UPDATED with video
well a beautiful moonlit morning greeted us as we rolled to the start. no daylight to speak of so everyone had lights flashing all over the place when they arrived. as the clock struck the hour, we were held up by young robbie who was changing a tube and changing a tube and changing a tube. he finally got it sorted out and we were about 15 min behind schedule, but at least the sun had come up by then. it also gave a few late comers a chance to start with us, rather than rolling back to bed like they had hoped. however, as we rolled out, he said that it had started going down again, so he decided not to tempt fate and call it a day. there are just some days that the bike tells you it’s had enough.
so we rolled out along berwick rd into a brisk headwind. we had about 19 riders once poor robbie had headed home. as i stopped to check that robbie was ok, i ended up at the back of the group for the duration of the ride. it was quite pleasant really as the wind did seem to be quite annoying for the guys at the front.
as we came through kenwick and approaching maddington, mr dickhead came past us in a large 4wd. this time he stayed in his own lane but instead of hurling abuse, decided that it was better to hurl a full can of diet coke at the group. luckily it wasn’t his wanking arm as it didn’t hit anyone directly, but a few copped some of the spray as the can opened up. maybe he thought that we were thirsty, or maybe he was just another inbred dick, that compensates for his own inadequacies by bullying others that seem vulnerable to attack. unfortunately the video camera wasn’t running at the time so i couldn’t get a look at his number plate.
as we past brookton hwy, dr paul, dr ian and lorraine peeled off for an easier day. the rest of us continued past the armadale hospital and ready for the first bonus climb up carawatha. ryan had previously complained that his legs did not feel well today and was hoping that we had already left when he turned up late. this would be the real test to see if he was foxing or not. the road turned upwards and everybody got into their rhythm. ryan still had it in the big ring and i commented that i would like to see him try that for the second half of the hill. the road turned and grade increased a lot.
ryan did drop it down to the small chain ring and set a nice pace up the hill. i had to come around darren and brendon to make sure i stayed on his wheel, but the bugger unhitched me before we got to the top. stu and mike b stayed out of this one as it was only a bonus. a quick regroup and off to the first main climb of the day up carradine.
as carradine is not a particularly steep climb, it means that little things like drafting can make a big difference. however, the road condition is bordering on crap so it really drags the bike back making it hard to keep a good line. the group started the climb well and i was waiting for someone to make a move. everyone seemed content to sit in as the wind was still in our face, but the road had not yet turned to crap. i decided that i was not going to get any better like this so chucked it up a few gears and sprinted off.
a quick look back and i saw that no-one wanted to play with me. fine, i will just have to work on my own. so i did for quite a few painful minutes while the group sorted out what it was going to do. eventually i saw that it had started to break up and a smaller group was stretching out to catch me. i was hoping that they would not just blow by me as my legs were starting to hurt by this time.
it turned out to be mike b, stu, ryan and darren that had gone off the front and i managed to latch on behind and catch my breath a bit. as we continued up the hill we started to up the pace a bit more to try to increase the gap to the rest of the pack. we began swapping off turns, but i didn’t do that much as i was starting to struggle by this point. on the last little kick towards the end the pace got too much for darren and he slipped off the back. he continued on to the end where stu and ryan had a little sprint for bragging rights. mike and i were content to let them use up the excess energy for the last 50 metres.
darren didn’t lose too much ground by the end and he is climbing very well at the moment. brendon and james came though next a couple of minutes later followed by the rest in dribs and drabs. we then continued on to the tasty descent down soldiers rd. we encountered a slight headwind as the descent started, but once we found the protection of the trees and the smooth roads, it allowed us to open it right up to a 70km/hr descent. a car and a couple of motorbikes coming the other way made it a bit tricky, but nothing too difficult. well at least not as difficult as actually having to pedal.
another regroup back at brookton hwy and we were ready to face peet rd. a couple of km’s at close to 10% is always going to be fun. throw in a couple of good climbing whippets and you knew that the pace was going to be high.
as we did our little right left to cross brookton hwy, i noticed that stu had taken a short cut and managed to get straight across to the start of peet via a path. the cheeky sod had grabbed a 50m head start before we even turned a pedal in anger. he said later that he felt a bit guilty so didn’t go too hard, but when he saw mike chasing him, he didn’t want to make it too easy.
i was a little boxed in when ryan came past to try to bridge to mike. once i managed to break free, i sprinted up to ryan who was really feeling it in the legs today. we were stuck in noman’s land as he hadn’t managed to bridge to mike, but we had a big gap over the chasing guys behind. we started to work together, but it was really a survival tactic rather than trying to catch mike and stu. i watched up the road as mike caught stu and spat him out the back as he continued up the hill. ryan and i managed to gain back a bit of ground once we came down the other side of the hill and started towards roleystone high school, which was the next regroup point. the road is not flat along this stretch either, but allowed the advantage from drafting more than the steeper side of the hill so we were still gaining. the final stretch before the last steep pinch to the finish and i told ryan that i would bury myself to lead him the hill where he could try to catch stu. mike by this time was so far ahead that it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had been home, had a shower, some lunch and came back out to finish the ride with us.
