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
after a disastrous ride yesterday where my heart rate was maxing out with even the smallest effort, i was not expecting any miracles in the hills today. there were 17 starters that greeted the morning and as usual, i was running late. a smaller than usual contingent were taking the shorter route today, and i assume that the weather (or prediction) may have thinned their numbers. the roads were damp but not really wet as you could avoid the main puddles to stay dry. as we rode down albany hwy, i was watching from the back as each rider from the front hit a small puddle. there was this small spray launching off their back wheel for half a second and as it worked its way down the line, i was reminded of an automated fountain. it was beautiful as the drops sparkled in the morning light (better ease off on the medication).
the damp conditions also meant that the road was pretty clear of traffic to so we made fairly good time down to kelmscott. along the way we managed to pick up about three more riders to bring us up to 20.
we turned up brookton hwy and everyone started the hill. the long course was to climb about half way up before turning left onto peet road, while the short course was to continue all the way to karragullen. the long course hill seemed shorter, but it was no way easier as everyone was about to find out.
the first half of brookton hwy is not that steep so the group was not spread that far by the time we hit peet rd. i was totally unsure as to how i would cope in the hills and so just went with the front boys for as long as i could. i think i surprised myself a bit and managed to hold on all the way to peet rd. from there it was a different story. the first half of peet rd is basically 10% which is probably doubly as steep as the bit of brookton we just did. it then jumps to about 12-13% before the intersection with urch. i was well off the pace by then and so content to tap out the pace as best i could.
just before urch, i noticed a guy standing on the side of the road just watching everyone ride by. as i got closer i noticed he had a coffee in his hand too. even closer and i saw that it was andrew and he was waiting for lisa and davina who he coaches. i am sure that he was going to give them words of encouragement as they rode by.
after the urch intersection, the road sits at around 12% again for quite a way. i managed to pick up a couple of places here, but wasn’t that concerned when they caught me on the downhill. we had a few guys that had never ridden this course before so they hadn’t seen the end of the climb. it is the state champs next weekend so this was to be a practice run for a few people. i just let the boys go when they made a move for the line. we were far enough back from the points to not let it worry me.
roleystone 01 – dan, ashley, sato, bonner, jerry.
after a regroup we headed off to do it all again. this time we were doing the old state champs course. this meant out brookton, left into chevin, all the way along to coventry, onto urch and back up peet. in the good old days, the open men did this about 18 times. this would be our second ascent of peet and it was pretty much enough.
we travelled well along chevin, but it broke up a bit before we got to coventry. i was hoping to keep it together before the descent to give all the climbers a even chance, but a couple got away early. we weren’t that far off them after the very quick decent down urch, so it wasn’t that bad. i wasn’t making a play for points so it didn’t really matter to me.
i set a tempo up the hill and eased up a bit before the top. tom and matt caught up to me and we hit the descent of peet together. one last climb to the finish and i wasn’t chasing anything. the front guys were already cooling done by the time i got there.
roleystone 02 – dan, jerry, sato, ashley, bonner.
an easy ride to pickering brook where we bade farewell to davina and headed up the observatory. again a few went off the front early and started the climb before the rest arrived. not really the spr way as we generally take it easy between climbs and then go hard once everyone is together. jerry was at the back talking to me as we hit the climb. he managed to bridge across to the front guys quite quickly and they all took off up the road. i did an SE effort for a while, but then realised that it hurt too much so just took it fairly easy for the rest of the climb.
observatory – ashley, jerry, bonner, dan, markO.
a fast descent down from the observatory and soon we were on the final climb. as soon as the 15% grade sapped all my speed, i just tapped my way up the climb. a gruppeto of myself, lisa, john and matt formed at about halfway up the climbs so we stuck together till the end. some weary legs were evident by this stage.
lawnbrook – dan, ashley, sato, jerry, bonner.
a few opted for an early out as the rest of us hit the coffee shop. there was no room for us as the ndcc juniors were sprawled around the place taking shelter under the snugly blanket that the coffee shop now provides. fortunately they were heading out once we had ordered, so we did a hot seat change over and took up residence.
an easy return trip which was kept uneventful and i had survived a hills ride after missing a couple. looks like i may be missing the next few as well, but more on that later.
