sunday 17th feb – darlington & mundaring wier

ride report by michael

a rather pleasant day greeted us for this sunday ride, a nice change from the previous few very hot sundays. a smallish group of 14 riders had gathered for the journey, without too many of the usual big hitters out today, it augered well for a pleasantly well mannered ride.

starting out along great eastern highway we crusied along at a moderate pace before turning onto queens rd and past rosehill golf course through to bushmead rd and onto helena valley rd. a left turn into scott st followed by a right into marriott rd, wherewe were greeted by short, steepish climb, which really gets the heart pumping and gives the legs a rapid warmup.
as we turned onto coulston rd, stuart and i set a steady pace at the front going up the climb, stringing the group out, with a regroup at darlington rd. doug joined the ride at this point. heading down the short steep descent past darlington school, we quickly reached the short very steep ascent of leithdale rd, with rachael punching her way up the climb in first position before turning onto ryecroft rd.

you could hear the crunching of gears with people searching for the lowest gear they had for the climb, it really hits you suddenly without any time to prepare. ryecroft road starts with a deceptively steep first section before easing to a fairly easy gradient. darren impressed by pushing to the front and maintaining a good tempo to the top of the climb, with a regroup at the intersection of glen forrest drv. an easy downhill followed which gave us all a chance to rest our legs for a spell before starting the next climb up thomas rd.

thomas rd is a long, gentle, undulating climb through some pituresque countryside that takes us all the way to mundaring. the climb started reasonably sedately with melvin and i setting an easy tempo for the group, but that state of afairs wasn’t going to last long, my legs were feeling good at time and i decided to gradually crank up the pace, stuart joined me at front and we maintained that pace all the way to mundaring. i didn’t look back at all during the climb so I don’t know where people dropped back but i know that todd was in there as he pulled up and rode along side me for a while, (he’s been putting in some strong performances lately in the hills), and when we arrived at mundaring jerrard, camille and darren were also there. i think dr marc wasn’t that far behind either.

a nice long descent follows, which takes us all the way down to the mundaring weir, it’s another good opportunity to rest the legs and practice those descending skills. starting the climb easily out of mundaring weir i was quickly joined and then passed by stuart but keeping him at a manageable distance. jerrard caught up with me an we worked together to gradually catch up with stuart towards the very crest of the climb. it’s a tough climb out of the weir, because it starts off gently but then steepens and when you think it’s nearly over you round a corner and it keeps on going, it then levels off but keeps on persisting for a couple of km’s. once over the top of the climb, stuart, jerrard and i worked together to put some time into the rest of the group, until we hit the climb just before the camel farm, where stuart pulled away towards the top. on the descent we managed to reel him in and started the climb up to kalamunda together.

as we got into our rythym on the climb maintaing a steady 24km/h, some guy on a time trial bike came by us, Stuart and i looked at each other with bemused expressions and then hooked in behind him and followed him up the climb, we lost jerrard somewhere along the climb as the pace was on, and then just before the false flat section we lost touch with time trial guy. after the flat section stuart rode to the front and by that time my legs had nothing left and i had to let him go it alone up the final pinch and the kom points in first place.

camille later told us about some hillbilly harassing her as she rode up one of the climbs, this guy in a ute closely followed her for 3-4 mins yelling at her something but she doesn’t know what because she had her ipod on. doug and melvin were a short distance behind but couldn’t catch up enough to stop that idiot red neck.

our usual stop at paris brest cafe followed, and a well deserved rest i must say. stuart kept on going forsome extra km’s. paris brest were 4 staff short today and it seemed like every one was out for brunch, so our stop turned out to be quite long, but the almond and custard escargot was worth the wait.

starting off on the road home with heavy legs, it’s the worst part of the day this uphill section out of kalamunda. the legs gradually return from their stupor, then we hit the descent of lesmudie and welshpool rd’s, it’s always a blast descending down here at break neck speed, all the while watching out for mad drivers. a slight south westerly kept the top speeds down, I could only manage 78km/h on the downhill.

the ride back along welspool rd was fairly uneventful until melvin, on que decided to light the touch paper and put in a blistering sprint, followed closely behind by todd. jerrard then went to chase them down and i couldn’t let them go either, and so followed suite and managed to catch them just as we hit the slight rise before the leach hwy intersection. the pace was on along berwick st, clicking along at around 40km/h. i started the final sprint earlier than normal but couldn’t quite get the jump on jerrard who came by to claim the points at the finish.

apart from one unpleasant encounter with a red neck git and some slow service at paris brest, a very pleasant ride was had by all, with some nice weather for a change as well.

saturday 16th feb – freo & cott

ride report by chris

well a lovely day for a ride with a light breeze blowing and a decent turnout of at 30 odd riders. pete had already determined the route all that remained was laying down the rules. the committee (michael w and myself) decided that easy to attadale, regroup after the ascent at pt walter and then finish it off a with the usual flurry along through dalkieth and mts bay rd.
i thought i’d have bragging rides on longest warm-up but michael w had already completed a lap of the river with emma who was off to work for the day.
things progressed well with bruce and i controlling the pace from the front to attadale. plenty of time for a chat, and yes rachel your friend (sorry didn’t catch a name) and yourself took full advantage of it didn’t you?

a little encouragement from bruce meant i fired off the front along the river in order to heat things up a little. i assume things strung out a little and then the call went up to start pulling turns. so those who wanted to did which helped keep things nice and quick to the foot of the hill at pt walter.

now i enjoy the swapping off turns thing and encourage everyone to get involved, you’re only on the front for a short while if it’s done right. you then get time to recover out of the wind before your turn comes up again. it’s often easier to get in the loop than try to hold on at the back.

