ride routes 8th – 14th december

as mentioned below, the next class of ride leaders are about to start their practical assessment.  this involves being a ride leader in an active environment but under the watchful eye of qualified ride leaders.  the ride leader program has been a success story for the club and keys into the club cornerstones of safety and organised.  not only has it provided a structure around which our group rides are organised, the concept has been shipped off to other clubs to allow them to form their own tailor-made program.  it is important to remember two things – these people are volunteers (the coffee voucher is no way enough to reward them for what they do for the club); you are still responsible for your own safety and the safety of others.  the ride leaders is there to assist and guide, they are not there for you to absolve all responsibility. make sure you let them know that you appreciate the effort that they put in.

ride leader sponsor –the ride leader sponsor for December is Get Your Visa a migration agency based in Perth since 2012.  Whether you are looking at an employee to sponsor, or having a relative joining you or any migration matters, Get Your Visa is there to help.

troy marais memorial ride – there will be a memorial ride for Troy Marais tomorrow (friday) leaving the Narrows at 5.45am. Troy very sadly took his own life last Friday and tomorrow is a chance to reflect on his passing and remember him in a fitting manner – working up a sweat and enjoying some time with friends on the bike. Troy was a member of the King KOM Race Machine team – or as its known by SPR – Team Voldemort! Troy recently competed in the Tour of Margs and, as with all the KOM team, enjoyed the many race battles with SPR, Dome, Presto etc.  Just an easy ride, a chat with friends and some breakfast. Details can be found here and there is a link to GoFundMe page where they are seeking to support his partner and family with funeral and related cost.

spr christmas drinks – our christmas drinks this year will be held on sunday 16th december at the Empire bar in Rivervale.  this is an “out of lycra” event that you can bring your partner to without them getting embarrassed because you are still in cycling gear.  more info on the previous post where you can order tickets.

christmas club ride –our end of year breakfast and awards will be held (as usual) on the last saturday before christmas.  this year it is pretty close as it will be on the 22nd december.  held at Dome after the main ride, there will be an end of year wrap up of stories and awards along with the usual buffet breakfast from Dome.

spr award nominations – Each year SPR recognise some of the cyclists and participants who help to support the club or inspire others with their cycling achievements. There are multiple awards this year, four of which will be based on the information provided in this survey and one on the SPR Facebook page. Presentations of the awards will take place at the Christmas breakfast on Saturday 22 December 2018. There will also be a prize awarded at the breakfast for the best dressed rider/bike on the Christmas ride, so don’t forget to dress up your bike and yourself. Other awards will also be given at the Christmas breakfast. You can nominate up to two people for each award. If you could provide some background as to why the person is being nominated, even if they are not the final award recipient, they will still have the opportunity to read the collated comments. Note this survey is fully anonymous. This survey will be open until midnight Wednesday 19 December 2018. Thank you for participating in our survey. Your feedback is important.

save the date – on the 6th of april next year we will be celebrating our 10 years of being an affiliated club.  the group came together in 2008, but officially we became an incorporated, affiliated club in 2009.  help us celebrate this occasion.  hopefully many “founding members” will be in attendance to see how the club has evolved over the years.

saturday start locations – we have revamped the group start locations on saturday morning.  please have a look at the map so you know where your group will congregate.  this makes it easier for ride leaders to give you a briefing before the ride starts.  see the previous post for more details.

spr juniors – juniors is in full swing again.  bring your kids for laps of kings park and watch them stuff pancakes in their face at Dome.

from the ride coordinator – We have a new group of ride leaders who have been busy working in the background developing their skills over the last month. It is now time for them to start their trial ride leading part of the course. Please pay attention to their briefings and instructions on the road. Remember they are training, and there is a lot to think about when coordinating and leading a group of cyclists. All our RL’s are volunteers to this role and do it to keep everyone as safe as possible, it is one of the key things SPR offers that few other group rides have.

saturday 8th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

juniors (10 – 15 yrs with parent) – kings park juniors 23.72km spr saturday

development group –  novice shelley 36.06km spr saturday

transitional 1/2 –trans canning vale 42.34km spr saturday

fast/main – canning vale & welshpool 49.74km spr saturday

sunday 9th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

ride start at coode st carpark at 6:00am

development group – coffee ride – Summer Sundays at Six am (Dec to Feb)

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

short – khna weir 72.23km spr sunday

long – khna trnr obs 101.76km spr sunday

monday 10th december

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

south stock 33.76km spr monday

tuesday 11th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

spr tuesday 36.37km (river ride)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

wednesday 12th december

ride starts raffles bike path at 5:30am

interval training – stock road repeats

thursday 13th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

see previous post for ride groups

spr thursday 37.26km (cott & freo)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

friday 14th december

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

spr friday 42.01km (shelley)

friday training/recovery ride

ride routes 1st – 7th december

5:30am thursday morning. sun’s out, bikes out.

