well another glorious summer morning awaited us today. with an expected top of 34 deg the morning ride was going to be not too hot, not too cold but just right. and lucky too, as today we were going up the longest, steep climb that we know off close to perth. there are longer climbs and there are steeper climbs but this is the “best” of both worlds.
perth really lacks serious mountains. we have hills. so to make up for the patheticness of our climbs, i usually plan a route that has multiple climbs (see below). today we had four main climbs that would give us about 1,000m of vertical ascent in total.
but i am getting ahead of myself. had the normal turn out today. about 15 riders and mostly the regulars. a couple of newbies rocked up but decided against it as they needed to be back by 10am. maybe next time. severe lack or estrogen today as our regular girls are over east competing in the bay cycle classic. 7 o’clock came and we still had people turning up. i guess the benefit of posting the route beforehand is that people know where we have gone. we had to wait, however, for dr melvyn. he was running a bit late and had phoned ahead to say he was still coming. no hurry, so we waited for him and then took off.
as we said that we had to wait for him, we told him that he had to do all the work on the front for the next 20km. for some reason he took us seriously and sat on the front until carousel shopping centre when i told him we were joking. he looked very relieved as he peeled off the front.
the thing that make this sunday ride enjoyable is that we generally don’t race to the hills. there is no rolling through and people just do a bit of time at the front then drop to the back. this allows the rest of us to have a pleasant conversation on the way out, as you know once we hit the hills there is no time for talking.
bit windy heading out to the base of the hills and just before we started the climb, the wind coming down from the escarpment was so strong it felt like we were going backwards.
our climbing etiquette is pretty much as follows; go as hard as you can and try to hurt as many people as you can but make sure you wait at the top of the hill for everyone to catch up. we can then all ride together to the start of the next hill.
so the kahuna (named for two reasons 1. the cohunu koala park is located half way up 2. as it is a big climb, it is the big kahuna) is just under 4km long at an average of just over 7%. nothing compared to climbs in europe but the best we have here. so the climb started well. our groups strong man, ryan set a nice pace early on keeping his bike in a relatively hard gear. the pack splintered as expected and everyone generally went there own pace.
i have decided that going my own pace will not help me improve, so i try to go ryan’s pace for as long as i can then blow up spectacularly. he eventually dropped me and i was caught by stewart. now stew is an ex triathlete and ex marathon runner so he is like a whippet on the bike. he is currently trying to get some form back after an injury, but used to completely spank us on the hills. i tried to stay with him as long as possible but eventually cracked again. i eased my way up the rest of the steeper section before tying again to catch them once i regained composure and the gradient reduced. no luck and they were +50m ahead of me once they hit the top.
i then rolled back down a bit to get a couple of shots of the boys in full flight coming up the last of the climb.
our next climb took us to part of the state road championship course in roleystone. this is an absolute bitch of a course as it is very hilly and contains not flat sections at all. we were going to one of the descents then the main climb, up past the finish line and along to karragullen petrol station for a regroup.
the decent was short but nice and fast and ryan kicked it in once he hit the other side. michael w put in a big effort and they both gaped me, but michael realised that the hill was a little longer that he remembered so popped early as i crawled my way back up to ryans wheel.
the good thing is that ryan has no memory for the places that we have ridden previously so is continually asking how long the climbs are so he can gauge his effort. this at least meant that he wasn’t going full tilt and allowed me to stay with him to the top. heading towards the road course finish line, michael and stewart caught back up and the four of us pushed it the rest of the way to the servo.
karragullen is more of a locality than a town, with the primary feature being the servo. as such it is a popular meeting & refuelling spot. while we were there, at least five ute/4wd’s turned up towing trail and quad bikes. then about ten or so touring motobikes pulled in. with us there was three distinct groups. the young-ish redneck trail bike guys, the middle age crisis 1000cc touring bike guys/girls and us. the approaching middle age but still trying to hang onto our youth through fitness and looking “spectacular” in lycra.
as we were eating, drinking, toilet stopping etc, half the guys decided to get a head start and took off to the next regroup spot. once we got on the road, we started to chase and spat a couple of guys out the back of our group. unfortunately, jerard dropped his chain so i waited for him so he wasn’t left on his own. we worked together the rest of the way but couldn’t catch back up. at the regroup spot, the others had been caught, but had decided to take advantage and take off again to get a head start up to the observatory.
the observatory is pretty much the highest point around perth. there are two roads up it. the hard way and the easy way. we choose the easy way today as we had already climbed the kahuna. not long into the climb we could already spot our escapee’s up ahead. a concerted effort to blow myself up meant that we caught them before the top, but i had to let ryan and stew go ahead as my legs would not work any more.
for some reas
on i have developed into pushing a harder gear than i usually do and this may have a little (or a lot) to do with why i my quads are cramping so often. anyway, i decided to try to spin more on this hill and really concentrate on turning the full circle on the pedal rotation. it hurt and it is something i need to work on. i am thinking of having a crack at some velodrome training to help me out.
we regrouped at the top and this left only one more climb before the coffee shop. stew went on ahead as he was going to do extra kms rather than coffee. everyone else was pretty keen for a coffee.
the decent down from the observatory is one of the best parts of the ride. down on the drops in an aero tuck, rolling at +60km/h is a joy that makes the climbs worthwhile.
i managed to keep with ryan for the last climb right up till the end when he sprinted for the line. no legs left by then but happy with the efforts so far. my new years resolution has been to try to smash it as much as possible as i’m not getting any younger so my fitness is not going to maintain by just keeping the staus quo.
every sunday ride, regardless of the route, will always stop at kalamunda for coffee. i used to hate stopping, but have since seen the social benefits of coffee far out way the break during a ride. anyway, there are limited places open on a sunday and we tend to go to the paris-brest coffee shop. it sounds european and the wait staff are all female so generally we are happy there. service can be erratic sometimes depending on how busy they get, but today was pretty good, so no complaints. orders range from coffee’s to gatorade through to rich cakes, tarts and whatever dr melvyn had. still not sure, but it was about a foot long and filled with cheese and other things that may sit heavy when riding home. luckily this was not a problem.
refuelled, bottles filled and bellys filled-ish, we start the final drag up canning rd to lesmurdie rd. this is the only pain in the arse part of the ride as it is not a hard hill, but feels terrible after the legs sitting stagnant for 1/2 hour. once we hit lesmurdie rd though it is practically all down hill. welshpool rd hill can be fun if the cross winds aren’t howling through the cutting, and today was generally ok. not favourable for any land speed records as i only managed 75ish km/h and the faster boys only just cracked 80km/h. i few of the guys have hit 90km/h coming down there, but i tend to crap my pants at those speeds.
one last regroup at the bottom of the hill to make sure everyone got down safely and then we can all ride back to the shop together. as always, there is a couple of break-aways as we are on nice double lane roads, we have a bit of room to play with. dr melvyn featured again as he attacks and we always chase him even though we know he won’t get far.
one last kick coming back along berwick st just before the shop to make sure that we have totally shot our legs, then a bit of a catch up in the shade, to make sure we all know how good we are.
although, nobody noticed who was missing. dr melvyn had got a flat about 400m from the shop and had to walk his bike the last little bit.
a good ride all round. not a lot of waiting at hill tops so we made good time. didn’t leave anyone behind, which is another thing we try not to do.
one last social commentary.
summer time + bunnings hardware store + sunday morning = lots of hot looking chicks. it somehow makes all the pain worthwhile.
Sth Perth Sunday Ride 03 (Kahuna & Peet & Patterson)
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