Tag Archives: gooseberry

saturday 3rd july – fast (kind of) group

ride report by peter.

0.1 deg.  see that isn’t zero.  not even close.  well that is the official temp at 7:00am and that is on top of one of the building in the city.  i drove over to the bell tower and while riding over to the start, i am sure it dropped a couple of degrees  going from the city to south perth.  numbers were a good reflection of this and usually follow the temperature down.  as such we combined the two main groups and sent everyone on their way.

well, i started heading out on the fast group ride and looked back to see if anyone was going to follow me.  at first i thought that i was going to be on my own.  by the time i reached the lights at mill point rd, we had a massive group of six.  probably not just the temperature, but also the course kept some people away from the fast group.  we were going to tackle gooseberry hill.

joining me today were captain poseur, ben diesel, danny boy, daisy ainsworth and tim (with no real nickname yet).  no pace on at all today and we could hardly be called the fast group.  we basically took turns  riding two abreast all the way out to gooseberry.  it was cold and muscles were not really in the mood for any hard riding.  plus everyone was saving themselves for the goose.

it was obvious that  we were going to stick together today and agreed to regroup at the top of the climb.  my legs were so stiff and hammy’s so tight that i really had trouble from the start.  danny boy was off like a shot but got reeled in early and the four headed up the hill with tim and myself off the back.  that is pretty much the way it stayed to the end as i made no ground on anyone.

just some facts for those of you that haven’t done the goose before.  it has two main sections of climbing with a short flat section as it skirts around the hill.  the first section is the “easiest” but still manages to hit 12% before it reaches the flat.  once you round the corner, it starts heading up again.  the first section hits that 12% pretty quickly and you roll back through the gears that you changed up to on the flat.  pretty soon you run out and next thing you know you are just standing to keep some semblance of cadence.  it takes a couple of bends as it wraps around the hill so you can’t even see the top as you continue on.  each time it takes a bend it seems to get steeper.  finally you can see the traffic sign for the roundabout at the top, but that is where it is the steepest.  it peaks out at around 18% just before you crest the top.

tim hadn’t done that climb before and slowed a bit towards the end, but i was still a convincing last.  we headed down the zig-zag and onto Helena valley rd.  we continued to stay together and all started to do work at the front.  it stayed this way from midland all the way to maylands.  once the rolling hills started we lost tim for a while after he did a long turn on the front.  as per our agreement, we slowed down and he finally managed to catch up once we turned onto east parade.

no real sprint to speak of, just a quickening of pace as we approached the end.  so even with the cold weather and low numbers, it was still a good ride.

sunday 13th dec – welsh, obs, camel, goose

ride report by peter.


a hot, hot, hot day predicted so i came up with a new route that would allow us to stay close to kalamunda.  this would allow  some easy shortcuts if the temperature got too much and they needed to head straight to the coffee shop.  there was one new climb around the camel farm, but the rest were just other hills cobbled together.  there were a couple of up and back climbs so all up there would be maximum elevation gained for minimal distance.  hopefully that also meant minimal time.

there would have been about 20 or so at the carpark, but it was clear that the doctors were plotting an early breakaway as to escape the mid-day heat.  we headed out along welshpool rd and picked up mike and the “abdominal brothers”.  once we hit the climb proper, the pecking order soon sorted itself out.  jonny was on the front and setting the pace early on until i came past dragging the rest.  i managed to keep pushing on till about halfway up the first half before mike came past to set the pace.  he didn’t attack and held a nice pace to lesmurdie rd. 

a break had formed and there were about 6 or 7 of us all together.  as the climb turned to rolling hills, some others started coming around mike to push the pace a bit higher on the shorter climbs.  chris took the first turn at the front and then shao had a crack.  as we passed the girls school, heiko did a stint but in hindsight was too early and too long.  i was just biding my time waiting for the last climb and i noticed brodie sitting at the back of the pack not doing much.  we turned the final corner and started the last pinch to the top.  once the end was in sight, i attacked the group and tried to make a break.  brodie was straight onto it and chris jumped on his wheel.  i looked back to see the train that i was towing, and then promptly ran out of puff.  chris took advantage and attacked straight away and brodie sat neatly on his wheel.  i had blown about 100 metres too early and watched as brodie came around for the points.  mike scooped me up before the end and shao trailed not far behind me.

