Tag Archives: urch

sunday 4th april – advanced ride – f_ckenberg et al

ride report by peter.

funny thing about riding.  when you are fit and healthy you love it.  when it is calm and sunny you love it.  however, when you are lying in bed and it is still dark outside because of the cloud cover, and the wind is strong enough to make that whistling noise, and you can still hear the rain dripping off the roof from the previous shower….well, that’s when it becomes less appealing.  it showed in the numbers today as we started with only 21 riders.  well down on the 60 – 70 that we have recently had on a sunday ride.  being a looong weekend as well would have dropped out a few, but i think that the first real wet weekend in such a long time may have tested some people resolve.

as such, we only had one rider for the transitional group.  he resigned himself to doing the intermediate group ride so i hope that he made it ok.  the groups would split at brookton hwy with the intermediate group heading straight up while the advanced group would crisscross from mt nasura back to roleystone.

the wind was up but not too bad as we headed down albany hwy.  there was only a light shower, but we probably got wetter from the road spray on the way down.  as we turned onto brookton hwy, sam decided that the hills were not for her today and turned back.  the groups made the split at the hardware store and we were left with only 9 riders to tackle the climbs today.  when i had mentioned at the start that we were doing the f_ckenberg today, there were moans of despair from the group.  however, some people hadn’t done it before so it was going to be a new experience.  i was riding next to daniel when we turned to see the first view of the climb.  “ahh crap” i think was his assessment.  “wait till we turn the next corner” i replied as it only gets better.

this was also going to be a good test of my knee problems.  after the aborted attempt of hill climbing last week, i was ready to see how it held up today.  the f_ckenberg max’s out at about 21% so if anything was going to have cartilage snapping the tendons flying, it would be this.  there were a few niggles, but it turns out that fitness was what i needed the most.  after an early break by dean and daniel, mike b scampered up the hill to take line honors.  i managed to overcome an early deficit to claw back to a solitary point on the climb.

f_ckenberg – mike b, dean, rob, daniel, pete

rob and phil are both looking at lining up for the half ironman in a months time so even though they are not regulars in the hills, they certainly have some km’s in the legs to help them along.  also with us we had mike t, juni and mark h.  the smaller numbers made the regroups quicker so we were soon on our way to the next climb up canns rd.

the pace wasn’t on initially and we rode as a group for a while.  i probably instigated this as i knew that i don’t have the km’s in the legs lately, and was looking for a reprieve.  as the climb got a bit steeper, dean shot off the front with daniel on his wheel.  we all upped the pace a bit but were not really gaining back much of the gap they made.  mike b took off in pursuit and we pretty much had to let him go.  he bridged across easily and set the pace at the front.  this shed daniel off the back and he was dangling in no-man’s land.  the pace had increased enough now to split our group apart and i tried to ride tempo to get as close as possible to the leaders.  i managed to catch daniel about halfway up the climb and thought that he stayed on my wheel.  after a while i looked back to see him probably the same distance back that i was from the leaders.  he came closer a few times, but i managed to hold him off while mike rode away from dean.  daniel was looking back at the end to make sure that a fast finishing rob, didn’t pounce on him before the line.

canns – mike b, dean, pete, daniel, rob

as the road was a little damp out here, i warned the others about the decent down soldiers rd.  i didn’t really want to be scraping anyone off the road at this stage, so most people took it tentatively for the first part.  knowing the route has many advantages, so i wound it up a bit and past everyone before the smooth section of the road.  i wasn’t going crazy, but was taking the corners at a fair pace, just making sure i didn’t lean too much on the wet patches.  at one of the tighter sections, my eye strayed to the side of the road where there was a soaking kangaroo standing in someone’s driveway.  hard on the anchors to wash some speed off just in case he jumped my way and a bit of noise to try to keep him off the road did the trick.  however, the always seem to be in pairs so just around the corner, his mate jumps out in front of me and decides that it would cross the road.  throwing out a few more anchors and a bit of swerving meant that i didn’t find myself wearing a roo skin jacket today.  however, he did try to jump up a pretty steep slope, so i thought that he may play some havoc with the riders behind me.

