It has been a number of weeks, stretching into a number of months, since i have done a hills ride, so i was not expecting too much from myself this fine spring morning. To start with I was having a wardrobe malfunction with my new-ish jersey in the carpark. As i zipped it up the zip would open from the bottom up giving me a somewhat creepy ‘exposed’ look that may or may not have been breaking the terms of my parol. Anyway, i managed to get myself half decent, skirting the attention of the sex offenders registers board, and off we went after realising that el president was not going to be there to shepherd us. Nice, steady, and strong out of town we were, with light hearts and dreams of spring, until the first hill… “Kahuna”. Nice and long with a few steeper sections…you know? So I made a push to get (i might interrupt, gentle reader, to let you know that i will be writing this from a phenomenological perspective with myself as the obvious centre of the narrative structure… all right, on with the story), so, seeing the start of the hill i pushed to the front where the regular mountain goats were flocking. This was a good thing as i could use Heiko’s (frankly impressive) physique to sit behind and help me pace myself to the top. This helped to stop me from succumbing to my usual youthful enthusiasm and hitting out to hard too early. Heiko and i were close toward the top, like Contador and Schleck we were, till i tried outsprinting him and the inevitable happened.
the scores at the top: 1: North Side Nick, 2: Stewie, 3: Blaire Maugham, 4: Heiko, 5: Morrison
This is where the guys doing a shorter route split off, and on we rolled. the next climb was Roleystone which has two sections with a flat/downhill section in the middle. there were a few likely characters ahead so i was counting on the last section to attempt to drop Davina and Jamie who were rolling with me. well, i got on the front to try and push it at the base of the climb but couldn’t shake them. Half ways up Davina attacked with a wicked and impressive sprint…i followed but couldn’t counter it and she stayed ahead to get 5th. (p.s i hate getting beaten by girls. You would think i was used to it by now but no, not so much. Anyway, after seeing Davina compete with the A grade men at last weekends Golden Spoke race where she finished in the breakaway group ( in A grade for gods sake!)
the wickets at the top: 1: Nick, 2: Stewie, 3: Mark E, 4: Heiko, 5: Davina
Well its been bracing so far so lets do more we all said. on the transition to the next climb a nameless voice was heard to say “ease up, I didn’t realise it was a sprint to the next climb!” actually that was Gus, and i seconded his complaint and covert proposal as we were rocketing along with my legs singing an aria of pain. We did get to the next climb of the Observatory – Patterson road, where once again Nick and Stewie showed why EPO should be allowed for people such as myself, who’s talent does not match their competitive desires (if only it wasn’t morally reprehensible, and so expensive) with another strong showing.
Quoffles, Bludgers and Golden Snitch points at the top: 1: Nick, 2: Stewie, 3: Jarad, 4: Jamie, 5: Morrison
And on to the last climb for the ultimate prize of bragging rites and times on the board. The Mundaring Weir road while usually just painful, was also highly amusing today as Nick and Jarad went stomping up it in the 53×13! I just shook my head at their optimistic shenanigans and kept on spinning with the statesman like dignity and aplomb more fitting for one of my advancing years. I figured they would probably still be able to beat me anyway so i had better just keep my head down and just enjoy my own suffering. To give you an idea of how I went on this climb, i was still a fair ways off the top when Stewie came back down the hill to stretch his legs!
The usual coffee shop was chocker block with MAMIL’s and MAWIL’s so we kept on our way, and took Stewie’s long way home. Geoff (Jeff?) got a flat from the same wicked grate on welshpool road, just down from the Albany highway lights that i have seen others suffer on, and Stewie and him manfully changed his tyre. A few guys stayed to pace them home, me being one of these. This meant that i had to sit tight and hang on while Heiko, Stewie, Jarad and Geoff powered on the front all the way back to the carpark. Now, that was a hard ride! I didn’t have any computer or such fancy city-fied gadget on my bike so i didn’t get any stats, but my finely honed intuition tells me we went about 95 kilometres at great speed. Good day. Morrison
the predicted top of 38 degrees seemed a long, long way off when i reached the carpark this morning. a dark overcast day blocked what little light we see before 7am but the temperature did not seem too bad. a decent field of about 20 odd people with nothing better to do turned up to endure some pain. with a couple of new faces, some old returning ones and also some prettier ones as we had four girls at the start line. some regulars like davina and lisa as well as bella and sam. bella used to ride with the group on saturday years ago. it was always funny to see a 15 yr old girl beating half the guys in the final sprint along mounts bay road.
the course today was a pretty basic one with a couple of climbs up to rollystone and then the observatory and the final push up to kalamunda. there were 4 climbs with points today and we would continue the timed climb up mundaring weir road to see how everyone was going.
as we left the carpark, ryan was still getting his bike out of the car. i told him where we were headed so he could catch up later. the ride out to albany hwy was easy enough and soon we came across a rider waiting on the side of the road. it was ryan. he had taken the “old school” way along berwick rd and out near diesel motors to make it onto albany hwy. he was quick enough to have to wait for us as we turned off manning rd. as we progressed along towards maddington, i noticed that mike was not in the group. i was sure i saw him there at the start, but i was on the front as we rolled out and never saw him again. i talked to ryan and we were worried that he had slowed down to help ryan, but was left waiting as ryan took a different route. he is a big boy so we were sure he would have worked it out for himself.
the trip to the base of the kahuna was pretty uneventful until we went to cross the tonkin hwy. as usual for the mornings, the wind was pouring off the escarpment and straight into our faces. i was sure it was going to push us backward as the group seemed to be at a standstill. we eventually got everyone across the road and started the climb.
i was pretty happy to just sit in and see what happens, but some other wanted to assert themselves today. one of our new guys, ian, took off but i was reluctant to chase as i didn’t know how well he climbed. jerry took off soon afterwards with a case of “new bike syndrome” and he steered his prince to the front. i knew i couldn’t let him get too far so jumped across to his wheel. we set a tempo pace and quite a few riders fell into line behind us. ryan eventually took off but no-one had the legs to go with so he scampered up the road. i went around jerry to set my own pace and sat their for a while before julian came around me. i was a bit taken aback. he has been improving lately but he is now climbing quite nicely and pretty soon i couldn’t hold his wheel.
in the midsection of the hill there was a bit of yo-yoing with alistar and lindsay before i put in a bit more of an effort to shake them. as the hill progressed, i made my way back onto julian’s wheel at about the koala park entrance. julian rode beside me and asked how far to go from here, quite a bit more i told him. it was probably close to about a kilometre, but it did flatten out a bit. i rode tempo for a while to recover and to see whether julian was hurting at all. we had lost sight of ryan by now as the small twists and turns around the top hide the finish line. i knew just how far to go so put in a few surges to drop julian for good. a bit of riding scared kept me away from him until the line. alistar and lindsay filled the remaining places, while davina out sprinted jerry for sixth place.
ryan – 10, peter – 7, julian – 5, alistar – 3, lindsay – 1.
there was a rebellion at the regroup point and a small bunch took off for an early coffee. amongst the group was jerry, who must have been upset that davina beat him and his mega-dollar pinarello princess. the rest of us continued towards rollystone.