1st – brodie, 2nd – chris, 3rd – mike, 4th – peter, 5th – shao.


a regroup at the servo and it was a matter of sitting in the shade and filling up the drink bottles.  i had frozen half of my bottle overnight and it was back to liquid already.  we had a couple more climbs before the next servo so i recommended that everyone fill up now. 

we continued on to lawnbrook which would take us straight to the observatory climb.  a nice descent proceeded it and alistair and davina took advantage and managed to gap the field a bit.  the road kicks up straight away and the 15% gradient means that you go from 70km/hr to close to zero in a short amount of time.  the correct gear selection is crucial and i left it in the small ring for the descent to get and advantage on the climb.

we caught the leaders and started the climb in earnest.  jonny was at the front setting the pace but there was a fair crowd forming up behind.  i wanted to thin the numbers a bit so made a few small attacks then settled back to the same pace.  heiko came with me each time, but the smart guys were just sitting behind mike’s wheel getting a nice tow back to me each time.  the attacks managed to shake a few riders and the group had been reduced to about 6 or so.  i was caught off guard when mike attacked and i actually pulled a mono when i went to follow his wheel.  chris jumped on mine but i found that i couldn’t hold it for very long.  i waved chris through and sat up to catch my breath.  we had gapped the rest of the group so i was stuck in no-mans land again.

as i started the final push up to the observatory, heiko and jonny caught me so i sat in for a while.  up ahead i could see mike and chris battle it out for line honours as the gate approached quickly.  i went to make a move and started my uphill sprint.  however, jens was not having any of it and we were soon sprinting up the hill towards the finish.  i ran out of puff before him and sat up as my heart rate was in the “spew-zone”.  jonny came in for fifth.

1st – chris, 2nd – mike, 3rd – heiko, 4th – peter, 5th – jonny.


we waited a while for simon and dr carl as someone said that they had a mechanical.  we decided to head back down the hill as we were going back down the same way and would pass them.  they must have already turned off for coffee as we didn’t see them at all. 

the next climb was going to be kind of new.  we would turn right after bickley valley and head towards mundaring weir.  towards the top of the first climb we would turn off at fern road to loop around and finish where the camel farm road joined back onto mundaring weir rd.  as we hit the weir rd, a couple of riders turned left instead of right as old habits die hard so they squandered their advantage over the smaller climbs. 

we settled into a rhythm and the bottom half of the climb wasn’t too bad as the majority of the group stayed together.  the road steepens up before we turned and that is where things started to string out a bit.  the camel farm loop did not really contain big climbs, but rather a bunch of smaller ones where you could gain an advantage with some well timed attacks. 

on one of the longer climbs, mike did attack and chris tried to go with him.  i set my own pace to the top and brodie and brother jules were on my tail.  on the descent we managed to catch chris who had slowed after an altercation with a 4wd trying to take up the whole road.  we sped past the camel farm but then they all attacked on the last stretch and i had nothing by then.

1st – mike, 2nd – chris, 3rd – brodie, 4th – jules, 5th – peter.


sitting in the shade while waiting to regroup, we bemoaned the lack of water taps in the area.  next time i may need to make the finish point the camel farm itself as there are some facilities there.  we headed back towards kalamunda and down the winding descent before starting the fourth climb.  i started my clock just to see what time we would do and set myself into a nice tempo.  i was dragging the rest of the field till about halfway up when mike came around with chris and brodie in tow.  i jumped on board with heiko and we managed to sit in till the flatish section.  i looked back to see that we had dropped the others and that this would be the final selection.  heiko went to the front and set the pace on the false flat and we were happy to sit in.  once the hill started again i am sure i made it to the front and thought that i could keep pushing on.  mike came past with davina on his tail.  she had managed to bridge across along the false flat and was now challenging mike for the line honours.  unsure of the finish, she pulled up a bit early and mike managed to take the points.  brodie and chris rolled me before the line so i picked up fifth.  my time was only 8:18 which was only 12 sec quicker then when i did the same course on wednesday by myself, so nothing to celebrate.