so back to the ride. it seems we lost a few people at this point, for which as substitute patron i apologise. once over the hill the pace eased up a little but the usual suspects just couldn’t control themselves, even with a little yelling from yours truly. by the way, kom points to me. although without pete, cade, the newly married mr fynn or mike b around ’twas a hollow victory. was that you hiding down the back mr bonner? did the week back in the classroom take it out of you? 😉

once we had regrouped (sort off) it was a steady roll down to freo. thankfully the traffic that got backed up behind us didn’t get too cranky or try any crazy manouvres to get around us.
pete probably wasn’t aware that the rotto channel swim was on but we knew this would make things interesting along passed cottesloe. prior to getting to cott however some of the big kids just couldn’t control themselves. sitting 2nd wheel i was constantly pulling on the leash of nick and big chris (good to see you out again, looking to be strong too) but eventually they just had to kick when jerrard decided things were a little too staid. joined by bruce they quickly pulled a few lengths on the rest of us and were soon joined by several others. naughty children, your names have been entered in the black book. it seems we need to institute some sort of fine system to discourage this behaviour.

normally i like going along by cott as you can cruise along and admire the scenery but with the volume of traffic and pedestrians today was always going to mean we’d better pay attention. we got through with no surprises and headed along to the final drag race for coffee.

stevie b managed to sneak off and get across the lights at the grammar which meant the rest of us had some work to do to catch him. having spent a fair stretch of time at or near the front i was hoping for a tow to uwa. sooner rather than later however my ego decided the pace wasn’t high enough so i moved to the front to kick things off. this had the desired effect of motivating others and meant i could get a rest amongst the bunch. i rolled through and attacked again onto jutland parade which kicked things up a notch.

at this point michael and someone else went off the front chasing down our bunny steve. i had bruce’s wheel and gave him the call to kick to which he politely responded. we caught michael and his colleague and had steve firmly in our sites. i managed to pass him prior to the top of the little pinch. now normally ryan would have blasted by us all prior to this and sailed off into the distance whilst we cursed his name.

all that remained was the usual lunacy of the mts bay rd finish, with steve and i left on the front (thanks everyone!) i knew the bunch was going to nail us. steve had other ideas and made a suicide run of the front, my legs were shot but i tried to hang on anyway. sure enough the bunch came flying by so i have no idea who took out the all important sprint finish. finishers please claim your place with the commissaire.

things wouldn’t be normal without the usual cafe report. it seems new faces every week is the norm these days and again this was the case. coffees came and were consumed, the news of ryans nuptuals spread along with that of the impending delivery of yet another bunch baby. cristophe, i trust all went well and that mother and child are happy and healthy. we expect to see you out sooner rather than later in the true bunch tradition.

as a final farewell, it would seem you now need to be riding a cervelo to be part of the in crowd, nice to see an r3 sl out and about. i think that brings the number in the group to 5 or 6, seems we need to rename the ride the Cervelo Owners Club Riding Group or COCRinG.

sunday 10th feb – carradine & peet & observatory

around twenty three or so riders rolled up to the start today ready for another hot morning in the hills. mostly the usual suspects, but a couple of new faces as well. it was forecast to be 32 degrees today with strong easterly winds, so no matter where we went it was going to be hard. as i am going over east for a couple of weeks and will miss next weeks rides, i decided that we would do a long one no matter what the weather. this usually means heading down towards armadale.

cade, mike and stu were part of the group this morning, so if it was not one it would be the other, or even all of them that would be setting the pace. the course gave a lot of opportunities to deal some pain on the hills as we had four main climbs plus a couple of bonus climbs as well. the course went down albany hwy and then up carrawatha, carradine, down soldiers rd, up peet, across brookton hwy, over to pickering brook, up the observatory, then up lawnbrook to kalamunda. quite a long ride all up, but with a couple of very nice descents in between some of the climbs.

we picked up another couple as we rolled out through vic park but disaster stuck for dr nic before we even turned off berwick rd. as we approached the lights at hill view crescent, they changed so someone grabbed a handful of brakes. darren braked and swerved to avoid, but this meant that dr nic clipped his wheel. trying to keep upright she swerved left and then fell but not before pinning shao and his bike to the curb. a little blood on the knee and some damaged pride more than anything. she was ok but was probably angry more than anything and the adrenaline helped her do a big turn at the front.

cross winds played havoc on the way down to the first climb, but even before then we had lost a couple. dr greg had to be home by 9 so didn’t make it very far before turning back. dr paul turned up brookton hwy to have an easier climb and we never saw him again.

the first climb is carawatha which is a very short bonus climb. it starts off moderate for about 300m, then flattens slightly for 300m, then there is a kink so you can’t see the last 300m until you start it. the last section is about 15% and is quite brutal. being a bonus climb, and being way too steep for me, i tend to try to get into a rhythm and just get to the top without blowing up. cade, stu, ben, darren and a new guy bill all broke away on the bottom section and had gapped the rest by 20 or so metres. when the top section of the climbs started, darren dropped off and mike came flying past me and easily bridged to the remaining four. i was in my easiest gear which is a 23 tooth and was still reaching for something else. mike managed to come past the remaining boys and gap them before the top by about 10 or so metres. not sure exactly as i was still on the climb.

a regroup at the top (well some of us did) and we had a quick descent to the foot of the first main climb. carradine isn’t that steep but is about 3 kms long and has some really rough roads. combined with the head wind, this made for a testing climb. my legs were feeling quite tired today as i ended up riding on friday which is usually my rest day. the 24 hr torrential rain we had on thursday forced me to change my usual routine. this meant that i would be riding three hard days straight as friday was a hard time trial around the river before work. so, that was my excuse.