From the ride coordinator…

On the first day of Christmas, my Ride Leader said to me “DON’T RIDE THROUGH RED LIGHTS!!!”

On the second day of Christmas, my Ride Leader said to me “DON’T RIDE THROUGH RED LIGHTS!!!”

On the third day …. You get the idea, right? It’s a really bad idea, don’t do it.

Here are some reasons not to run a red light. They are good reasons, I promise, keep reading.

Firstly, It’s illegal.

Secondly, you may be involved in an accident with a vehicle going through a green light. In this case you may be found to be the person at fault, and also will probably be found severely injured or dead. Regardless of injuries, having committed an illegal act, any insurance you think you might have, for you, or your bike, will probably now be invalid. In most circumstances, insurance isn’t paid out if you break the law.

Thirdly, you may get captured on video or camera breaking the law, which impacts the public perception of your club, and the perception of road cyclists in general. Video which may be used to fuel more anti-cycling anger which impact hundreds of other road cyclists, and may also be provided as evidence that you did something illegal.

And finally, but certainly not the least important, not only, as previously mentioned above, have you potentially caused yourself significant injury or worse, but your fellow club mates will have to watch it happen. Someone (either a member of the public or a fellow cyclist) may, through no fault of their own, play a part of your death or disabling injury and will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Think about that for a moment. You are not the only one who will have to live with the consequences of your choices.

So next time you’re faced with ride leaders instructions and a decision to make as you approach an intersection, do the club and your fellow cyclists a service and think about those reasons.  Is it really that big a deal to have to wait a minute or two? Really? Use the time to grab a drink, take a breath and check on your ride mates waiting with you.

ride leader sponsor –the ride leader sponsor for December is Get Your Visa a migration agency based in Perth since 2012.  Whether you are looking at an employee to sponsor, or having a relative joining you or any migration matters, Get Your Visa is there to help.

new kit day – if you ordered kit from the last run, it is now available for collection.  however, if you have missed the last two saturday’s at the coffee shop, then you will need to contact  kit@southperthrouleurs.com.au to make alternative arrangements.

spr christmas drinks – our christmas drinks this year will be held on sunday 16th december at teh Empire bar in Rivervale.  this is an “out of lycra” event that you can bring your partner to without them getting embarrassed because you are still in cycling gear.  more info on the previous post where you can order tickets.

christmas club ride –our end of year breakfast and awards will be held (as usual) on the last saturday before christmas.  this year it is pretty close as it will be on the 22nd december.  held at Dome after the main ride, there will be an end of year wrap up of stories and awards along with the usual buffet breakfast from Dome.

The cyclists thundering to destiny

save the date – on the 6th of april next year we will be celebrating our 10 years of being an affiliated club.  the group came together in 2008, but officially we became an incorporated, affiliated club in 2009.  help us celebrate this occasion.  hopefully many “founding members” will be in attendance to see how the club has evolved over the years.

saturday start locations – we have revamped the group start locations on saturday morning.  please have a look at the map so you know where your group will congregate.  this makes it easier for ride leaders to give you a briefing before the ride starts.  see the previous post for more details.

spr juniors – juniors is in full swing again.  bring your kids for laps of kings park and watch them stuff pancakes in their face at Dome.

from the ride coordinator – As above

saturday 1st december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

juniors (10 – 15 yrs with parent) – kings park juniors 23.72km spr saturday

development group –  novice shelley 36.06km spr saturday

transitional 1/2 – trans shelley 40.59km spr saturday

fast/main – freo & canning vale 52.11km spr saturday

sunday 2nd december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

ride start at coode st carpark at 6:00am

development group – coffee ride – Summer Sundays at Six am (Dec to Feb)

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

short – wlsh weir 62.23km spr sunday

long – wlsh obs kal 90.32km spr sunday

monday 3rd december

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

south stock 33.76km spr monday

tuesday 4th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

spr tuesday 36.37km (river ride)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

wednesday 5th december

ride starts raffles bike path at 5:30am

interval training – stock road repeats

thursday 6th december

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

see previous post for ride groups

spr thursday 37.26km (cott & freo)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

friday 7th december

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

spr friday 42.01km (shelley)

friday training/recovery ride

Get Your Visa

The Ride Leader Sponsor for December is Get Your Visa a migration agency based in Perth since 2012.  Whether you are looking at an employee to sponsor, having a relative joining you or any migration matters, Get Your Visa is there to help.

With a team of registered migration agents and consultants, we’re able to provide dedicated services to those who want to migrate to Australia or an employer that wants to sponsor an employee or students who are seeking the right study solution.