1st – mike, 2nd – davina, 3rd – brodie, 4th – chris, 5th – peter.


a regroup at the servo and an opportunity to fill the bottles again.  it was definitely hot in the sun, but overall it didn’t seem too bad when riding.  a number of riders headed straight for the coffee shop but about 8 of us sped down kalamunda road to the bottom.  i was not really feeling it at the start of the climb and let the main group of chris, jonny, davina, alistair and heiko get away.  once we hit the little plateau i knew that i needed to make an effort as the next two sections were going to hurt.  on the first pinch chris and jonny broke away and i managed to pick up alistair.  heiko and davina were making there way up and i came past just before the final turn where you can see the finish line.  unfortunately that was pretty much all i had and they both came back past me before the end.  i actually contemplated getting off the bike and walking at one stage, but thought that would look pretty bad.  i slowly made my way to the finish.

1st – chris, 2nd – jonny, 3rd – davina, 4th – heiko, 5th – peter.


from there it was to the coffee shop and with only 5 staying for a brew the rest teamed up with the early group to ride home together.  brother dan showed us his awesome handing skills when he came a cropper after getting tangled with the chairs.  as jules said, as long as his wheels are ok.  there was some reluctance to make a move as it was getting hotter and hotter but we finally headed home.  that wasn’t till after brodie’s failed attempts to chat up a local girl who was sitting at the next table.  he had all the moves down and we were astounded that she couldn’t resist his sweaty charms.

the ride home was terrible.  once we came off the hills it was hot.  hot and stuffy and dry.  the water in the bottles was pretty damn hot by now and everyone was suffering.  we rolled through to spread the load but it seemed to take forever.  i walked through the door at 11:30 and was glad to reach the air-con.

saturday 30th may – gooseberry hill

ride report by peter.


it has actually been a while since i have written a ride report as i have had so much on lately.  we have 28 people registered as authors to the blog so i am sure that you can probably do an entry once in a while.

anyway, after last weekends atrocious conditions, it was good to see a few clear days open up for riding.  it is now predicted that it will start raining sunday and not stop till next weekend.  i suppose it is expected as it is two days off being winter.  the other thing i have noticed is how dark it is in the morning and how soon the sun is going down at night.  luckily with our 7am start, there is normally no need for headlights on the bikes.  a back flasher is usually advisable as it will help in getting to the start of the ride.

i think we had about 40 odd riders at the beginning this morning.  it never seems really big until we start moving and you see how much road we take up.  the course was one to sort out the men from the boys and i added a fairly hard hill in to the middle of it.  gooseberry hill doesn’t sound that frightening, but it is steep and hell deceptive if you haven’t ridden it before. 

the group snaked it’s way out through belmont and cut through maida vale to come out at the top of hale rd.  well we would have if julian hadn’t got a flat front tyre.  the group pulled over onto the footpath and proceeded to wake up the neighbours while julian tended to his wheel.  we were soon on our way and heading up gooseberry hill rd.

at the roundabout before the climb starts proper, we bid adieu to the main group as they headed across to ridgehill rd.  it surprised me how many we had coming along on the fast group even though they new that they would suffer on the hill.  i would estimate the ¾ of the group decided to tackle the hill.

i had started dropping back to make sure that everyone knew which way to head at the roundabout so was a fair way back as the climb started.  i put in a bit of an effort and managed to get around some of the guys.  the combination of the pre-ride lap of the river and the stop to help julian meant that my legs were not firing well at all.  we weren’t even at the top of the first section and i felt like i was going to be happy just to make it to the top. 

the slight reprieve that we get in the middle section didn’t do it’s job for me as i felt like i was still pushing just to keep the bike moving.  the road then has two left hand kinks in it.  each time it turns the road pitches up steeper and steeper.  i was already in first gear by the time i hit the steepest section, so it was a matter of sucking it up and just keeping the bike moving.  i was well pleased when i finally saw the sign for the roundabout.  one final push saw me shed a few fading riders and finish the damn hill.

we regrouped at the top and allowed the back markers to catch up.  we usually don’t wait for anyone once the group splits, but i wanted to make sure we didn’t kill anyone on that hill.  down the zig zag for a bit of high speed free-wheeling. 

about halfway down, i noticed that gaps were beginning to appear and thought that we would be split from the front of the pack if we weren’t careful.  i came a round a few riders to try to gain position, but by the time we reached ridgehill road, there was a group with a definite advantage.