the climbs started well and i was content to sit in and see who would make a move. it wasn’t long before cade came around the pack and straight to the front to up the pace. i managed to jump on his wheel and let him break the wind for me. the increase in pace dropped the rest of the pack except mike who jumped across to my wheel. the three of us swapped turns with me doing the least work as i was having trouble even holding the wheel. my quads seemed like they were full of lead and my left calf was tight. these issues seemed to over-ride my cardio as i found that i wasn’t pushing maximum bpm as the legs started to fail first. probably just over training.

we continued to the top and with no-one forcing a break, we all finished together. the rest of the pack came through in ones and twos, but we had managed to create quite a gap. after a regroup we moved onto the first fun descent of the day. soldiers rd starts off rough, but has a nice smooth, wide, twisty, protected section at the bottom. there used to be a few sections where they had done road works and not fixed it too well, but these were now re-fixed. after negotiating the rougher section with its tight corner that claimed a fair bit of scott’s skin a year ago, i managed to accelerate around a few guys and get on michael’s wheel with a bit of clear road around me. hitting 78 km/h in the middle of the ride is great after going up the hills so much slower, but i was pushing my limits a bit on some of the corners.

the road has a small rise where i told michael i would wait for the others to make sure that they all got down ok. some of the others were already waiting there so they all headed to brookton hwy where we usually regroup before the climb up into roleystone. lindy and todd brought up the rear and i rode the rest of the way with them. when we hit brookton hwy, there was only michael waiting. everyone else had gone on ahead. i wasn’t particularly happy as this ride is based on the fact that we wait and regroup to make sure everyone makes it in one piece.

so michael and i started the climb with todd and lindy in tow. we didn’t set a blistering pace as i really couldn’t be bothered as i was still pissed off that there wasn’t a regroup. we managed to pass quite a number of the other riders who were well and truly strung out by the hills 10% average grade. once we got to roleystone high school i stopped and waited as the guys that had gone ahead were circling around not sure where to go next. everyone who passed by i just told to regroup at the karragullen, while michael and i waited for the back of the pack.

at the gull servo everyone had a refuel or toilet stop due to the excessive fluid consumption. lindy was surprised when she went to the toilets to find simon coming out of the women’s. it doesn’t surprise us much. on top of using the facilities, he committed the worst crime seemingly possible and left the toilet seat up. come on simon, if you are going to live like a women, at least know the rules. i hope the trans-gender surgery goes well…..just joking.

we headed along canning rd to the next regroup at pickering brook. this stretch is undulating but starts off quite nicely before the last couple of bonus climbs. we stayed together well until we hit the base of the climb and it started to bunch up. i wasn’t really meaning to start anything, but kept it in the big gear and powered up the climb until i had to change down. i was happy to cruise then but cade came past so i jumped on his wheel. mike bridged across and we worked together up towards the intersection. i dropped off just before the end and was quickly picked up by the chasing pack.

at this regroup point, there is always the option for an early exit as you can easily go straight to the coffee shop from here. it may be a reflection of the increase in the groups ability, but everyone was still keen to continue as planned, even though there was two more climbs to go.

we cruised to the bottom of the observatory and hit it as a group. as usual the pack spread as people found their pace and began to climb. cade and mike were at the front and had began to pull away from the main pack. i
was boxed in and had to wait till the group thinned out a bit before accelerating around and catching up. once i hit the front, the four of us, as stu had also jumped ahead, began to put some distance on the others. cade and mike set the pace well with mike still in the big ring for the majority of the climb. my legs were starting to feel a bit better as the preceding climbs must have “warmed” them up a bit. i knew that the climb levels out a bit after the main stretch and thought that if i can get ahead, i may have a chance of keeping away till the top.

i put it in a higher gear and accelerated hard around the others. i kept it up for as long as my legs would allow before finding a more manageable pace. i sneaked a glance back hoping like hell that there wasn’t anyone on my wheel and saw that no-one had chased me down. i tried to keep the pace on to stay away, but further checks saw that someone was gaining on me fast. i wasn’t sure who it was but right at the end, about 100 m from the end of the climb i was past by bill the mate of shao’s that had come along for the first time. bugger, i thought i had it.

the remaining bunch made their way up for another regroup before the second nice downhill of the day. climbing up the easy side of the observatory meant that we would get to descent the steep side. a few slight cross winds made it a bit more exciting, but we all made it down safely before heading straight into the final climb up lawnbrook rd.

mike had a 25 m gap as soon as the climb started and then he took off like a rocket. i tried to bridge across to him, but didn’t come close and had to find my own rhythm. as the climb progressed, he managed to put even more distance into me and a quick look back saw stu quickly catching me. he managed to catch and pass me but i stayed on his wheel. on the next pitch i managed to drop him but he caught back up near the top. neither of us got any closer to mike. once it leveled out we swapped off turns to try to reel mike back in but he still had about 150m once we hit the intersection of canning rd.

at this point it was a easy cruise to the coffee shop rather than it being the final climb. mike, stu, cade, shao and bill continued on and left us to some french style decadence. we were a bit late to coffee today, as a trip to armadale usually adds quite a bit of time to the ride, but service was quite good. they have even cottoned on to the fact that we now want to take the food with us to the table rather than wait for it to be brought out later.

it was a fairly uneventful descent, but a pleasurable one with favorable winds not causing too much disturbance. once we hit the bottom we had a visit from mr dickhead in a hotted up blue ford wank-mobile, who decided that even though he could easily change lanes as there were no other cars around, he wanted to come within a ruler length of the riders at speed. it’s time like these that i wish my bike mounted camera was working. i gave him the finger and he did likewise, but not much else i could do. i hope he wraps it around a tree some time.