There are different visas for different applicants profile and scenarios. We help people and business on finding their best visa strategy without wasting money and time.  At Get Your Visa, our agents will assist you in applying for the right Australian Visa. We will manage all the process before, during and after the lodgement of your application.

Depending on the length and the purpose of your stay, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection offer different visas. Before starting an application, it is important to understand that each Australian Visa implies specific conditions, different requirements and individual costs.  With more than 3200 visa approved, get in touch with our consultants and we will be able to assist you at the best of our knowledge.

Our services include:

SPR Christmas Drinks 2018

“How did that happen?” I can hear you all ask. Is it really that time of the year? Already?”

The answer is yes – the SPR annual out-of-lycra festive season celebration is upon us once again so dust off your fancy pants, put some bells on and join us for what is, to quote last years’ committee blog post, “undoubtedly one of the highlights of the SPR social calendar”.

The essentials:

Where?  The Empire Bar, 220 Great Eastern Highway, Rivervale – on the outdoor terrace (weather permitting)

When?  Sunday 16th December 2018, 6:00pm until cyclist’s-o’clock

How Much?  $25 per person – includes a drink and finger food

Who?  All the people – this event is, like our club, inclusive. Partners are more than welcome

Booking?  Get your tickets in the SPR shop before Thursday 13th December

With less than three weeks to go you better make like a reindeer and Dash(er) off to get your tickets.

ride routes 24th – 30th november

mental expeditions.  at some point in your life you need to challenge yourself.  whether it be mental, physical or both.  cycling often falls into the both categories as it is not uncommon for the most well trained legs to let down by the head.  so, when someone decides to ride from albany to melbourne totally unsupported, you would definitely say that it falls into the “both” category.  carlya bell is currently 50 days in and almost to the victorian border.  most people in the club would not know her, as i certainly don’t, but she has spend sometime with us as half of her pictures show her in an old spr jersey.   what makes this attempt even more remarkable is that unlike the indipac riders, carlya is not a long distance rider and usually does about 50kms a day.  check out her facebook page here and watch some of her videos as she keeps a diary of her travels.  she even stopped in at a school in adelaide to give a bit of a talk on riding across the nullarbor.  on top of this effort, she is also using her ride to raise money for beyond blue and you can donate here.  so, challenge yourself, or support someone that is.

ride leader sponsor –the ride leader sponsor for November is Colour & Moore Photography , owned by SPR member Kirstie Moore. Colour & Moore specialises in portrait photography (family, newborn, maternity, business, athlete, children, events, couples and lifestyle)

new kit day – if you ordered kit from the last run, it will be available for collection from the coffee shop after the main ride on saturday. if you need to make alternative arrangements for collection please email me at kit@southperthrouleurs.com.au and we can sort something out.

thursday papa’s – so a friend of mine was driving to work today and said that he got involved with some bikes along tapper rd as it turned into armadale rd.  these bikes filtered through traffic, got into the right lane, then proceeded to cut cars off as they turned left from the right lane.  now i know that we have no control over what rides people do and i know that thursday papa’s is a favourite for those wanting a very solid hit out.  please do not wear an spr jersey if you are going on that ride.  one of the older ones was spotted today doing these stupid things and it is the type of thing that does get back to us, especially from dashcam footage.  also, think about what you are actually doing and how that looks to the public.  are you really helping the cyclist cause if you illegally cut across lanes in front of vehicles.  never mind the extra risk that you just exposed yourself too.

spr christmas drinks – our christmas drinks this year will be held on sunday 16th december at a currently undisclosed venue.  nothing really secretive about it, we just don’t have confirmation yet.  this is an “out of lycra” event that you can bring your partner to without them getting embarrassed because you are still in cycling gear.

christmas club ride –our end of year breakfast and awards will be held (as usual) on the last saturday before christmas.  this year it is pretty close as it will be on the 22nd december.  held at Dome after the main ride, there will be an end of year wrap up of stories and awards along with the usual buffet breakfast from Dome.

The cyclists thundering to destiny

save the date – on the 6th of april next year we will be celebrating our 10 years of being an affiliated club.  the group came together in 2008, but officially we became an incorporated, affiliated club in 2009.  help us celebrate this occasion.  hopefully many “founding members” will be in attendance to see how the club has evolved over the years.

tomr 2018 race reports – there have been a bunch of race reports written by each of the teams that we took to margaret river.  check out this overview then click on each of the individual reports at the bottom.

saturday start locations – we have revamped the group start locations on saturday morning.  please have a look at the map so you know where your group will congregate.  this makes it easier for ride leaders to give you a briefing before the ride starts.  see the previous post for more details.

spr juniors – juniors is in full swing again.  bring your kids for laps of kings park.