once we got onto helena valley rd it was important to organise a chasing pack or we would never see the front runners again.  after our experience a few weeks back were we never chased properly, i barked some orders and soon we were doing 10 – 15 sec turns on the front of a single file.  this meant that we soon picked up some of the riders spat out the back of the front group and were making up some ground.  after we crossed the bridge at bassendean we saw them ahead at the lights of lord st.  unfortunately, there was a quick change and we were held up again by the lights asthey made well their escape.

this allowed a number of other riders to jump back on our group so we now had more helpers to do turns.  we continued with our strategy along guilford rd and our luck and hard work paid off as we caught the front guys just before tonkin hwy where they were stuck at the lights.  as they were caught, the incentive was not quite there to work as hard so the pace was a bit pedestrian.  i moved to the front to do a turn but managed to gap the group without even attacking.  as we approached the start of the rolling hills i decided to attack and sped ahead.  i was soon bridged by mike with paul in tow and thought that we may be able to get something going.  the lights took care of that for us and we were back together again.  a few more attack on the rolling hills but nothing really stayed away.  even ryan’s big push at the end was eventually chased down along east parade.

this meant that we were together in a fair size group for the sprint.  even better was the fact that i was actually their for the sprint.  although it didn’t help me much as my legs were pretty much shot by now.  james took the lead out and set a nice pace along riverside drive before some other guys made a late move.  ryan sat in until the last moment and just sprinted over the top in convincing fashion.

i couldn’t stay for coffee as we had to hit the shops today.  it was as struggle though after 4hrs in the saddle, the last thing i wanted to do was chase a 3yr old around a busy shopping centre.  and now, almost 12hrs from finishing, i am seriously having trouble keeping my eyes open.  should have had a nanna nap in the arvo.

sunday 11th jan – gooseberry & kalamunda & mundaring weir

ride report by peter.


the combination of hills and hot, hot weather seemed to be a deterrent today as the turn out was poor compared to recent times.  the normal core group was there, but none of the new additions of late had fronted and looking at the weather forecast, who could blame them.  a predicted top of 38 had been downgraded overnight to a top of 37, which i am sure would make all the difference.  especially when tackling the three main climbs around kalamunda. 

the course would see us all warm up on ridge hill rd before heading up gooseberry hill.  a cruise down the zig-zag and back up kalamunda rd before passing through kalamunda and back via bickley valley and mundaring weir rd.  as i said previously, that hardest part will be not pulling the pin early and stopping for coffee.

we rolled out into a fairly gusty easterly breeze that meant the front guys had a bit of work today.  the load was shared fairly well and we picked up melvyn along helena valley rd to get the numbers up to about 16.  the first climb of the day was a “bonus” climb and did not contain any points.  we were generally taking it easy but ridge hill rd was one where people will still try to race up no matter what.  i wanted to save my legs and opted for a quite chat at the back of the pack.  the regroup point at the base of the zig-zag marked the first opportunity for an easy day and only one rider decided to head up the zig-zag instead.  the rest of us sped down the newly laid hot-mix and onto the main climb.

gooseberry hill sucks.  there is no other way to describe it.  it sucks, but i am starting to learn it.  not enjoy it, but learn how the road pitches up and where it flattens and where it tries to deceive you.  basically, to know how to measure your effort when climbing and when to chase an attack.  however, the attacks went early today and dan took off like a rocket from the base of the climb.  jerry and i dodged traffic to get on his wheel and i was wondering how long he could hold that pace for.  i looked back and no-one else had made the junction but i could feel my legs starting to protest and knew there was quite a lot of even harder hill to go.  i fell back from the wheel and set my own tempo.  mike and stu came past in their typical “slowly but surely grind you down” pace.  if the hill is long, they will eventually beat you.  i counted up the road and i was still in the points…for now.  i looked back and saw the familiar colours of milram and dan j was climbing well today.  mark was with him and soon they both overtook me.  knowing the road certainly has it’s advantages and i was sure that dan hadn’t played on gooseberry much before.  as he is built like a footballer, not a climber, i thought that i will be able to make up ground once we turned the corner.  mark accelerated through the “flat” section of the climb but i didn’t want to go with him as i needed to conserve as much as possible today.

