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.