from the ride coordinator – As summer approaches there are many aspects of riding that need to be considered. When it is hot make sure you have enough water and sunscreen. When it is windy, consider your position in the group, and roll through direction. Don’t surge off and leave the person behind you struggling into the wind. Don’t leave one person on the front doing long turns into the wind. Remember that the warmer weather brings out more riders, some may not haven’t ridden for a while, bigger groups and more unpredictability. As always, group rides are group rides, not solo efforts in a crowd, and follow guidance from the Ride Leader’s, they’re doing their best to keep you all safe.

saturday 24th november

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

juniors (10 – 15 yrs with parent) – kings park juniors 23.72km spr saturday

development group –  novice shelley 36.06km spr saturday

transitional 1/2 – spr retro roll 41.60km

fast/main – alexander drive 50.46km spr saturday

sunday 25th november

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

early lap – earlybird 40.93km spr special

all rides start at coode st carpark at 7:00am

development group – coffee ride

short – brktn weir 82.89km spr sunday

long – f’berg urch obs 96.16km spr sunday

monday 26th november

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

south stock 33.76km spr monday

tuesday 27th november

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

spr tuesday 36.37km (river ride)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

wednesday 28th november

ride starts raffles bike path at 5:30am

interval training – stock road repeats

thursday 29th november

ride starts under the narrows (cityside) at 5:30am

see previous post for ride groups

spr thursday 37.26km (cott & freo)

ride starts frasers ave at 5:45am

development group – interval training kings park

friday 30th november

ride starts under the narrows (sth perth side) at 5:30am

spr friday 42.01km (shelley)

friday training/recovery ride

Tour of Margaret River 2018 – Race@SPR says…..

ToMR 2018 is over, and what a weekend it was. Reliably and as always, the Ride WA/ToMR Crew put on the most magnificent of cycling events once again.

Jensie finally got to meet Poodle. Photo: Poods.

The whole event consisted of some lead up rides around the SW – including an Albany stopover and the Medio Fondo with Jens Voigt, Jess Allen and Matt Keenan. Meeting Jensie was a treat. He is just as excitable and personable in the flesh as you’d imagine from his hilarious interviews and commentary. That he took my bike to lean up against his brand spanking new Trek when there was no space left at the cafe pretty much summed it up – both his enthusiasm and spirit of community. If only we got to share a beer as well…..

We’ll have race reports from the individual teams coming up over the next week from the three stages, but from Race@SPR here’s the broad view.

DOME clean swept stage 1. Photo:

We were able to secure five SPR team places this year in green – two women and three men. Amongst the other masses of racers were SPR members in non-green teams – Chaotic Energy in the women’s division, Cove Legal, JSTFUaR, King KOM and a few other moonlighters in the men’s divisions (Tim Hopkins in MCC – oh the shame!!) as well as the DOME Men’s and Women’s teams. Needless to say, there were many of us there.

This year we contested three stages over three days:

  • 42km Team Time Trial that dictates the division for stages 2 and 3;
  • 52km Road Race for points on your first rider only; and
  • 109km Road Race, where first and fourth team riders score points.

The points system did its job confusing all but the most applied accountants among us, but once racing started the concept worked brilliantly to spice up race tactics on the road. A great outcome for a new and initially mysterious system.

Non-Green SPR Chick Hitters. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

The whole point of this stage race is that it’s a team event. Teams of 6, a TTT that takes your 5th riders time, NOT the first rider, the final stage awarding more points for the 4th rider of a team. SPR takes it further and makes this a true Club outing. We select our teams, train together, stay in accommodations together, eat together, travel together….. you get the idea. In this year’s case, there were parts of previous year’s teams racing together again. And with familiarity comes speed.

Organising for 35 racers and volunteers to accompany for four days some 250km away is not a simple set of tasks. The reality is that we usually go through about 150% of the final number of racers needed by the time race day comes around.

SPR Royalty. Urhmm. Photo: Ashley Brown

Sorting accommodation for 35 people, within reasonable driving distance and at a reasonable price and quality and is available, chasing up payments, setting up team registrations and collecting all the monies for teams, planning the logistics of travel, of teams and bikes, coordinating times, organising Club tents, eskys, flags and equipment, shuttling of team cars from start to finish points with the volunteers, communicating to the racers over the lead up 6 months to event …………..

For the past three years, we’ve been doing this on top of and right on the back of The Beverley, which inevitably impacts on time for my own training and prep. Around 450 hours’ worth of time. Excuses, at the ready.

Race@SPR’s highlights? Well, there’s a few…..

SPR M3 put in an unexpectedly huge effort, gelling as a team and placing beyond expectations.

M1, who were returning against some seriously big hitters rode like a true Team.