with my speed all gone and the hill mostly behind us, i cruised along the flattish section with rob, until the call came from the back that dean had gotten a flat tyre.  we turned back around to offer no assistance and just watch him change it.  conversation turned to the tour of flanders tonight and how steep and cobbled some of the climbs were.  strangely enough we had parked right next to someone’s driveway that would have easily have been over 20% and was rough enough to be classed as cobbles.  no-one wanted to attempt to climb up it.

over to the next climb and suddenly we were heading up peet road.  we were not going to the top and would turn onto urch rd to give us a slight reprieve.  i was starting to run short on legs on this one so was sitting a fair way back at 6th wheel.  there were three behind me but a fair way back so i just rode the majority by myself.  didn’t see any of the shenanigans at the front my again mike came up trumps.

urch – mike b, dean, rob, daniel, phil

we transitioned across to canning road and onto pickering brook.  a slight mechanical for phil who dropped his chain on the inside meant we stopped to make sure he was ok.  once we hit pickering brook, the consensus was to skip the observatory climb and just do the final one up weir rd.  my legs were pretty shot by now so it was going to be a slow one for me.  i started near the front and watched as everyone flew past until i was last on the road.  by about halfway i picked up juni, and drafted him to the top. about 10 1/2 minutes for my effort so almost 3 min slower than my best.

weir – mike b, dean, phil, mark h, daniel

everyone stayed for coffee even mike b as he said that it was his birthday today.  i had to check the club membership list to see just how old he was.  it is older than me, but he is not the oldest rider in the club.

all fed and watered we were off home.  the decent was hampered by the wind and it was a low 70’s kind of day.  we were in survival mode all the way home but the group stayed together until the end.  all up a pretty good ride and the minor inconvenience of a light shower early on did not dampen the spirits for the whole ride.

Ride Report for Sunday October 18

Report by Julian

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.

Climb 3 – 1. Ryan, 2.Rob, 3. Julian, 4. Oliver, 5. Jarrad

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.

Climb 4 – 1. Ryan, 2.Julian, 3. Jarrad, 4.Brother Jules, 5. Oliver

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.

Climb 5 – 1. Ryan, 2.Julian, 3. Brother Jules, 4. Oliver, 5. Peter

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.

sunday 8th mar – f_ckenberg plus others

ride report by peter.


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 "long coffee stop" group
the "long coffee stop" group

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.

sunday 16th november – f_kenberg & urch & observatory

ride report by peter.


so, it was jens’ last sunday ride with us so i gave hime the honour of choosing his last route.  his last sunday supper, so to speak.  he chose the f_ckenberg.  why?  who knows.  maybe it was his way of saying thanks, by making us hurt a lot more.  no matter what the reason, we were headed south today.


a decent turn out as it should be with a beautiful day forecast, but the wind left a little to be desired.  we rolled out with about 22 people and headed down albany hwy.  the turns at the front switched a lot sooner than usual as the wind was coming as a head/cross and was taking the toll on the workhorses. 


we were caught by another group just before maddington and it turned out to be some rowing mates of hugh.  they were heading down to the bedford hill on albany hwy so hugh stayed with us as he thought that they had never heard of half the climbs we were doing today.  we must have been riding along at a far to sedate pace for them as they soon came around and took off down the road.


just after gosnells the call of flat went up and we ground to a halt.  stu pulled out a tube that already had three patches on it and guessed that it had seen better days and binned it instead.  brendan initially thought that it was michael again, but he has since changed his tyres out to a more reliable pair. 


once we turned onto brookton hwy, the wind was directly in our faces and making both riding and hearing hard.  whoever was on the front went to turn up the wrong road which would mean that we would miss the nasty climb.  we were yelling at them to go straight but with the wind, the first few people still turned up the wrong road.  i headed back to the front to make sure that we got the correct turn (big orange building, can’t miss it).


the general call from the group was that jens should lead up the f_ckenberg as he was the one that wanted it.  he was at the front at the foot of the climb, but it seemed that mike was on a mission today, maybe to make up for our poor showing yesterday.  he danced up the hill with brendan and stu not far behind.  jens and i were dropped but i managed to get past him on the lower steeper section.  about halfway up ben came past me which was quite disheartening as i hate to lose position on the climbs.  we continued to slug it out but i don’t think that anyone made up any ground on each other and we crested pretty much in that order.

mike – 10, brendan – 7, stu – 5, ben – 3, peter – 1.