a nice descent to start had the girls showing how to take a hill as bella and sam flew past me in pursuit of davina. i was more worried about the climb and waited until ryan came past on the uphill out of the dip before i made an effort. a bunch of us rode the first stretch up to peet rd together and to where the hill starts to really hurt. not far into it, ryan surged and found a easy gap. no-one had the legs to go with him, but the change in pace pretty much split the field apart. i ended up riding with lindsay for the majority of the hill, but still tried to shake him with a few changes of pace. realising that i couldn’t shake him, we continued to the top but saw that ryan was probably too far ahead to catch now. i looked back and saw julian and davina cresting the hill behind us and making ground fast. by the time we reached the final straight, there were four of us all vying for the remaining points. i was on the front and no-one was willing to come around. i knew how this worked, but i also knew the finish and just what was needed. however, davina has won a couple of races on this circuit, so i knew that i had to watch if she made a move as well. i stayed on the front, but didn’t do any real hard effort to push the pace. ryan was too far ahead to chase down and there was no-one behind that would catch us. i had my point on the road that i knew that i could sprint from, but it would all come down to whether the others made a move. i finally went and went hard enough that the others didn’t follow and were content to fight it our for third. it came down to a sprint between davina and lindsay, with the latter getting it by less than half a wheel.
ryan – 10, peter – 7, lindsay – 5, davina – 3, julian – 1.
we regrouped and chugged along to karragullen for some refreshments before continuing to pickering brook. a change in the standard route had us entering the observatory climb via repatriation rd. it really just added some variety to the ride and a small hill to negotiate as well.
the group bunched up well at the start of the climb with john and myself on the front. the tempo wasn’t too high and people were able to sit in for quite a while. we made sure that ryan was boxed in behind john on the kerb side so that he couldn’t attack too early. it was all fun and games until john started to fade and the group split apart a bit. this allowed ryan a bit of free space, so i thought that i would initiate the move and chucked it up a couple of gears. a big attack allowed me to get a big gap, but i was running out of steam and ryan was bridging across. i had to drop back to a tempo ride before i totally popped and everyone past me so eased off a bit. ryan came up to me and sat on my wheel content to leave it to the end. i looked back to see who was coming and a small group with julian, lindsay and davina were going to catch us. i just kept plugging away waiting till the next attack came. there were the five of us altogether on the false flat before the final pinch when ryan took off. i sprinted after him only to find myself in serious oxygen debt and fading fast. julian and lindsay came past to fight it out for second while davina also dropped me to claim fourth. in my case it was too much with too little in reserve.
ryan – 10, julian – 7, lindsay – 5, davina – 3, peter – 1.
the final climb of the day approached and i explained about the timed hill climb. where the start and finish were as well as what the current record was. as the time depended on when you crossed the start line, the mountain points placing were not a good indication of the timing. especially when half the group had to give way to a 4wd as we went to turn onto mundaring weir rd. ryan and i started the climb together and i was determined to get a better time than last week. i set a tempo that i thought i could hold for the entire climb and started to pick up those that managed to get in front of the car. ryan decided that even though it was a nice tempo, he could do a faster one and took off up the road. when i came past a small group, davina, alistar and julian jumped on behind me to get a tow for a while.
i continued at my pace and kept looking back to see if there was still a wheel behind me. for the majority of the bottom part of the climb the three of them sat in but pretty soon only davina was holding on. after that brick wall that signifies not too far to the flat section, i looked down to see no wheel at all behind me. i continued along but was cognisant of the fact that i was starting to run out of reserves. i hit the flattish section in the big ring, but by then alistar and davina had battled their way back to be with me. alistar set the pace but i soon took over as i still wanted a good time. we hit the last pinch and i tried to keep the pace high, but was soon forced into the small ring. knowing that i would be jumped before the line, i ploughed on ahead until they both sprinted for the speed sign and finish line. it was close, but davina managed to take alistar on the line by about half a wheel. i struggled on watching my time tick further past my pb until i crossed the line. julian brought it in for fifth.
ryan – 10, davina – 7, alistar – 5, peter – 3, julian – 1.
we turned up to coffee just as jerry and the “princess” group was leaving so we secured their table. i was feeling like crap after such a sustained effort but managed to down most of my chocolate croissant. it was good to see the girls riding so well with davina fighting for the points and lisa climbing so well lately. they both have the same coach, so he must be doing something right.
the ride home was quite uneventful with some fast descents on welshpool adding to the fun. a couple of breakaways on the sprint to the first maccas saw ryan and alistar take off with lisa having enough energy to try to chase them down as well.
the expected high temperature did not affect the ride as it didn’t peak till almost 5pm making our part of the day quite pleasant. with the freeway bikehike next weekend i expect that the sunday ride will be just as popular with those that have endured the chaos that is a few thousand weekend riders that all think they are a top pro sprinter.
pete asked me to write the blog up, as he is up to his ears in new family and new cycling club stuff. fair request i thought. As for me, no real excuse for being late with the write up.
i arrived early on sunday for a change, and was pleased to see about 18 – 20 including a good compliment of medical specialists as usual, and pete! we headed out with peter and brendan leading till well into albany hwy, and thereafter steady rotations in front at around 28 -31km/h. there was a moderate to strong headwind all the way to the first hill; kahuna.
it’s a good steady climb – i started out near the front and watched them come past; peter, stu, brendan, warren, dan, etc. then jon b and i rode together for a while – which is becoming a pattern. near the top i thought he was on my tail, and tried to get away, but it was actually shao (sp?) and he passed me easily as he chased the leaders. points at the top were: brendan – 10, stu – 7, warren – 5, bill – 3, peter – 1.
i think i was 7th at the top of the hill, mainly due to the absence of ryan (racing), michael b (heart surgery – fair excuse) and dr jerry (chasing lance at tour down under). we had to whistle really loudly to stop dr carl from going straight over the top – he looked like he was on a mission in search for coffee; in the drops, head down and in the zone. the group was down to about twelve riders by that stage, with the short riders taking on of the earlier hills straight up to the coffee shop.
then the dog-leg via chevin, and the great downhill of urch, before the horror uphill of peet. luckily i had a head start from the downhill, but as usual it was not enough. for a while i actually thought i may be in the points there. i hung in with the front bunch till past the top of the steep bit, but then it just got too hard (read “i didn’t want it badly enough”) and i fell back. that was ok; i was still in 5th position and in the running for my first point of 2009. then warren came past, and i thought i might latch onto him, and chase the group for some serious points; but he made it clear that he was on a chase, not a rescue mission. i watched him and my one point disappear up the hill to rolystone high school.
brendan – 10, peter – 7, dan – 5, warren – 3, stu – 1
we regrouped, and then headed down the hill to the t-junction at brookton hwy; and turned right. the first time i’d ever done that before, and the first time for many by the sound of it. going all the way down brookton was a strange experience, and it seems like a completely different road to the one we’re used to climbing. but it was hell-fun for a downhill junkie like myself, and it seemed to go on forever. then up the back of the hill for a steep steady climb to the chevin rd turnoff again.