the climb has three main kinks in it to catch you out.  the first right hander is after the first part of the climb.  it flattens out quite a bit and you think that you are over the worst of the hill.  it even rolls down for a bit before heading up to the next corner.  this left hander starts the climb off again and it is on this stretch that i got back ahead of dan j and still had mark in sight.  there are some pitches on this stretch that really test the legs and you are hoping that it is over soon.  the road turns to the left one more time and you look up and realise that you cannot see the top because the road is so steep.  i set myself a tempo and managed to latch back onto marks wheel for the steepest section.  i remember my back wheel slipping a bit on the twigs and crap on the road as i was standing up with so much weight over the front wheel.  i finally saw my saviour in the shape of a road sign signifying that there was a round-about ahead.  i know there is only one round-about and it is at the top.  i mentioned before about learning the climb and knowing when to attack.  i could now see the top and measured my effort to shake off mark and “sprinted” off up the hill, securing that final spot.  dan who attacked at the start of the climb didn’t know the hill and paid for it at the top when mike, stu and jerry managed to chase him down.

mike – 10, stu – 7, jerry – 5, dan – 3, peter – 1.


dr mark was climbing well today and managed to get to the top at the front of the pack.  as i mentioned before, dan j was climbing very well for a footy player and someone fairly new to the whole “bike vs hill” thing.

at the top we traded one dr melvyn for a russell as mel went for an early coffee and russ had made his way up from darlington.  we started the always fun descent down the zig-zag.  it isn’t very steep and certainly gives a different perspective as opposed to the white knuckle ride down welshpool.  suddenly we were back where we started at the top of ridge hill rd. 

kalamunda rd was a full on head wind as we approached along the flats.  russell was on the front as we started the climb and everyone tucked in behind trying to shelter as much as possible.  as the pace slowed too much for some of the whippets, stu lead the charge around to the front with myself and about five others on his wheel.  sorry to have done it, but we left him out front for most of the climb as he set a nice tempo into the wind and up the steepest parts of the climb.  about halfway up i saw a bike coming down the hill at speed.  the guy was on a mountain bike and was probably doing 50 if not 60kph.  in front of him, attached to the cross bar, was a wee-ride kids seat and a kid no older than two strapped in.  now i have one of these and ben loves it when we go fast, but this kid looked like he was crapping himself.  i’m sure his wife would have killed him too if she found out.

stu continued to grind out the k’s with the train following behind when mike made the first move and it was a good one.  some expletives escaped my mouth as he went past fast and was suddenly up the road.  i had a decision to make, and i made it way too late, and went to follow mike.  no-one else came with me and i found myself in no-mans land and back to finding a tempo i could maintain.  dan and jerry had left stu by now and were making ground on me.  i realised that i was not going to catch mike so set a pace that left at least one more attack in the tank.  i was soon caught so i jumped on board and allowed them to set the pace to the top. 

we finally saw the roundabout near the servo and i thought that this would be a nice place to attack as i was sure i knew how far to the finish.  off i went and again managed to get halfway across to mike.  however, with the heart-rate managing to push into the 190’s i was pretty much on my limit.  i looked back to see dan and jerry slowly making ground.  i was at the top and circumnavigating the perimeter of stirk park, but they were gaining too quickly and came past with only a couple of hundred metres to go.  mike had sat up but had enough of a buffer to hang on for the win.

mike – 10, jerry – 7, dan – 5, peter – 3, stu – 1.


this would have to be the first time that we actually had a regroup point in kalamunda that didn’t involve the coffee shop.  we stopped at stirk park and worked out who was wearing the blouses and who was wearing the pants.  about half fluffed their puffy sleeved blouses and headed off to the coffee shop while the remaining eight hardcore cyclists took off along canning to the sanitarium factory.  we stayed together well all the way through bickley valley and to the base of mundaring weir road.  i was down the back a bit with mike while dan and stu were setting the pace at the front with john.  the hill started in earnest and mike decided to set his pace on the climb and i just held on as best i could.  we picked up stu and dan but left john behind and powered up the climb.  i didn’t last that much longer and soon had to drop the wheel as my legs were gone.  john soon picked me up and just as quickly dropped me again.  i was in severe damage control mode and even though i knew that i would suffer on the hills, i needed to put in the kms as i had been given permission to ride.  shao soon passed me but tried to encourage me along and offered his wheel.  too late as the legs had already departed for an extended holiday.  i was left to suffer my way up the hill with only the voices in my head for company.

mike – 10, stu – 7, dan – 5, john – 3, shao – 1.