we were waiting at the top and someone said that one of the guys came off at the bottom.  mike b was in a too hard a gear and locked the bike up when the grade got too steep and managed to topple over.  a little bark off and the derailleur was a bit bent, but no major damage.  even just stopping on that climb makes it difficult to restart, let alone hitting the deck.


the next climb up canns is almost straight away and doesn’t really give you much time to get your breath back.  luckily it is not that steep and so wasn’t going to hurt my arms like the f_ckenberg did.  the pace was easy at the start and dr carl lead the field up the first part of the climb.  we were headed straight into the headwind again and there was surprisingly little protection on this stretch of road.  as the road pitched up, jens and ben moved around and upped the pace.  i jumped on and looked back to see what the others were doing.  the majority of the climbers were playing it cool and just going to grind this one out so we got a bit of a gap.  jens and ben took turns but i was content to sit in nicely protected from the wind.  i looked around and we were soon joined by brendan, steve and stu.  the road rolled along for a bit before it turned the corner and offered a bit more protection from the wind.  just before that point, i jumped ahead of the field and grabbed a decent gap.  i was waiting for the reaction but it never came.  i pushed on but was constantly looking behind myself to see when the counter attack was coming.  there was one last pinch before the finish and my legs were starting to fade.  i looked back to see the group gaining fast so i stomped on the pedals and extended the gap out again.  i had enough of a gap to cruise to the finish ahead of brendan who jumped off the front to take second.

peter – 10, brendan – 7, jens – 5, steve – 3, ben – 1.


a nice fast descent down soldiers rd (i am trying to map a course that goes up soldiers rd) and we were at the base of peet rd.  the next lot of points were on offer at the end of urch rd after tackling the base of peet and then onto urch.  i set tempo on brendan’s wheel until mike came past.  john had tried to get an advantage by heading up the road a tad earlier but we soon pulled him back in.  mike tried one attack on the steeper section but brendan and i managed to stay on all the way to the urch turn.  we had a substantial gap over the chasers as we headed down the slight reprieve before urch started in earnest.  mike still set the pace up the slope but steve had managed to bridge across to us.  somewhere along the climb, mike made another attack and it started to split us apart as i couldn’t hang on to brendan’s wheel. steve came around from behind with a great attack that took the other two by surprise and made them push hard to get on.  i just had to watch them head up the road, but now kept an eye behind me to make sure stu didn’t gain too much ground.  as i crested the climb, i saw that the three of them had slowed down as i am guessing that they assumed that the points were at the crest.  unfortunately the points were at the end of the road and i came past and continued along the road.  brendan and steve jumped on behind, but mike kept cruising to the finish.  i was rolled on the line (as i expected), but the aim was to try to grab as many points as i could and was already lucky on this climb.

steve – 10, brendan – 7, peter – 5, mike – 3, stu – 1.


the long hard slog to pickering brook was made interesting by the wind but not too bad overall.  we lost judd at the top of the kahuna and darren at pickering brook, but the group was generally intact as we approached the observatory climb.  mike and i led it out and i was content to let the pace maintain a tempo up the first part of the climb.  mike was out for revenge over the last climb and he hit this one hard.  we all kind of looked around to see who would react and by then it was all over.  he was gone.  i thought i would see what i could do and stomped it to try to bridge across.  i managed to get halfway there, but trying to catch mike on a hill was like trying to get ryan to lead out in a sprint.  i was running out of juice when brendan, stu and steve came past.  i jumped on for a while but the effort of chasing mike took it’s toll and i couldn’t maintain for very long.  ben eventually picked my up and we continued up the hill.


steve was dropped by the other two in their effort to catch mike by the top and he jumped on behind ben and i.  we began pacing it up for the run at the last pinch and chucked it in the big ring.  ben slipped back a bit but soon past steve as he dropped his chain trying to jump up from the little ring.  i hung on to the end, and stu managed to outsprint brendan at the top, but neither caught the elusive teacher.

mike – 10, stu – 7, brendan – 5, peter – 3, ben – 1.


one more climb and next stop was coffee.  jens had announced that as this was his last sunday ride, he was paying for coffee as a thank you for the great company during the rides.  i think he was hoping that we would help/allow him to get to the top first so that he could pay for them, but he was still going to have to fight for the points.