i think that is one of the best climbing hills in perth for a cyclist; it feels like a shorter version of an alpine ascent to me, and one seldom sees a car on the road. great steady winding road, lots of shade, and a steady 7-10% climb. i settled into my own rhythm, and tried to keep it there till pete passed me. being a boy on a push bike, tried to follow, but didn’t have the legs to stay. then along came some big fella dressed in white, on an all white bike with no labels. i don’t know who he was, but he ended up joining us at the coffee shop. i followed him for a while till we caught and passed pete. then he left pete and i to battle it out as he went ahead. i was in a mood to play, so i passed pete and chased the white knight, only to run out of steam, and watch pete roar by me a few hundred meters from the top. i coasted up in about 6th or 7th again; whilst the order up front was: brendan – 10, bill – 7, warren – 5, stu & dan – 2 (deadheat)
we regrouped, and carried on straight over the undulations that took us back towards canning road. i remembered the road well from a cyclo-sportif event we did there a year and some ago. we were all together as we went through bickley valley, and took the usual old route to the bottom of mundaring weir road. brendan and i took the corner first, and i sat on his wheel for a few hundred meters until the others caught us. surprisingly i hung on almost until the hill flattens out before the long false flat. i really thought i may be in the points, until i looked down at my heart rate which was 192. i felt the imaginary elastic band connecting me to the group snap, and made a loud “ping” sound as i exited off the back. so no race up the last bit of the climb for me, but i was happy that i’d felt fine on all the climbs on the day. for those in front; the points at the top were: brendan – 10, stu – 7, warren – 5, bill – 3, dan – 1
i don’t know how many meters we ascended, but i’d guess it was around 1500; a good ride by any standard. the coffee was great as usual, but the croissant was overdone for the second week running; one more and we will have to register a complaint in writing! at least the service was good this week.
the ride back home was pleasant and uneventful; just a little too warm at around 35 degrees. the sprint to the first set of lights at the bottom of welshpool road is becoming increasingly competitive, with john b being the current favourite.
we chased and caught a fit looking rider on a cervelo t3 bike on the way to leach hwy, and kept a brisk pace all the way to albany hwy. then i left to make my way home via manning, only to find that the freeway bike path between canning and mt henry was closed, so i had to do an extra few km via mt pleasant. not a bad detour, but i felt hot and thirsty, and didn’t need the extra km at that stage. it was at the rowing club in that i passed dr ronnie, wearing leggings and long sleeves – i don’t get it.
another great ride with the bunch. also the end of my slack cycling phase, which has lasted since i got back from vietnam in october. next week i officially start training harder; the goal is to contest at least one hill each sunday by march. they say if you make your goals public, you have a better chance of achieving them. this is as public as i get!
with a absolutely stunning day predicted, i expected a bumper turnout this morning but was left a bit under whelmed. around 15 or so decided to toe the line but we did manage to pick up a few more on the way. with the usual suspects like ryan and stu absent, i thought that i would have the mountain points all wrapped up. unfortunately for me, one of the riders we picked up on the way was mike. there was even a general murmur of “no points today” coming from the group. yes, it was true but on the other hand, having mike there meant that i would have to work a whole lot harder which will get me a whole lot fitter.
steve and i lead the group out and onto albany hwy at a leisurely pace. “fresh” from his 300km melbourne to warrnambool race a couple of weeks ago, he was also backing it up from a session on the track where he got the honour of being smashed by the likes of cj sutton, graeme brown and cam meyer. he was unsure on how he would go on the hills, but i thought i better keep an eye on him regardless.
the first climb of the day was up the kahuna. as we approached the foot of the climb, clare was doing circles around the roundabout waiting for the group to arrive. my aim was to stick with mike for as long as possible and see where it left me. i had my new “dr paul’s custom wheelset” on the bike which saved me a hundred grams overall. unfortunately as it was a rush job to get them on yesterday, i also managed to forget the speedo magnet and now realised that the derailleur could not access the easiest and hardest gear. well it could access the easiest, but that pinging noise that the spokes make as the rear derailleur brushes past them was not what i wanted to hear.
the climb got underway and the pecking order was quickly sorted out. i made tempo until mike came around me and then i latched onto his wheel, determined to hang on. steve was on our wheel for a while but detached somewhere along the first main pinch as the field really thinned out. i was watching my heartrate and listening to my breathing, but was really starting to struggle. as the road flattened out for the first “plateau” mike kept the effort up and rode away from me. i have talked about the same thing before and knew that i should also keep the effort up but my body said “no” as it had been abused for too long.
i rode tempo but looked around me to make sure that the gap was not reducing to the riders behind. mike’s gap was increasing ever so slowly as he ground his way up but i was more worried about the fact that riders were approaching from behind. i wasn’t sure at first, but a couple more looks confirmed steve closing fast. i was paying for my efforts to maintain mike’s pace and steve come past me and started chasing down mike. he came close to catching him too, but the road pitched up again and he didn’t quite make it.
the road flattened out again and i managed to recover enough to increase my pace to begin to chase down steve. no other riders were gaining from behind, so i just had to concentrate on catching him. another thing i notice about the new wheels is just how quiet they are. i scared the crap out of steve as i came past him and i tried to stay ahead. there was not far to go and it came down to a sprint for the line. the effort of catching him had me spent and my spew-meter was in the red. i fell a few metres short and came third. gregor the scottish mountain-biker from texas was back to show his climbing skills ans too fourth while clare was impressing some of the boys by kicking their arse to take out fifth.
mike – 10, steve – 7, peter – 5, gregor – 3, clare – 1.
a regroup had us at max numbers as we had also picked up doug on the climb. we had a nice fast descent down urch but soon the road pitched up and those with fast descending skills soon deferred to those with fast ascending legs. again the plan was to stick like glue to mike and see what happens. steve was fastened firmly to my wheel and we let mike set the tempo up the climb. luckily for me, the steepest part of peet rd is the section below the urch intersection and i managed to hold onto mike’s wheel till the top. we kept the pace up and did a couple of turns as we headed over the top and towards the school. the section past the fruit place always gets me as it is just steep enough to be painful especially after you think you have finished with the climbs. i dropped it back to the small ring while i noticed that steve and mike were still grinding away in the big.
mike hit the front again as we made the final run towards the school climb. steve and i were content to not help him as we were pretty sure that it would come down to a sprint. about halfway up the hill, steve started to come around with me on his wheel. the finish is deceptive and i made sure that i didn’t go too early (like the state champs race). i waited till the last moment and then started my sprint. steve stepped up and soon we were going side by side along the road seeing who could sustain the longest. after doing less time in the wind (ryan style) i had the fresher legs and he conceded. the spots for fourth and fifth also came down to a sprint with clare out gunning gregor for the points.
peter – 10, steve – 7, mike – 5, clare – 3, gregor – 1.
we were all present and accounted for and ready to rock and roll when we noticed that melvyn hadn’t arrived yet. he eventually turned up after suffering a bit of chain trouble when his quick link detached and he was riding sans chain. luckily the two pieces didn’t fall off so he could reattach quite easily. we headed down brookton hwy and onto the foot of canning mills rd.
as we turned onto the road leading to the hill, there was a call of “flat” so we passed it down the line. after the debacle of last week, it was good to see the group looking out for each other. after gregor fixed his flat we were off with the base of the climb starting only fifty metres away.
i was following my same game plan again but found myself boxed in a bit. mike was starting to move away from the front and i couldn’t get past. i quickly sprinted around to catch his wheel, but was not sure at what cost my legs had paid. this is a particularly steep and brutal climb but it is fairly consistent the whole way up. it makes it easy to get into a tempo and stay there. unfortunately it was easy for mike to get into a tempo that was obviously faster than i could handle. i lost ground after staying with him for a short time. gregor had been on my wheel just before the road steepened up but had slot ground when mike “took off”. i found my rhythm but was surprised when he caught back up to me. mike was surging ahead, and we were all losing ground, but i didn’t think that i was going that slow. no disrespect to gregors climbing ability, but i just don’t like being caught. soon steve came up beside us too. pushing a big gear doing strength endurance efforts, he ground his way past us. as the pitch of the road changed a bit he slipped back and gregor and myself began chasing mike down.