jerry and i set the pace all the way back along welshpool rd, but were waiting for someone to make a move as the winds were very favorable. it wasn’t till the last bit that carl came around so i immediately jumped on his wheel and sat on to see how long he would last. as he started to fade, mark jumped and sprinted away in the distance. i didn’t really have the legs for it by this stage.

the final sprint and i ended up on second wheel behind russell. he is a big lanky guy, so i had a good position out of the wind. however, he ended up doing too much work and faded after the slight hill but is still didn’t want to go yet. jerry kicked out and took michael with him. i tried to go but couldn’t find enough to get past both of them, so michael easily came off jerry’s wheel for the finish.

a quick weight check once i got home found me under 70 kg for the first time in a while. not in the good way, however, as it meant that i had sweated out two litres of fluids that had to be replaced.

as i am away next week, i have requested that someone else write up the rides afterwards. i will still post the routes on thursday, but someone else will be running the group.

so stay safe, and watch out for mr dickhead.

saturday 9th feb – benara rd

a forecast for strong easterly winds usually means a good ride along benara rd. this road runs directly east-west from caversham to noranda and goes for about 8kms. it may be a bit of a slog to get out to it, but coming home is always going to be fun.

bit of a weird week, weather-wise, as we finally got a reprieve from the oppressively hot days only to have the entire february rainfall in one day. even though the rain has cleared up, the cloud cover was still thick when i got up this morning. this kept both the morning temperature down and the actual daylight also low. damn daylight savings.

the route would be fairly simple today. out great eastern hwy, onto guilford rd, up west swan rd, hard along benara, down to whatley crescent and home. guilford rd would be hard into the head-wind and it was going to be a bit of a test to see if the group stayed together.

michael and i rolled out at the front of the pack and set a nice uneventful pace up great eastern and over the bridge from ascot. no dickhead drivers either, which made a pleasant surprise. along guilford rd the wind began to pick up and the leading riders were having to work a lot harder to keep the pace. occasionally some of our stronger boys would come to the front to lend a hand, but luckily not to increase the pace too much.

turning into west swan rd and we were all still together and it seemed that the boys were itching to go once we hit benara rd. i had previously stated that we could go all out on benara as long as we kept it together before, and regrouped after. surprisingly, it didn’t happen as soon as we turned the corner. everyone was kind of waiting to see who would make the first move first. it finally picked up and next thing we know we are doing 50km/h and are strung out. i wasn’t in ideal position, so had to drag myself up to the front in order to stay with the lead group.

the one problem with benara rd, is even though it goes for 8km, there are numerous stop lights and round about to contend with. the first round about comes up not long into it and immediately caused mass confusion. a car was coming from the right so the call was made and everyone chucked on the anchors to let them through. unfortunately, the lady in the car got scared and also stopped. this meant that we were trying to wave her through, she was trying to let us through and both riders and cars were not sure who was going through. in the end some slipped through while others waited and the car ended up somewhere in between. the road rules are that we give way, and we were doing that. unfortunately we didn’t come to a complete stop as we expected her to keep going so then we could automatically keep the pace up. it didn’t end up that way, but luckily no damage, just another driver that probably now hates us.

with a longer stretch to play with, the pace makers hit the front again and did a fine job of smashing the pack. by the time we hit the lights at altone rd, a very select group of five or six made it through as the lights went yellow. mike and cade were on the front and stopped pushing as we usually wait if the group gets trapped by the lights. not in this case, we are trying to push every advantage we can, so i went to the front and set the pace for a while. we continually swapped off the front and had a nice but very hard pace going until we caught the next set of lights at tonkin hwy. it would be a bit of a miracle if we actually got through those lights, so i was expecting a regroup at this point.

most of the group caught up, but we still had a way to go so back to the front to keep the pace high. we managed to string it out again, but everyone was beginning to waver a bit as even with a tailwind, the continuous efforts were taking their toll. it’s times like this that we really appreciate ryans limitless energy and single bloody mindedness that can often keep the pace up.

as we left benara rd, the pace slowed significantly allowing everyone to catch back up. a pleasant cruise through the suburbs of morley and bedford allowed everyone to catch their breath and get some fluids down. i realized that i had not really drunk that much along benara rd as i didn’t really have time, or enough breath to swallow between gasps.

there are a couple of rolling hills before we hit whatley crescent and we usually hit them hard. i had requested that we keep it together and the pack set a nice pace and didn’t try to smash it.

once we dropped under the rail bridge and onto whatley crescent, i was waiting for the pack to start hitting it hard. it was double lane almost all the way back to the coffee shop and there are a few rolling hills to contend with as well. ideal conditions with a tailwind and the blessing of the group meant that someone was bound to go. no-one went. not sure whether people didn’t know that they were on the final stretch into town, or that they didn’t know it was whatley crescent, but none of the usually suspects set out to smash the field.

michael and i were back about mid-pack and waiting for the break to go. i told him that on the hills ahead that we should go if no-one else does. we managed to spring off the front and surprise the head of the pack getting a gap straight away. michael neatly paced me up both the small hills before we started swapping off turns to try to keep the pack at bay. cade had broken away and was starting to bridge across, before we were held up slightly at a set of lights. the delay was not enough for the main pack to catch us, but cade jumped on once we were off again. we continued to swap off turns until around maylands station, i looked back and saw scott leading the group and right on our tail. i told michael we had been caught and we eased off the pace.

a perfect time to counter attack is when a break has been caught, and mike and cade went off the front together. a bad combination for the rest of us as both these guys could put some serious time into us. the pack was unorganized as people had been going hard for a while and the two of then managed to stay away. luckily, or should i say typically, they were held up by the lights at the graham farmer overpass, and we managed to regroup.