The Artist formerly know as The Secret Weapon, Abi Smeaton. Photo: PB Photography

Our SPR W1 Womens team placed 3rd overall in the Womens’ division. Beaten only by DOME (with the current Singaporean National Champ btw) and a stacked Veris Team. Less than 4 minutes behind the TT heavy talent base of DOME in stage 1. Abi Smeaton took 3rd place on stage 2, beaten by a tyre width by the current Singaporean National champ, Serene Lee. Then a blistering ride from Kirstie Moore on stage 3 sprinting for 9th place and nothing but top end A graders ahead of her. This was a seriously fast bunch sprint too, and she nailed it. To round it out, W1 were the 2nd team to have their 4th rider finish taking a massive chunk of points. Our Club took third overall in the women’s division – a cracking result amongst some very fast Chicks.

Guns, only firing blanks. Photo: David Menarry

Amongst the inevitable social media onslaught (for which I apologise for nought – I am but a helpless camera whore myself), there is more to this Club trip than just the twits pedaling around in green kit. Above and beyond all else, a huge thanks goes out to our volunteers this year. It was the Rouleurs Soigneurs that essentially made everything logistical seem like nothing. We, the racers (and DS’s) didn’t need to do a thing. Michelle Bonner, Cathi Dixon, Greg Jones, Mike Madsen and Callum Stott – you are the true champions of this weekend. The results and achievements of the racers wouldn’t have been possible if we needed to faff about and coordinate anything once we arrived. I extend my endless gratitude to you fantastic five and everything you so generously invested. Write it down, read it back to yourself – THIS is what Club is about.

There’s a bunch of Race Reports to come – some horribly biased and very loosely based on fact. But a whole lot of fun nonetheless. Check out the links below. Cheers to rest weeks!

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 1 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 2 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 1 Race Report – COMING SOON

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 2 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Men’s 3 Race Report

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 1 Race Report

Stage 2, Kandalee Catapult. A fantastic near miss in the words of Abi Smeaton. Aka When a Triathlete takes on a Cycle Race….

Wahoo, great I survived Day 1 of the Team Time Trial, now for Day 2. I’m fully briefed on the team strategy “SPR Secret Weapon” – first wheel over the line gets the points so stick to the front of the bunch and when the ‘break’ is made jump on. I’ve got my nutrition on-board…in my bentobox which is apparently so not cool.

If you look closely, you can see the bentobox bag. Photo: PB Photography

Right we’re off…following a car – what??!! Ok well at least I have a chance to work out this peloton thing while we are cruising at this nice easy pace. It’s definitely not a nice two-abreast ride with SPR, instead it’s a messy bunch of chicks on bikes where one second I’m following a wheel and the next its gone. Oh crap, I’m stuck on the left and people are passing on the right, hmmmm this is not what I was told to do (keep right and stay near the front) how to get out of this position? Thank goodness for my teamies who see my distress and tell me to move out in front of them. The car waves and the race starts. We start the climb and a couple of girls are off the front ahead of the bunch. I’m on a continual cycle of losing position moving back through the bunch then popping out and moving back up to the front. I’m nervous, sweating, and begin wishing I was up ahead with those two girls.

Talking tactics. White or red with dinner? Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

We continue climbing and the pace is pretty easy but I’m still yoyoing around. I’m moving up the front when I bump shoulders with Amanda – OMG what a newbie! Lucky she’s very cool about this but my cheeks are burning – so not cool. I’m part way back in the bunch when I see a few of girls surge off the front, I hesitate “Is this the break?”. Then I hear yelling from behind “Go go go” – is that for me? After what feels like ages I decide to go for it and get away from this bunch business. I surge forward ahead of the bunch and immediately regret my hesitation, those girls are a way up the road now. I settle in and push hard willing my legs to keep pumping, I’ve got to catch those girls. I pass someone dropping back to the bunch but the other two girls are still up there so I keep pushing.

Finally I catch my ‘break buddies’. One of them asks if we’re all willing to work together, I’m in but the other girl isn’t. Kirsty, my TT buddy and I set off with enthusiasm. We’re both delighted to be out of the bunch. Now to hold the rest of the girls off. We keep up a steady rhythm of a minute or so on the front and I keep looking over my shoulder expecting to see the bunch swallowing us up. I worry for the next 10km that I went too soon but little did I know the rest of the team was working to keep the bunch pace slow to let us get away. Finally, with only a few kms to go I see two K-division numbers up ahead. Kirsty tells me to go ahead, I’m strong on the hills and it doesn’t take long to catch one then the next. Dam I can’t shake her. We pass 500m to go and crest the final hill. She’s right behind me and I know her cornering and sprinting will be superior to my triathlete endurance.

Missed it by THAT much. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

We turn the corner and it’s a sprint finish, I can hear her just behind me. I’m ‘sprinting’ to the finish line pushing my bike infront of me like a jockey urging his horse to the line. I’m almost there when I see her wheel sneak in front. Third…I can live with that. I go to congratulate Serene but she can’t talk, I start thinking I didn’t try hard enough.

