tour de perth support race – stage 02

well with the first road race over and the rain continuing to fall, the time trial was looking to be an ordeal. with four corners and a roundabout to negotiate, you really wanted some grip on the road. i had brought a second riding kit with me and had stuffed newspaper into my shoes to get them to dry out so at least i would feel dry to start with.

the initial info had told us that the time trial would start at 2:00pm but the registration told us that we would start at 1:23pm and go off in 30 sec intervals. people began to warm up and get ready, when the first guys came back up from the start line to say that it wouldn’t start till 2:00 as originally advised. there were a few pissed off people around especially the opens who were already into their warm up routine. it didn’t worry me that much as my warm up consisted of riding down to the start line.

so with a bit more time to kill it was back to the car to stay out of the rain. by this time i was concerned about getting my car off the oval as it was very, very wet and the exits were muddy and slightly uphill. not much i could do about it, so i didn’t let it worry me too much. anyway, by the time my race time approached, the rain had totally stopped and the sun had come out. in such a short amount of time it had warmed up so much that it was hot in the arm warmers.

the order was reverse number with the support men and women leading out the opens. the cantankerous but funny old guy that was calling out the race numbers as riders needed to line up was a source of amusement for all who were watching. he would call a number and then keep yelling it if they didn’t show up. then when they did and tried to get to their position in the line he would yell at them for trying to come past the start line. funny all round.

well brendan was a few spots in front of me and justin was directly behind me. i was pretty sure that in just 5 km i would not be catching brendan, but i was hoping like hell that justin would not catch me. i didn’t bother with the time trial bike as i didn’t think that the course warranted it enough. it was mostly hilly with 90 degree corners that were still a bit wet. there were only two sections that i could see where you could really benefit from being down on the aero bars. the rest of the time you would be climbing or cornering.

i was given the count down and too off. it was only a short distance before the corner and i was worried about putting it on the deck, so eased off a bit to take the corner wide. as i accelerated out i realized how much my quads hurt from the morning’s effort. i kept pushing through to hope that i could squeeze something more from them. damn, it was only the first side of the rectangle course. another left hand turn, with a bit more confidence this time, and i felt like i was in a better rhythm. i guess that this was mainly because the road was kind of heading down hill.

this was the section of road that we had ridden to the finish earlier in the day but it sure felt better when i could draft behind someone else. the road eventually kicked up and i tried to maintain a steady pace without blowing it all so early. the ride was going remarkably quick in my mind, but i was still worried about being overtaken.

another left hand onto peet rd with a bit of a downhill reprieve as the road only went up after that. a last left onto raeburn rd and a sharp pinch past the fruit guy and you can just about see the finish line in the distance. it is deceptive though as it looks fairly flat but is a steady rise to the roundabout before it does flatten. this is the calm before the storm as the last couple of hundred metres are climbing to the finish.

by this time my legs were burning and my lungs were screaming, but i didn’t want to be overtaken so kept going. panting like a dog, i managed to get myself up the last section and cross the line, not knowing whether it was a good time or not but just happy to be finished. i caught up with a few of the other guys before wandering back up to get changed again and pack all my stuff into the car.

all fresh again i came back down to watch the open women and men do their times. eventually all our times were posted and i was around mid pack so i was happy that i wasn’t last. stu and justin managed better times then me but i managed to get ahead of brendan by a few seconds. josie, though, blitzed the open women’s field to get a time that was only beaten by three of the support men. results here

davina also managed a good time to come in third in a time that was also better than stu, brendan and mine.

so, with stage two down and my legs questioning me at every step, i made my way home to have two dinners and hope that tomorrow would be a nice day.

tour de perth support race – stage 01

saturday april 5th

what a weekend. my first real bike race in around fifteen years and i was absolutely crapping myself. the tour de perth support race is held in conjunction with the open events but has a reduced race distance and one less stage. it consisted of a 104km road stage on saturday morning, followed by a 5km time trial in the afternoon. sunday then finished with a 84km tough hilly road race. luckily we didn’t have the criterium in the afternoon.

