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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.

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.

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.

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.

saturday 26th jan – rebold & cott

smaller turn out today as i expect that some people were taking advantage of the three day weekend and had gone away. probably about 30 or so which is definitely more manageable with getting through the traffic lights.

today’s route was basically a combination of the christmas ride and other routes close to the city. we took out the confusing city bits and would head down mounts bay rd instead. up winthrop past kings park, along hay st till we cut through perry lakes and up over rebold hill. back down west coast hwy then loop around past cottesloe and home via dalkeith and mounts bay rd.

we headed out canning hwy after saying that i would like to keep it together as long as possible and hoped like hell that they would. i had talked to a few of the better guys about not chasing down people that took off early so hopefully it would all be good.

a nice easy pace along riverside dr and mounts bay rd meant the the group kept together well. once we turned up winthrop the steady climb, i suspected, would convince some people to go hard cause they can. michael and i were second wheel heading up the rise and held a steady pace. steve b at the front decided to push a bit and would get a small gap before looking back and realising that no-one was coming to play. he did this a few times before getting bored and dropping back into the pack. a nice easy run down hay street in subi was nice as it is one way and the latte crowd hadn’t woken up yet. even the speed humps are quite low and don’t cause much grief.

a couple of undulations as hay st became underwood and we were still all together. passing through perry lakes drive there would have been at least 20 – 30 women on mountain bikes and other cruisey style bikes. must have been some “get to learn cycling” group which is good to see. we need more people on bikes.

over rebold hill, a couple of guys upped the pace a bit but nothing too drastic as everybody got back on (as far as i know – add comments if i am wrong) once we hit west coast hwy. i thought this may have been an area where we would lose people as it was heading into the wind, but a number of light changes meant that the group held well.

i ended up back on the front again and kept the pace steady with ben, down to the marine pde roundabout. a new smooth surface and slight tailwind was just begging for an increase in pace. ryan came to the front and asked if he could use his big chain ring. as long as we regrouped once we headed back towards west coast hwy there was no problem.

it’s not like i am trying to restrict people riding, but i am also trying to increase peoples social time during the ride. have a chat to the guy next to you. find out what they do for a living. see if they have any daughters over the age of consent. it is amazing the cross-section of humanity that cycling brings together.

anyway, the result of letting ryan go was that people like to test themselves and went with him. which is fine, except the guy that past me on the left side without warning me. i have a new toy for my bike. and all in one video camera that you can mount either on your helmet or bike. this was an experiment and i captured way too much sky, which meant that the riders came out a bit dark. anyway, i stuffed up and missed getting footage of the sprint later on, so below is the best i could do. (sorry about the sound, i thought i had turned it off)


anyway, the group spread significantly along past cott, which is a shame as you spend more time chasing than looking at the scenery, but regrouped at the lights as we turned to go past swanbourne shops. i suspect that we lost a few along the way, but time was starting to get away from us and we had to continue on.

that has been a bit of a problem lately. i lengthened some of the rides to make sure we didn’t finish early, but now the slowing of the pack has meant that we are taking longer. i am happy to let the boys smash it from the start, as long as there is someone to control the second group. not that we are all idiots. people just like to be told what to do, none of those stupid decision things.

well we were on our way home so the boys could do what they wanted. as expected the pace started to increase, but it was strange as the usual drivers were not at the front. it was as though the group new that we were going to increase anyway, so guys that don’t always push hard, were at the front forcing the pace anyway.

as victoria ave swings into jutland pde, and the road rises slightly, a group came to the front headed by ryan. this is his usual attack point as he know that he can hold it all across the slight rises, all the way to steves hotel. i got boxed in and had to fight my way around to chase back on. then got boxed again on the next rise. maybe i’m just no good at choosing wheels.

things calmed down a bit as we made our way past the uni as everyone was getting ready for the final push along mounts bay rd. ryan was about second wheel and i was sitting around fifth, so i thought that i may have been a bit too far back to get him when he jumped. however, as the lights changed and we rolled onto mounts bay rd, he slowed down and let some of the others lead him out.

the pace was on, but people weren’t rolling through as they wanted to hold there position, so the guys on the front started to flag a bit. michael decided to push the issue and took off up the road by himself. still no-one chased and the guys at the front didn’t change position. once the swan brewery was just around the corner, i started to chase michael down. i didn’t “explode” off the front, so i knew that i had everyone else on my tail. in typical cyclist thinking, if i wasn’t going to be first, then neither was michael. i managed to catch him before the brewery but was already into the 190’s and rapidly approaching the spew zone. a quick flick of the elbow and pretty much everyone else came past me as i gulped air.

