ride report by peter.
kids change everything. and they don’t even have to be your own ones. today i was sure that brendan, mike and ryan were not going to be at the sunday ride. when i arrived, i found that steve and julian were also absent. great, i thought, i should be able to get some points today. however, lurking in the group were a couple of young bucks in matching cyclemania kit. recently promoted to under 19 (which means that they are probably 17) sam and adrian had been out with us quite a few time before. actually it was quite a few months ago and what a difference those months have made. but i am jumping ahead again.
the weather report said a minimum of 10, but with a strengthening easterly wind blowing, the apparent temperature was more like 6. it was going to be a brisk start, but the expected top was 24 so i was sure that it would warm up soon. i made it to the start probably a fraction over the allotted time and found the group standing in a line all facing the sun. o.k. at least i wasn’t the only one that was cold.
a quick briefing and we were off with lisa and myself leading the way. the idea was to do a turn early on before we reached helena valley road where we knew that it would be all exposed and would be smashing the group. just after burswood, there was a call for a mechanical as christophe’s crank had decided to make moves to depart from the rest of the bike. simon was on hand and with some tools from brett, we were soon on our way. however, during the stop, lisa made note that brother julian was sporting some nice newly de-haired legs. lisa does seem to notice these things, and i have seen her “checking out the talent” so to speak. as we got going, i asked julian about it and he said that he got his sister to wax them for him. he said that it was so painful and she stuffed up a couple of areas making it hurt even more. the things we do to look beautiful.
we made our way out to bushmead road which becomes helena valley rd with only a slight detour when the group failed to negotiate a roundabout properly. the wind certainly was stronger the closer we got to the hills and jarrad did a fine job pushing into it for the majority. at the turn towards darlington, the trio of simon, christophe and melvyn continued on towards ridgehill rd and bade us farewell.
the first climb up coulston is not particularly steep but does start and finish with a pinch. the first bit hits you at around 13% before evening out to a more settled 3 or 4%. once through the steep section i looked back to see who was in the group and found the majority still attached. i made a little attack to see who was playing and most bridged across and then alistar counter-attacked. i jumped on the back and the group seemed content for now. sitting at the back on the wheel of sam and adrian, i noticed that they were getting a bit frisky so i thought i better be attentive. sure enough, sam jumps up and attacks and adrian is straight on his wheel. i jump on the back and we gap the rest of the field straight away. unfortunately for me, maintaining an attack like this is still just out of reach for me and i soon hit redline and blew up quite spectacularly. by the time we reached the final pinch, and i could see the sign for the approaching intersection, the rest of the group were all over me. bloody kids. so much for easy points today.
1st – sam, 2nd – jerry, 3rd – adrian, 4th – chris, 5th – brother julian.
brother julian said that he just flew up that last bit due to his new aerodynamic legs.
a short regroup and we were on our way again. there was a short but quick decent along glen rd before it kicks up again at a max of 17%. we then turn left into ryecroft and follow it to the end. it steps up a few times, but not really steep. just enough to make it really hurt after a while.
sam and adrian took off on the decent and i didn’t want to give them too much leeway. i was kind of caught in no-man’s land until the uphill hit and heiko smashed past in the big ring. a few crunchy gear changes and he was back to spinning the granny gear. the sharp pinch had also slowed the kids and i managed to leap frog heiko and bridge across to them. adrian then attacked leaving me with sam on my wheel. i just plugged on the best i could and about halfway along the climb, alistar managed to catch up with us. sam grabbed his wheel and i slotted in behind. we sat this way for a short time and i looked back to see a number of other riders closing in as the gradient diminished. sam took this as a cue and attacked leaving alistar and myself behind. alistar tried to up his pace but just managed to drop me as i was hitting my limit chasing the kids. we were nearing the top and i just had to watch as the groups picked me up and spat me out the back as i was not able to even hold a wheel now. i was really at the point of feeling like i wanted to spew. that is two days in a row and i don’t think i have pushed myself that hard for a while.