heading into the final sprint along riverside drive, michael and cade were on the front and itching to go. the lights had changed to allow a car to turn, so when they changed back, the two of them expected that ours would go green allowing us to go. unfortunately the light changed and allowed the riverside drive traffic to go, not us. cade and michael had anticipated the change and were already out in the middle of the intersection, so had to continue through. just like the paris-roubaix a couple of years ago when a few guys on the discovery channel team went under the rail crossing barrier, these boys were clearly in the wrong and have been duly disqualified.

the sprint opened up with doug and john hitting off the front as soon as we turned onto riverside drive. no-one seemed keen to go as it was still a long way to the end. we upped the pace to get on their wheels but still no-one jumped. i decided that i might be able to make the distance so took off hard to try to keep chris off my wheel. i managed to gap the field and kept the pace on. i had to look back a couple o
f times and rode like i was scared to keep them away. i was eventually caught at the victoria ave lights where i was held up.

when we pulled into the coffee shop, i had a look at my video camera and saw that it was off. damn thing keeps turning off after a couple of minutes of filming. will have to send it back. i’m a bit disappointed after it seemed to work well last sunday.

anyway, nothing else was really news worthy in the photo sense, so i took a couple of snaps of jerry’s new mavic r-sys wheels and dr paul was also really proud of his new pump as it does both valve types, so i got a shot of that too.

ride routes 9th & 10th feb

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saturday 9th feb.
benara rd
Sth Perth Saturday Ride 08 (Benara Rd)
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sunday 10th feb.
carradine & peet & observatory
Sth Perth Sunday Ride 10 (Carradine &amp Peet &amp Observatory)
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sunday 3rd feb – welshpool & observatory & kalamunda

well another hot day was forecast, so i thought that we would stay close to the coffee shop as possible. the temp only dipped to 25 deg overnight so this generally meant that a crap night was probably had as well.

the course would take us up welshpool rd, over the observatory, up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda, back down the zig-zag and up kalamunda rd. it was a bit of a criss-cross on the map as we rode the same patch of road twice and also came within 100m of the coffee shop before riding back down the hill.
just over 20 riders showed up this morning, with the heat probably scaring most away. a couple of regulars were racing crits and ryan was sunning himself in thailand so i was interested to see who would bring the pain on today. it was therefore good when young mitch turned up (pictured). he is only about 18 or 19 and is in some wais program or something, so can pretty much ride a bike well. he has been out with us before and i have seen him crack ryan on a climb. so, it should be a good day.
as we rolled out we picked up alistar on berwick rd. al is a fly-in fly-out engineer, so doesn’t come out with us very often. however, when he does, he usually does a good job of hurting us. stuart was also back after a week watching the tour down under and doing a few serious rides while over in adelaide. all in all it should make for an interesting ride.
the trip out was fairly uneventful. we picked up russell and doug along welshpool rd just to swell the ranks a bit. the main thing was the hot wind that was blowing directly into our faces all the way out. i sat at the back the whole way out as the pack got split early on and so i dropped back to ensure everyone was still on. this meant that i would be starting the climb behind the eight-ball. however, mitch, al and stu were all back with me too.
as the climb started, the pace at the front began to slow, so i started to come around. michael and ben s were on the front, but i wanted to try to thin the head of the pack out a bit. michael did stay at the front for long as he had decided to do the entire climb in the 53 x 19. just cause he can. i pushed the pace up the first section with al, ben, stu and greg in tow while mitch was still finding his way to the front. i was trying to set a hard pace while at the same time waiting to see who would be coming around. by the time we hit the main part of the climb, mitch had taken up the pace making and was making it difficult for all. a little way up the steeper section he accelerated again and i just did what i could to hold his wheel. we managed to gap the others, but not for long as stu bridged across quickly.