A few days later I see the photo. Talk about professional vs amateur. Oh, that’s what those curly bars are for…am I supposed to stand up? And why am I braking…too much speed or perhaps I’m getting ready for a flying dismount to start my run…

Guess I’m now the Not-So-Secret Weapon.

Tour of Margaret River – SPR Men’s 2 Race Report

A Race Report of stages, and of men in average mediocrity.

So. Men’s 2. Until the Tuesday before Friday race-day we were yet to finalise our team. An unfortunate and serious Saturday F2 crash took out powerhouse DeCastro only days before and left us searching. We found JJ and the rest was to become history. Pre-race day, several of us headed to Kirup to allow Jens Voigt to have a spin with SPR M2. Jensie, ever the character, was in fine form. Barely off flights from a worsening European winter, he managed to avoid all the usual WA summer pitfalls – sunburn, flies in the mouth, spray of cow pat from the wheel ahead, bourbon-and-bush-chook-swillin’-ute-drivin’ bumpkins stingin’ to bounce a cyclist off the roo bar – avoided it ALL. Espresso time.

Off to Nannup for the team rego, we caught up with our SW Faves – Brendon Morrison and Bec Cotton. South West Cycling royalty. The Gods. Teams registered, numbers and transponders in hand, we headed to our Busso digs for the campaign. Starting with a lovely local sports drink of choice and a Ralpha-prepared spaghetti bol, full bellies made for good sleeps.

 

Suggested Team Ralpha kit for next ToMR?

Stage 1 TTT saw us arrive at the Balingup start line without a TTT session with all members under the belt. No sweats. It was set out by Road Captain Ralpha what was what. 4watts/kg on the front, talk it up, no f*$king heroes. Call it when you’re struggling, longer turns if you’re not. The stage was rolling, and being mostly shaded saw us avoid the worst of the heat and look better for any photo opportunities.

Redeption. Photo: PB Photography

Poorly though, Mo was off colour and missed every snapper – looking down and not posing, looking left at the driver instead of right at the snapper. It all went pear shaped. Photo fails aside, we finished middle order of the middle group – E grade. Mediocrity gold, and right where we belonged. Five points – thank you very much. Head home to Busso, dig into a JJ-prepared red chicken curry, local recovery sports drink of choice and sleeps.

Early rise for the Stage 2 road race. As it was last year, a 52km, split by division road race going straight up. Then rolling, then down, hard left and then up, up and up again. Mucho ouchies.

Hanno. Concentrating, on a nice, cold fizzy sports dink. Photo: PB Photography

As Hanno does, having learnt from the best, he took to the road first, put in a 100m gap on the bunch and continued on with it………. through the neutral zone, until the base of said first “up”. That first up was a consistent wind up, speed gradually increasing the further into the climb and the steeper the gradient became. By the crest, Ralpha was of with the lead group, JJ and Jedsman barely a few metres off, and Mo was 300m back by the time he crested.

Smiling Jeds. Photo: PB Photography

I can make it. I can catch them. Head down, elbows flat, TT time baby. Over the next 3-4 km I hit flat power and got back to the boys in green, inadvertently dragging another 7 or 8 behind. Who waiting until I’d caught on to have a think about contributing – classy!

Without legs to go all the way, to work I went, rolling turns while JJ and Jeds took in the sights of Nannup’s beautiful green country side…… waiting. Lovely this time of year, apparently. Cresting Kandlee Hill – the sight of the most majestic of photos from last year’s race – there was Zac, camera in hand waving to the Mo. Tick.

Hill crested, Jeds still visible up ahead, we still needed backups in case anything happened to Ralpha. JJ is gone. Must keep going. Final drag to Greenbushes saw an obstacle course of many blown legs and spirits. Kicking over the final crest, finish line merely a right turn away, 1km to go, 500m to go, TIME TO GO! With nothing on the line other than another photo op, it’s a case of “look fast, not go fast”. Camera – tick! Coke, food, water, change, burger, cake, ice cream.

JJ – Supersub. Photo: PB Photography

We drive home to Busso with the now traditional Ralpha-small-bladder stop and then take in a local sports drink of choice and Mo’s Cooking Show. Chicken drummies with thyme, garlic and lemon coupled with roast veg. I know, right?

 

Another early rise for the Stage 3 Road Race. Can’t eat anymore. After 3 days of shovelling calories, it’s becoming like I’m A Celebrity eating challenges. Gear ready, check bikes – flat Di2… Shit, we’re supposed to be leaving. Nothing a borrowed Di2 charge adaptor and a power bank battery can’t fix in transit – McGuyver time, baby.