well, the race started at 8:30 for us, which is a later start than most of my rides. however, it was starting at rolleystone high school at, well, rolleystone which is a bit of a drive away. nerves kicked in a hell of a lot earlier and i was up well before dawn for breakfast and a quick (but pointless) shower. while eating my porridge with extra extra sugar on top (if it doesn’t crunch, there is not enough) i checked the bureau of met website for an update of these expected overnight showers. a pleasant 20 degrees with no rain reported in the last 24 hours. great, should be a good day for riding. then i checked the rain radar. what the??? there was a huge rain storm moving in across perth and was just about to hit the city. i checked the longer range radar and kind of calculated that the main front should pass about 8:30 so maybe, just maybe we would not be starting in the rain. what i failed to calculate was the fact that the radar doesn’t really pick up the rain so far out and although it “looked” clear, it really wasn’t.

so, driving down to rolleystone, in torrential rain, didn’t really fill me with confidence. there was so much water on the road already, that i thought that even if it did stop (and i still thought it would) the roads would be holding so much water that we would be soaked anyway. i drove up part of the course, which we have often used for our sunday rides, just to get a last look at the finishline and the crap hill we would have to come up. i was not under any illusion that i would still be near the front by the time we reached the end, as my goal was just to finish the three stages.

i signed in and caught up with brendan and stu who are regulars on the saturday and sunday rides, and also with justin who had come out with us over easter. we were all in the support race so would be either against each other or looking out for each other depending on your view of the world. davina, josie, mel and camille from the sunday ride were also there but competing in the elite women’s race. the continuing crap weather meant that most people had grabbed their stuff and had set up camp around the verandas of the school’s multiple buildings. it was still raining, but at least it was not cold and there was next to no wind.

as we approached the roll out time, josie commented on the fact that i looked nervous. i asked her how old she was in 1993 and she said three. well, that was the last time i did a proper bike race and it was a ‘c’ grade race back in ballarat whilst i was at uni. i eventually stopped racing as the early mornings in the rain, sleet and hail kind of wore me down. so here i was again, still crap weather, but at least a lot warmer than ballarat.

the start was delayed by about thirty minutes as i guess the organisers hoped like hell the weather would clear…it didn’t. we rolled up the line regardless and i had arm warmers and a vest still on. i was worried about overheating if the sun came out but it didn’t and i was “comfortable” for the duration. as we waited for the gun, some of the guys were commenting on the prize money for the support race. there were 55 guys all paying $95 to enter and if you won a stage you would get $50. with the total entry fees totally over five thousand dollars they would hand out $575 in total prize money. hmmm, sounds like there is a profit in there somewhere. i wasn’t too worried about recouping my entry fee, but more worried about a long 100km ride by myself if i got dropped early on.

so, off we went into fray. i had opted for low tint sunnies as i thought that they may protect me from direct rain drop to the eyeball attack. it wasn’t dark or humid so i thought that it may be the way to go. as we approached the turn onto brookton hwy, the group started slowing. i grabbed the brakes and nothing happened. there was so much water everywhere, the pads were aquaplaning on the rims. after a small “oh sh_t” experience i realized that early braking and generally being on guard would be the order of the day.

the rain kept the pace low but it was still springy at the back of the pack where i had taken up residence. the little accelerations and brakings made life interesting when combined with lack of visibility and a mouthful of whatever the guy in front was spraying off his back wheel.

as we rolled down the hill towards karragulen, only a kilometer or so from the start, one guy had such bad speed wobbles that he had to pull over and check his bike as something may have come loose. well, it was either going to be a hard day for him, or a quick exit from the tour as no-one was going to be waiting.

unlike the regular sunday rides, i have no idea who was attacking or what was happening at the front of the group. i rode very conservatively right at the very back of the pack, content to be in the slip stream as well as everything else that was streaming off the bikes in front. there was an attack within the first thrity km’s that took about five guys with it. the pace in the rest of the pack quickened and they were eventually caught. this was pretty much the way that it went all the way to the turn around point.