i didn’t fair too well out of mitch’s acceleration and began to drop off his wheel. by the time we past the servo, mitch had 50m on me and 20 on stu. once they hit the flat section, they both sat up and i managed to catch them. i told them we need to keep going to stay away from the others as this was all part of the game. the next step up in the hill i managed to hold on for a while, but mitch stepped up the pace again, and i fell off the back. i knew i couldn’t catch them, so did what i could to try to stay away from the rest of the pack. repeatedly trying to stay on mitch’s wheel meant that i didn’t have much left, but managed to keep away from al to the top of the last pinch.
we regrouped at the top and headed onto the next climb. as we came past carmel and the sanitarium “factory” the group started to split a bit on the decent. I managed to come around the outside but on the uphill section I hit a rock or gum-nut with my front wheel while I was standing. it scared the crap out of me as it really twisted the handle bars in my hands. well it would have been interesting to get on tape as the video was running at the time.
we hit that little decent before the climb and I made sure I was already in the little ring as I know how steep this climbs starts out. russell turned off at this point so added to the others (dr paul, dr greg and dr ian) that we had lost on the first climb. I managed to get to the front and set the pace for a while. after the first pinch it is not a particularly hard climb, but long with dead roads that sap your strength. mitch eventually came around me and I managed to hold his wheel for a while. this also meant that we had gapped the field in the process. unfortunately my legs were not up to his standard and I fell off and ended up in no-mans land. by the time we got to the intersection, mitch had about 100m on me but also rode past the turn by about 20m. this meant that I “caught” him for the last pinch. stu had found his second wind and managed to bridge across as well.
a regroup at the top and we were on our way for a leisurely decent. not so leisurely for some as darren got cut off at the bottom of the hill and ended up leaving the road. I waited behind to make sure that he and the others were ok. the main group had kept on riding and we ended up getting scattered along pickering brook rd. as the main group was well and truly gone by the time I hit the climb, I decided to have a bit of a rest and just take it easy to the top. about halfway up the first part of the climb, todd caught up and past me. he wanted to know whether I got that on tape as he said it didn’t happen very often. at the very end, we picked up al who had tried to match it with mitch and was now feeling the aftermath.
we regrouped at the top and i asked who wanted to go straight to the coffee shop as it was only 100m away. we had a couple of takers, but as the majority were going to continue, peer pressure forced most of them to continue. i think if i had said that we would just go to coffee, there would not have been any complaints. i knew that we had to do more and we had lots of time up our sleeve. so down the zig-zag to the base of kalamunda rd.
when we turned onto kalamunda rd, the wind was coming quite strongly off the hillside and channeling straight into our face. this forced the group to split into little groups and i got caught in the middle one. i looked up the road and stu and al were in the front one, so i had to catch up as i didn’t want to give them 50m head start before the hill. i think that mitch was with me so we both came across.
as the hill picked up, i managed to come to the front and up the pace to thin out the pack again. my legs were starting to feel it but i kept pushing until only mitch and al were left. mitch then came around me and started pushing a bit harder. it was good to hear that his breathing was labored and i wasn’t making it too easy for him. al also came around and i managed to sit on for a bit. towards the top mitch then hit the turbo and spat me out the back. al lasted a further 10m before getting dropped as well. we just had to make do and maintained till we got to the top. it is a windy climb, so it was hard to judge how far ahead of the others we were, but we could still see mitch when we hit the top. neither al nor mitch were staying for coffee, so i was first in. well not exactly. christophe had ejected before the last climb and was happily relaxing with a coffee when we showed up.
water was the order of the day as i had sweated profusely throughout the ride. coke was also on the cards to get a sugar and caffeine kick to get me home.
the decent was good with the tailwind helping michael to get to 87 km/h and me to about 80ish. when we were all back together, we happily cruised along welshpool rd at about 40 without really needing to push to hard. as christophe and i led the pack along i was waiting for the attack to come and wasn’t disappointed. “mr excitement” aka dr melvyn took off around the pack to try to shake it up a bit. after weeks of trying the same move, he deceided to leave it a bit longer so he would have more of a chance. in the end we only had to sprint for about 100m before having to slow down for the lights.
the final sprint along berwick and christophe hit out early at the lights and got a bit of a break. i chased him down bringing jerry and greg with me. jerry came around me to take second wheel as we hit the downhill. i waited till we were back on the flat before launching. i came around both, but also saw a shadow on my right as greg was trying to come off my wheel. i had to sustain the sprint a bit longer than usual to keep him at bay, but also had another secret weapon. as it was hot, really hot, i was still sweating a lot. this managed to come flying off in the sprint and splatter all over greg as he tried to stay on my wheel. quite disgusting really, so next time he might want to be in front of me. rolled home and found the air-con had thankfully been left on. a quick weight check and i had lost 2 kg through sweating so it was an afternoon of drinking, drinking and more drinking.

saturday 2nd feb – ridge hill rd

well we are into february already. easter eggs are starting to appear in the shops and pretty soon the damn awful day light savings will be over. apparently we are having the hotest summer in perth for 16 years. makes that extra hour of day light just delightful when it is still over 35 degrees with a howling wind. well you may have noticed that i don’t like it. i train in the morning and have family time in the arvo. daylight savings doesn’t work for me.

anyway, that was my little rant. today’s ride would take us back to ridge hill rd which we visited last sunday. however, instead of being a warm up climb, it would be the only one. the main reason that we headed this way was i wanted the group to come home via guilford rd. the wind was forecast to be a ene so it should have been a nice tail wind home. the rest of the route was straight forward. out great eastern, through guilford, over ridge hill, back down kalamunda rd and home along guilford rd. what could go wrong. well nothing. after broken collar bones etc, this was a pretty tame ride. i even had nothing to take a photo of, so i snapped the two waitresses that were serving our table.

again i requested that the group stay together. we would go hard up ridge hill and regroup afterwards, and stay together until bassendean in which we could go hard to get home. it all went magically to plan. steve b and dr nick led us out along the hwy and stayed on the front for a long time, but set a very nice pace. somewhere through belmont, a 4wd on the other side of the road travelling in the opposite direction yelled out some abuse. well dickhead, when you are travelling in excess of 60 km/h and yell something out your window, it all comes out sounding like blah, blah, blah. it doesn’t surprise me any more. there are dickheads everywhere.

once we got to west parade, dr nick swung off but mike b and ben came to the front. i was just about to do a turn but they insisted so i wasn’t complaining. there was a headwind too, so i was happy. we set a nice pace out to helena valley, but mike and ben were occasionally looking over there shoulder to see if anyone was going to help. i was there and was ready to take a turn, but if you have had enough on the front, peel off. we don’t have any hard and fast rules when it comes to doing work. you can easily sit in our group and not do any work at all and no-one will care. we don’t roll through unless we have to, but if you are tired, then just drop back as there will always be someone else ready to work.

so, we hit the hill with mike and ben having done a good 6 or 7 km’s on the front. good, i thought. it might wear mike out a bit. we started to up the pace as soon as the climb started, but i noticed that most of the pack was still holding on. mike set the pace and ben held his wheel. i just sat on to see what would happen. mike stepped it up again and ben dropped off, forcing me to come around to grab mike’s wheel. the pack started to really thin out at this point and i was having to really force myself to stay on wheel. the hill has a couple of steps in it and by the time we hit the first one it was only mike and myself left at the front with michael not far behind. mike kept the pace on and i was content just to hold his wheel, as realisticly i couldn’t come around anyway. by the time hit the second step, michael was on my wheel and i was stuck in a mike sandwich (not one of my favourite fantasies). we stayed that way over the top where we had about 100m on the rest of the pack.