checking the radar this morning and i could see that it was going to be a wet one. it didn’t look consistent, but there would be no way that we would be able to totally avoid any showers. i was a bit late and turned up with bec to make a total of 11 at the start. people don’t seem to mind the cold, just not too happy about the wet. it is all km’s to me though, so i need to be riding lots now as august has a pretty full race schedule. bec and i had been discussing being overdressed on the way to the start and it did feel a bit warm before we set off. out along great eastern and across kalamunda rd made navigation easy but an early shower set the standard for what we had to come.
soon we were facing the bottom of kalamunda rd and young jamie set the pace early on. the ride last week was the first time that jamie had ridden kalamunda rd and then didn’t know what to expect. today we had the added bonus of wet roads to deal with as well. jamie, ndcc nick and i made it up to the first plateau but i was struggling at the steep point and was sure that nick was going to smash me when he looked back to see how i was going. no, he waited till the road flattened off and then attacked once the road started upwards again. jamie and i basically just watched him ride away. we continued to tap out the pace as stu bridged across and just kept on going. i sat on jamies wheel for a while before he started to fade a bit and i came past. i wasn’t really expecting to catch nick and stu, but just wanted to make sure i had enough space ahead of jamie to make sure i held 3rd position. the rest of the climb was just survival in the wet.
a regroup undercover just near chicken treat, and we were down by one as ndcc nick rode on ahead to meet up with some others. the state junior road race this year is to be held at pickering brook and takes in the observatory. a group of juniors were headed out that way to try out the circuit.
we were headed along to lesmurdie rd with the intent of using that descent as part of the precursor to the next climb. unfortunately, as we approached, the fog got thicker and thicker to the point where we could see that far in front of us. nick c came up to the front to suggest that we neutralise the lesmurdie descent as if we couldn’t see the cars then they won’t be able to see us as they pull out of side roads and driveways. we cruised down to the welshpool rd intersection and turned left to take on the top section of the hill only. we lost two more as nick c and di turned right and headed off home.
jamie took off like a shot and attacked the first climb instantly getting a gap on the rest of us. we set a tempo on the climb and slowly pulled him back. stu eventually dispatched me and went on ahead. i caught jamie and left him to continue alone as each of us seemed to be doing today. usually with the bigger groups, there is someone else that is around your climbing capabilities so you tend to form into little echelons. today, it was more of a solo thing. as we got closer to the top the rain started coming down harder. i didn’t pull back any time on stu but kept away from jamie to hold my position.
welshpool – stu, pete, jamie, mark e, claire.
we lost ivan here as well as he was heading straight to coffee. by now i was discovering the limits that a wind proof jacket had in a downpour. it was shower proof but not water proof and now i could feel the water slowly seeping down my arms. the previous discussion with bec about being overdressed was revisited and we decided that we could do with more.
past pickering brook and we started the observatory climb. stu moved ahead and i told jamie that he better get on his wheel. i followed him and sat on their wheels for a while until my legs just decided that they had enough. i sat up and just tapped out a tempo until claire and bec caught up with me. i sucked wheel up the rest of the climb until we hit the plateau before the final kick. up ahead, is saw that stu had dropped jamie and was powering on alone. as the pace went up on the plateau i came around to offer some support. unfortunately i was going a bit hard and so gapped the girls quickly. i looked back and decided to just keep going to see if i could reign in jamie. as the road kicked up for the finale, i came past him and continued on to the top. stu was finished and had turned around already by the time i got there.
observatory – stu, pete, jamie, bec, claire.
at the top i noticed that claire had the electronic dura-ace on her bike. it had been raining fairly consistently but she was doing fine. claire competes in the disabled athletes category as she doesn’t have full use of her left arm. she said that the electronic was awesome as she didn’t need to try to push the front derailleur like on the manual system, just push a button. i said that even i had trouble changing to the big ring some times. maybe i need to go di2.
with the rain, low numbers and increasing discomfort, we changed the route to head straight up lawnbrook so we could head straight home. the descent from the observatory was pretty straight forward for everyone except for nathan who got the speed wobbles. he had to slow the thing right down so he didn’t come off. meanwhile mark e had hit the climb hard using his momentum from the descent and started the hill in front. i chased him down and set the pace at the front. that was until stu came past and never looked back. just before the end of the hardest section, my phone rang. with the big gloves on i didn’t get to the hand free kit in time so it was going to have to wait. it had pretty much cleared up weatherwise and the climb was not too bad. unfortunately that didn’t last long and the heavens opened up with a vengeance. i never saw stu again until i reached the end where i found a tree to hide under. i checked my phone to find that it was my wife checking up to see if we were ok as it was absolutely bucking down at home. it was certainly getting wetter.