along the way the things of note were as follows:
glasses came off when they fogged a bit, but then back on when my eyeballs took a direct hit from the rain.
lots of impatient redneck big f100 style utes.
me discovering that i need about 35kms before my hamstrings don’t feel tight anymore (maybe this is why the elites were warming up on rollers).
brendan copping a coke can in the ankle from a pissed off motorist heading the other way. didn’t hurt as much as the guy whose knee it ricocheted off in the first place.
rain, rain and more rain.
then when it looked like it was easing back to a drizzle, more rain.
me looking down and just seeing water running off my bike like i was washing it.
i had a chat to stu who was also stuck on the back of the pack. he said that he was bored. i guess it was, but boring probably meant that i would survive.

so, as we headed back into rolleystone, a few more attacks went and were brought back in. no-one really gained much ground as the roads were not steep enough and the pack could easily maintain a draft.

as we past karragulen servo and headed up the hill, one guy got off the front and looked like he may stay away. no-one really reacted but the group maintained a strong pace. i actually entertained the idea of trying to catch him, but seriously filed that away in the crazy department under “don’t be stupid”. i moved up the inside trying to make sure i didn’t get caught behind once we hit the small circuit that we would take to get to the finish line. the water was coming so hard down the road that the bike in front looked like a speedboat cutting a wake in the ocean.

we turned off brookton hwy and onto chevin rd for the last five or so kms. we have ridden this way before so i knew that it would be undulating and gave people a good opportunity to attack. again, i was happy to just make it up the hill with the group. a few hairy corners and we were on the final stretch up peet road. there was a gentle climb up to the roundabout where it flattened for a bit before a steep but short climb to the finish.

some of the boys were starting to flag after hitting the previous pinch too hard and were dropping bac
k. the pace quickened as we approached the last climb and about halfway up everyone started going for it. i didn’t have much left by then so didn’t put in a big effort but tried to stay with them for as long as possible. suddenly the was a touch of wheels and someone was on the deck in front of me. not close enough that i had to stop, and luckily for me the carnage went to the right side of the road. unluckily for justin, he got forced into the curb and basically came to a stop. i continued to the line where stu had enough in him to stay right to the end and come in around the top ten or so.

no idea where i finished or my time or anything, as the organization wasn’t the best at posting anything past the top three. some guy with a name like a coffee won the stage (mattiaccio), but beyond that i have no idea. i was off to get changed out of my totally soaked kit, stuff my shoes with newspaper to help them dry and get some food into me before the afternoon’s time trial.

i did manage to get back to the finish line to see the end of the open women’s race. with a tough uphill sprint to the line i expected josie to whip everyone, but davina managed to sprint past and take the stage win over one of the queensland girls with josie taking third. it was good to see our sunday ride girls going well, as the talent pool is getting a bit old and tired amongst the sunday ride boys.

time trial next and i will have a crack at writing that up tomorrow night with the sunday stage.

saturday 5th april – hale rd

ride report by chris

the morning rain was always going to limit the numbers and both bunches totaled about 11. hey, i ran out of fingers alright and i wasn’t taking my shoes off ‘cause it was raining.
nick thought he was saved due to the small numbers for his bunch but there was 1 or two so he was committed. anyway, they elected to tag along with us guys.


given the shear volume of rain things were always going to be relatively controlled and the amount of water on the roads ensured this was the case. we set a steady pace out to hale rd and explained to nick and his group the planned route, where we would wind the pace up and the various regroup points.

normally on this ride things heat up pretty quickly as soon as we hit hale rd, so i took it upon myself to ensure this remained the case. sadly for me after a tough few rides this week and a day off crook my legs really weren’t up to much. all i succeeded in doing was firing up cade and sending bruce, ben and christophe down the road with him. with bigger numbers i wouldn’t have been too worried but given my crap legs i just got myself into a tempo and figured i’d catch them at the regroup.

unfortunately cade had a mechanical problem with what was apparently a slipping chain as he attempted to change gears and went down at speed. luckily he didn’t bring anybody else down and with the wet roads slid and didn’t lose too much bark. still no fun for anyone and a reminder that it pays to be sensible when it’s raining. once we gathered up the various bits and sorted cades bike out we were back on the road. ben headed off with cade back the way we had come whilst the remainder of us followed the planned route.