we rolled down the other side and onto midland rd where we stopped to regroup, before kalamunda rd. we had a bit of trouble getting onto kalamunda rd as we had to turn right across 4 lanes of traffic. left hand turns are so much easier to plan for. we used to really turn it on along this stretch and i was dreading it today. however, i have been pleasantly and constantly surprised by the group as we kept it together all the way to guilford. i wanted take it easy along that stretch as it is not double lane for quite a bit of it and i didn’t want to run the risk of pissing off more motorist than we had to.

once on guilford rd and across the bridge, the road widens out and stays double lane all the way back to the coffee shop. with a nice tail wind, this was where it was going to be on. i wasn’t close enough to the front to see who went, but the group started to line out as riders hunted for a good wheel. there were a couple of guys up the road and the pack instinctively started to roll through. this went fairly well, until the right hand line disappeared and we were just in one long line. a couple of sets of traffic lights and most of the pack were back together. everyone was just kind of cruising, and probably more so, watching each other to see where the next attack would come from.

chris and myself were close to the front when the first of the continously rolling hills through maylands started. i stepped it up to see what the group would do and chris came with me. almost to the top and mike b came past both of us at quite a pace and easily formed a gap. i hit it as hard as i could and tried to chase him down. it took about a km (probably less but it felt long) but i finally caught him and thought we could work together to stay away. unfortunately roadworks and a small truck conspired against us, and we had to slow down.

as the truck acclereated out of the roadworks, steve r came around the pack and jumped on the back of it. he got a really good draft and managed to get through a set of lights that we were forced to stop at. the chase was now on to try to catch him before the city. i had to drop back into the pack as the escape with mike b had almost completely buggered me. the boys were doing a good job on the front and we managed to catch up just at the set of lights crossing the graham farmer.

there is one last little hill to go and i didn’t want to expend all my energy on it, so moved to the front to get a head start. i held ben’s wheel to the top and even though some of the boys (mike b) went hard, there were four sets of lights before the final sprint….and we got them all. so i was well rested.

we turned onto riverside drive and the last km and a half of the ride. no-one
wanted to go early, as ryan wasn’t there to do the long lead out. chris and i were on the front and everyone was just looking around. dr emma deceided to have a crack and came around the pack early on. everybody just looked at each other, unsure whether to chase or not as it was still a way to go. bugger it, i thought and went after her. up out of the saddle to ensure chris would not get on my wheel, i managed to catch, pass and then stay away from the pack till the lights turned red at the end of the road and allowed everyone to catch up. as the lights changed, steve r came around everyone and gave a two arm salute for his victory sprint. first to the coffee shop wins.
brett was waiting for us at the coffee again, his arm is now out of the sling, so a few more weeks and he may be back with us. i then spend the afternoon trying to work out how to mount the video cam on the bike. i think i got it working, so maybe tomorrow we can see some faces in pain as we tackle the hills. national olympic distance triathlon champs is on at the foreshore tomorrow, and in a previous life i would have gone down to it. now it is all about the bike.

ride routes for 2nd & 3rd feb.

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saturday 2nd feb.
ridge hill rd
Sth Perth Saturday Ride 10 (Ridge Hill Rd)
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sunday 3rd feb.
welshpool & observatory & kalamunda
Sth Perth Sunday Ride 06 (Welshpool &amp Observatory &amp Kalamunda Rd)
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sunday 27th jan – gooseberry & kalamunda

well it was forecast to be a hot one today and was already over 20 degrees by the time we started. about 25 rolled up to the start today which is a good turn out considering yesterday was australia’s national drinking day.

the course today was going to be as quick and painful as we could make it. two quick climbs before coffee then a bunch of undulations before heading home. the two climbs were gooseberry hill, and kalamunda rd. i really hate both these climbs as one is just too steep for me and the other i find hard to get into a rhythm. but cycling is all about testing yourself…and hurting other people as previously discussed.

we rolled out and headed along great eastern hwy avoiding the little patches of broken glass. aussies are tops at drinking and seem to be even better at smashing bottles on the road after they have finished. luckily there was only a smattering mostly near bus stops. the weather was nice, the pace was easy, nothing really to say about the ride out. it was just a good opportunity to have a chat.

once we approached the hills we picked up another couple of riders. russell, who often latches on if we are heading this way, and a new guy neill. he was just out an about and jumped on board for the ride. i had done a turn and had headed to the back so was right at the tail end talking to neill when we turned onto ridge hill rd. this wasn’t one of our main climbs, but is just steep enough and long enough to really hurt people.

as soon as the group hit the climb, it spread out across the entire lane. people were reordering themselves based on climbing ability and were trying to make their way around the slower riders. i looked up the road and greg and mike were close to the front, and i didn’t want to get left behind. up out of the saddle and a quick sprint around the pack found me at the front but also near out of breath. i sat on gregs wheel for a bit before hitting it a bit harder and seeing how many we could drop off from behind us. by the time we got to the zig-zag rd, only greg and mike were close behind. i was guessing that mike was saving himself for the next climb. greg also said that he expected there to be a further climb, so he may also have had quite a bit in reserve.

a quick regroup and we headed off to gooseberry hill. now this hill is not really that long, probably 2 kms max. but it does have some really nasty sections that make you want to find an easier gear. the climb is really broken up into 4 sections. the initial climb which is fairly steep, a reprieve in the middle, a really steep section followed by a f~ckin steep section. the wonderful thing is that each section is preceded by a corner, so you don’t really see it coming.

well i started mid pack again and had to come around the slower riders (i really must work on my positioning). once i got towards the front the pecking order had already started sorting itself out. i sat on gregs wheel with mike, jerry & michael in tow. we pushed on forming a gap to the others. i decided to see who wanted to hurt and came around greg to up the pace again. mike came with but the others kept up their steady pace. i am pretty sure once we hit the flatish section, it was only mike and myself, but greg may not have been too far behind. the reprieve section can often catch you out as you think that the hill is not too bad. you then turn the corner and start clicking back down the gears.