the last part of this climb really flattens off and is in stark contrast to the first section where trees and curves in the road give way to long straight open roads. quickly changing up the gears we tried to increase the pace to make up some ground on mike. it was a bit of a wasted effort in that respect, but i also wanted to distance myself from any other challengers to the points. about halfway to chevin road which was the rendezvous point, i put it in the big ring and put in a big effort to shake gregor. i didn’t want it to get to a sprint situation so managed to distance myself from him and maintain the gap to the end. mike was nowhere to be seen as he had finished the climb and just kept going to keep the legs moving. after a short wait, steve came in with clare and paul on his wheel, but managed to keep it in that order and maintaining paul’s 6th place just out of the points for the third climb in a row.
mike – 10, peter – 7, gregor – 5, steve – 3, clare – 1.
we rolled towards pickering brook but had lost three riders before we got there with various people having early commitments. after a regroup at pickering brook a split formed and five more took off for an early mark, opting for a quick descent down welshpool instead of a climb up the weir road. across the rolling hills before the main climb, john managed to get a bit of a break, but i was mainly concerned with hanging close to mike and steve. by the time we started the climb, there were a few guys already up the road. paul and steve said that i should probably go hard now, but i looked back at how close mike was decided to wait to see what he did. i didn’t really have a choice as he took off like a rocket and i had to sprint to get on board.
we passed the others on the climb like they were standing still and i was only just holding on for dear life. i started to wonder how long i could hold this pace for, but soon got my answer. we had just passed john who had the early break, and i started to slip off mike’s wheel. a couple of efforts to stay on really just buggered me up rather than kept me on and i slipped back. i tried to get into a tempo, but struggled under the weight of the previous effort and was not going as well as i could. i made my way up the bottom section of the climb, but looked back to see that john was gaining on me and soon grabbed my wheel. john has never been a climber and i can still remember his first saturday ride with us. a combination of new bike syndrome and some good training (maybe epo) has seen some god improvements lately.
we continued up the climb with mike nowhere in sight. we came to the last little pinch before it flattens out and i urged john to stay on my wheel. he dropped back a bit as we hit the flatter section, but a bit of yelling forced an effort out of him to get back on. as we started that long straight, i could just make out the figure of mike disappearing around the bend up ahead. we hammered along the “flat” and entered the last pinch of the day. i knew that john would not hold my wheel here after all the efforts he did on the bottom of the climb, so i yelled some encouragement at him before he dropped back. actually, i said “keep looking behind you and ride like you stole something. don’t let him catch you”. i made my way up the final climb and onto the roundabout. john managed to keep fresh air between him and the chasers, but it seems that steve caught gregor near the end and relegated him to fifth. i’m pretty sure paul took sixth again.
mike – 10, peter – 7, john – 5, steve – 3, gregor – 1.
by the time we hit coffee the numbers had dwindled dramatically.
steve, peter, paul, lorraine, mike b, anna, john & gregor – 1.
conversation ranged from what to eat while riding, to bec’s crash at the track last night, to davina riding with a broken arm, to lance’s comeback and what contador will do, to what brendan and steve’s partners got up to last night at the track. coffee’s, cake and coke (the non-tom boonen kind) devoured we were on our way.
quite a uneventful ride home as the smaller group means less egos to stroke. john broke away for the sprint at the welshpool rd maccas only to discover no-one was chasing. steve and i made a move on the hill heading into the final sprint but sat up once we rolled down the other side. this allowed paul to wipe the voodoo of the 6th place away to take the sprint at the lights.
so, not the best turn out but this allowed the points to be spread around a bit more. i had been told today that the state crit champs are actually on saturday next week, not sunday like most races are. this means that i will be missing the saturday ride, but will probably be available for sunday mountain points, to defend my lead.
7:00 – leave front door – looks like rain. Go back inside to get rain jacket. 7:02 – leave front door again. 7:04 – arrive Coode St. Nobody there. Think. Am I so late that they have all left? Or, are the conditions so bad and am I so mad that nobody else is coming? Maybe. 7:06 – decide that I’m riding anyway, so cease pondering madness and weather, and follow the designated course in case other nutters abound.
Nice tailwind, so contemplate changing course to get a nice time up Welshpool Rd hill, then decide I don’t relish such a big pain shot. Lots of lonely fun riding around the hills, so much so that eventual arrival at Kalamunda cafe prompts another loop down the zigzag and back up Gooseberry Hill. Further contemplation of forever riding in loops around the hills to avoid the strong headwind home, when reality strikes – no magic carpet is going to take me home. Damn. Go home. The End.
a quick look at the current weather on the web this morning showed a nice 9 degrees. i was a bit dubious as it did seem cold in the house when i got up but at least it was not showing something like 2 deg. it was a bit brisk, but nothing to really complain about and i was sure today’s route would get things warm as soon as we hit the hills.
the city2surf claimed a few of our regular riders today with ryan, rob and heiko deciding that they would rather run than ride. we could hear the pre-race festivities from our side of the river while we waited for the allotted hour to arrive. jumping ahead a bit, i did ask mike b later why he wasn’t doing the run today. he said that he gets disappointed that he can’t beat his best time anymore. he came second one year with a time of 36min. that was quite a few years ago though. kind of makes sense now why he is so fast in the hills.
anyway, we still had a good group of regulars and some return riders like josie toe the line this morning. about 15 riders all up i would say, with dr paul and dr greg starting with us, but doing their own thing once we hit the hills. the route today would be a challenging one. up the kahuna and down urch before up the rest of peet rd to rolleystone high school. down brookton hwy and through some back streets before up canning mills rd to join back up with the top of the kahuna, before the usual way to kalamunda via mundaring weir rd. four climbs and some bonus’ for a total of just under 100 kms. hopefully it wouldn’t rain.
so we rolled out and headed towards albany hwy. the pace was pleasant and gave everyone an opportunity to have a chat. as we past carousel shopping centre, steve got a flat, but told us not to bother waiting as he had an issue with his tyre anyway. i was in two minds as we usually wait for flats, but we were still close to the city and he would be right to get home if he was in trouble. we left him to his misery and pushed on.
as we approached the base of the kahuna, there was someone doing laps of the roundabout just before it. it turned out to be clare who was patiently waiting for us to arrive. the road up the kahuna starts off gentle before it kicks up to it’s average gradient and luckily it was the gentle section we were on when my phone rang. it turned out to be steve, who had fixed his flat and was now looking for us. he had not done the kahuna before and i was trying to give him directions while i started the climb proper (gotta love hands free kit). i tried to make it as clear as i could in between breaths, and i also gave him other directions in case he got lost. he said that he would call in about half and hour when we should have got to the second regroup point. i wasn’t sure that we would see him again.
so the group hit the hill and everyone settled into their respective positions according to climbing ability. the kahuna can be quite steep in places but also contains a number of shallower gradient sections (i can’t really say flat) that either give you respite, or break your rhythm. i find that it breaks my rhythm as i tend to spin out more and use different muscle groups that then also start hurting.