this little accident put paid to any further shenanigans and christophe and i set a steady pace down kalamunda rd. the remainder of the trip was relatively uneventful, but christophe did comment that there was no abuse since people had to keep their windows wound up in the rain. we didn’t even get one honking horn today which makes for a change, shame it had to be bucketing with rain for this rare non-event.

bruce did the right thing and headed off home once we got back to bayswater whilst the rest of us headed for the café at a much more casual pace than usual. once over the plain street hill from my perspective it’s always a mad panic to hold onto someone like pete or the pool boys wheel in the vain hope of having something left for the sprint. today however i wasn’t up for any of that and suggested to the guys that i would be the lead out man. so off i went hoping to just be able to hold it together to the finish.

i can’t have been doing too badly as will was the only one who managed to hold my wheel and didn’t have enough or couldn’t be bothered to come around at the end. so that was it, with only half a dozen of us stopping for coffee and a feed, prompt service was assured and delivered. poached eggs on toast for me, very nice.

ride routes 5th & 6th april

i will not be able to make it this week as i have decided to have a crack at the tour de perth support race. after having not raced since about 1992-3 my body should be in for a rude shock. doing the sunday ride means that i know the hills, but am used to stopping and waiting at the top of each climb. don’t think i will get a chance to do that this week.

saturday 5th april
hale rd
Sth Perth Saturday Ride 03 (Hale Rd)
Find more Bike Rides in Perth, Australia
sunday 6th april
kahuna & peet
i would skip the observatory and just got straight to kalamunda along canning rd as the tour de perth will be on the other roads. if you do see me, don’t forget to wave.
Sth Perth Sunday Ride 03 (Kahuna &amp Peet &amp Patterson)
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jersey design – part 02

ok, we have a preliminary design done and a bunch of sponsors on board. the name of the group is not final (i needed something for the design) so comments are welcome.

there is still a few spots left for sponsors, so if you own a business, or think you can get some money out of the company you work for, then let me know and i can tell you how much things cost.

linked below is the previous post with the comments attached when the name was being discussed.

feel free to comment

sunday 30th mar – tour de perth recon

hey, how about that. the sun was out when we arrived for the ride this morning. it makes a change and you can all breath a sigh of relief that you won’t have to listen to my bitching about it for at least another eight months. well it looks like only one person didn’t wind their clocks back as young mat who works with simon was there very early. i turned up at 6:30 as even though i had reset my clock, my body clock still got me up early. the pic is of mat’s bike. notice the front chain ring. this is what you have to do if you are racing in under 17’s and are gear restricted. it would sure make descending down welshpool a wonderful experience.

we had close to thirty riders making an appearance this morning, which is a good turn out for a sunday. probably because everyone woke up with plenty of time to spare they decided to make the effort. or more than likely, the course today allowed for a very easy day if you wanted. with the tour de perth race next weekend, the route was a recon of the sunday stage which would take in multiple laps of the observatory circuit. we would ride up welshpool rd before doing three laps of the circuit followed by a final climb up mundaring weir rd to the coffee shop.

well the sun was out, but so was the wind which reduced the temperature a bit. we rolled out along great eastern hwy before turning onto orrong rd. we don’t usually head out this way, so it makes a change and doesn’t really change the ride much. the wind really picked up as we got closer to the hills as it was screaming own from the escarpment. luckily i was neatly tucked away at the back of the group and not really concerned. it did, however, play havoc with the group as the gusts caused a concertina effect of riders slowing down the line.
as we approached the base of the climb, i had already decided that i would take it easy and let others dictate the pace. unfortunately the pace slowed too much and riders were spreading across the road in front of me. as the wind was still making things tough on the climb, no-one really wanted to do the work and set the pace. i jumped around the group and went to the front to try to get it moving. setting a pace that wasn’t too high, but was actually hurting a bit into the wind, i started the climb. i knew that mike b would soon come around me but i wasn’t too sure who else would be there today. mike did come around, but playing team tactics, didn’t attack the group but rather jumped on the front to set the tempo. we swaped off turns between the two of us all the way to the top of the first section where it flattens out after the servo. i finally managed a quick look over my shoulder to see who was still with us and was really surprised to see that we had a group of about ten riders hanging on to our wheels.

