ride report by peter.
after being off the bike for two weeks with firstly a cold and then a knee injury i arrived at the sunday hills ride ready to not actually do any hills. the physio had given me the all clear to start riding again, but only as long as i go with the easier groups. luckily that meant that i could still do a sunday ride as the transitional group allowed me to not have to stress the knee too much. i had taken the transitionals out the previous day so was beginning to remember a few names, but forgive me if i get them wrong in this write up.
we had about 37 or 38 riders turn up this morning which made up the three different groups heading out. the plan is to always get them riding together as a group for the first part and then split apart at the appropriate point. in this case we were all heading down to gosnells and riding across to the bottom of the kahuna. from there the advanced and intermediate would take the first climb together while the transitional group made a quick turn to avoid the climb all together.
the first part of the journey went quite smoothly even when nicole got a puncture along manning road. for any of the riders on the sunday ride, please make sure the group know that you have a puncture as we will stop to wait for you to fix it. nicole pulled off to the side and was overtaken by most of the group but there was no call to halt the ride. a few of us hung back to help her out while a couple of others sprinted up the road to stop the group. we quickly got going again thanks to the intervention of a gas bottle.
no other incidents and soon we were at the base of the kahuna. we bade the other groups farewell and watched them head up the hill while we traversed the flats at the base of the escarpment. the road was undulating slightly and we sat at a nice even pace dictated by whomever was at the front with me. there was about 10 or so of us which included doug and shun to help us along. not that these guys really needed much help as we were ticking along quite nicely.
we made it to kelmscott and headed back out to albany hwy. one of the riders (insert rider #1 name here) turned off home at this point as she lived at the base of mt nasura very close to the f_ckenberg. her husband rob was on the advanced ride and he has come out quite a bit in the past so good to see that we can now offer something for everyone.
back onto albany and as we went up the hill past the brookton hwy intersection, the group split up a bit. doug and shun stayed back to look after those that had been split off while i headed up the road to make sure the group was on the right path. even in the advanced group, this little ride before the turn to carawatha can often break the group up a bit. the damage was mostly done by steve who astride his colnago decided to up the pace to see who would hold on. there were some takers and pretty soon there was a group of about 4 up the road. as i bridged across i grabbed nathan who was stuck in no-mans land and gave him my wheel. we made it just before the crest of the hill and told the pack to keep going as we would regroup at armadale rd. most impressive in this little pack were young jamie who has been out with us for a while now and a new girl alex who was about 16. alex and her dad jeff usually ride with a freo group on saturday but were looking for a sunday ride and were told about us. a couple of strong young riders which is good to see since the average age of our group would be well and truly north of 35.
as we waited for the lights at armadale rd, the backmarkers caught up so we were off straight away. as planned, this stretch contained a very nice tailwind. jamie and i sat on the front quite easily ticking over the k’s at around 40km/hr. occasionally looking back, i checked that the group was all together and everyone seemed comfortable and revelling in the tailwind assistance.
i was riding with one eye on the garmin as i know we needed to to make a turn to get onto ranford road. i had not actually ridden or even driven out this was before so was just going off the map. luckily google had done it’s job properly and all the roads were where they said they would be.
along ranford road, i swung off the front and sat at the back with doug and shun. i told the guys on the front that they were responsible for maintaining the speed as after all it is their group. this means that you must have an idea of what the rest of the group is doing. there are two ways to do this and both need to be employed. firstly, don’t just ride with your head down. you may think that you are putting in a nice hard effort for the good of the group, but in reality, if you have gapped the rider behind you, then they are working just as hard as you. secondly, pass the message along the group if a rider falls off the back. often, a rider will not call out if they are struggling as they don’t want to cause a fuss or feel like they are holding up the group. we once you are on the ride, you are committed so it is up to the rest of the group to make sure you get home in one piece. it is sometimes up to others in the group to point out that a rider has fallen off the back and you all need to slow down to wait. it often just takes one person to say something and everyone will slow. be that person and look after the other riders in your group.
as we crossed the tonkin hwy and entered the “kennel zone” john (i think rider #2) dropped his chain at the lights. i stopped to help him get it back on but we then had to chase to catch back up. the group had slowed, but even that had split the group apart somewhat. it is important that the group stays together as much as possible as this means that we don’t take up as much room on the road and piss the drivers off as much.
away again and we had a fairly uneventful trip into canning vale. as ranford road became south street, so did the rolling hills that we needed to negotiate to reach stock road. close to murdoch, jamie got in a bit of distress. he thought that something had bitten him on the back so we pulled over into a bus stop to investigate. sure enough when he pulled up his top a bee fell out sans stinger which was still embedded in his back. i dug it out and asked him if he was allergic. he didn’t think so as he had been stung before so we kept going and would just have to wait to see if he died or not.
coming out of the north lake road intersection the hill totally blew the group apart. steve took off again so i bridged across to have a chat to him. i told them to keep going as long as we regrouped at the top. pretty soon a couple of others including the young ones had joined him to keep the pace on. there was no regoup at the top but rather we were all together by the time we turned onto stock road.
we were pretty much on our homeward stretch but the rolling hills and the distance were starting to take a toll on some of the riders. we crossed canning hwy together and made it onto burke drive for the final drag to raffles. most of the group had stuck together, but emma and john were in trouble so steve and myself set the pace and broke the wind for them to try to get back on. we almost made it by the time we hit the applecross section, but a few more riders were struggling by then. i jumped across to the main group and told doug to take them the normal route while we took the others along kintail instead. steve, shun and myself each had a rider in tow and paced them towards raffles where we regrouped with the rest of them.
the final push back to the carpark was a bit disjointed, but we eventually made it and a few of us stopped for coffee at the boatshed. i think that when i map these rides i make an allowance for a coffeebreak about ¾ along the course. maybe i am too used to the more advanced groups where the distance and terrain would not pose an issue to the group, but the way that some riders were struggling, a rest would have allowed them to enjoy the last bit of the ride a bit more.
overall though, i think that everyone enjoyed the ride and even though nathan still hasn’t cracked the 30km/hr average for his rides, by the time he got home it was over 100kms on the clock. depending on the physio visit this week, i may be back with the transitional group again this week. if not, i think that there are some good riders there that will be able to look after that group.