ride report by peter.
after a week of plus 30 degree days, it was a bit of a shock to have a rainy start to a saturday ride. the short shower at about 6:30 kept most away and numbers were down to about 25 or so. i think the majority turned up so that they could collect their new drink bottles. a complete turn around this morning as i was first on the scene so had to do a couple of laps to keep warm as a light misty rain fell around us. perfect rowing conditions as there was not a breath of wind and a few boats were out early. not really the strong south-westerly winds that were predicted.
a tour of the posh suburbs was on the cards today and we would loop around the back of kings park before cutting through subiaco and up rebold hill past city beach. a loop down through cottesloe before home via dalkeith. a convoluted route, but one that kept it close to home and allowed a few short-cuts for people if they needed it.
we rolled out as the rain eased and looped over the causeway and past the coffee shop. a pleasant pace up around kings park mean that we all headed through subiaco together. as expected, we were split occasionally at the lights but nothing a bit of soft pedaling didn’t account for. there is one nice hill on underwood drive before we turn towards rebold hill and everone was very well behaved and the group pretty much stayed together. after we turned onto oceanic drive, the pace started to pick up a bit. jens was on the front but ryan was not far behind biding his time. this was to be our first pace section and the boys were wanting to stretch the legs. ryan eventually made a move and hamish jumped on his wheel. it wasn’t a very long section of road, but the two or three rolling hills made it interesting and soon the group was spread along the road.
i tried to go with the move by found my legs were not playing the game yet and dropped back a bit. james came up and we did a few turns together, but never pulled back the ground we had lost. by the time we hit west coast hwy, they had about 50 – 75m on us.
we rounded the corner and slowed the pace right down to allow the group to re-form. i dropped back to see who we had and there were a few faces not present from this morning. as the group ambled along the road, i looked back to see the remnants of a couple of chasing groups. i let the pack go and dropped back to see if i could draft them back on.
about now the still calm day had begun to change and the south-westerly was blowing in our faces. i jumped in front of bill and lisa and began to try to catch the pack. there were a few more of the group further back, but this was about as far as i thought i could go and actually get back on again. we came up the rolling hills but never really made up much distance. i wasn’t sure whether the front group had upped the pace or not, but by the time we crested the hill and rolled towards the swanbourne shops, the main group was already heading out of sight along side the railway. it also looked as though the group had split, usually a good indication the pace had been on a bit coming up the hill.
we soldiered on but soon came to a halt as there was a pilot vehicle stopping traffic… again. same as last week we had picked a route the was being used to transport some massive piece of machinery. today it was a very large and very heavy generator. there were two semi’s on the front and one behind pushing. this made for a very slow trip. emma had joined us by now, and we set off towards the southern end of cottesloe. i was now worried that our delay meant that we would never catch the group so we detoured down eric st and headed straight for cott. what we didn’t know was that while we were delayed with the heavy haulage, the main group had also been delayed at eric street.
we turned north when we hit marine parade but took it easy, thinking that the group would engulf us at any time. the tailwind was now picking up and it was actually hard to go slow as you were pushed along the exposed coast. we headed the usual way home, occasionally looking back expecting the spr train to be barreling along the road. no train. no barreling.
when we crossed stirling hwy, i let the others go on ahead and decided to wait for the others so i could at least have a crack at the sprint. i waited. and waited. finally a green clad cyclist came across the intersection and stopped. it was russell but he said that he had taken a short cut and was ahead of the group. bit of a relief as i thought we may have missed the group altogether and i would be sitting there looking like a goose. russell kept on going, but soon another small gaggle of spr cyclists came around the corner. it turns out that jules had gotten a puncture and others had waited to help. we kicked back for a few more minutes before the rest of the group arrived. as the tyre had sidewall damage, they got him onto a train to get back to the city. we were off again.
as usual the pace picked up through dalkeith. we left the usual sacrificial lambs out the front for as long as possible and then turned up the pace just before the rolling hills. i was content to sit back and found myself on ryan’s big fat back wheel. my plan of attack on the thursday training ride had been to sit on his wheel and it worked quite well then, so why change. as the rolling hills started, ryan took off on the first step in the hills and i managed to go with him. as we crossed the plateau and up the next step, the group fell even further behind. ryan kept pushing over the crest but my lungs said no thanks and i eased up. jens had made a break off the front and was closing the gap fast but i managed to stay in front of him to the line. and there actually is a line on this one down past the war memorial just before you slow to turn right. this is why ryan keeps the pace up after actual the hill.
the pace slows and the roundabout and intersections make sure the group is pretty much back together onto mounts bay road. with a cross tailwind pushing us along, the pace quickened and we were strung out single file from the start. nick pushed the pace for quite a while and i again managed to be sat on ryan’s back wheel. it was now just a matter of biding my time and getting the kick right to get past.
as we approached the brewery, the front of the group disintegrated into a number of attacks that were instantly swamped by the next. some other riders had also moved up from the back, but ryan was content to sit in till the last moment. i watched his gears and hand positions to try to pre-empt when he would jump and made sure i was in the appropriate gear to go with him. when he finally went we were already into the corners past the brewery car park. it would only be about 150 metres to the line from here so i had to get a good kick. i moved up one more gear and all i got was that tick, tick, tick of being in between gears. no time to dick around and i shifted back sown and would have to just spin more to get past. the front had moved off my now and judd had a small break over hamish but ryan and i were coming up fast. i tried to come around ryan, but the pace was too high (speedo said 66kph) so i just couldn’t make it. we got past hamish, but judd managed to hold us both off on the line, proving that ryan’s tactics of always sitting in does not always work.
the coffee shop was already full of some of the short cut crew and kate and ben had brought a couple of boxes of drink bottles along. we distributed them out to the group, but as the rain had diminished our numbers, i have still got a couple of boxes remaining to be collected. we will see how many we can off load during the week, but may have to bring them to the coffee shop again. it will also pay for people to put their names on their bottles, as they all look the same now. remember (if you read this tonight) daylight saving starts tonight, so it will give me something else to bitch about in my blogs.