the next step in the climb and the group was still together and did not look like it was about to break up. i thought that we should do something about it and came around mike on the last climb telling him that i was going to see who we could drop. all i managed to do was put myself into a world of hurt. mike and josie came past and i found that i could not stick on their wheels. i had managed to gap the others but now i was being left behind. the final climb comes after a short descent and the chasing group put in a big effort and had the momentum to blow past me just before we crested the hill.

a regroup at the top of welshpool rd and we were on our way to pickering brook. the wind was right in our faces again and i was sure i didn’t want to be totally buggered by the time i hit the climb. mike and i peeled off from the front just after mr dickhead gave us some abuse from his big 4wd. davina joined us at this time as she had missed the start so drove up to pickering brook to continue the climbs.

about this time, mark came around for what i thought was going to be a turn at the front, but he kept going and gapped the field a bit. josie jumped out of the pack and took off after him, catching him before too long. everyone decided to let them go as there was the wind and the impending climb to contend with. they managed to get quite a large gap by the time we headed into pickering brook, and i started to get worried that josie would take advantage of such a large gap and we would not catch her before the top. sorry, mark, i was less worried about you.

anyway, i started to chase them down as the road headed down before it turned up patterson rd. i looked back and saw that no-one had began to chase. head down, bum kind of up, i continued to chase and got about half way across by the time the climb started. mike had also started leading the chase from the main pack and they were strung out and had also made up ground. once the climb started, josie took off from mark leaving him to fend for himself on the hill. i got myself into a tempo and began gaining ground on the two of them. by about halfway up the first section, i looked back to see mike leading a group of about four or so riders. they were gaining ground quickly so i eased up to take advantage of the express train. mike even said “hop on board” as he came past. i jumped on the back as we just caught mark, but still had josie up the road.

the pace increased somewhat and we managed to drop the others until it was just mike and myself. i came around for a turn at the front and mike slipped back a bit, but only for a better run up as he attacked hard and bridged across to josie in no time. she jumped straight on his wheel and managed to stay with him till the top. i was in damaged control and tried to set an even tempo and stay away from the chasing pack. i barely managed that but made it to the top anyway.

a regroup at the top and we were not alone as there were many riders out doing the circuit this morning. i made a bit mistake giving people the option to call it a day after one circuit. more than half of the group decided that they were great big blouse wearing pussies and wimped out. strangely enough the four girls in our group decided to do more laps. hardcore.

anyway, eleven of us continued around for another lap and it was much more controlled this time around. this lap we just set an even tempo to the top without trying to smash each other. after the regroup point almost everyone else decided to call it a day. after the quick descent there was only four of us left, mike, stu , davina and myself to head around for a final lap. again there were no attacks and we set a nice tempo to get to the top. no need to regroup as we were all together and headed down the fast descent. at the turn off towards kalamunda, davina continued around for another lap or so as she had missed the first climb up welshpool rd. mike stu and myself headed towards mundaring weir rd.

as the climb started and with the wind on our backs, the pace was quite brisk. my poor little legs didn’t want to play anymore and i had to let mike and stu go. i maintained a nice pace to the top, but was a long, long way from the others once i arrived.

the second group were still at the coffee shop when i arrived, but mike and stu headed straight off home. a prolonged stop, as they had forgotten to serve a couple of drinks, but a few bonus coffee’s on the house made up for it.

the descent was fast with the wind behind us, but not without it’s moments as a ute and trailer carrying three quad bikes decided to do a u-turn at the crystal brook intersection. we were already doing over 60km/hr and i guess he totally underestimated our speed. josie, john and myself had to slow down and change lanes to get around him. once we were all at the bottom we had an absolute arm chair ride home at over 40km/hr with dr marc and todd doing all the work back along welshpool rd. with people peeling off all the way home, there was no sprint and only three of us actually made it back to the shop.