mike and stu found their place at the front and i jumped on their wheel to try to hold on as long as i possibly could. it seemed like a long time and i was pretty happy, but in reality, it was probably still on the first steep section on the climb. they began to power away with that slow steady “grind out the hill” style that both of them have. as they got further and further away it was clear that i was not going to be able to catch back on without some type of motor attached to my bike. i began to wish that i was 50 year old. both those guys are well on the wrong side of 40 and we cannot keep up with them in the hills. i hope that i am going that strong when i grow up. however, i am thinking that it probably has more to do with the years of marathon running that both these whippets had done in their earlier years.
so i am drifting back and am trying to set myself a nice tempo. i look back and find that ben is gaining on me and soon over takes me. bugger. i continue my tempo and allow ben a bit more space ahead of me. i am hoping that once we hit the shallower gradient towards the top, i can regain a bit of ground. i manage to up my pace and catch back up to ben. i put in a hard, but consistent effort and manage to shake him from my wheel before we hit the top. mike had dropped stu before the top, and i ended up within 75 – 100 metres of stu by the time we reach the regroup point.
as we regrouped, both the effort of the climb and the increasing daylight meant that it was beginning to warm up. holly (pictured) took off her vest to reveal a fat cyclist jersey underneath that matched her fatty socks. if you haven’t heard of fatty, there is a link on my “other blogs” to the right and even though he blogs mostly about mountain biking, he has many an insight into riding and balancing his passion with his wife’s illness. it makes you realise how good we have it sometimes.
so we headed for the next climb up urch and peet. this at least was preceded by a nice descent down part of urch before the road kicked up again. once it did, a bunch of riders like stan, ben and melvyn took advantage of their momentum and started to smash it up the other side. stu also came past and i was determined not to give him too much head start, so jumped across to his wheel. mike also made his way up through the pack and was on my wheel when we all joined ben. melvyn and stan had dropped back by the time we turned the corner onto peet and ben managed to hold on for a little way before he also fell off the back. the boys must have been kind to me, or i was finally warm after the first climb as i managed to stay with them to the top.
as we crested the hill, mike lead us out towards the high school and to the state champs finish line. after a few turns, mike pushed for the last effort up the climb with stu and i sucking wheels to get a good lead-out. stu eventually went so i jumped on his wheel and waited for the last 50 m to come around for the sprint. i barely had enough to stay in front of him as he also turned it up a notch heading towards the line. it’s good, as we both need practice sprinting for that line as two races this year had already finished there and both came down to a bunch sprint. a couple of riders later, steve also made it to the line. he had come up the kahuna but then across chevin rd and into the top of peet road to meet up with the rest of the group.
after a regroup we headed down brookton hwy to give the legs a bit of respite. we don’t often climb up brookton and i remembered why as we were descending. it is not really that hard as we had to pedal quite a bit to maintain speed on the descent. we turned just before the road joined back up with albany hwy and took a couple of back streets. steve asked whether there was a house down here i was looking at buying as it did seem a bit off the beaten track for us. unfortunately, no, we were on the right road and soon we were at the base of canning mills rd.
this is the steeper side of the kahuna and averages about 9% for the steep section. it flattens off towards the top and is not as long as the kahuna, but much, much harder. however, it is fairly consistent and does not contain many “flat” spots that break the rhythm when climbing. you can set yourself a nice pace to the top, but it is when you want to chase others that you will get into trouble and blow-up.
i know that stu headed up the road pretty early in the climb and i had nothing to go with
him. ben caught and past me about halfway up after i started to fade. steve surprised me with how fast he came past, and i expected him to blow up as he had never done this climb before and didn’t know what was around the corner. luckily for him, and probably more testament to his ability, he maintained a good pace to the top and didn’t pop. after that, my memory gets a bit fuzzy and i remember there being another rider up the road. it was probably mike, but i can’t be sure as i know that stu stayed away from everyone on the climb. i just ground my way to the top and was happy to be there.
this climb took a bigger toll on the group and we had to wait a bit longer for all the riders to come in. it is a really challenging climb so we don’t do it that often. but to do it as the third climb in a set of four is just cruel. but sometime you have to be cruel to… get a laugh… i mean be kind. it will make all the riders stronger in the long run so it can’t be that bad.
as we turned to follow the rest of the kahuna rd back towards pickering brook, josie took off back down the hill to head home. her knee was not feeling 100% so she did not want to risk it with another climb. the rest of us ambled our way through the back blocks of canning mills and on to pickering brook. holly had said that she was going to skip the final climb and go straight to coffee. peer pressure made sure that she came with us in the end.
on the little rolling hills (that seem big by now to your legs) stu managed to get away a bit and headed into the final climb with about 50 m or so. jerry went hard as soon as the hill started and thought that he could get some advantage that could be whittled away. in reality he just caught and past stu and paid the price to get there. mike came up from behind and i jumped on his wheel as he moved up behind stu. the four of us started the climb together but it would not stay that way for long. jerry was first to step off after mike moved to the front and set the pace that he was comfortable with. i hung onto stu’s wheel as long as i could and thought i was doing really well when we reached the part where there is a fence and wall on the right. after doing this climb a hundred times, i know that it is not far to the “flat” section on this climb. unfortunately, i also know that the road pinches up ever so slightly more that what we were climbing.
the pace and pitch was too much for me and i also had to step off the train. i tried to set myself a tempo with the hope that i could catch back up when it flattened out. i looked back and saw jerry not that far back and thought that we could work together to catch stu and mike. i eased up my pace and let him get on before starting to wind it up along the “flat”. i thought that if i could out in a hard effort, then jerry could smash the last bit of the hill and maybe catch them as they were still in sight. jerry had the same idea and came around me early and set a high pace. i went as the road got steeper again and realised that i really didn’t have that much left in my legs. i made it almost to the top before jerry came back past me within 10 metres of the kom line. we were probably 100 metres behind stu and mike.
as the rest of the group came into the coffee shop i was surprised to see bec finishing to high in the pack. she said that she finally was feeling good and managed to go hard on the last climb to beat in half the guys. the coffee stop was good today and soon we were off and running again. a nice descent down welshpool and we stayed together for much of it. i pushed hard on the last bit of hill to make sure the speedo clocked over 80 km/h and came past the rest of the group. it did cost me dearly as i then had nothing when jerry and stan headed up the road together. i jumped in behind the others and sat in for the majority of the chase. as we approached the curve in the road, i found my legs enough to do a cancellara and time trialed across the gap to come past the boys at the front. by the time we got through the lights at the highway, the group was all back together.
no sprint at the end of welshpool and we had it saved up for the final push up berwick. i was on the front (again) leading into the sprint when brett and anna came flying past on the slight rise before the lights at george st. i didn’t react as i was sure that they would get stuck at the lights. as they were waiting behind a left turning car when the lights went green, i jumped into the right hand lane and sprinted past them and up over the hill. i looked back and saw jerry closing fast but thought that i had to keep going to stay away. i did ease back on the descent to conserve as much energy for when he jumped, but realised that i probably didn’t have much left in reserve. as i started to run out of puff he came along side and we both looked at each other. i shrugged indicating that i was done, but he didn’t go as he thought that it was mean making me do all the work to just take out the final 100 metres. i was cool with that so we ambled towards maccas. however, when i looked back i saw bec coming off steve’s wheel and heading towards us fast. we didn’t really have enough time to react and she had way too much momentum so overtook us for the final sprint win of the day.