lawnbook – stu, pete, mark e, jamie, claire.
it was hammering down by now so we made a break for the servo to wait out the worst of it. the consensus was to head straight home. we had already changed the route to change the climb to kalamunda and skip the goose altogether so skipping coffee wouldn’t really matter. sorry ivan if you were waiting for us to turn up. the descent was wet so we pretty much took it easy the whole way home.
so even with the wet weather, the lack of cold wind made it pleasant enough. it was wet though and the bike now really needs some love to get all the sand out. but i suppose we can’t really complain as it is winter after all.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After 37°C the day before, it was pleasant to wake up to cooler weather on Sunday. However, the buzzing power lines all the way to the car park indicated high humidity and another energy sapping day. I’ll happily admit that I was thinking of shortcuts even before we started and was tempted to go with the doctors, who set off for a short trip up Welshpool Rd, even before Peter arrived. Once Peter turned up, the instructions were instructed, the f-ckenberg virgins were identified and we were off.
The group was very chatty down Manning Rd and Albany Highway. This probably had something to do with the howling westerly behind us and we comfortably sat on 36 km/h during this time. We were slowed in Gosnells by Lisa attending to flat tyre. This also gave Mike Bonner the chance to catch the group and even by his impeccable standards for being late, this morning was impressive. Somehow during the change Peter and I found ourselves doing a second stint on the front as we headed on to Brookton Highway and then the aptly named Hill St at the start of the f-ckenberg. Onto the hill proper the brothers Dan and Jules attacked and were followed by Joe, Ryan, Alistair, Oliver and Mike. Still not feeling too flash, I was content to sat back and enjoy the carnage as the front boys hit the 21% section and as some started going backwards I made up a few places and ended up with a point. Ryan won the day, from Mike, Oliver and Alistair. Raphael was the second to last up on his first time and all he could utter at the top was the first syllable of the climb. Still at least he made it and full marks for doing so. We had one casualty about 2/3’s up with one rider turning back. I didn’t catch his name but he rejoined us later on after finding an easier climb up the scarp.
Climb 1 – 1. Ryan, 2. Mike B, 3. Oliver, 4. Medium Alistair,, 5. Julian
We were no sooner off again when the second climb began. On the early section everyone took it a bit easy until a small group got away – containing Ryan, Mike, Joe and Rob (a rider we picked up in Gosnells). My climbing legs were returning so I made an attack on Oliver and Brother Julian in the second group and got onto the last wheel in the front group. The more we climbed the better I felt and heading towards the finish I made a move to the front. Inevitably, Ryan shot past near the line with Mike, Joe and Rob following me in.
Climb 2 – 1. Ryan, 2.Julian, 3. Mike B, 4. Joe, 5. Rob
The regroup here was reasonably short and we were soon heading up Churchman Brook Rd for the descent down Soldiers Rd. Unfortunately for Matthew, a call to nature after the climb and a breakdown in the buddy system meant that he got left behind when we started again. However, he was able to join up with Mike B, who had a flat on Soldiers Rd and the two of them made their way back to Kalamunda together, as Mike had given instruction to the group to keep going. Of course we were all disappointed that Mike was out of the next few climbs but managed to put that behind us as were headed towards Urch Rd. This particular climb seems to get lost in the fear of f-ckenberg whenever we do this ride. In my opinion it is a tough climb and today I asked Pete to keep an eye on the gradient of the hill. Coming out of the valley it hits 16% and further up is another section at 15% and sure enough the downhill heroes who got the head start were soon being reeled in. Chris had a good start to the hill but dropped off about half way up. Ryan and Rob were battling it out on the front and Oliver and I were locked together behind them. Towards the top I finally dropped Oliver but didn’t have the legs to get to the front. Jarrad put in a big effort to pick up the final point and was looking a lot better than two weeks ago at Pinjarra. The smile on his face as he realised he’d bagged a point was a highlight of the ride.
Rob bade us farewell at the top and headed down the back side of the Kahuna. Chris was having a bit of back wheel trouble but soon had that sorted out and we were off again towards Pickering Brook. I stayed at the back of the group during this stage and helped get Phil through his first Sunday ride for quite a while. We regrouped at the Pickering Brook turnoff on the left had side of the road and it was clear that everyone was thinking about the short cut to coffee. Peter said we’d head the Merchant and I asked if anyone wanted to do the full ride and head up to the Observatory. Heiko volunteered to go with me, then Dan and Jules sensed some cheap points and also volunteered, followed by Oliver and a couple of others and suddenly the whole group was with us. I felt very proud of everyone at this stage – staying together and finishing off what we started – very character building stuff!