so in the end i don’t know who got to the line first, but i have a fair guess that it was ryan.

being australia day, we got caught up in some bike path closures and had to back track a bit to get to the coffee shop. some of the others turned off and went back across to mends street, but the majority ended up at bells. with the road closures, though, there were not many people at the cafe, so service was prompt.

brett had decided to make the effort to come down and have a coffee with us as his arm is still in a sling from his fall. no pins or plates so it will be probably 5 weeks will he is back with us. his bike, however, will not heal that easily and a frame replacement may be in order. apart from that, he seems ok but it is not a situation that any of us want to go through again…..especially brett.

on a further note. i went down to watch the criteriums on riverside drive in the arvo. when i say that we upped the pace, it is probably not even half of the standard pace the open men’s division was doing into the strong head wind. those boys are in a different league.

correction – apparently wayne took ryan in the sprint at the end.

sunday 20th jan – patterson & canns & urch

well today was going to be the hardest set of hills that we have planned. of course i could devise a total bastard of a course, but i do want some people to come back again. we had 18 starters this morning, as i actually remembered to count before we left. none of the usual climbers had turned up so i was a bit unsure how the ride would go. there were a couple of new boys along for the ride, so i thought i would wait to see how things developed.

the course today would take us down towards armadale and to the start of the brookton hwy. a quick turn before the big orange building (hardware or hire place) and we would take the first climb up patterson. down and then up canns rd before a really good decent along soldiers rd to pop out halfway up brookton hwy. cross over up peet and then urch which takes us to the top of the kahuna from a couple of weeks ago. the usual ride back towards kalamunda before the final climb up mundaring wier rd. all in all a pretty tough ride due to the severity of the climbs. it also meant that it would be fairly long as any ride we do down towards armadale will be around the +90km.

so we headed off along berwick and onto albany hwy. the predicted easterly winds were getting an early start and making it hard going, especailly once we got to gosnells and there was not as much cover alongside the road. a nice moderate pace was set, and people took turns on the front all the way to brookton hwy. it is about 25km to the first climb, so at a nice pace it gives you a good oppurtunity to have a chat. once onto brookton hwy we lost our first two as dr paul and dr ian decided they had nothing to prove and would ride straight up brookton then along to the coffee shop.

the wind was ripping off the hillside quite well which made the little section of brookton difficult. as we hadn’t even started the climb yet, i was starting to get a bit worried. we turned off and onto some suburban back roads which lead to the climb. now patterson is an absolute bitch of a climb. it would be less than a km, but i would say it averages about 15% with some steep pinches in the middle. it is so steep, but still has houses on either side of the road. i really can’t understand how half these people mow their lawn as even pushing one of them would be a challenge. i would recommend the flame thrower method of gardening.

anyway, the climb started and doesn’t rise that sharply. there is a left hand bend just after and you look up the road at at least another 500m of sharp climb, before it backs off a bit. i was at the front with one of the new guys. he had that whippet look about him, so i thought i would see how he goes. as ryan, stu & mike were not with us today, i was looking for someone to push me. this, however, is not the type of hill were you want to totally blow up as if you stop, it is really hard to get going again.

the new guy, turns out to be greg, who ryan had invited along. so even though ryan wasn’t there, he still sent someone to hurt me. well as the climb went skyward there was a loud ping/crunch from back in the main pack as nick had dropped his chain at the most inappropriate moment. as the climb progressed i started to fade and greg got a bit of a break. i just tried to maintain and keep ahead of the rest, but josie eventually caught and past me. i had a strange feeling. my inside elbows were feeling sore as i was pulling up so hard on the bars that my arms were fatiguing. i kept pushing as best i could and hit the top about 25m from josie and greg. jerry came in not far after me as he has been climbing well lately.

the remaining 12 riders followed in dribs and drabs as you would expect with a hill of this steepness. everyone agreed that it is a bitch of a climb but i think it was a good warm up. at least everything afterwards would seem easier.

a very short quick decent and we turned onto canns rd. this is a very moderate climb with only a few slight pinches that interrupt your rythmn. it is a good climb to really test your cardio endurance as you can hold a good pace and try to out run the others.