the other blouses, i mean boys, were still at the coffee shop once we arrived and hung around while we ordered.  there was a slight delay on the coffee, but the shorter ride gave us an early mark and we were soon back on the road and heading home.  the nice tailwind was a payback from the earlier headwind and the homeward journey was a much more pleasant trip.  no sprints at the end of welshpool but we certainly noticed the temperature heating up and pointing towards that 37 top. 

dan j got away after the kent st lights and almost stayed away till the end, but was halted at the george st set.  the rest of the group was not delayed for so long and i tried to get the jump as we were still rolling when it changed.  not possessing the endurance of old, i only made it to the top of the hill before my heart tried to break through my ribcage.  i looked back to see that jerry was not far behind and gaining fast.  i sat up for the downhill and let things be.  dan tried to chase him down but didn’t quite have enough at the end.  however, it was close enough that jerry didn’t have time for his trademark victory salute.  juan antonio fletcha has this salute where he mimics an archer pulling a arrow from his quiver and drawing his bow.  this is a play on his name which means archer in spanish.  jerry, however, has a salute that is based more around his profession and involves a single finger and usually a latex glove.

sunday 3rd august – gooseberry & kalamunda + extra

“coming from behind” – ride report by melvyn (deliberately missing out capital letters)

i was inspired by the first warm weather forecast to drag myself out on sunday to do the ride.i was pleased that this would be a shorter ride, and not a “special” new tryout ride that pete dreamed up for those who are not racing. the first real climb would be gooseberry hill rd which always is a test, but the rest would be manageable (i hoped).

i even got to the meeting point early, having given the bike a bit of a clean the day before to find no huddled group of lycrans surrounded by flashing lights like some exiled extraterrestrials waiting for the mother ship to pick them up in the dark. i knew i was early, but really??? moments passed and i thought – what if no-one else turns up? do i do the ride by myself? it would be a bit of a boring blog with all this “i looked back to see myself pedalling furiously, so i attacked to just win the hilltop sprint against myself by barely a wheel…” thankfully john rolled up to join us (and provide someone else to write about). unfortunately as we eyed each other we still did not have the critical mass to qualitfy as a group ride. i’m sure we were both thinking if we could cheat a little if no-one else turned up and modify the course (perhaps doing gooseberry twice then kalamunda a couple of extra times?)

it was all academic when more joined in just after 0700. darren arrived with “greased lightning” (his bike must surely be inspired by the hot-rod that john travolta and his gang do up in the movie “grease”), ben (to give some credibility to the overall pedalling ability of our group), schneiderman (uneasy in his winter mankini), nev (who i cant recall coming out on a sunday before – poor befuddled boy must have his days mixed up), ronan, and a newcomer bronwyn who has chosen perth (!!!) to settle down in for a while after finishing a round the world trip. must have been lured by the vibrant cafe culture.

soon it was time to go off! if we waited we probably would have seen every cyclist in perth ride past. i had to lead out and pretended i knew the way. the secret is that really i don’t have to know the way for any of the rides because i always get to ride at the back. the only time i sprint for the front is when i actually recognise the roads and know i won’t get lost. anyway, after a bit of “no, turn left” we got onto great eastern highway to run the gauntlet of cold air, cars and hobos shouting encouragement after passing the casino. As we pedalled east, we were greeted by the warm rays to the sun. however riding into the sun is not to be recommended as mainly you don’t get to see. if you are in the front, all manner of glass and potholes come into your vision all too late. if you are in the back, you are hoping that cars will be able to see your 1/2 watt flashing tail-light against the sun which puts out 368 yottawatts (1024 watts)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orders_of_magnitude_(power) admittedly 93 million miles away. You get the picture.

i had not cleared our mind of those thoughts when the next traffic hazard presented itself. it was outside the 24hour macdonald on great eastern highway (who really eats maccas at 0730 on a sunday?), where a green hyundai pulled out to turn right. i’m sure he saw us as he wasn’t looking into the sun to look at us. i could see that his intentions were to pull out 10 metres in front of us. fine i thought, we’ll be right. we weren’t right, as he stopped in the lane in front of us. there were lots of emergency manouevres to avoid this car, but no one fell off. obviously (to give the driver the benefit of doubt) he had thought better of turning into the path of cars that he couldn’t see because of the sun shining from his left. as ronald macdonald says “look left then right and left again before crossing the street”. silly boy, no happy meal for you.

