ride report by peter.
you know it doesn’t really look like that many people when we are all waiting around the car park, but once we get going, it is amazing how much room we take up on the road. i estimated about 50 riders were out this morning and we even got split at the first set of lights leaving the car park. the group was heading down canning hwy and we were to split just after north lake rd with the main group continuing on and the fast group taking burke drive. the main group would pretty much reach freo before returning via leach hwy while the fast group would take the stock rd hill and then across to south street. the map did actually say that we continue on to nicholson road but i got confused and told everyone at the start that we would turn at banister. sorry my bad.
well before we got there, the group was split at pretty much half of every set of lights that we could hit. there was a bit of catch up but we eventually got there. as per last time, the split was going to cause havoc with the traffic. with the group needing to take up both lanes for a very, very short amount of time, there was always going to be someone that was going to have to slow down for that 15 or so seconds. sure enough, we got some abuse hurled at us as the cars sped past.
i would say it was close to a 30/20 spilt in favour of the fast group today. i had noticed the wind had picked up a bit as we were riding along canning and i was wondering how that would affect the group. inevitably, it had a dramatic affect on many a rider.
the group seemed to meander a bit along burke drive with no-one really wanting to push the pace. i was hanging off the back with declan discussing why he was with the fast group this morning. “method to the madness” was his initial comment, but it turns out that he is training for the canberra ½ ironman which has quite a hilly bike leg, so he was wanting to do the stock rd hill too.
well we hit the bottom of the hill and everyone took off like a rocket. i used to do repeats of this hill as training, so i knew what to expect and set a steady pace for the first bit. as we turned the corner and the hill continued, those that had burnt all their matches on the early slope, were slowly drifting back. some of the fast boys managed to go hard on both the initial pinch and the rest of the climb so i didn’t make up more than half the field.
i think the hill made the initial selection and some people never found their way back on by the time we crossed canning hwy. along stock road there were a couple of small hills that made life tough for some riders and the wind made it hard to get back on. by the time we turned onto south street, i think we may have lost a couple more.
there are many rolling hills along this section of south street and it is an opportunity for a strong rider to make an impact on the group. steve has been slowly recovering from back surgery earlier on in the year and still feels that he is trying to find form. well he took off on the first hill and the group reacted and started to splinter apart. riders were falling off the back and those that had trouble on stock road were never going to catch up now. i was wheel hopping from rider to rider trying to claw my way back to the front group. once equilibrium set in, it was clear what the front of the ride now consisted of. firstly there was steve fifty or more metres off the front. then there was a group of about five or so riders containing ryan, brendan and others all swapping off turns trying to catch up. trailing not far, but far enough to be hurting were a few others like judd, john and myself. we were swapping turns ourselves trying to bridge the gap. after us, there was a lot of empty road and i had no idea where the rest of the group was. later i found out that they got pretty much every traffic light along that stretch and were never going to bridge back even if we slowed down.
anyway, the front groups all smashed themselves for a good 5 kms before a set of lights at murdoch drv finally brought steve to a halt. the rest of us caught up, but our group now numbered just ten and by the time the lights released us, there were still no others on the horizon.
john commented that i really dug deep to help keep us in touch and i replied that my “spew-meter” was pretty much in the red. he said that he was sure that there will be more opportunities to spew later. the group took off the we started to roll through again and we picked up matty somewhere along this stretch. with the wind coming across us, we rolled to the right and made it all the way to banister road with no incident. the group started to change lanes to continue on but i called for them to turn left and we did banister instead. it wasn’t until i looked at the garmin that it said “off course” that i realised the we were indeed, off course. however, since i had said that we were doing banister from the start, it wasn’t so much off course, but a different course.
so with a slight tailwind, the pace picked up to well over 50km/hr and i opted to sit on the back rather than getting in the way at the front. there were a couple of attacks and a sprint towards the end of banister but i wasn’t seeing much past judd’s bum in front of me and the sweat streaming down my glasses.
nicholson was pretty much the same and the group continued hard through cannington. there were no attacks but the pace didn’t relent and i was glad that i was being a selfish passenger as i would have been out the back after a couple of roll throughs. just as we came through east vic park ryan made a move just before the lights at the kent st intersection. this is the usual launching pad as there is a slight ride after it. unfortunately the lights changed and four of us were left on the wrong side of amber so watched the group sprint up the road. we had them in sight at the narrows, but the lights conspired against us so we never came close enough to contest the sprint.
i wasn’t stopping for coffee as kate had some dental surgery yesterday so was not feeling 100%. the rest of the fast group and the main group came in slowly after that, but everyone was pretty buggered.
track grand prix next saturday night, the golden spokes race on sunday with the tour de perth the following weekend so we are in for a couple of busy weekends. make sure you pencil in sunday the 15th to come and support the club at the festival of cycling during the tour de perth. we will post more info soon, but there will be lots of cycling related stuff going on at perry lakes reserve while the tour de perth race is going on.