as the climb started and the pack started to spread out a bit i hear this car horn and look around. this white magna is trying to come around and has got impatient. he floors it to get around the guys then flys up past us missing me by about half a metre. there was nothing coming the other way so he didn’t need to do that. just another arse hole really. it did piss me off a bit so i actually chased to see if he turned off anywhere. all i ended up doing was gap greg, josie and darren, and left me on my own. i just ploughed on ahead not pushing too hard but enough to keep the gap.

we regrouped at churchman’s brook rd and continued on. the decent down soldiers rd is great for a mid ride reprieve. the top section is a bit rough but it soon turns to hotmix and widens out significantly. there is one tight-ish corner on the top rough section and scott got caught out there about a year ago. it is all left handers then a tight right hander by which time you build up quite a bit of speed. scott went in a bit hot and his front wheel folded underneath him. quite a lot of gravel rash and a taxi ride home for him that day. i didn’t want to go through that again.

so i lead the decent so that i could ease things up on the offending corner. but i guess as i have riden this way a lot, i have gotten used to the road a bit, so we stretched it out through the corners. once we hit the hotmix, it is all on. they have fixed a number of the bumps and you can easily get to 70 km/h just rolling. there are only a couple of corners where you may need to brush a bit of speed off, but over all the best part of the ride.

we lost a couple more as a mate of shao didn’t have quite a good decent on a full tri bike, so took it easy. they both had time commitments so we left them as they were going straight up brookton hwy.

we crossed over onto peet rd and began the next climb. unlike the other week, we were now doing the bottom half of peet rd then truning onto urch and continui
ng to climb. the bottom section is quite steep. it probably averages about 10% and you can really feel it. greg set a good pace so i decided to just hold his wheel to see how he went. we dropped the others and quite quickley put a big gap into them. by the time we reached urch, we could not see them further down the road.

slight reprieve at the start of urch as it headed back down slightly. the climb on the other side kicks up quite sharply, then flattens then up again and again. greg and i hit the climb and started to up the pace. once it got to the stage that we were standing on the climb, i deceided to see how far i could push him. i kept standing and pushed towards the top of the first pinch and managed to put a significant gap into him. i didn’t quite push into the red zone, but my heart rate was defientely in the 180’s and i was panting like a dog. i managed to keep the gap to the end and sat up when it flattened out before joining onto canning mills rd.

we regrouped on canning mills rd and we were lucky to have anyone with us as the rest of the pack got a bit confused on peet and wasn’t sure wether they had to turn onto urch. another pleasant surprise has been the waiting time at the top of climbs seemed to catch me out. i would be talking to someone and look up to see that everyone was ready to go. so off we went.

the trip across the top to the pickering brook intersection was relatively uneventful, with just a couple of small climbs to further weaken the climbing legs. another regroup and we lost another as josie turned off early as she didn’t need to do quite as many km’s today.

as we headed down past the carmel sanitarium school, the best sphincter tightening experieince happened to greg. on the little decent, where you can quite easily get to 70 km/h, he was hit with a slight cross wind and the whole bike started the speed wobbles. it’s not something you want to happen to you and if you have never had it before, it scares the crap out of you. he managed to get it under control, but i would say at the expense of a clean pair of knicks. i waited for him to make sure he was ok, and we made our way through bickley valley.

i deceided that i was now too far away from the front of the pack to push the pace on the final climb up mundaring weir rd. instead i waited for the back markers to make sure that they were ok. as we hit the bottom of the climb i put the power down and was going to see how many of the group i could catch before the top. heart rate well above 180, panting for oxygen, and legs screaming at me i managed to pass almost everyone on the lower slope and had jerry in sight by the time we hit the “flatter” section. he looked back at this point and saw me, but i was still a fair way back. whacking it into the big ring i pushed hard to gain as much ground as i could before the gradient increased again. by the time we were on the last pinch i had him well and truely within spitting distance. i was a bit afraid that i would max out trying to reach him, but dug deep regardless and pushed it into the 190’s and almost to the point of no return. however, i caught and past him about 10 m from the kom line on the road. he said he didn’t even hear me coming.

i was pretty much spend. it must look funny to the others at the coffee shop as we often look like crap when we arrive. sweat dripping everywhere, looks of pain or just that blank stare when the light has gone out inside.

dr paul and dr ian were waiting at coffee shop already so we pulled up a table and ordered. service was exceptional today and the coffee’s came out quick. probably trying to get rid of us before the brunch crowd gets in.