Stage 3 start is relaxed despite us all knowing the next 109km will be tough. Rolling to the start line, Zac is in the Start chute – in the drops, out of saddle, cheeky grin, snap. Tick!

Ralpha. Late again. Photo: Liz Sheehan

The stage saw points for your first rider, but MORE points for your fourth rider to finish. Finishing with four together was imperative. It is on. On the line awaiting the start Bec Cotton gives us a hug, wishes us the best and Mo leads out through the neutral zone. And then the next 4 km. Seriously – someone? Racing begins in earnest at the 25km mark with some firing off the front. And we never saw them again. Official ToMR (And Beverley) event snapper Daniela Tomassi drove past, hanging out a sunroof, camera in hand. Mo gets a nod and poses. Tick! Day 3 is going well.

Attack. Arrest. Attack. Arrest. This was the next 50km. More ouchiness. With 75km in, SPR M2 was still all together. Approaching the next turn, it was time to share some wisdom in getting “The Money Shot” with the bunch. Get in the drops – no question. Look fast, don’t go fast. Give a grin. Always have a moustache. The bunch nodded, astonished by the wisdom they had been bestowed. Tick!

Busy. Got a Wahoo to set. Photo: Liz Sheehan.

35km to go, Jeremy-O shot off the front on an all or nothing attack. Ham. Mer. Down. And down it stayed. One followed, many looked at each other. Away indeed, with 15km of chasing from the bunch done,  Ralpha jumped in an attempt to bridge, and he did. That’s 2 up.

Ralpha and several others got on with it. SPR M2 are still 6 – Rouleur Strong. Surges and moves continued before a lull and a hush came over. Mo time is Go time. To the front, feeling like the legs had some, we wound it up. The goal – roll hard, get a few un-necessaries off the back and ensure we keep our fourth up the front. Go, swing off, go again, swing off. Shrapnel flying as the pace stayed up.

Here comes another one, just like the other one. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

Winding up for the final right turn, I picked up 10 or so places in the finish straight and was our 4th rider across the line, hence securing points for 5th place for the team in Division. The team finished with 5 riders in the bunch, and one a smidge further back having emptied the tank for the team earlier. Together ’til the end.

Hanno, Ralpha, Jedsman, J-O, JJ and Mo. SPR M2, ToMR 2018. Fifth place, in Division E – embodying everything of average mediocrity. Six middle aged guys leaving everything on the road, having an absolute ball, and telling some tall-ass stories for the coming months, for sure.

Tour of Margaret River – SPR Men’s 3 Race Report

A South West rampage in the words of Poodle………

There are only two types of cyclists.  Sprinters & climbers.  You can see the difference a mile away.  Sprinters have guns.  Climbers have chicken legs.  Sprinters come first.  And the SPR Men’s 3 United Nations Team was all about being first.  No chicken legs here.   Australia, Italy, South Africa & the UK all represented.  The Prez, Poods, Barry, Andrea the Strong, Dermot & Ash, known collectively as BAD-Ash.  Race day kicked off with pre-race team briefing at the W2 house.  M3 in first, sprawled over the lounges keeping things chilled.  First to be cool.

M3 Ready? They had no idea what was to come, but smashed it out anyway. Photo: Liz Sheehan

The TTT saw M3 away first.  The team kept it tight, nailing the first cameraman at 500m in a move that even The Mo coveted.  The rolling climbs & descents quickly took their toll on all teams, with M3 passing six other teams by half way.  Dermot screamed “AAARRRGGGGHHH” which was the team sign to cut the 6th rider & pick up the pace.  The speed increased, the weather got hotter, Poodle sweated even more.  The Hand of God (aka Andrea the Strong) pushed Poods over the last climb.  Andrea will never wash that hand again.

Just chillin’ on the start line. Photo: Liz Sheehan

Day 2 would be for the climbers.  It would all blow to pieces early on that first hill.  Team plan – be at the front for the start!!  The UN Team started well, getting the first selfie of the day with Jens Voigt.  Now it was show time.  The team stuck to orders, pushing all other riders out of the way to be first on the start grid.  Dermot shoved three Midland riders to the ground.  Ashley coughed phlegm all over the start marshal.  The Prez made a Black Swan rider cry.  Best start photos ever.  M3 led the massive field out of town & up the first climb.  The field strung out & riders from the earlier divisions started to appear.  The Prez put the hammer down.  Again & again he struck his blows.  Poodle became the sparks, and the rest of the field was the anvil.  The Prez & Poods rode away with the leaders, while BAD-Ash followed team orders & sat up for a cruisy groupetto ride.