after the descent of the observatory and the undulations of bickley valley i finally managed to catch up steve and brendan so that they would not have an advantage heading into the final climb.  john was trying to replicate his final climb from last week and took off to gain some time advantage.  it looked like he over cooked it as he turned onto mundaring weir rd and may have dropped his chain as he was looking down and slowing up.  we started to set the pace up the hill and stu was the workhorse for all his effort.  he paced us up the main part of the first pitch until mike came flying past,  i tired to jump on and made a big effort to, but i didn’t last long and soon was caught in no-mans land all on my own. 


the train of steve, brendan and stu picked me up and once we hit the flat section, we rolled through to try to catch mike.  it didn’t seem to work.  he was powering along.  by the time we hit the last pitch, brendan and stu were within striking distance of mike but he saw them coming and put in one last effort to make sure of the points.  i was just barely hanging on but stayed away from ben for the finish.

mike – 10, brendan – 7, stu – 5, steve – 3, peter – 1.


as coffee was on jens, i splurged and ordered a “trio de chocolat”  which is a decadant interpretation of the chocolate indulgence.  basically it was a triple layered chocolate mousse/slice thing which was ace.  it went down a treat, and contrary to public opinion, did not come back up on the way home.  mmmmm calories.


the owner of the le paris brest café came out to tell us about this dvd that is being filmed on thursday to try to promote cycling in the hills area.  basically if you are not working on thursday, or are looking for a break for a couple of hours, if you head to the café between 11 and 12 you can get a free coffee and pastry for you efforts.  it is trying to promote cycling so if you are free i recommend that you head up there.  contact the café for more info and to acknowledge your participation – 9293 2752.  oh, and you should wear your south perth kit as a bit of shameless self promotion never goes astray. 

coffee points – steve, ben, stu, stan, michael, dan, hugh, jens, mike b, john, anna, brett 2, carl, simon, peter, brendan, todd.


a nice fast ride home and the tailwind down welshpool allowed me to break my previous speed record of 82 point something.  i managed to crack 91 this time and was upset that i couldn’t reach my hardest gear due to my lock ring problems. in reality, 90 does not really seem any faster than 70 but i am sure that it would remove a bigger patch of skin if you came a cropper.  best not to think about that when you are coming down at speed.  it may make you reach for the brakes.


a nice armchair ride home with jens doing the bulk of the work on the front just like his namesake on stage 10 of this years tour.  he even had energy left to sprint for the welshpool maccas.  the final sprint was interesting as dan jumped clear at the second last lights and managed to stay away until that last little hill when steve caught him after he jumped at the next lights.  i came home hard and picked up dan but brendan sprinted off me and up the road. 


so a good day and some hard climbs.  i had made a decision to try to stick with mike at the expense of mountain points as i think that going harder for longer and then blowing up will be better for me than riding tempo to maintain my position.  we will see anyway.  great perth bike ride for me next sunday, so my position on the leaderboard will be well under threat.

sunday 26th oct – patterson & canns & urch

ride report by peter.


daylight savings.  it almost caught me out this morning.  well actually last night.  i was still up blogging and suddenly realised that 10:30 was actually 11:30 and i had to be up in just over 6 hours.  i like my sleep and feel ripped off losing it just so some politician can go for a walk along the beach after work, in 40 degree heat, with 40km/h winds sand blasting your legs.  nice.  especially since the shops shut at 6.


anyway, i am assuming that the lack of clock winding vigilance was the reason that our numbers were down a bit today.  a couple of text messages confirmed it a bit later that the clock was to blame.  you will probably hear me bitch a bit more about daylight savings as the summer rolls towards autumn and it gets dark in the morning again.


so about 12 or so riders turned up to fresh conditions this morning and we headed out albany hwy.  there were five categorised climbs mapped out this morning and it would have to be one of the most difficult routes that make up the sunday ride suite.  we would start by peeling off brookton hwy to tackle the infamous f_ckenberg, before stomping up canns rd.  a descent down soldiers rd before heading up peet and urch.  a transition to the observatory climb and finish up mundaring weir rd with a coffee at paris-brest. 