anyway, dr paul recounts their road wanker experience they encountered on the way to the coffee shop. on a very quiet back rd (near where greg had the wobbles), a guy in a car comes up beside paul and ian and starts abusing them for riding two abreast and making it hard for cars to get around. he is doing this while driving on the wrong side of the road. dr paul said that he was very polite, but he is also very sarcastic so i’m guessing he just told him where to go. people just hate us cause they can.

coffes’s down and back on the bike. another car deceides to try to take jerry out, by waiting till the last minute before pulling out of a side street. he had all the time in the world, but waited till it became dangerous. nice cruise down welshpool rd, but the wind was a bit funny and only got to 78 km/h or so. slowed down at the bottom so that simon could catch my wheel, then time trialed it to the lights at tonkin hwy. a last regoup and john told us that he had the wobbles on the decent. he had them really bad last year during a cyclo-sportif race so got rid of the giant to buy a pinerallo. he is a tall, solid guy, so unless he goes full custom, i don’t think it will make any difference. he managed to get the wobbles under control though, so no damage.

the last slog up welshpool was a pleasure with the tailwind and a couple of guys had a bit of at go to see how far they could get. as usual, dr melvyn was one of the main antagonisors. the final sprint to the coffee shop and i thought i would wait to see who would have a go. jerry decided to lead out early, but chistophe and myself managed to get on his wheel. right towards the end, christophe came around me so jerry started his sprint, i had the perfect lead out with these two side by side so managed to come past in the next lane.

as the remainder of the pack came into the car park, there was a noise like a bike skidding on gravel. we look around the corner, and dr marc had slid the bike out about 3m from the very end of the ride. no real damage besides a bit of skin, bar tape and pride.

saturday 19th jan – reverse hale rd

not a bad turn out this morning. about 40 or so but it may have looked even bigger as mickey’s novice group is also growing. bruce was back with us after his girlfriend had a baby girl last week which meant he couldn’t ride. no commitment from some people.

anyway, the route would take us up great eastern hwy across ascot and along guilford rd. cut across to kalamunda rd then back down hale to welshpool rd and home via shep rd. the forecast was for south easterly winds so this should give us a nice tailwind home.

i reiterated again that we need to keep it together until we get back to welshpool rd and just keep it to a moderate pace. i’m not trying to restrict peoples riding, but we have the safety of the group to worry about. it frustrates drivers even more if they have five little groups they need to negotiate rather than one pack.

so we headed off with steve b and scott on the front. already there was a bit of half wheeling going on but i was sitting second wheel so if they started upping the pace too much i would just let them go. it was to early on in the ride for anyone to chase anyway. we picked up nev on the way. another good reason for posting the route beforehand. at least you can be a bit late and still know where to catch up. paul g mentioned that i was looking like a concerned father, as i was constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure the group was together. i guess that is just how it has developed lately.

as we cruised up great eastern, there were two utes of note. one over took us at a slow point and the passenger said “hey, peleton!”. maybe he was french, or maybe he got the munchies late one july night and caught a bit of the tour on sbs. probably the latter. the second ute of note was on the other side of a two lane hwy, going in the other direction, and the driver yelled out “get off the f~ckin’ rd”. maybe he was….nah, i’m not making excuses for him, he was obviously a f~ckhead.

across ascot and onto guilford rd where chris and myself took to the front. nice easy pace where i could still carry on a conversation. i also needed to be on the front as we had a few turns once we got into guilford, so i wanted to make sure we went the right way. a couple of turns later and we were on kalamunda rd. the pace was ok and i saw that there was one of the new guys, john, on the front. he started with mickey’s group and found it a bit slow, so stepped up. the group stayed together well through high wycombe, then i noticed john coming back through the pack. he had pushed a little too hard on the front to maintain the pace and was not really really paying the price. few more km’s practice at pace and he will be right. there is no easy way to get better. even with epo you still need to do some training. (not speaking from experience, or i would be a lot better).

it was about this point, as dr melvyn and i were riding together, that i remarked to him that dr pauls campagnolo knicks looked a bit see thru on the white strip that crossed his arse. the couple of inches of crack was confirmation of this. we didn’t tell him till we got back to the coffee shop though. also made a conscious effort to not ride behind him. “back in the cupboard for them” he declared when we mentioned it. not before getting a photo though, so everyone can see.