i tried to keep up with mike for as long as possible, but my legs were not working well today. i wasn’t smashing the heart rate, but my legs were just heavy especially the quads. i kept pushing on and tried not give mike too much distance. after the next little bend in the road and the road kicks up even further, i heard greg had caught back onto my wheel. as i said, i really hate this climb. if you are afraid of heights they say not to look down. with this climb, it’s best not to look up.

anyway, i kept the pace as high as i could so greg could not easily come around me. once i could see the road sign for the roundabout at the top, i accelerated a bit to see if i could close the gap a bit to mike and try to shake greg. dropped greg, but could not catch mike who was at least 50m in front once we hit the top. the only thing it did to me was put me very, very close to the spew zone. that awful feeling where, you know that you may have gone a little hard. i hate it as it takes a while to recover and i knew that the next climb wasn’t too far away.

the rest of the guys made their way up to the top of the climb, but no-one really looked happy. it is that type of hill.

a regroup, before a nice decent down the zig-zag. the zig-zag is often used by groups to come up to kalamunda as every other way involves a steeper climb. it is however, a one way road that goes downhill. we have used it in the past, but find it a bit too shallow to use for a sunday hills ride. it is scary when you find a car coming the other way towards you. that didn’t happen today as we were going the correct way.

the decent takes in 4 switch backs and was resurfaced a couple of years ago with nice smooth hotmix. only the last corner caused any problems as it was totally covered with gravel, so i waited to warn the rest of the pack. back down ridge hill rd again and onto kalamunda rd.

i don’t know why i don’t like this climb. we don’t do it very often as it can get quite busy. i have also avoided it lately as it takes us directly to the coffee shop and the temptation to stop early is too great. anyway, the gradient constantly changes which makes it hard to get into a rhythm could be the main reason we don’t get along.

i don’t remember a lot of what happened on this climb. i know greg was there at the start and i jumped on his wheel. then i think mike came around and i tried to stay with him as long as possible. he was going hard and again my legs didn’t want to play so i couldn’t hold his pace for long. looking back i could see jerry and michael together and i was stuck in no-mans land between. a saw another couple of riders up ahead and soon past dr paul. he obviously hadn’t stopped at the regroup to try to get a head start on the climb. i exhaled a greeting as i was starting to struggle by then. even the thought of keeping mike in sight by the top of the hill was going to be a hard ask. more than hard. he was long gone by the time i hit the funky gumnut roundabout at the top, but i did manage to keep jerry and michael at bay.

mike wasn’t stopping for coffee but when i rolled in i found that i wasn’t first either. darren and russell also hadn’t wai
ted at the base of the zig-zag and had beaten everyone else up the hill. well first to the coffee is the winner, so i couldn’t begrudge them that.

being a short ride, and doing a bit extra after coffee meant that we rolled up early for a change and promptly took over most of the outdoor section. service was excellent and one of the waiters continually bought out jugs of ice water which was well received. paris-brest cafe kalumunda (free plug).

the conversation at the coffee shop is varied and will often cover most topics. mostly bike orientated, but with eight doctors on the ride today, it can sometime take a bizarre twist. i recommend staying for coffee just to listen in on what is said as i can’t remember every detail. however, i would say that at least once every ride the whole table is pissing themselves laughing over some comment or story.

instead of the usual decent straight down welshpool rd, we were going to head down mundaring weir rd and though bickley valley, before heading back to the city. we usually head up this as the final climb of the day, so it was a pleasant change to be going down. we lost quite a few with a group of them deciding to take the quick way home. i was bring up the rear of the decent when i saw simon on the side of the road taking off his helmet. dr nick and myself pulled over to see what the problem was. apparently he had hit a bee at speed which had gone straight into his helmet and stung him on the scone. no allergy that he knew about so we continued, but i rode the rest of the way with him, dr nick and lindy.

the pack had waited near carmel school and we headed towards welshpool rd for the final decent. no cross winds today and i managed to keep up with the front guys. i even changed lanes at the bottom to take advantage of a passing 4wd’s draft and manged to crack 85 km/h but was pedalling at 140 rpm to do it. i need more gears for both higher and lower.

after a regroup, we headed along welshpool rd proper when adi dropped onto the tri bars and attacked off the front. unusual move as he is a very passive rider, probably cause he is young compared to the rest of us. with the wind behind us, most people took the opportunity to stretch their legs and took off after him. it was earlier than we usually go, but a fun diversion nevertheless. as we approached the final stretch along berwick rd the set of traffic lights at kent rd kept us fairly well together. i jumped at the lights and actually got on behind a couple of cars which were helping me to extend the gap. however, the road works conspired against me as one of the cars was turning so the other now couldn’t get around.

in the interest of making the world a safer place for pedestrians that don’t know how to look both ways, they are converting the rest of two lane berwick into single lane with huge traffic islands in the middle. these “traffic calming” devices are fine if you are a single cyclist, but now the cars cannot get around groups of riders as they don’t have enough room to pass before another traffic island appears. it just makes them hate us more.

anyway, we got the next set of lights which let everyone group up again. michael hit out hard and i jumped on his wheel, letting him draft me to the final sprint. as we approached the end greg and i think jerry started coming around so i got up out of the saddle and went for it too. the sore legs came back to haunt me as i got a bit of a gap but couldn’t maintain it and greg slid past at the end.

no last second car park crashes like last week, so i good ride all around. the morning was heating up so it was off home to a shower and an air-con, before watching the crits in vic park. legs are also looking forward to the recovery ride tomorrow. the picture is supposed to be of where the bee stung simons head, but he didn’t do the decent thing and swell up for the camera.

The website for the South Perth Cycle Club