Barry Cook. In the drops, power down, eyeball the camera. So proud right now. Photo: PB Photography

The Prez kept Poods in touch up all the climbs.  The Prez was heard to say “I think I’ve broken the Poodle.  I think I’ve broken myself!”  Poods was calling it “I’m done for Prez, save yourself, go for the win!!!”  The Prez railed “I’m not leaving you Poods!!”  A Roues Chaudes rider heard the Prez’s voice cracking with emotion.  The duo were looking good until they were swamped by a bunch of wheel suckers at 1km from the finish.  But the pair still managed a beautiful finish, arms linked & held high like Hinault & Lemond at Alpe d’Huez in ’86.  Poods scored a DSQ for being overweight, another first for M3.

Dermot, pain face. Facing thy demons. Photo: PB Photography

Day 3.  Could M3 produce the money shot?  The team led out on the front briefly, before letting all the other mugs do the work into the headwind.  BAD-Ash followed team orders, staying tucked in & sheltered from the headwind.  Freshest legs in the entire peloton.  We will need them later!  A few B-Grade ring-ins went off the front.  Let them go.  The Team sniggered at the odd plonker trying to make a break into the headwind.  They’ll be back.

Ash. Photo: PB Photography

Move up & be ready for the right turn into Sues Road.  Head wind becomes tail wind.  Full gas.  The Prez confidently led the fresh legs of BAD-Ash through the melee and the red shift.  Poods kept a loose cover at the back bringing back any worthy discards.  The climb at 60km saw the bunch thinned, like a grevillea branch through a mulcher.  BAD-Ash moved quickly up the climb, as we closed on the bunch in front.  Andrea the Strongsacrificed himself to keep the back end of M3 in the game.

Poodle. Photo: PB Photography

The rolling grind home along Mowen Road had El Prez playing numbers games.  He has a mind like a planet, calculating the finishing numbers of our team versus the others, for the magical fourth place. Poods struggled to count to three.  Ash kept up the race signals, with a loud cough meaning GO!!  Barry covered all the moves up front.

The final climb & turn back into Nannup had the field of 40 now reduced to 15, including the 5 SPR riders.  Or was that 4 of us?  Nope we’re down to 3.  That last cough meant ease up.  The Prez went back for Dermot.  He would never quit!  Barry channelled the Prez’s anger to beat the Black Swan rider up front.  Poods caught nowhere in the middle was a free agent, delivered a gun-like explosive sprint to beat two women riders to the line.  Ash scored the coveted 4th place points.

A fine & noble finish.  And in another first for SPR, there was not a single #fts dummy spit from El Prez.  And the M3 UN Team were first into the post-race beer!

Tour of Margaret River – Women’s 2 Race Report

Stage 2, Kandalee Catapult – 51km and 850m climbing, from the view of Debbie Bertolatti.

Photo: Liz Sheehan

It was with a certain sense of dread that Saturday 10th November dawned.

Deb, post -ToMR last year.

51kms of rolling hills sounds pleasant enough for those uninitiated, I was baptised by fire last year when I got to ride most of those “undulating” hills solo! I remember thinking I’ll never do that again. Just to prove my Dory like memory, I put my hand up again this year.

ToMR ‘18 I was determined to improve from last year, the weather Gods were on my side at a balmy 27degrees and as we all know no one ride is like the last.

Chick in transit. Photo: Meegan Fyfield

With only 9 women’s teams and one division all female riders were off at approximately 9:38am. When we hit the first big climb 4km in, as expected the groups split into their respective strengths in other words the fast chicks were off! If you can imagine cycling through sand with the brake clamped it’s somewhere close to the sensation. A cheeky little push got me over the crest and let’s be honest – I wasn’t about to catch up with the Dome girls so it was welcomed.

So it looked as though I might be in no mans land again when I spotted a bunch in the distance. I peddled like a bat out of hell and finally caught them…relief! This stage was definitely made for the Mountain goats it was magic riding with some of the Chaotic Energy ladies and to look over my shoulder and see Captain Meegan catch the group.

Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography

A steady pace and smooth roll throughs, we were working like a well-oiled machine. After a high speed decent and a sharp left turn we hit Maranup Ford Road not sure what was worse – the amount of flies swallowed or that kicker of a climb.

 

We were on the home stretch now so just had to stick with the bunch past the Mad Max scenery of the Greenbushes lithium mine, and crest the last 1km to turn into the town and sprint to the finish. Last year, that 1km felt never ending, whereas this year it flew.

This was definitely shaping up better than last year I’d stuck with a bunch, quietly enjoyed those hills and the ride. So though I’m definitely not the fastest, and I don’t have Mad Skillz, I 100% had the feelz. I could almost see why Men’s 1 rode back home…almost!

Dizzy Time. No extra laps, though. Photo: Daniela Tomassi Photography
Women’s 2 – off duty and rehydrating. Photo: David Menarry

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