the fresh start was beginning to give way to a very nice day.  little wind and seemingly not a cloud in the sky. less than half the group had actually ridden the f_ckenberg before and i was talking it up.  “somewhere from steep to very steep”, “you won’t be able to start if you stop”, “hope you have a 27 tooth cog on there”, all those types of things.  alistar was gunning for more mountain points as he was the only one close enough to challenge ryan for the october overall.  the points reset next week so it was a bit of a battle for these two.  alistar had definitely not ridden this climb and came past asking what it was like.  i said that he will see when he rounds the corner.  he headed up the road a bit and ryan tagged along to make sure he didn’t get too far ahead.  i said to judd (i think) to listen to alistar reaction as we come around the corner.  “holy f_ck” was what i am sure he said.  judd had not ridden the climb either and was now dreading what he would see. 


pete & stan. waiting on top of the world
pete & stan. waiting on top of the world

alistar attacked the hill with gusto and managed to gap ryan from the start.  i know that this climb will really wear you down and the only way to approach it is to get in your easiest gear, stand and find a rhythm you can maintain.  on the bottom half, jens came around me when he surged a bit with stu.  it didn’t last long and i came back past and put in a few hard pedal strokes to get ahead of both of them.  there was no way that i was going to catch ryan and al, but i now wanted to keep ahead of the others to stay in the points.  up ahead, ryan almost caught alistar near the top but conceded valuable points as alistar was first to the blackwood road intersection and the unofficial and invisible kom line.  i had to put in a bit of an effort once the gradient slackened to stay ahead of stu with heiko/jens taking the fifth spot.

alistar – 10, ryan – 7, peter – 5, stu – 3, heiko – 1.


the regroup was a quick affair as the smaller group was quite well matched and it didn’t take long for everyone to reach the top.  we were soon headed down to canns rd for the next climb.  i had to give instructions to everyone on the fly as we hadn’t really stopped in one spot for the regroup and we had already started the next climb.  this was a categorised climb and i had to tell everyone where the finish line was. 


the first small rise in the hill (as it undulates as it climbs) was soon upon us and the group was relatively together.  alistar asked if the top of the rise ahead was the end of the climb.  we were only just really starting the climb and i think he was ready to sprint.  i told them all that there was quite a way to go and everyone was just looking to see who would make a move.  it was me.


i took off to see who would chase and only alistar and jens came with me.  i looked back to see stu and ryan happily riding tempo up the hill not worrying about challenging for this one.  i assumed that ryan had done the maths and realised that his initial 22 point buffer over alistar meant that he was fairly safe even if he came in mid points every climb.  as the road rolled and pinched again we took turns at the front until we paced it up a bit too much for jens and he dropped off the back.  the road starts to flatten out before the finish and i had to point it out to alistar to be fair about where we would be sprinting too.  i made him lead out but at the end he pushed me too hard and i had to let him go to stop myself from actually spewing.  it took me a few minutes of riding around to cool down before my spew-meter was not in the red.  these mountain points are making for an interesting ride.  jens held onto third with ryan and stu following close behind.

alistar – 10, peter – 7, heiko – 5, ryan – 3, stu – 1.


the always fun descent down soldiers rd was interrupted at the bottom when a couple of guys said that someone had a flat or someone had to stop to fix something.  it turns out that judd’s “behind the back” triathlete drink bottle holders were coming loose and he didn’t want to drop a bottle in the path of another rider.  a couple of minutes to fix and he met us at the bottom. 


the next climb was the start of peet but then swung left onto urch for a change.  the road was arguably as steep but had a slight reprieve in the middle before it hit you with the final ascent.  john had jumped across the road before we got stopped by traffic so had a good head start on the climb.  i took it as a tempo and was waiting to see who would try to go early on the lower steeper slopes.  ryan and alistar took off but not at a blistering speed so i could easily hang onto the back of their train.  stu was hanging off the back with me as we al pulled away from the rest of the group.  john was caught and dispatched with little fanfare as the hill was now dictating what we were to use our breath for.  by the time we reach the urch intersection, the rest of the group was a fair way behind. 