1st – adrian, 2nd – sam, 3rd – alistar, 4th – chris, 5th – brother julian.
we headed towards mundaring township and since it wasn’t a “categorised” climb, i was not in the mood to push it. i had burnt a lot of matches early on the first two climbs trying to play with the kids and those that took the “slow and steady” approach had reeled me in each time. there were a number of people that stretched out the group but i was content to just hold a wheel and tap out a rhythm. we regrouped at mundaring to make sure everyone knew where we were stopping next. for us the climb ends at asher rd as this is the highest point before it drops down into the final climb to kalamunda. adrian asked if the finish point was at the top of the hill and basically it was so i said yes. this would cause a little confusion, but the rest of us knew where to go. i stressed a number of times that the fiish was at asher rd.
we started our decent and the kids shot off the front but no-one was in the mood to chase. i was a bit worried about giving them too much room leading into the climbs, but they didn’t look like they were actually making a move, more like just dicking around. we caught them as the road hit the last little bit of climb and the group swamped around. mark started pushing the pace and soon there was a little group of four off the front. i was caught up in the next group but now wasn’t sure how well my legs were coping. through the roundabout and sweeping corners we dropped down into the bottom of the weir before the gradient slowed our progress. the front bunch hadn’t capitalised on their escape and so they were only 50 metres up the road once we started to climb.
i came around our group and started to bridge across the to the front. my legs started to feel it as the road steepened up and my pace dropped off. chris came past and i jumped on his wheel and forced myself to stay there. after a few more minutes of climbing i was starting to lose the deadening effects of decent and my climbing felt smoother. we had picked up mark and damir and there was just sam and adrian in front of us now. i came around chris and started to slowly make ground on the kids. chris has dropped off by now and so i was on my own but seriously wanting to catch them. towards the top of the climb i managed to finally bridge across to the wheel of sam. i wasn’t going anywhere so sat on for the rest of the climb. as we crested the top, adrian threw both arms in the air to signify a win. unfortunately i had to tell him that there was a long way to go. and there was no asher rd where we were.
looking back there were a few riders catching up so sam suggested that we roll through. after about three or four times when i was just finishing a turn sam attacked and sped up the road. adrian sat on my wheel for a moment to see what i was going to do before joining his teammate and leaving me behind. bloody kids. i had been setup and spat out. they basically had me played from the start. i kept a nice tempo and tried not to lose too much time to them but knew that i would not be catching them before the end.
after a while i looked back to see a group moving up behind me. i eased up the pace to allow them to catch me so i could at least catch a draft. jarrad was leading jerry and brother julian so i sat neatly behind to recoup for as long as possible. after the main climb out of the weir there are two more main steps in the hill before we reach the finish. between each one is either a flat or minor downhill section. as we made our way up the first step, jerry attacked and dragged julian with him. i dug deep to stay on the wheel, but after so long at the front, jarrad was left behind. it turns out that jerry, like adrian, was also sprinting for the line that didn’t exist and once we reached a carpark full of mountain bikers, he sat up and realised his mistake.
we came to the last climb and the road swings left just after the hill starts so you can’t actually see the finish line. it also flattens towards the top to effectively the finish is over the horizon as you are climbing it. i told the guys that the finish was just at the top of the climb and so jerry attacked as soon as the road started to push upwards. i couldn’t hold that wheel at that pace so didn’t try, but knew that the hill was a lot longer than that. julian went with him, but soon both of them were sitting up and sucking in air. i kept a strong pace and dragged myself back to them before the halfway point of the hill. instead of just sitting in i just kept going past at that pace hoping like hell that they had spent all their energy on the attack. i was a little worried about julian as he had just gone with the attacks rather than instigating them, so may have had energy in reserve. up ahead i could see a couple of riders and saw that the kids had split up. i kept my pace on but was starting to fade towards the top. i knew that i wouldn’t catch second place, but was more concentrating on keeping the wolves at bay. finishing the climb in no-man’s land at least got me some points as a redemption for the earlier ones where i blew.