we soon interrupted our ride (near the cement factory) with schneiderman’s scheduled puncture. we usually have one later in the ride which is handy for catching our breath back. its impressive to see schneiderman extract a tube from the mankini (where does he put it), but i think that if he keeps this up, we will have to chip in to buy him a seat bag that fits two tubes. it was about this time that i noticed that mike b had joined in to add pace uphill. i later found out that he was trying to get back into condition after a holiday in europe where he actually viewed the tour from the mighty tourmalet. he obviously hasn’t lost as much condition as myself as he easily outpaced me on the mighty “kalamunda”.

soon we were at ridgehill road which doesn’t count as a climb. the ride played out like it always does with me attacking for the first 20m before running out of steam in the slope. at least it gives me a chance to check out if any others have made new purchases as they ride past. something very unusual started to happen on the flat bit of the climb. i actually started to catch up and pass people. i don’t usually rub it in, but i must say that that does not happen often. was it my new wheels (probably 500g lighter than my previous set), or was everyone taking it easy? the reality was that i probably don’t ride up that well, and there was not very much going up by that stage. evidently i had run out of power-ups as that was the last time that happened on any of the climbs that day.

the regroup point was the base of the zig-zag, and then it was down (yay!) before the left turn at the roundabout to gooseberry (boo!) we had egged newcomer bronwyn on about how steep this one was going to be but it was only half joking. in any case being a ex mountain biker from new zealand i don’t think many hills scare her. soon it was reverting to the familiar tempo of breathing and pedalling (two breaths for every pedal stroke) when before you knew it the hill stopped. really after several european experiences, these hills don’t come close to he definition of pain. these are just the light dripping of hot wax type of pain, and not the chained to the bedpost with a red ball in your mouth before being whipped by a cat-o-nine-tails by a suspiciously masculine lady in a leather mask named steve sort of pain. you get the picture.

bronwyn chose a good day to come out on a hills ride as the next stage was down the zig-zag, which truly made it worthwhile. the sun was out and warming, birds were singing, the air was clear and most importantly dry, and the scenery was breathtaking. I can see why people live in the hills. best not enjoy the view too much though as gravel can make the hairpins tricky. I wanted to push the cornering properties of the wheels a bit as that is apparently one of their strengths, but woosed out a bit, not wanting to do an oscar pereiro. it was over however all too soon.

a short transport stage found us at the base of kalamunda road which i find terrifying sometimes. mainly because of the honky nuts that often cover the outside of the road, and the hoons who insist on driving at full pelt. we planned to keep going past the coffee shop (sacriledge!) and regroup at the coles roundabout. i spent about half the climb thinking of excuses to shorten my ride and retreat to the coffee shop, but was disappointed to find everyone full of energy and enthusiastic for more. the power of peer pressure again pushed me down mundaring weir rd and up lawnbrook. at least this was a good form of peer pressure, as it usually ends up with poorer consequences in other instance. we rode single file as traffic was increasing, and had time to wave at russell and ian(?) coming up the other way.

by the time we got to the coffee shop it was already quite full. they obviously were short staffed that day. the conversation was considerably
cleaner that day as we were not up to our usual compliment of urologists. by then a few of us had elected to go home early, and after making short work of the food and drink it was time for us to head back. but that is another story for another day (a day which you are not doing very much because basically nothing exciting happened).

……………………and so children ends the chapter on the exploits of this small band of intrepid cyclists who went out to conquer far lands over infrequently travelled roads, laughing at what destiny would serve up to them (and still making it home in time to avoid getting in trouble with their wives).

