well we are into february already. easter eggs are starting to appear in the shops and pretty soon the damn awful day light savings will be over. apparently we are having the hotest summer in perth for 16 years. makes that extra hour of day light just delightful when it is still over 35 degrees with a howling wind. well you may have noticed that i don’t like it. i train in the morning and have family time in the arvo. daylight savings doesn’t work for me.
anyway, that was my little rant. today’s ride would take us back to ridge hill rd which we visited last sunday. however, instead of being a warm up climb, it would be the only one. the main reason that we headed this way was i wanted the group to come home via guilford rd. the wind was forecast to be a ene so it should have been a nice tail wind home. the rest of the route was straight forward. out great eastern, through guilford, over ridge hill, back down kalamunda rd and home along guilford rd. what could go wrong. well nothing. after broken collar bones etc, this was a pretty tame ride. i even had nothing to take a photo of, so i snapped the two waitresses that were serving our table.
again i requested that the group stay together. we would go hard up ridge hill and regroup afterwards, and stay together until bassendean in which we could go hard to get home. it all went magically to plan. steve b and dr nick led us out along the hwy and stayed on the front for a long time, but set a very nice pace. somewhere through belmont, a 4wd on the other side of the road travelling in the opposite direction yelled out some abuse. well dickhead, when you are travelling in excess of 60 km/h and yell something out your window, it all comes out sounding like blah, blah, blah. it doesn’t surprise me any more. there are dickheads everywhere.
once we got to west parade, dr nick swung off but mike b and ben came to the front. i was just about to do a turn but they insisted so i wasn’t complaining. there was a headwind too, so i was happy. we set a nice pace out to helena valley, but mike and ben were occasionally looking over there shoulder to see if anyone was going to help. i was there and was ready to take a turn, but if you have had enough on the front, peel off. we don’t have any hard and fast rules when it comes to doing work. you can easily sit in our group and not do any work at all and no-one will care. we don’t roll through unless we have to, but if you are tired, then just drop back as there will always be someone else ready to work.
so, we hit the hill with mike and ben having done a good 6 or 7 km’s on the front. good, i thought. it might wear mike out a bit. we started to up the pace as soon as the climb started, but i noticed that most of the pack was still holding on. mike set the pace and ben held his wheel. i just sat on to see what would happen. mike stepped it up again and ben dropped off, forcing me to come around to grab mike’s wheel. the pack started to really thin out at this point and i was having to really force myself to stay on wheel. the hill has a couple of steps in it and by the time we hit the first one it was only mike and myself left at the front with michael not far behind. mike kept the pace on and i was content just to hold his wheel, as realisticly i couldn’t come around anyway. by the time hit the second step, michael was on my wheel and i was stuck in a mike sandwich (not one of my favourite fantasies). we stayed that way over the top where we had about 100m on the rest of the pack.
we rolled down the other side and onto midland rd where we stopped to regroup, before kalamunda rd. we had a bit of trouble getting onto kalamunda rd as we had to turn right across 4 lanes of traffic. left hand turns are so much easier to plan for. we used to really turn it on along this stretch and i was dreading it today. however, i have been pleasantly and constantly surprised by the group as we kept it together all the way to guilford. i wanted take it easy along that stretch as it is not double lane for quite a bit of it and i didn’t want to run the risk of pissing off more motorist than we had to.
once on guilford rd and across the bridge, the road widens out and stays double lane all the way back to the coffee shop. with a nice tail wind, this was where it was going to be on. i wasn’t close enough to the front to see who went, but the group started to line out as riders hunted for a good wheel. there were a couple of guys up the road and the pack instinctively started to roll through. this went fairly well, until the right hand line disappeared and we were just in one long line. a couple of sets of traffic lights and most of the pack were back together. everyone was just kind of cruising, and probably more so, watching each other to see where the next attack would come from.
chris and myself were close to the front when the first of the continously rolling hills through maylands started. i stepped it up to see what the group would do and chris came with me. almost to the top and mike b came past both of us at quite a pace and easily formed a gap. i hit it as hard as i could and tried to chase him down. it took about a km (probably less but it felt long) but i finally caught him and thought we could work together to stay away. unfortunately roadworks and a small truck conspired against us, and we had to slow down.
as the truck acclereated out of the roadworks, steve r came around the pack and jumped on the back of it. he got a really good draft and managed to get through a set of lights that we were forced to stop at. the chase was now on to try to catch him before the city. i had to drop back into the pack as the escape with mike b had almost completely buggered me. the boys were doing a good job on the front and we managed to catch up just at the set of lights crossing the graham farmer.
there is one last little hill to go and i didn’t want to expend all my energy on it, so moved to the front to get a head start. i held ben’s wheel to the top and even though some of the boys (mike b) went hard, there were four sets of lights before the final sprint….and we got them all. so i was well rested.
we turned onto riverside drive and the last km and a half of the ride. no-one
wanted to go early, as ryan wasn’t there to do the long lead out. chris and i were on the front and everyone was just looking around. dr emma deceided to have a crack and came around the pack early on. everybody just looked at each other, unsure whether to chase or not as it was still a way to go. bugger it, i thought and went after her. up out of the saddle to ensure chris would not get on my wheel, i managed to catch, pass and then stay away from the pack till the lights turned red at the end of the road and allowed everyone to catch up. as the lights changed, steve r came around everyone and gave a two arm salute for his victory sprint. first to the coffee shop wins.
brett was waiting for us at the coffee again, his arm is now out of the sling, so a few more weeks and he may be back with us. i then spend the afternoon trying to work out how to mount the video cam on the bike. i think i got it working, so maybe tomorrow we can see some faces in pain as we tackle the hills. national olympic distance triathlon champs is on at the foreshore tomorrow, and in a previous life i would have gone down to it. now it is all about the bike.