all in all a good ride and a good recon of part of the tour de perth course which i am hoping to race next weekend.

saturday 29th mar – shelley

UPDATED BELOW

well the final day of the so called daylight savings and it was still night when everyone started arriving. we had decided to change the course a bit as the roadworks on the esplanade in mt pleasant were not too bad. this would take us on the same course as mickey’s group, so we decided to combine the two. or should i say, his group tagged on behind ours and i don’t know for how long either.

with the streetlights still on, and cars with headlights blazing, we headed out at the allotted time. the trip down canning hwy was rather uneventful and we managed to get through the multiple stop lights unscathed. once we turned onto the esplanade, the group did manage to stay together well, especially since the roadworks kept everyone on their toes. it was not raw gravel that we were rolling over as it seemed that the road was just waiting for the top coat to be laid.

once we got past that and the road smoothed out a bit, nick headed to the front and began to flex his “i don’t get out enough anymore so i need to hurt you” legs. the pace began to stretch the two groups already, and we weren’t even at the designated tempo section. i’m guessing that we started to lose some of mickey’s group at about this point, but i’m not sure as i was to close to the front trying to keep the boys undercontrol.

once we hit riverton dr strangely enough, everyone hesitated as no-one wanted to lead out the group. it is a long sprint section and well utilised by many groups in perth as there are minimal intersections and only one where we would have to give way. i sat at the front with nick as we began to slowly wind up the pace, waiting to see who would make a move.

being a long way out from the end, it would be a suicide mission to attack so early. so i went. and didn’t get too far. it did however, cause the pace to increase dramatically. ryan and nick both chased me down and before too long the rest of the pack was swamping me. with the ice broken, this meant that more and more people would try to get off the front causing most of the group to revert to survival mode.

a surprising sight was mickey flying around the pack and gapping the field before being chased down and totally swamped. i think the boys were pretty sure that he would not be getting away.

the attacks started to slow and people formed back into a double file with a kind of roll through happening. kind of, because it was more of someone doing work till they were buggered and the rest of the group swamping them afterwards. towards the end of the shelley sprint, some of the big boys went to the front to fight out the finale. not knowing where the line actually is, the boys just went hard early and tried to rip each others legs off. i was out of it by now and watched as ryan and another nick fought it out.

a general slowing of the group allowed people to catch back up as we meandered our way through the suburbs to get across to vahland rd. this would allow us to take in the full length of banister rd which would be our next tempo section. vahland and south st were uneventful, and even once we hit banister we had to take it slow. everyone was trying to get to the markets and cars were backed up for ages.

once we maneuvered past the mobile road blocks, the pace started to increase some what. the group strung out to single file quite quickly as riders looked to hide from the wind. it was a head-cross wind, so even right on the wheel of the guy in front didn’t allow an armchair ride. this would have broken the pack but we were saved by the lights which allowed a general regrouping. after that a very subtle rolling through began to happen, but not excessively hard and it hardly felt like we were working at all.

once i got to the point were i could extract myself from the line i jumped out into fresh air. unfortunately this was almost at the very back of the group and it was a long way to the front. i started to sprint around the pack, not exactly knowing how far it was to the end, but generally just to try to get the group to have to work a lot harder. ryan was close to me in the group when i took off and also managed to get himself free. luckily for both of us, the main threats were also caught up in the left hand line and could not get themselves free of the pack.

well ryan blasted past me once i had a nice gap on the field and i could not get on his wheel in time. jerry also came past and again didn’t want me to play with him either. as they both shot up the road, chris also broke free and was chasing us down. he yelled out a warning to me as he approached allowing me to jump on his wheel and get a slight reprieve. he did a good turn on the front and managed to pull us up to ryan and jerry, who were looking a bit bewildered as neither really knew where the road ended. we managed to get up with them, but then ryan hit his second wind and took off again.

once we turned onto nicholsen road the group slowed enough to get back together. the plan was to cruise up to cannington and along albany hwy at a nice easy pace. once we hit the intersection of welshpool rd it would be all on until we hit the coffee shop. unfortunately some of the boys deceided that they need to show how strong they were and made it a lot more difficult along albany hwy. i maintained the pace that i thought we should be going, and by the time we approached the intersection, i was almost off the back. christophe did comment in his french accented english, that maybe english was not their first language. unfortunately it is, but the testosterone seems to wipe out all other thought from their minds when presented with a stretch of open road.

anyway, i had family matters to take care of and had to be home by….earlier than i got home, so i turned off down berwick st and off home. hopefully someone will fill us in with what transpired on the final run into town.

