with no one to lead the way we stood around in the cold until 7:05am or so. this weeks route was reasonably familiar so ‘someone will know the way’ i thought – so up welshpool rd we went. melvyn and i took the group out, camille turned off before we hit welshpool road, probably because most of the usual suspects were not there, luckily young matt and his micro front chain rings were there to keep us honest.
it was an uneventful ride to the foothills. we picked up a few passengers whose cyclosportif team piked on them. it still felt baltic as the sun was well hidden behind the scarp. the pace slowed as we started to climb, so it was up to me to get things rolling. young matt was not far behind. as we hit the straight exposed section i could feel the heart rate increasing, and hit the front derailleur changer to get an easier gear. oh no, stuck in the big ring. fiddling with gears i eventually locked everything up and had to step off, reset and started all over. matt sped off to the summit.
as we rode past the petrol station we ran into doug who had tried and meet us on welshpool rd but turned around at the grain terminal as he thought he missed us, not realising that we were late. at the top, there was daylight between matt and the rest of us. a quick chat at the top and off to the observatory we went.
the group held it together until the start of the observatory climb, i went with matt off the front and we were joined by todd. matt decided he would play cat and mouse with us, clearly overestimating our climbing and acceleration abilities. so todd and i played wile-e-coyote to matts road-runner. matt would slow up, wait for us to pass and sprint past as quickly as possible (beep beep) until he has put 100m or so into the gap and then waited up again. so todd and i endured this humiliation until the top of the climb. we were shortly followed by rob and john, with the others not too far behind.
a bit of procrastination we headed off down walnut descent, with doug, melvyn and rob trying to keep pace with matt. i stayed at the back, a bit nervous that the new bike may get the speed wobbles. as we headed over the top of aldersyde rd i had made up a bit of ground on the lead group as we turned into mundaring weir rd.
feeling good i set a good pace and headed past rob and john, surprisingly matt stayed with them. head down, i found good rhythm and after a little while looked back to see quite a gap had opened. maybe i was half a chance to get to the roundabout first? ……..not likely! matt made the gap in about a minute and despite staying with him for a while and trying to dig deep on the flat section near the top, matt dug deeper and sped off to the top to finish several hundred metres in front. rob also recalled that he was surprised that matt stayed with them for so long, only to take off like a rocket (beep beep) and bridge the gap. soon we were joined by john, closely followed by rob (coughing all the way).
once we were together again we all headed off to the zig zag, only to cop a sprinkle of rain and some wet roads. where did this rain come from?. most of the group descended at a fast but sensible rate, but the freshly washed roads did raise the stress levels a tad. at the bottom, matt took off home. the scenic views down zig zag showed us that there was more rain on the way so we sat around discussing whether we should make a run for home to avoid the weather or go to the coffee shop and face certain drenching on the way home. i wanted to go straight home, robs vote was via bushmead road (surely there is a coffee shop in midland) but the deciding vote went to todd, lindy and mike who were resolute that they needed another climb. doug headed home via forrestfield.
melvyn led the way back to kalamunda rd. rob suggested that goosberry hill rd could be a good option (joking), but was the first to hit the climb back to the coffee shop, and waved todd and i through. todd took the lead most of the way up while i tried to decide if i had any energy left, sort of, maybe, not sure. i stayed with him on the steep sections and when it levelled out on a nice flattish section, the big ring and plenty of beats per minute saw me pass and open a gap. so… first time to be first to coffee shop but i have no illusions about where my form is. john, rob and todd were not that far behind.
just enough time to re-arrange some tables and my double shot mini-bowl arrived, that was fast! some water, some more cyclists, a hot chocolate here and a flat white there, all served in rapid time. melvyn and mike ordered what would only be described as lunch (which they inhaled). we sat around discussing the finer points of interval training, sally robbins’ rowing efforts, shimano shoes and all facets of personal lubrication (for triathlon, get your minds out of the gutter).
instead of asking the group who would write the blog for today i asked melvyn (as he has previous credits and regularly comments on articles) if he or i should contribute this week. his well considered response “you should write the blog, because (long pause)…… you should write the blog” nuff said, so here it is.
heading back john led the way and when the group hit the downhill on lesmurdie rd they all seem to step up the pace. rob made the mistake of taking my wheel and we dropped to the back, so rob went around to catch the leaders. melvyn and i were last to welshpool rd at which point he took off to get to the bottom fast. i was the slowest descended on the day, but didn’t get speed wobbles even at 70kmph, so the new bike is looking ok so far.
a time trial effort brought lindy and i back to the field but it was clear that john had won the honours of being first to the bottom. at the tonkin hwy lights we encountered our first boy-racer/bogan/redneck who zipped past at a rapid rate with inches to spare.
melvyn and john dragged the group back up welshpool rd into the cold westerly wind. i went for the bonus points at the grain terminal. mike reacted but i managed to hang on despite dying on the hill before the leach hwy lights. being too exhausted to contest the macdonalds sprint, i watched john take off with absolutely no one chasing, john was also surprised when he looked back, so slowed down. melvyn peddled slightly faster than everyone else and managed to pass john on the line.
on the way back to the shop i got dropped at a set lights so i dont know how many made it back. props to rob for winning last weeks final sprint effort against stan and myself despite both of us turning off along berwick a few hundred metres before, but well done this week for some strong efforts with a chest cold and paving our way in mucus. good lu
ck to lindy in the 1/2 ironman in a few weeks, hope those 19hr training weeks pay off.
in summary: cold start, nice middle, bit of rain, windy end. seems that the climb up kalamunda rd and coffee rest, meant that we missed the rain and did not get wet! nice!