the end

sunday 9th mar – gooseberry & kalamunda

ride report by ryan

well, i was running strategically late today (i figured if i was late enough, i would miss the ride which would allow me to go jump back into bed. i felt i could do this without feeling bad as i had done an extra 90kms on top of the sat morning ride the day before. but to my dismay, everyone was rolling out of the carpark as i came onto canning highway so i just had to catch them up.
todays group consisted of nearly 50% females and 50% males. almost 6 and 6 i would hazard a guess at. josie and davina had come down to play with the big boys (ok, maybe not so big) but i was sad to see mike b in the line as this meant i would be hurt up the hills.
as i rolled past the pack near burswood, i noted there was a collective sigh (i am assuming this was because i was looking good in my white knicks and white sleeveless top??).
anyway, all pretty cruisy, some natter and taking of turns at the front out to gooseberry hill. simon was giving us instructions today as pete was giving 110% in the brw triathlon (seems he was having trouble walking for a good few days after, bike fitness does not translate into running fitness it seems).
approaching gooseberry hill, i thought maybe i would go a little harder at the front to put in a little distance between myself and mike b and stuart so i could ease up later and then jump onto their wheels as they came bay later on. well it did not take mike b long to come past and i attempted to sit on his wheel. this attempt was pretty feeble and as the road went up, so did the distance between my front wheel and his back wheel. i have only done this hill once before and i remember entertaining the idea of walking up the hill. well once again i was entertaining this notion, i am not sure why i hate this hill so much? i think maybe just a smidge too steep for me to stay seated the whole way?
well i arrived at the top a distant second and i went off left (the downhill direction) whilst mike b head right (still a bit of an incline). i am not sure who was next up but there were a group all close together (no stuart though, turns out he had dropped his chain at the bottom (very convenient i say)).
The trip to the bottom of the zig zag was fun, josie and her playmate (another young lady with tanned skin) took off, so i thought i may as well play with them and chased. i went past (being a man and all) and we kept the pace on the whole way down. slow for the corners and then charge out of them. on the last ‘zag’ i called out as there was gravel and one of the young guys had fallen off at this spot the last time i did this route. josie was behind me and was going very slow but still slid a fair bit and was nearly sitting on the road nursing some grazes, but she managed to keep the bike upright.
we regrouped at the bottom of the zig zag (well mike b took off ahead alone, which i was grateful for as i thought it meant i did not have to try so hard up kalamunda hill). i was mistaken, after choosing to head to the front and pull everyone along to the bottom of the hill, i see mike b had turned around and come back to find us. he then slotted back in with us.. damn..
up kalamunda hill, i tried to sit on mike’s wheel again but was unsuccessful once again (i was getting used to it) and resigned myself to second spot (looked back and there was noone in sight). looking forward, i did see lorraine and a few of her male friends (secret training??) and passed them a little further along the ascent. once again i am not sure who was after me (could have been josie??), i should pay more attention but mike b had taken off never to be seen again for the day.
coffee shop was as usual, too early for the opening of the fairy shop and the new waitress was not there, lucky we had the ratio we did, although josie had continued on for a little more riding (as did stuart when he caught up with us).
on the way home, we took the longer route home, i am not sure the details but down towards mundaring and then right up past carmel school? when we hit welshpool road, stuart kept the pace high on the ascent, i held his wheel for most of the ascent and then came past and let him have mine. the road then flattens and there are a few undulations till we hit the main descent. i wanted to push a little more on the way home as i felt the first half of the ride had been short (two nasty climbs though which hurt) and stuart held on to my wheel for most of the way.
down welshpool, i hit about 80km/hr i think as the road flattens out at the bottom and the cross wind disappears. we all regrouped and took off again, i wanted to do some more work so went to the front and kept the pace up. it was a lonely ride home, only davina came up beside me at one stage, i thought she was coming past to take a turn but she was just coming to say hello before she dropped back into line. we were held up at the railway line at the spot where dr melvin usually takes off, which broke the rhythm a little but then we took off again towards the mcdonalds lights.

josie had said she had my wheel but i think she thought she had miscalculated as i dropped back a little so she went ahead to find a better wheel. i then started my run a little way off the pack of the pack so when i came past them i was already a few kms faster than them and there was no chance they could hang on as i went past. worked out well and i was through the lights safe by a fair few metres.

then pulled everyone along berwick till the lights where the sprint sort of starts from. stuart came past at a pretty decent pace so i sat on him for a little while then i kicked. probably a little too soon again as jerard was sitting on my wheel again and pipped me at the post. some people can sleep at night by hiding all day till the last moment and i feel good at giving people the satisfaction of beating me every now and then.

well there is my round up of sunday’s events unfortunately it is all from my perspective and i did not pay too much attention to what was happening behind me. if anyone from a little further back has some insights on sunday’s ride, please come forward.

i have to mention stuart’s remark when i asked if everyone enjoyed the fast pace i set on the way home, he replied with ‘was that fast?’. next week he is on the front the whole way home.

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.