There was a Master’s Race on in Pickering Brook and John and Joe made a sprint for the finish line. The marshal there held up a 9 laps to go sign but this was dutifully ignored as were turned into Patterson Rd. The group started to stretch out on the incline and as I passed Lisa I’m sure I heard words to the effect of doubting my parentage being muttered after I said she’d thank me later for making her come this way. Towards the top of the climb a group of 6 were still together. Joe went early and couldn’t hold on leaving Ryan to get away. Jarrad now had the taste of points and collected 3rd after I caught him on the last rise. Brother Jules and Oliver rounded out the placings.
There were a few tired bodies at the end of this climb (but wasn’t everyone glad they did it?) and as Peter set instructions for coffee at the Merchant (for the second time!) we were all fairly keen on getting there. Going through Bickley Valley Brother Jules asked if he could sit behind me during the final climb. I was happy to help out but this caused some confusion with Ryan who thought we were ganging up on him during the climb. Joe and Peter set the early pace on the hill as I kept Brothers Jules and Dan on my back wheel. Coming up to the flat bit the others had dropped off leaving Ryan and the Julians in front. Ryan was unaware of my pacing and made a move just before the last climb. Honour-bound to Brother Jules I stayed back and pushed him through the last stretch and came through in about 8.35. Not sure if it was a PB for him, but certainly a respectable time after a 5 climbs in the conditions. Oliver and Peter followed and soon the group descended on the Merchant.
We managed to jag the outside couch and took up most of the area. My hot chocolate and croissant arrived, barely 30 seconds after sitting down. Lisa took to the couch and would probably have been happy to stay there all day. Conversation was very lively with a real sense of achievement amongst the group. However, come 10.30am we were off for the final fling as we dragged ourselves away and headed towards Lesmurdie and Welshpool Roads.
It was an average descent today with top speeds in the mid 70s. The sprint to Tonkin Highway was fairly low key with everyone keen to avoid the head wind. John’s bike had developed a chain/gearing problem but he managed to hold on until he turned off in East Vic Park. A few others took shortcuts home and the rest of us rode back to the car park via the bike path. It was nice not to get abused by any car drivers and also not to be laden with layers of clothing, except for Lisa, whose arm warmers became obsolete after the first couple of kms and ended up as handle bar fashion accessories.
welcome to the last daylight savings sunday hills ride. on my way to the carpark i missed a call from ryan. it seems that he and jerry were both having trouble getting to the start today because the freeway was closed for some damn bike ride. those inconsiderate bastards, taking up our roads. as we sat around for a while waiting for them to arrive, stu realised how cold it was and took off home to grab his vest. i knew that we had a couple of people waiting for us on the way and didn’t want to delay the start too much. jerry and ryan fronted up so we took off sans stu. he had the bike setup as a time trial bike, so i was sure that he could catch up.
we headed towards orong rd, which is not a usual route for us, as it would take us straight to the welshpool rd climb. there were about 20 riders all up with a couple of new faces. a young guy named sam was looking for a sunday ride so bella and sam (girl) had invited him along. he had a talent identification jersey on so it would be interesting to see how he went today.
we lucked out as we turned onto orong rd as a group of 4 guys managed to turn in front of us. they all had local team jerseys on and looked like they could be “a” graders so we caught up to them and let them draft us all the way along to the climb. on the way we picked up mark and sharon who were waiting on the flats before the climb started. stu had rang up to see where we were but had still not caught up to us yet. it looked like he would miss out on the fun.
the hill started and our 4 escorts were not in a fighting mood, so we had to go around. i am always wary of passing a rider who you don’t know as they could come and smash you later on the hill. these guys didn’t seem too worried though. as the memory fades from a long week at work, i cannot remember exactly who did what, but i got to the front at one stage to set the pace. i wanted to see how the young bloke went and the answer is – very well.
it all became too much for me and i fell off the pace allowing ryan, sam, mike and a couple of others to head up the road. i think that mat was in the group too, but eventually fell back from the pace. by the time we reached the lesmurdie rd intersection the three front guys had a decent gap on mat, lindsay and myself, who were chasing hard.
chasing mountain goats in mountain country is never going to work and i was sure that we weren’t going to catch them. i started to concentrate on the other 2 as we were still in the points and i wanted to maximise mine. another attack a bit later on was too much for mat and this left lindsay and i to fight it out for 4th and 5th. local knowledge goes a long way and i managed to jump at the right time to stay ahead of lindsay for the points.