i dug deep and got him to the base of the hill before dying a horrible, horrible death. he took off in typical ryan style, but was soon running on empty and couldn’t quite bridge the gap. i slowly, carefully made my way to the top trying not to leave a lung or two behind.
we cruised up to karagullen after regrouping only to find that the servo was still closed. that made the refueling a bit hard so we continued on towards pickering brook. a fairly moderate pace was set as we were on the uphill section, but it soon amped up as we headed down. strung out and doing over fifty I decided to attack on the downhill to see how far I could get, as the uphill attacks were not making much of an impression today. i managed to gap the group by about fifty metres or so and held them off for a short time. just before
the road started to head upwards the group came past me and i slotted into the first gap i could find.
the hill spread the field across the road as riders found their rhythm and pace. mike b shot forward so i jumped around the group to get on board. the usual suspects of stu and ryan also came across. when mike kicked again, i found that i had no legs for it and had to let them go. about this time, michael happened to be coming the other way as he had a late start to the morning. he quickly turned around and joined the fun. not my fun though, he started to wait for me but i told him to chase the others down as my legs were shot. i slowed my pace down and waited for james to catch up so i could get a draft behind him. soon we were joined by brendon and i think dr marc as well. we didn’t make up much ground on the others but didn’t let them get too far ahead.
a regroup at the intersection and i checked to see if anyone wanted a shortcut straight to the coffee shop. no takers, which is always promising as we still had two climbs to go. as i mentioned previously, everyone seemed to be climbing so much better and it is still noticeable with the shorter waits at regroup points.
so we headed off into what was hopefully the final headwind but unfortunately chris and myself ended up at the front. we could have dropped back, i suppose, but it didn’t really seem fair, so we just kept an even pace to the base of the climb up the observatory. i said to chris that we should just keep a nice even pace up the climb and wait to see who puts in the attacks. his reply was that was always his plan anyway.
the hill slowed our progress down dramatically and the group bunched up behind us. eventually james came around and so i told him to attack to see how far he gets. off he went and managed to get a nice gap on the field. no one reacted immediately but the usual suspects started increasing the pace and the group started to splinter. a moderate size group had formed at the front led by stu who set a quite good pace. i was considering an attack, but as we reached the point that i attacked a few weeks back, the feedback from my legs said “no go captain”. i just tried to hang in as best i could. a couple of pace changes and we had past james’ earlier escape and managed to drop it down to the final for from the initial climb up carradine. working together to increase the distance, we almost made it to the top before my legs gave out and i fell off the back.
one last climb to go before coffee and everyone was starting to feel it. a welcome descent down the steeper side of the observatory before the road kicked up and kicked up hard. i wanted to make sure that mike didn’t get a large lead before the climb started like last time we were here, so made a move on the descent to get in front of him. it didn’t really matter though, as he just took off as soon as the climb started.
i tried to chase, but by now the last couple of days of towing my young lad in the bike trailer were catching up with me, and my legs rebelled. stu was also feeling bad, but managed to put an effort in to try to restrict the gap that was forming. i was content to sit on ryans wheel with michael and get a “free” ride to the regroup point on canning rd.
darren and mike took off home at this point while the rest of us headed to the coffee shop for a well deserved break. we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was not busy and we could get a table or four and a quick order. it must have been the easter break or the chilly wind that was keeping the customers away. we arrived late, after ten, and this is usually the busiest time.
hot cross buns were the order of the day and once we were fed and watered we were on our way. the blowy conditions made the descent interesting, but i still cracked 83 km/hr on welshpool. i am learning to be more relaxed on the bike on the descent but it is hard to convince your body to comply when all it wants to do is hang on tight.
a nice tailwind followed us home and the boys wanted to take advantage by going flat out from the word go. the group was down to single file and i didn’t really want to play so dropped back. dr nic was struggling so i got infront of her to try to close the gap to the main group. we were already doing over fifty and not really making a dent in the distance, and probably losing more ground. by the time we hit the lights at the roe hwy i had left dr nic but was still a way behind. i caught up to chris and still worked to bridge the gap, but then saw ryan start his sprint so figured that i might as well give up now.
we waited to regroup while ryan and james took off as it was late after such a long ride. this would make the final sprint along berwick interesting as the field had been thinned considerably. we were briefly held up at the final lights and when they changed, dr nic shot off like she was chasing down a car full of egg throwing hoons. i quickly took off and caught her on the slight rise, but thought that i should continue to see how far i could get before being totally swamped. i kept the pressure on down the other side and when i finally had a look behind, there was quite a bit of fresh air between me and the next rider. everyone else was too spend chasing ryan down on welshpool rd earlier.
so, no crashes, and no flats during the ride so in all a good day. i will trawl through the video footage from today to find something nice to post, but it may be tomorrow before that happens, so check back later.
after having a quick look at all the action from sunday, i have added a video that i think everyone would like to see.
one of the brutal climbs that we did up peet rd had ryan in obvious distress. so much so that he couldn’t stay on my wheel when i came past for a turn.
it’s not something that we see very often, so i thought that i should post it so we can all remember. thanks ryan.