1800 m after doing the river loop as well. It was a hard slog on the way home into the wind and I spent the rest of Sunday doing very little.