ryan was too much for sam and mike and they finished in that order.
ryan – 10, sam – 7, mike -5, peter – 3, lindsay – 1.
i got to the top and found that i had a text message from sharon. she said not to wait for her as she would find her own way to coffee. not a chance. if she had enough energy to write a text, she was not trying hard enough. we waited to make sure she did the next hill.
i am running a week behind, so i will fast track the rest of this blog.
observatory climb i got blown out and sat up to make sure everyone got the turn right.
ryan – 10, sam – 7, stu – 5, mike – 3, lindsay – 1.
rolled back around and did the mundaring weir rd climb to kalamunda. it wasn’t the last climbs so i was looking for some pb’s on the hill climb times. it didn’t disappoint.
ryan – 10, stu – 7, sam – 5, lindsay – 3, peter – 1.
stu 7:29, ryan 7:31, sam 7:36, lindsay 7:51, peter 7:52, mike 7:58, jerry 8:12, mark 8:31, julian 8:34, dan 9:03, paul o 9:22.
down the zig zag and back up kalamunda rd. a few went straight to coffee and the girls went down kalamunda and back up again.
ryan – 10, sam – 7, stu – 5, mike – 3, peter – 1.
it’s been a busy week so sorry for the delay. not really used to this whole work thing after so long on holidays.
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.
i managed what i thought was the impossible this morning and snuck out of the house without waking anyone up. this is especially lucky as the microwave (for breakfast) is loud and usually precedes number 1 son’s equally loud start to the day. i was out the door and into the dark before my luck ran out.
we had around twenty at the start today and a new face (to sunday) as matt whom i have raced against before thought he would give our group a go. the rest were fairly regular sunday riders with the exception of rachael who decided give the hills a crack today. we headed out and picked up bonner and nev along the way to bolster our numbers a bit.
the course today is one of the most brutal that we have in our repertoire not for the distance but mainly for the steepness of the climbs involved. there were 5 categorised climbs today but we would start with the f_ckenberg which runs up the back of mt nasura. not as brutal as the chookenberg, but certainly there to test the legs. it is steep enough to make it almost impossible to start again if you stop on the way up.
a fairly uneventful run along albany hwy with the only fun being to watch stu and brendan on two separate occasions have to time trial it back to the group after a nature break. once we hit brookton hwy a split formed with a few of the dr’s and a couple of others opting for a run up the brookton hill rather than the fun of the f_ckenberg. the wind had picked up as the day progressed and was in our faces as we approached the base of the climb. as it looms ahead of you, the bulk of the climb is hidden by the fact that the road turns left to skirt the hill and is hidden by the surrounding trees. quite a few in the group had not the pleasure of acquainting themselves with this climb and so we were talking it up as much as possible.
i, myself, am not a big fan as the steep climbs do not bode well with me. the f_ckenberg doesn’t give you much of a chance of finding a rhythm unless you have a compact cracnk and a granny gear. as the road turned left some of the boys started to flex their climbing muscles and took off up the hill. i was content to let them go, but was concerned when milram dan shot past me as well. his fitness has been getting steadily better, but i was unsure about his climbing. i set my own pace as best i could and managed to eventually haul him back in as the hill was a little too long for the effort he put in. i didn’t make any more ground on the leaders and came to the top about seventh or so, but happy that i could actually see the front bunch this time.
mike – 10, brendan – 7, matt – 5, judd – 3, lindsay – 1.
a regroup at the top and a chance to get the breathing patterns back to normal and we were on our way again. this next climb up canns was nowhere near as steep but went for a couple of k’s and had a few pinches involved. brendan and i led the way and the rest of the group formed up behind. no-one was keen to make a move so we set a more relaxed pace as we were working into the wind. brendan was still recovering from some oral surgery from earlier in the week and was not feeling 100% because of the antibiotics. he said that whenever he got his heart rate too high, he felt crook. bad for him, good for me.
not doing this climb too often, it is hard to remember exactly where it ended and therefore exactly where to attack. as a right hand kink in the road approach, i thought that it was not too far away now so was up out of the saddle and broke away from the group. i think everyone was waiting for brendan to chase me down and it allowed me to make a decent gap. i was constantly looking over my shoulder and saw mike swing off and around the group in response. i held out as long as i could, but mike was making ground and towing a substantial group behind him. i eased off so that i had some reserves for when they past me, but didn’t quite have enough to go with mike and judd. i managed to jump on with stu and matt, but they also eventually dropped me. as the finish line approached, i thought that i could bridge the gap and stood up to accelerate. unfortunately for me, they also stood up at the same time so there was no chance i would gain anything. i looked back and decided that the others wouldn’t catch me so rolled up to the line.