1st – sam, 2nd – adrian, 3rd – peter, 4th – jerry, 5th – brother julian.
the thing that stood out to me before we started out again was when i finished the climb and looked back down the road. usually there are a number of smaller groups spread out over vast distances. this time, however, the majority of the field were all on the final climb by the time i finished. this was a great sign on the level of climbing fitness the group has developed, especially after three climbs over 6 kms.
with one more decent and climb before coffee, i reiterated the timed portion of the final hill climb. we hadn’t really done much on this for a while, but i was feeling fitter than i had for a long time, so thought i better give it a crack.
the group sped down the hill and a couple of splits appeared. nothing major, but the kids had enough of a break at the bottom to make it hard for me before we actually started. mark and i started our clocks at the same time and then put in a big effort to bridge up to the leaders. damir, oliver and jarrad pushed on with the kids and i managed to bridge across before we were too far into the climb. unfortunately this effort killed my legs and i didn’t last long and slipped off the front group. i continued to tap out a rhythm trying not to lose too much ground but was caught before the flat section by a little train being towed by brother dan. up the road, the kids and damir had dropped oliver and jarrad but they were still working well to keep ahead.
brother dan put in a big effort along the flat section and soon we had jarrad and oliver in sight. it looked like damir had also been dropped by the kids and was clawing his way up the last bit of the climb. i sensed an opportunity and chucked it up a couple of gears and came around the brothers and mark. no-one reacted so i just kept the pace on to try to pick up the next position. my legs were not feeling too bad so i powered along and came past oliver and jarrad just as the road hit that last pinch. mindful of just how steep that bit is, i dropped it back to the small ring and sped past a dying damir who had put in such a great effort keeping with the kids for so long. i looked back to make sure that oliver didn’t take me out with a late surge, but i managed to keep third place all the way to the line. my time was not a pb for me, but 8:08 i was pretty happy with as it is only 16 sec slower than my best.
1st – sam, 2nd – adrian, 3rd – peter, 4th – oliver, 5th – jarrad.
some other times were –
sam 7:30, adrian 7:45, mark 8:14, dan 8:20, heiko 8:50, chris 8:29, paul 9:10.
the merchant didn’t really have room for us, but we managed to get some seats and make enough noise that people made more room for us. it is the downside to the place, but better quick service than all sitting together. had a good quick break and managed to have a chat with sharon (from livingston specsavers on the back of your jersey) who used to be such a regular on our rides. the big baby bump in front of her now would make riding almost impossible unless on one of those cool upright chopper style bikes. the kids left us with damir to find more hills and we made our way back into town.
the easterly wind was going to make the decent down welshpool road a fast one and jarrad managed to crack the 90 km/hr mark so he was happy. some of the guys had to actually pass a car as they were going so fast. apparently it surprised the crap out of the driver as they flashed past. i managed a good lead out for paul as we hit the end of welshpool road, but the group was quite subdued as everyone was content to sit in the tailwind.
the highlight would be the final sprint along berwick towards the maccas. jarrad and brother julian were off the front a good 30 metres on me when i saw jules suddenly lurch to the left and almost collect both the kerb and the large tree in the nature strip. i could then smell the burning rubber so i knew that there had been a touch of wheels. i decided to sit up then as did jules for some reason. better wash those knicks out tonight as i am sure that it was a brown trousers moment for him. probably just a good time to remind everyone that this is the reason we don’t have an official register of sprint points. it just gets a bit too dangerous when just the slightest lapse in concentration at the end of a long ride can almost bring you unstuck.
apart from that it was a pretty good ride and i enjoyed the fact that sam and adrian made it very hard for me as it is good to be pushed. with the golden spokes next week, most of the racing guys and girls will be away, but there is bound to be someone that wants to crank out a hills ride.