true to form, both ryan and alistar didn’t actually listen to instructions (it is probably on their school report from about grade three) and were about to turn right to follow peet as we would normally do.  ryan said that he didn’t hear me say that we were not going to stop at the school.  i also didn’t not say a lot of things, but i did say that we were to turn left into urch.  we rolled down the slight hill before hitting the next climb proper.  again i was asked how far to the top and the answer was “a fair way off yet” as the climb kicks up twice and can be quite brutal.  i got to the front and started setting the pace.  once i thought that we were in a good rhythm i would put in five or six really hard pedal strokes before returning to the same pace.  i was just testing the others to see who would come with me, or attack me.  i managed about four small attacks like that before i finally dislodged stu and alistar.  ryan and i kept going as we were very close to cresting the top of the climb and it flattens out for a bit before the intersection finish.  we swapped off turns to keep away from al who had dropped stu in his pursuit of us.  as we approached the finish, ryan sprinted off to make sure he maximised points and i was left with second.  the points for fifth came down to stan and jens fighting it out along the flat with jens coming out on top.

ryan – 10, peter – 7, alistar – 5, stu – 3, heiko – 1.

refuel after the climb up urch
refuel after the climb up urch


we headed towards the end of the kahuna climb and across to canning rd.  i got to have a chat with a new guy out with us today.  his name is hugh and he is a rowing cox out to do some cross-training.  he did pretty well in the hills too so it was good to see him come along.  he wasn’t the only hills “virgin” but the others were familiar faces from the saturday ride.  the couple of bonus climbs as we headed towards the pickering brook intersection are not categorised in out competition as they generally do not split the field up enough.  it now seems that without the points, no one is going to try to smash the rest of the field and so no-one took off where they usually do.  i thought that i would make use of the nice smooth road and put it in my third biggest gear and just ground out the climb.  in order to keep a cadence of above 40, i had to get the bike moving at a decent pace and was soon at the front of the field and led them over the next two hills and onto pickering brook. 


we did a quick head count and with no-one opting for an early out (i didn’t offer it either) we all headed towards the base of the observatory.  ryan and i talked tactics on the way down past the pickering brook school and decided to not attack and see if we could get to the top as a group sprint.  the climb started and we set a very even pace.  the group stayed together and there were even a few nervous joke thrown around as the rest of the group didn’t know whether we were going to go hard or not.  alistar finally made his move and ryan, stu and myself had to go with him.  jens hang in there for a while but soon was off the back. 


as alistar had initiated the move with an attack, we were content to let him set the pace for as long as possible.  he indicated the top of the main climb and asked if that was the top.  not suite as there is a plateau before a final kick to the finish.  we crested the top and he pulled over a bit to let someone else work.  we slowly moved past, bu no-one was in a hurry to do a turn.  i jumped on the indecision and attacked even though it was way too early.  ryan and stu managed to come along and then past but alistar was spent from his initial attack.  we stayed in that order to the top, with jens taking fifth again.

ryan – 10, stu – 7, peter – 5, alistar – 3, heiko – 1.


one more climb to tackle before a well deserved coffee stop.  the descent down the steeper side of the observatory is always fun and the rolling hills through bickley are a nice warm up before the main climb.  i had to make sure that i did not lose too much time on the rolling hills as when mundaring weir rd starts there is not much time to catch back up.  we hit the climb together the usual foursome plus judd and jens and started to set the pace.  i slotted my way (pushed in front of judd) into fourth wheel behind ryan with stu setting tempo for the majority of the way.  jens and judd fell my the wayside of the constant stu pace setting and pretty soon we were at the plateau of the climb.  i noticed that ryan had left it in his big ring for the climbs so far so we obviously were not putting him in any distress.  alistar wanted to step it up a bit so went to the front and too over the pace.  i thought that this was not the best idea, as ryan will jump all over him when it comes to the final climb.  in race situation i have adapted a technique where by i will be at the front but not actually put in much effort if nobody is willing to come around me. 


alistar was going quite hard and by the time we reached the final pinch stu and ryam started to come around him.  i tried to stay on ryan’s wheel but he was going for the win and i didn’t have the legs to go with him.  the kom line came up fast and i held off stu to take second, although, both ryan and stu claimed that they didn’t even see the kom line which they must have ridden over at least 100 time in the last couple of years.

ryan – 10, peter – 7, stu – 5, alistar – 3, heiko – 1.


coffee was ordered and croissants devoured with pretty much everyone staying for coffee.  1 socialisation mountain point for all that attended.

final points for the day.

ryan – 41, alistar/peter – 32, stu – 20, heiko – 10, stan/john/hugh/daryl/paul/kim/judd – 1.