judd – 10, mike – 7, stu – 5, matt – 3, peter – 1.
the decent down soliders rd is always fun once you get past the tight sections and today threw up a further obstacle. as we approached the decent, i commented to bec that they must have resurfaced the road as there was a lot of loose gravel on the top and the evidence that they had widen the road had been covered up. this caused a few concerns to some riders, including myself as the surface did not inspire much confidence and i had to swing wide on a few corners just to make sure. the nice and smooth road returned soon afterwards and i managed to clock about 73km/h as the road twisted it’s way down the hillside. everyone managed to make it down ok and we regrouped before hitting peet rd.
once again the pace was not on. i was expecting a few surges from mike at the very least but they never came. it was tempo up the first steep section of peet rd before a left hander onto urch. at the turn we still had a decent size group to contest the prize. the slight downhill gave a reprieve to the legs but also allowed a few people to sneak ahead and mark flew past in the tug position. i wasn’t too worried about him (sorry mark) as i thought that i could catch him on the uphill, but then matt took off after him. i was a bit worried about him and had to get a bit closer to his wheel.
once the hill started again, matt put in a big effort and jumped in front of mark and up the hill. i jumped across to his wheel as he was still putting in the big effort and sat behind him for a while. when he finally sat down, i attacked him to see if he had anything left. not enough to sustain and i managed to put some distance in him. the grinding climbing technique of mike and stu slowly dragged me back as there was a substantial amount of hill remaining and i couldn’t hold position behind them for very long. once we crested the hill, there is a section of flatish rd before it intersects canning mills rd which is the finish point for the climb. a bit of confusion last time we did this route found mike pulling up too early and a few of us overtook him before the line. this time he was making sure and he kept the pace on to stay well ahead of stu. i looked back a few times to see matt gaining once the hill eased up, so i clicked up a few gears to stay ahead. lindsay was climbing well and managed to secure fifth place.
mike – 10, stu – 7, peter – 5, matt – 3, lindsay – 1.
judd decided to call it a day and took the decent down the kahuna for an early home time. the rest of the group ambled along the back roads to pickering brook and continued to the base the easy side of the observatory. no-one had made the early turn to the coffee shop which was good to see and the group is certainly climbing well. i was hoping for an easy start to the hill and that the attacks would start till later. unfortunately, brendan was in the mood to shake things up a bit and went off the front from the first turn. mike and stu chased and left me no choice but to try to get across. we soon caught brendan who was still suffering from that earlier complaint, but could do little surges to make people think that he was going.
mike and stu left me behind a they increased their pace and i looked back to see matt and lindsay on my tail. thinking that i would be better off in no-man’s land, i put in a effort when we were halfway to the top and managed to shake them off. i just needed the maintain now to make sure i kept my points. as the road flattened, i looked back to see matt stuck to the wheel of dr mark and they were making ground. i accelerated as best i could to stay ahead and thought that i was actually making ground on stu up ahead. in reality i was getting closer because he had started the hill while i was still on the flat. as soon as the hill started for me, i did feel that close. matt was now powering up the hill to the finish and i had to continually look behind to make sure he didn’t make up too much ground.
mike – 10, stu – 7, peter – 5, matt – 3, dr mark – 1.
one last climb today and we are starting a new leaderboard. this one is not to see who can afford to buy the lightest bike but is more a list of personal best times and will show how well people are improving. our last climb on a sunday ride is generally up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda. from the bottom there is a road called aldersyde which is where the time starts. you then climb up to the top where there is a 50 km/hr sign just before the roundabout and stop the clock. i will start a new page which will show the start and finish points as well as a list of peoples best times. hopefully we can use it as gauge of fitness and it allows people to see where they stand.