so a good day but a tough one with the number and severity of the climbs we tackled. i can’t say that we will do an easy one next week, as we must punish those that had forsaken us to go running instead. also, since it is fathers day, the blokes should be allowed to stay out longer to do a big ride. i know it doesn’t work like that, but it is worth a try.
ride report by peter video to follow. with the mercury under 2 degrees at 7 this morning, i was expecting a poor showing. with the course i had mapped out for this ride, i was also expecting a poor showing. i was pleasantly surprised to see close to 20 toe the line ready for a big day. the course today was a bit of a monster and took in a number of the hard climbs around roleystone. first we would tackle the kahuna before taking on peet rd up to the high school. a descent down brookton hwy would bring us out at the bottom of canning mills rd which would take us back to the top of the kahuna. a trek along the top before dropping through bickley valley and back up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda. four major climbs would make this a decent effort for the morning.
we were about to head off sans ryan again, when young jordan from a couple of weeks ago turns up in a ute. he gets out all kitted up and his “driver” takes the bike out of the tray and he is ready to roll. we all wish we had a support crew like that. as we turned onto mill point rd, ryan turns up just in time…again. as we make our way through the suburbs, i notice that rachael was no longer with us. i’m guessing she heard today’s route and opted for an easier day. i could be wrong and maybe she thought it was too easy and went to find some harder hills.
we eventually hit albany hwy and worked our way down towards gosnells. we had briefly lost john to a call of nature and i was thinking much the same thing. just after the road bridged over roe hwy, i ducked off behind a bus shelter and into the bushes. what seemed like a good kilo lighter, i chased for a bit to get back on the group just as they were coming through maddington. a good stop for me as i lessened the weight i was going to carry up the hill and the chase put some warmth back into my fingers and a bit in my toes.
we turned up mills rd west and picked up doug along the way. the kahuna loomed above us and i let the fast boys know where we were going to regroup. jordan left it in the big ring and started grinding his way up. i managed to hold his wheel for a while before a gap appeared and the guys behind moved around to fill it. i couldn’t maintain and had to let them go. i watched jordan tow matt, robbie, ryan and rob towards the top. i was stuck in no-mans land with no riders to be seen i managed to keep ahead of the one behind, but could not make ground on the guys up the road. stu started at the back of the pack and was working his way through. he easily dispatched me and worked his way to the front group. from what i could see, he didn’t quite make it but caught rob who had dropped off the pace. apparently jordan could not hold the big ring for the whole climb and had to drop it back a notch. ryan claims that he took him at the top, but i am not sure of the context. i am assuming he was talking about the race to the top… on the bike… who knows.
we regrouped at the turn and bid farewell to jordan who was only using our ride as a gap filler before his shop one started at nine. we traveled down urch and started our next climb after a short sharp descent. i left it in the big ring and tried to power up the other side. unfortunately, the other side is quite long and i started to run out of puff. ryan came past and i jumped on his wheel. as the climb progressed, we shook off mel and bella who relished the descent, but mat and robbie were not far behind.
we turned up peet rd and ryan set a decent tempo. to hard for me, he gapped me and i had to let him go. robbie, with his bouncy style, hopped up the road and onto ryans wheel. i was again caught in the middle but managed to stay away from any of the chasers. on the descent, i eased off enough for mel and rob to catch up. as peet rd became raeburn and the road starts to climb again, rob came to the front and stepped up the pace. it was enough to shake mel but i just sat neatly on his wheel. as we approached the state champs finish line at roleystone highschool, we were caught by another couple of riders and my memory is vague, but i think it was stu and mat. taking off from the same spot as the state champs masters race, i came around rob, who was spent from too much time on the front, and took line honors in our group. as the group came in, melvyn started to make excuses about spending the last couple of weeks in spain not riding. he was going to take a short-cut, but through the power of peer pressure, we convinced him to keep going.
up this high, the fog had rolled in and we could not see very far at all. we were going to take a right turn across brookton hwy not very far from where the accident happened last week. mat and phil were riding with that group last week, but as most of them were off the bike, they were out with us instead. we stopped at the intersection and allowed people to put their flashing lights on, just to be safe. you could hear the cars coming, but not see them properly at all. we listened for a break in traffic and headed off for our descent. we kept a single file all the way down and the road was not really conducive to high speeds as it continually flattens out. we past a couple of groups heading up the hill and it surprised me how many were out in the cold weather.
speaking of cold, it was so cold that i got an ice-cream headache on the way down. the fog turned out to be more like low cloud as it wasn’t to be seen after we were halfway down the hill. doug and i swapped off turns to keep the pace high and we led the train to the bottom. we turned right just before we hit albany hwy and regrouped before heading to the base of canning mills rd. this climb has been used as the perth hill climb championships as it is a fairly consistent gradient to the top. it basically heads up for around 2 ½ kms at just under 9 % before flattening to 2.5 % for a further 2 kms.
i was on the front as we started the climb as people did not know where to go and managed to gap the field a bit. after the previous efforts i was not sure how i would go, but i preferred to be chased rather than chasing. i held off the boys for quite a while but was caught by ryan, robbie and mat. i still managed to hold wheel for a bit as ryan was still grinding big gears today so was not out to sprint off on everyone. stu caught up with us and came around. robbie chased him down and took off up the road. stu held a gap to us, but mat, ryan and i all kind of stayed together for the majority of the climb.
once the road flattened out, ryan and i stepped on the pace to catch up with stu. matt was spat out the back and had to fend for himself, while robbie was long gone. the climb really sorted the field out as it took quite a while for all the riders to filter back in for the regroup.
we headed across to canning rd through the windy track that is the extension of canning mills rd. mr dickhead was driving a old crappy sedan today as he sped up to pass us only to turn right into a driveway just after. he couldn’t have waited that extra 5 sec. as we waited to regroup on canning rd, the “mid-life crisis harley Davidson club” came past with about 50 or so riders. apart from that, it was a fairly uneventful trip with just the usual attacks on t
he rolling hills heading towards pickering brook.
on our final regroup, a number of riders opted for the straight to the coffee shop route or straight down welshpool rd and home. the rest of us were going to head back up mundaring weir rd. as we went to turn onto glenisla rd, we were held up by the “mid-life crisis huge 4wd club” as about 50 of the damn things were coming the other way. this gave stu and doug a headstart as they managed to get through the turn beforehand.
we didn’t really chase and they held their advantage as we came down the glenisla hill at 70 kmph. mel the daredevil flew past me as i must have been holding her up.
when the climb started up mundaring weir rd, ryan took off like a scalded cat in a bid to try to catch stu. a paced myself up with robbie and rob and we caught ryan who had eased off once he caught stu. no lead change for the majority of the climb as we all sat in a line behind stu. as we came towards the top of the steeper section, ryan started dicking around with his gears. he was trying to get it into the big ring, but it wouldn’t go in. in the meantime, stu was continuing to grind away up the hill and had started to gap us again. i yelled some abuse at ryan, and told robbie, who was on his wheel, to go around him as he was slowing us down. rob, who was behind me, thought that i was talking to him so he came around all of us to chase down stu.
once we hit the flattish section i came to the front to lead out the group into the final climb. when we were just about there, ryan shot past like a bout of gastro (very fluid, but not much substance). the rest of the guys came around me to try to chase him down, while i was left to complete the climb on my own.