UPDATED RIDE CONCLUSION

the finale by chris

bruce fired off the front only to take the next exit heading home to nat & bub. this seemed to fire the boys up and the pace was on. i was aiming to look after myself for the final run along riverside dve. the number of traffic lights along shepperton rd means that it’s a bit of a lottery along this stretch. invariably any break is stopped by a red light bringing the bunch back together and potentially allowing a smokey to use their momentum to launch an attack.
today however six or seven of us managed to get through a set of lights and stay away to the café.

once onto the causeway nick decided he’d hit out for home but with the likes of the ryan the pool boy, mike, jerry and a couple of the squadra barista boys on his tail it was doomed from the start. as we all know, this has never stopped nick before.

i took first wheel with the vain hope that some of the other guys might swap off turns. surprisingly they left me there to cook myself. i decided that chasing nick down was bound to end in the boys smashing me once we had him, so i maintained the gap for a while. once we got well along the drive i upped the pace a few km/h in order to roll over nick. sure enough once we were within striking distance the pool boy launched with the others on his tail.

the final set of lights ran the usual spoiler to the finishing sprint but it’s safe to say the pool boy was the winner. it seems we need more people in the finale to box the bugger in.

ride routes 29th & 30th mar

a fast day planned for saturday, we will go hard on shelley, bannister, and the last bit of shep rd after welshpool rd intersection. regroup after each section and make sure you box ryan in for the final sprint.

sunday will be a repeated loop for the benefit of those doing the tour de perth the following weekend. i have mapped out three circuits, but it may be two depending on how the group feels. don’t forget that daylight savings finishes this weekend.

saturday 29th mar
shelley
Sth Perth Saturday Ride 07 (Shelley)
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sunday 30th mar
tour de perth loop
Sth Perth Sunday Ride 11 (Tour de Perth Loop)
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sunday 23rd mar – carradine & peet & observatory

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.

UPDATE
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.

saturday 22nd mar – tv stations

damn it was dark this morning. i was waiting for the sun to come up and looked at my watch to find that we were 5 min over time already. i usually give my spiel after mickey has taken the novice riders out first, but he was running a bit late, so we headed out first. he did quickly give ryan a new pair of cycling socks for winning the intermediate sprint last saturday.

today’s course took us past the tv stations in dianella and back down wanaroo rd past kings park, but then swinging around into claremont and getting the usual run back into the city through dalkeith and mounts bay rd.

even without the sunlight, the weather was warm. the cloud cover last night kept temperatures pleasant but the wind was moderate. we headed out great eastern hwy and i started on the back as i forgot to turn on the video cam. not sure of the footage as it doesn’t go well in low light. i’m guessing that i will check before i post this or it will not make sense how the footage got there in the first place.

anyway, i’m on the back and chatting with ryan but i notice that the pack is not holding together too well. the early pace was a bit high so gaps were forming as people lost the wheel. after this went on for a bit, i decided to sort it out and went to the front to set an even pace.

a few tricky light changes, some left right intersections and we were all together at the start of dianella dr where some of the tv stations are based. this was our first tempo section and the slight rise up dianella dr would make it interesting.

cade shot off like a thing that had been shot out of something, so i quickly jumped on his wheel with steve b latching on as well. his pace was quite high and i was struggling just to hold on. it took me half the hill to get right on his wheel but by then i had nothing to come around to help out. luckily we hit the top and lights, which held us up for a bit. the lights changed just as the others started to arrive so we headed off to try to stay in front. this section down yirrigan dr is always fast as it is slightly downhill, so i knew it was going to be hard to keep away.