anyway, the climb started and matt shot up the road after some early breakaways. i commented to stu about it and he thought that we should be able to make up the ground. i had started my clock and was determined to put in a good time so i set myself a nice tempo and took off after matt. he had sat up once he caught the breakaway so i picked him up quickly and sped past. a couple of turns into the climb and i noticed the train of mike, stu and brendan baring down upon me. brendan offered me the wheel as they came past and i jumped onboard. about halfway up the first section, and well into the steeper bit that i hate, mike made a big move off the front. i chased onto mikes wheel and held on for as long as i could. i thought that i was going ok and may have had a chance at sticking to his wheel when all of a sudden brendan shot past with a “yee-hah”. mike accelerated just enough to dislodge me but not enough to stick with brendan. unfortunately, this was just one of the surges that brendan was capable of, but couldn’t sustain and was soon overtaken.
i jumped back on stu’s wheel and we soon picked up brendan. mike was a fair way ahead but i thought we could make up some ground once the road flattened out. brendan came around and offered to take us up to mike and we jumped on board and caught him before the road turned the corner. brendan went straight to the front and kept the pace up until he felt crook again and had to back it off. the three of us approached the final pinch and suddenly mike and stu were sprinting for the line. my legs were just happy to be there and had no sprint left in them but i managed to keep ahead of brendan. my time was 8:03, so if you managed to get a split, send them to me via email and i will post them. when the page is up it will explain the rules etc.
mike – 10, stu – 7, peter – 5, brendan – 3, lindsay – 1.
the coffee shop was busy, but we managed to all squeeze around a couple of tables (with a few parked on the stairs). the early off shoot that left us on brookton hwy was still sitting at the coffee shop by the time we arrived. service was very slow and they were still waiting. we eventually received our orders and were late to leave as it was well after 11 o’clock. the most eventful part of the return journey was right at the top of kalamunda where a guy (with family) in a big range rover, deliberately swerved to our side of the road (oncoming) for no apparent reason. when i stuck my hand up (yes all the fingers) to say wtf are you doing, he did the same back to me as if i was doing something wrong. see mr dickhead can drive anything. i actually think that he was on his way home from church as there is one on that road. so i hope a drop bear lands on his bonnet.
i had all the best intentions of riding a good, hard hills ride today. i had mapped out a course that took in some really nice climbs that we didn’t do very often and some absolute shockers that we had never done before. however, as we came through vic park, the australia day bogans decided to cut my ride short, by leaving a glassy reminder of the more fun side of drunken yobbos. i mean, how much fun is it to smash stuff. come on lets all smash bottles on the road.
anyway, a very big slice in my tyre had me limping home like a fallen soldier that had stubbed his toe on the way to battle. an almost brand new set of tyres are now ruined (i know only one got sliced, but i can’t ride with one blue and one black tyre, dr paul would be upset). so off home i went and jumped in the car to make sure the rest of the group did the chook farm hill.
the remainder of this post will be of the pictorial nature.
I’m not sure how I became defacto blogger for Sunday’s “Tour of the Forgotten Climbs” (aka the Little Big Day Out) – because I’m pretty sure that occasional KOM premier is no qualification. And I’m sure that club “secretary in waiting” is not much of an endorsement either although I suppose that such folks are supposed to be able to write, right? (Note1 to self – standing for office can have unforeseen consequences – be more careful in the future!)
Anyway, a hardy group of about 15 sprouleurs rolled out from Coode St car park at about 7:05. Why “hardy” you say? Coz all good adventure stories start like that. Well, at least I’m sure that Enid Blyton stories start something like that, and a certain degree of hardiness was to be required for the ensuing ride. Or was that fool hardiness? Ride of the forgotten climbs indeed! More like the “ride of the missing flats” – no no cancel that order, we got plenty! More like the ride of the boiled brains – yeah that’s it – the “ride of the boiled brains”! The sprouleurs ( I just made that up, coz I can!) made it as far as Swansea St in Vic Park before the first of the missing flats was found. Strangely, and possibly cunningly, it was found at the bottom of the route designer’s front wheel. Now, I’m not one to suggest that Pete deliberately rode over the patch of glass that indicated we were passing through the drinking warriors feeding ground, but it does seem suspicious that Pete, knowing exactly what verticality was ahead of us, insisted we ride on and he’d make his own way (in blue 4-wheeled aircon luxury, as it turns out). So, we travailed on (I think I made that up too), only to find that one of our hardy bunch has taken another route. Bugger! Where’s drronnie? Loz was most concerned, and thinking that this was an opportunity to show how concerned I was and take some pressure off myself to burst up the Welshpool Rd climb, I turned back to search for our lost soul. However, it was a fruitless errand, and upon turning back and rejoining the adventurers, drronnie was found to have shortcutted back in to the group. Drama over. And so we settled into a nice happy little party at the bottom of the Welshpool Rd incline.