a nice pleasant coffee stop today as it was not that cold sitting outside. there were lots of groups of riders also replenishing their carbo and caffeine supplies at kalamunda and a few familiar faces were seen. we set off for the run home and i had a good descent on welshpool rd. i had to come around ryan towards the bottom and topped out at 79km/h. bella beat everyone hitting about 81 km/h.
as we turned onto welshpool proper, ryan informed us we had a few passengers. the glenn parker group that jordan had left us to meet up with had caught us after the coffee and was now attached to our group. we started rolling through to share the load and made our way back to albany hwy. the glenn parker boys turned off there and we made our way along berwick.
ryan led the pack from kent rd lights along berwick where we were heading towards our final sprint. i said to him that he should lead out and then sprint to make sure he had to work hard. we got caught at george st lights and he started dicking around with his gears again. his usual tactic to force someone else to lead out. screw this i thought and took off from the lights hard. i managed a gap quickly and pushed hard over the small hill. maxing out the heart rate at 188 bpm i eased off a bit as i crested and coasted down the hill a bit for recovery. i put the power down again and kept looking back to see if i would be caught. the only riders i could see were a fair way back so i guessed that i was safe. sitting up and cruising in i was past just at the end by a 4wd. sucking along behind at 60 km/h was ryan who claimed line honours. unfortunately he received too much outside assistance and has been relegated to last place. shame, ryan, shame. it’s almost as bad as doping.
so a good ride but definitely a tough morning in the saddle. just over 100 kms by the time i got home and over 1300m of climbing. my form seems to be coming back slowly but surely, however, the late night tour de france coverage is still playing havoc.
ten of us gathered on another perfect riding day. it was fresh, but not cold; still ok for just arm warmers, and short gloves. still plenty of chatter about pete and the web site, with general support for what pete is doing, and dismay at people trying to stifle a free market economy. we headed off down berwick & albany hwy at a sensible pace, with everyone taking turns in front, and the traffic light gods smiling on us.
it was my first sunday ride with the group in about 5 weeks, after another bout of travelling, the hills challenge race and fairbridge music festival (a must for any acoustic music fan). the web site said we’d be doing cohunu, with peet rd, and observatory thrown in for good measure. mmmm …
when we got to the hill, cade put the hammer down from the start. i chased for about a km, during which time mike b came flying past me. i realised soon i was going nowhere, so carried on with the heart rate at a steady 175 – 180. i saw mike pass cade, who seemed to throw in the towel at that stage, but then gave a big burst at the end to stay well ahead of me. we regrouped at the top, and the sensible riders went straight from there to the coffee shop, while the rest of us turned right onto canning mills rd.
the next part through rolystone and down urch rd was fun, till we got to pete rd, and cade decided to make a break again. i stayed with him for longer this time, till mike b came past us both, as if we were looking for parking. cade chased, and the two road together along raeburn rd, staying a consistent 50m ahead of me (very frustrating – if i’d had a mobile number i would have called and asked them to slow down for 10 sec), till the last little hill before brookton highway, where they sprinted it out – i think mike b took it, but i’m not sure.
i led with a bit of a burst of speed after the karragullen servo turnoff, and we took turns, keeping a pretty good pace until we reached the t-junction at pickering brook rd. at that point we were supposed to turn right and do the observatory loop, but we wimped out and went left. mike b being the honourable fellow he is, turned right and went off to start his real training, unhampered by the rest of us.
at the glenisla right turn, dr nic & cade and one more went straight on to the coffee shop claiming they had time constraints. that left only rob, tod and myself to do the climb up mundaring weir rd. i pushed a head a little at the start, and stayed there to the top. it was just what i needed for a come-back ride; had i pushed to hard to chase the likes of ryan, stuart or pete, i would just have regretted it today.
after the mandatory h&c croissant and long black, we cruised back home, with a fast descent down welshpool, during which rob we stuck together at 82km/h. no major sprints along orrong or welshpool; too few & too tired.
i got home with 105km on the clock, and a warm fuzzy feeling in my legs that i’d missed for the last month. thanks for a good ride guys.
this sunday ride, as you would have expected, would have less participants due to the fact that the freeway ride was on that day. when i arrived, there was no group of super fit youngsters from wais to smash us on a “recovery” ride, and many of the experienced campaigners had elected to do the flat ride, or as it turns out sleep in, with (or in) their spouse. instead, nine hardcore riders turned up to see what the “kahuna” would offer.
initially there was confusion as the sheep needed a leader. simon stepped up and set out the plan. we went out berwick, past the glass, and eventually onto albany hwy. a surprising amount of traffic for that time of the morning kept us at the intersection for a while, before we settle into a relaxed pace down the highway. all was sweet as the headwind was not blowing, and the bogan count was still low. we were enjoying it so much that when stuart and i were taking our turn at the front, we almost missed the turn off at the caltex.
going up the kohunu, all was looking good, with no wind, not too hot, not too cold. it was peaceful with the golden glow of early morning light over the bushland. i waved to most of the riders who went off into the distance, as simon (who had charitably stayed behind) and i settled into the climb. at the turnoff we found them waiting, and it dawned on me one of the secrets of guiding the sunday ride. don’t tell them where we are going next, and people will settle for a natural regroup point. we took off again down the right, left then right before gravity took over and we were able to go down urch. this is where mark d demonstrated that his bike computer must be mis-calibrated by hitting 80 down the short downhill (either that or he gets very aero after pedalling like mad). either way it also shows his disregard for safety.
after the all too short descent, we turned left to go up peet. again the natural order re established itself as i saw stuart, mark d and stan (and everyone else) go off and play in front. simon again took the term “social ride” to it word, and we were joined by todd. we soon caught up (probably because the others stopped) and made quick plans to meet again at the karagullen petrol station. Now this next bit was real riding (as it was quite flat). the pace was high as obviously no-one was tired enough, and mark d wanted to get fit on the flat bit. we got to the petrol station to find it closed (palm sunday church before easter?). there were some other guys there on motorbikes. i heard one say that he would pull over if he ran out of gas – the freedom of being self powered!
we soon set off again at pace, as we were keen on coffee and pretty much stayed together until mundaring weir road. cue the usual grunting and sweating that we have done a hundred times until the coffee shop. some observations about the shop: the service is really tangibly improving, as the owner counted us out and brought us all water to the table. they also did not mix up orders (but usually that means we get a free coffee), and it was fast. as an aside the people at the belltower must have been reading the blog as the coffee came out fast yesterday. i was however looking for a suspicious can of international roast – it was that surprising.
anyway after an all too short break and tall stories we had to take off again for the hardest climb of the day. up the street from the coffee shop to the back road, before joining on to canning. pretty soon it was the sweet, sweet feeling of bombing down welshpool (no distracting crosswinds). the main group got to the regroup at the primary school to find mark d and stan guiltily coming out of the bushes. they claimed that they were waiting in the shade as we took too long, but i didn’t have the heart to tell them that schools out on a sunday, and they would have to come back the next day to give their lollies out to the kids.
the remainder of the ride ended like it usually does. all the elements were there: a nervous paceline down welshpool rd east, a half arsed sprint 300m too early, the real sprint starting and blowing past me, turning left on the footpath at the red lights on albany hwy, tentative sunday drivers on berwick shadowing us over our right shoulders, bogans screaming uninteligible gibberish from cars, fit looking sunday shoppers at bunnings. all in all it was a good ride.