cade and i swapped off turns on the front with steve b and ryan tucked in behind. we tried to keep the others away, but the group was almost upon us. the next set of traffic lights made sure of it. as they changed, dr nic came flying past with a stack of momentum, and managed to get quite a bit ahead of us. the boys all shot off after her forcing everyone to chase hard. i was pretty much cooked by then so slowly dropped back in the pack looking for whatever wheel i could hold. some of the early antagonists also fell back and were swallowed up by the group.

i finally settled on steve r’s wheel and we swapped off trying to bridge to the six guys up the road. christophe bridged across and also joined in the chase, but to no avail. by the time we hit waneroo rd, they were still 100 metres ahead.

a quick regroup and we continued our cruise down wanneroo/charles and across to loftus/thomas rd. we seemed to get every single light, which i supposed should be expected crossing the city on a saturday morning.

the pace was a bit high and erratic as we came down the back side of kings park. we used to just head straight to coffee from here, but it made the ride a bit short, so we now turn past the hospital and around the back of the cemetery. it was supposed to be moderate pace from here to claremont, but some of the boys started pushing hard early. i was in no mood to chase to the front to slow them down so i just kept my pace and slipped slowly to the back of the pack. i was secretly hoping that they would miss the turn and go all the way to the usual crossing at the grammar school.

unfortunately for everyone, chris took the initiative and turned a street too early which brought us out onto a t-intersection on stirling. a slight delay and some good hearted abuse on chris and we were back on track.

the usual wind up along victoria ave/jutland pde/birdwood pde was the typical smashfest with ryan, mike b and chris some of the main attackers trying to break the group apart. by the time we hit the last undulation on birdwood, ryan made a strong move and michael had the legs to stay with him. little dribs and drabs of riders were working together to try to keep up where they could.

even with a break, no-one ever tries to keep it going once we turn onto the avenue. generally the right hander onto hackett dr and the lights onto mounts bay rd cause the smaller droplets of riders to coagulate together ready for the final sprint. also, ten kilometres is a long way to try to hold off the pack, even if you get favourable lights.

so by the time we hit the lights at mounts bay rd most of the group was back together again. we even came across a small but smart group that took a shortcut through waratah rd.

so as we approached the intersection, ryan was trying to get people to go in front of him so that he could get a nice lead out. i jokingly warned him not to try the old “i can’t clip-in at the lights” ploy to get people to come around you. so we headed off into a general confusion.

all the main players for the final sprint were all trying to hide from the wind and trying to get others to do the work early on. the problem was that the high pace a bit earlier on seemed to blast the rest of the pack out the back so now there was no-one to block the wind. i tried to get the group to roll through, but after mike b, myself and dr marc, no-one else was willing to play. i looked back and a gap was starting to form as everyone was hiding in the pack.

“fine” i thought. “i’m off”.

it was a long way out, and i didn’t think that i could make it, but nothing was happening otherwise. a few hard pedals out of the saddle and i had easily gapped the group. a quick look back and no-one was chasing, and there seemed to be very little organisation in the group. i kept the pace on and managed to get quite a bit down the road. i think people started to panic a bit when they realised that i may stay away till the end.

eventually chris tried to get the group rolling through to chase me down, but people were still reluctant and only a handful wanted to help.

by this time the effort of doing in excess of 45 km/hr was taking it’s toll and was starting to hurt. luckily my heart rate monitor had decided to stop working, as if i saw how high my heart rate was, i probably would have given up. i saw the brewery approaching and was still ahead. i looked over my shoulder about five or six times to try to gauge how the group was travelling. as i rounded the corner to go past the brewery, i knew that i would be caught. i could hear chris screaming at the group to chase me down. nice. thanks team-mate. but it was all in good fun. i would have done the same.

with about a little over 100 metres to go, the group came past me at such a speed that i didn’t stand a chance. the last thing i saw was ryan flying ahead of the pack and i guess he stayed there til the end. my heart rate took a while to get back down to the stage where i could talk again, and relished the easy pace to the coffee shop.

The website for the South Perth Cycle Club