I like the Welshpool Rd climb, whether it’s to the end of Welshpool Rd itself or diverting up Lesmurdie Rd. Perhaps I like it because it’s long and boring and not too steep. Or perhaps it’s because I can still recall my first climbs up the hill over 20 years ago (on the same bike as I’m riding now as it turns out) on a 42T front chainring and maybe an 18T or 19T rear cog. And no fancy light bike either. Now that was a grind! Mostly all out of the saddle, with no lower gears to fall back on. The ride these days seems like a breeze in comparison – and I am certainly not complaining. I know the hill pretty well, and I also listened to Pete’s instructions about the KOM points finish line – sort of! Consequently, during the ride up the Lesmurdie Rd section I was quite amused and relieved to see Danny D sprint past us near the roundabout near the small shops at the hollow on Lesmurdie Rd. I wasn’t saying anything. So as we approached the proper finish near the servo, I put in an effort to try to gain maximum points. The only problem was that Warren the Wolfman was pretty keen to huff and puff and blow my plan down, and so a keen tussle to the finish ensued. As the bus shelter near the servo approached, despite a modest lead I pointed it out to ensure that I wasn’t overhauled on the line. Woops – wrong bus stop – the real one was about 100m further up the road. Sorry!
Order: Stu, Warren, Danny D, Ben, Hunter
Discussion at the regroup point at the servo focused on “where’s Dan?” It was eventually determined that he had passed through and after a respectful wait in case he returned we headed off again toward the observatory. There’s not much to report on for the next stage, except that subsequent reference back to the course map shows we took a short cut by turning left at Carmel Rd instead of Glenisla Rd.
The descent down Walnut Rd past our normal turn at Aldersyde Rd is fast and short, and easy to miss-time the gear change on the steep ascent up the other side. We normally come from the other direction so it was nice to appreciate a different perspective. I was happy to lead for most of the climb, but when the finish approached I had little strength or inclination to fight this one out. Ben took the points. The road surface past our usual turn point at Patterson Rd was smooth and fast (if you had the strength) allowing a pleasant ride up to the regroup point at the boom gate. It would be great if this little piece of road could be linked to other routes. Pete had driven up and was now waiting at the boom gate to give us encouragement for the next section, and take photo evidence of the torture.
Order: Ben, Warren, Danny D, Stu, John D
This KOM section commenced immediately from the end of KOM2 and retraced the route we had just come. However, instead of continuing further up Lawnbrook Rd we diverted to the right at Heidleberg Rd. At quick left turn at Hill St gave little warning of the impending pain. Note2 to self – make sure you’re in your lowest gear before you turn from Heidelbugger Rode into Hill (hoho) St.Note3 to self – double check you are in your lowest ring, front and back. Another left turn led to Karwina Rd. Now initially I wasn’t too fussed about the supposed 17% gradient. I’d been up 15% many times before, so a little 2% would only be a bit harder right? Wrong! Especially if the 2% is more like 5%! My first look at the climb caused a severe baulk! I’m a not going up there! However, the embarrassing consequence of this option eventually caused a change of heart, not to mention that it might be caught on camera. Let me say – its steep! Kinda like verticality meets traverse, and wins hands down. Note4 to self – make sure you put a 25T cassette on the wheel next time this ride comes up. Ben and Warren showed great strength and determination to take prime points.
Order: Ben, Warren, Stu, Bill, Jeff
Regroup and discussion at the top of the “chookenberg” centered around two main themes: the fowl smell and whether or not we’d done enough riding and suffered enough pain to justify not completing the remainder of the mapped ride and head straight for coffee. Nobody wanted the points that desperately, so good sense prevailed. An early arrival at the cafe and good service were truly welcome.
Coffee points: Ben, Warren, Carl, John D, Lorraine, Danny D, Stu, Bill, Pete, Shao, Mark D, drMark, drRonnie, Hunter?, Lisa, who else?? (claim in the “leave a comment” zone!)
During discussion at the cafe Warren indicated that he was headed back to the US next weekend and that it was his last Sunday ride. Hopefully the few rides he’s had with us will give him a little “out of season” advantage over his competitors when he starts racing again back home. However, there’s a chance he may be back so we look forward to some more huffin’ and puffin’ in the future.
The ride back down the hill was safe and uneventful. Mark easily took honours at the first sprint point helped by another fearless descent down the hill, whilst Danny D took honours at the Bunnings stop with a desperate sprint at the bottom of Berwick St.