well another glorious summer morning awaited us today. with an expected top of 34 deg the morning ride was going to be not too hot, not too cold but just right. and lucky too, as today we were going up the longest, steep climb that we know off close to perth. there are longer climbs and there are steeper climbs but this is the “best” of both worlds.
perth really lacks serious mountains. we have hills. so to make up for the patheticness of our climbs, i usually plan a route that has multiple climbs (see below). today we had four main climbs that would give us about 1,000m of vertical ascent in total.
but i am getting ahead of myself. had the normal turn out today. about 15 riders and mostly the regulars. a couple of newbies rocked up but decided against it as they needed to be back by 10am. maybe next time. severe lack or estrogen today as our regular girls are over east competing in the bay cycle classic. 7 o’clock came and we still had people turning up. i guess the benefit of posting the route beforehand is that people know where we have gone. we had to wait, however, for dr melvyn. he was running a bit late and had phoned ahead to say he was still coming. no hurry, so we waited for him and then took off.
as we said that we had to wait for him, we told him that he had to do all the work on the front for the next 20km. for some reason he took us seriously and sat on the front until carousel shopping centre when i told him we were joking. he looked very relieved as he peeled off the front.
the thing that make this sunday ride enjoyable is that we generally don’t race to the hills. there is no rolling through and people just do a bit of time at the front then drop to the back. this allows the rest of us to have a pleasant conversation on the way out, as you know once we hit the hills there is no time for talking.
bit windy heading out to the base of the hills and just before we started the climb, the wind coming down from the escarpment was so strong it felt like we were going backwards.
our climbing etiquette is pretty much as follows; go as hard as you can and try to hurt as many people as you can but make sure you wait at the top of the hill for everyone to catch up. we can then all ride together to the start of the next hill.
so the kahuna (named for two reasons 1. the cohunu koala park is located half way up 2. as it is a big climb, it is the big kahuna) is just under 4km long at an average of just over 7%. nothing compared to climbs in europe but the best we have here. so the climb started well. our groups strong man, ryan set a nice pace early on keeping his bike in a relatively hard gear. the pack splintered as expected and everyone generally went there own pace.
i have decided that going my own pace will not help me improve, so i try to go ryan’s pace for as long as i can then blow up spectacularly. he eventually dropped me and i was caught by stewart. now stew is an ex triathlete and ex marathon runner so he is like a whippet on the bike. he is currently trying to get some form back after an injury, but used to completely spank us on the hills. i tried to stay with him as long as possible but eventually cracked again. i eased my way up the rest of the steeper section before tying again to catch them once i regained composure and the gradient reduced. no luck and they were +50m ahead of me once they hit the top.
i then rolled back down a bit to get a couple of shots of the boys in full flight coming up the last of the climb.
our next climb took us to part of the state road championship course in roleystone. this is an absolute bitch of a course as it is very hilly and contains not flat sections at all. we were going to one of the descents then the main climb, up past the finish line and along to karragullen petrol station for a regroup.
the decent was short but nice and fast and ryan kicked it in once he hit the other side. michael w put in a big effort and they both gaped me, but michael realised that the hill was a little longer that he remembered so popped early as i crawled my way back up to ryans wheel.
the good thing is that ryan has no memory for the places that we have ridden previously so is continually asking how long the climbs are so he can gauge his effort. this at least meant that he wasn’t going full tilt and allowed me to stay with him to the top. heading towards the road course finish line, michael and stewart caught back up and the four of us pushed it the rest of the way to the servo.
karragullen is more of a locality than a town, with the primary feature being the servo. as such it is a popular meeting & refuelling spot. while we were there, at least five ute/4wd’s turned up towing trail and quad bikes. then about ten or so touring motobikes pulled in. with us there was three distinct groups. the young-ish redneck trail bike guys, the middle age crisis 1000cc touring bike guys/girls and us. the approaching middle age but still trying to hang onto our youth through fitness and looking “spectacular” in lycra.
as we were eating, drinking, toilet stopping etc, half the guys decided to get a head start and took off to the next regroup spot. once we got on the road, we started to chase and spat a couple of guys out the back of our group. unfortunately, jerard dropped his chain so i waited for him so he wasn’t left on his own. we worked together the rest of the way but couldn’t catch back up. at the regroup spot, the others had been caught, but had decided to take advantage and take off again to get a head start up to the observatory.
the observatory is pretty much the highest point around perth. there are two roads up it. the hard way and the easy way. we choose the easy way today as we had already climbed the kahuna. not long into the climb we could already spot our escapee’s up ahead. a concerted effort to blow myself up meant that we caught them before the top, but i had to let ryan and stew go ahead as my legs would not work any more.
for some reas
on i have developed into pushing a harder gear than i usually do and this may have a little (or a lot) to do with why i my quads are cramping so often. anyway, i decided to try to spin more on this hill and really concentrate on turning the full circle on the pedal rotation. it hurt and it is something i need to work on. i am thinking of having a crack at some velodrome training to help me out.
we regrouped at the top and this left only one more climb before the coffee shop. stew went on ahead as he was going to do extra kms rather than coffee. everyone else was pretty keen for a coffee.
the decent down from the observatory is one of the best parts of the ride. down on the drops in an aero tuck, rolling at +60km/h is a joy that makes the climbs worthwhile.
i managed to keep with ryan for the last climb right up till the end when he sprinted for the line. no legs left by then but happy with the efforts so far. my new years resolution has been to try to smash it as much as possible as i’m not getting any younger so my fitness is not going to maintain by just keeping the staus quo.
every sunday ride, regardless of the route, will always stop at kalamunda for coffee. i used to hate stopping, but have since seen the social benefits of coffee far out way the break during a ride. anyway, there are limited places open on a sunday and we tend to go to the paris-brest coffee shop. it sounds european and the wait staff are all female so generally we are happy there. service can be erratic sometimes depending on how busy they get, but today was pretty good, so no complaints. orders range from coffee’s to gatorade through to rich cakes, tarts and whatever dr melvyn had. still not sure, but it was about a foot long and filled with cheese and other things that may sit heavy when riding home. luckily this was not a problem.
refuelled, bottles filled and bellys filled-ish, we start the final drag up canning rd to lesmurdie rd. this is the only pain in the arse part of the ride as it is not a hard hill, but feels terrible after the legs sitting stagnant for 1/2 hour. once we hit lesmurdie rd though it is practically all down hill. welshpool rd hill can be fun if the cross winds aren’t howling through the cutting, and today was generally ok. not favourable for any land speed records as i only managed 75ish km/h and the faster boys only just cracked 80km/h. i few of the guys have hit 90km/h coming down there, but i tend to crap my pants at those speeds.
one last regroup at the bottom of the hill to make sure everyone got down safely and then we can all ride back to the shop together. as always, there is a couple of break-aways as we are on nice double lane roads, we have a bit of room to play with. dr melvyn featured again as he attacks and we always chase him even though we know he won’t get far.
one last kick coming back along berwick st just before the shop to make sure that we have totally shot our legs, then a bit of a catch up in the shade, to make sure we all know how good we are.
although, nobody noticed who was missing. dr melvyn had got a flat about 400m from the shop and had to walk his bike the last little bit.
a good ride all round. not a lot of waiting at hill tops so we made good time. didn’t leave anyone behind, which is another thing we try not to do.
one last social commentary.
summer time + bunnings hardware store + sunday morning = lots of hot looking chicks. it somehow makes all the pain worthwhile.