after crossing roe hwy, we still stayed together well. i was being repeatedly surprised by the groups restraint. these were the normal smash it spots as it is wide roads and head crosswinds that would hurt the group. we turned into hale, (or hawtin as it is called at the northern end), and this pretty much marked the halfway point. a little way along here i tried to change into the big ring and it seemed to half go, then drop back. funny. i tried again and noticed nothing happened. i grabbed the cable from under the down tube and it was very, very slack. bugger, broken cable and now i was stuck in the little ring. well i guess there will be no sprint for me.

it stayed together for about one km, then cade decided to come around everyone and shoot off the front. i was about third wheel and was hoping like hell that no-one would chase. they all knew we were going to stay together till welshpool, and i had even reiterated it to cade as we were on kalamunda rd.

well no. the front few guys took of after him. i just shook my head and held my pace with paul o next to me maintaining the group. ok, i thought, a few had gone, but let them go as i’m not going to yell at them and treat them like kids. (i will blog them instead). so they start putting some distance into us and i keep maintaining the same pace we were supposed to go. a few more break out and come around us to bridge to the break away. even some of the not as good riders tried to bridge, and ended up in another group stuck between us and the break. i just kept the pace but was shaking my head every time someone came around. there would have been about 15 riders that went.

the lights at tonkin sorted them out and we caught them there. i went to the front and had a few words, but in reality, what can i do. we have such a spread of abilities that i have to try to keep everyone happy. if anyone wants to step up and lead a slower group, i would be very happy. and by slower i mean the constant pace that we did for the majority of the ride. it was still over 30 km/h so it wasn’t a total cruise, but not the +40 km/h that happened later. for all the boys that went off the front, i would say that at some point in there schooling, the report card said either “doesn’t listen to instructions” or “blindly follows what the other boys tell him to do”.

anyway, we got onto welshpool rd and the pace picked up as expected. i knew i w
as going to have a rough time as i was gear limited, but managed to hold pace as a number of the stronger guys went to the front. as i have said in earlier posts in needed to work on my spinning, so it was probably good for me. i was glad i had an eleven cog on. the lights at leach pulled us back together slightly and the new hotmix they had laid was very nice to ride on. no real attacks followed, but just a general upping of the pace till shep rd.

not sure who was waiting for what, but the pace eased a bit along shep. maybe everyone was now trying to make sure they had their breath back before we hit the causeway and lined up for the final sprint. with ryan playing surf life saver this morning, there were a lot more in with a chance of not being totally blown away. bruce had turned off early to tend to his new daddy duties, so this really limited the number of potential sprinters down.

i decided to have a dig on the last rise before the causeway lights. the lack of gearing didn’t help, and probably just hurt some of the chasers more than anything. we lucked the lights and hit the causeway at a bit of a pace.

i tried to hold on as long as i could, but didn’t even make it across the second bridge before my cadence got the better of me and i had to ease back. it is not the most ideal sprint finish as there is two sets of lights and the second set is the finish line. not easy to pick a winner if everyone has to slow down to stop getting killed. anyway, they got held up at the first set at plain st so i thought i was in with a chance to get back on, but they only slowed a bit then the lights went green. i just cruised in to the end, but they got caught again at victoria st so i think it was a bit of a dud in the end.

so coffee awaited, or hot chocolate in my case, and a chance to socialise, which is the whole point of this ride. the coffee shop seemed to have gotten a few more wait staff as the coffee’s were coming out pretty fast. however, dr melvyn had found a way to circumvent the wait and ordered a milkshake instead.

i had a big day of stripping the bike down ahead of me as i needed to add a few gears before tomorrows hills ride. i also had a new bottom bracket to install and had to tilt the new saddle down a bit as i was wondering why i was getting a bit sore up front.

stay safe.

update for saturday 12th jan

i have talked to the three involved in the crash on saturday and all are doing ok.

wally has a few grazes and was a bit sore on saturday and sunday but generally ok.
he is very glad that he had a helmet on as it pretty much smashed in half.

darren went to see a doctor as a precaution and has a bit of tendon damage in his left hand and a bruised bone in his right wrist, which is why he said holding the bars was difficult.
apart from that, just a bit of skin off and some bruising.

brett said he felt like he has been hit by a truck. not surprisingly.
definitely a broken collarbone and may need to go see a specialist to have it pinned and plated.
also missing some skin from a few places, but back at work now but probably only typing one handed.

i think we were lucky there was no traffic and we were at a slow speed, otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

again, just to reiterate not to cross wheels, hold a straight line and call out any obstacles.

stay safe.