the ride home was fast and furious for the first part.  an unofficial sprint point to the tonkin hwy intersection meant that whatever buffer you could gain by descending like a demon was what everyone else had to try to make up once the road flattened out.  even before we had left lesmurdie rd, the pace was on and people were trying to all get ahead before that small rise that breaks up the descent.  the field was spread by the time we hit welshpool rd proper and i was with judd and alistar.  judd jumped to the front and cut a nice hole in the air for me to follow.  alistar was on my wheel until he must have thought that it was too slow and pulled out.  it feels “slow” when you are in the draft and you have to touch the brakes a bit to wash some speed off, but once out in the clean air, that extra wind resistance pushes you back.  he didn’t make any more ground so slotted back in behind me.  we worked together with a couple of others that had joined us as the road flattened out but we didn’t make up the ground on the front runners and ryan, stan and john made it to the end first.


the next sprint point to the maccas at the end of welshpool road was uneventful for me.  ryan shot up the road early and a string of other riders took off in hot pursuit.  i was content to watch from afar.  the final run to the berwick st maccas was a bit more eventful.  ryan had a very small gap left after john peeled off his wheel to go home.  he managed to get through the lights at kent st while the rest of us had to wait.  when the lights changed, alistar took off up the road after ryan who had already disappeared.  i was left on the front and stan asked if i was chasing.  i said that i was hoping that the lights at george st would slow him down.  they didn’t but we all got stuck when they turned red.  as we took off on green, we looked up the road to see alistar waiting up ahead.  he started going before we got to him but jens used the momentum off the hill and a bit of a draft from a passing car to get ahead of al to claim second.


so the final wash-up of the mountain points will be on the web soon, but it was clear that ryan ran away with the inaugural title.  the points reset each month and next sunday will see the start of the november competition.  all up i would say that it was one of the best hills rides i have done in ages.  the points competition has really invigorated the climbs with attacks and tactics starting to come to the fore.  if anyone has any ideas on how we can involve the rest of the group during the ride, i would love to hear it.

sunday 6th july – patterson & peet & observatory

ride report by peter.

well a freezing start to the morning and i was fully expecting that i would be the only idiot to toe the line. i was really surprised to find close to 20 riders all rugged up and ready to roll by the time i turned up there. the official temp for perth city was 0.9 deg at 7:30 which would have to be the coldest start we have had for a long time. i was wondering what the temp would be somewhere like antarctica and should we really be complaining. the davis base on the frozen continent reached -15.7 at 9:00am. it sounds cold and we should probably not complain, but i was sure i could have easily snapped my fingers off if i hit them against the handlebars. either that or my bars would break.

anyway, we had a good group with a couple of newbies and special guests so i knew it would be an interesting ride. josie (team flexpoint) was back on break from racing in europe and had brought her boyfriend, cj (slipstream-chipotle) along for the ride. we also had jordan who is a young “a” grade rider from perth and a couple of the top younger female cyclists in perth in mel and bella. to round it out, we had a bunch of our usual cast to balance the entire group’s ability back to average.

the course today would be a brutal one in any weather, but the freezing temps made it even more difficult. we would travel down towards armadale before turning up brookton hwy for a short spell to lead us to the foot of our first climb. patterson rd is a short-ish climb that would make for a good finish in a one-day classic in belgium. i have renamed this hill and i will explain why later. after that heart starter, we then travel up canns rd before taking a quick decent down soldiers rd which takes us back to brookton hwy. across the road to peet but we don’t climb right to the top instead turn up urch and meet up at the top of the kahuna climb. travel the usual way back to pickering brook, before heading up around the observatory and then up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda. so with five main climbs plus some bonus’ it will be a loooong but productive day.

so we were about to roll out and carlo had to duck off for a quick pee but we eventually set off to try to get warm. it was interesting, as we past through suburbia, how the temperature changed as we ran through dips and hollows. i had opted out of leg warmers but had double gloves and booty covers on as well as a wind proof jacket. my legs were not too bad but by the time we got down to kelmscott, i couldn’t feel my fingers or toes properly. it actually made it hard to change gears as i couldn’t feel which lever i was touching.

just before kelmscott we had to slow the pace right down. carlo needed another pee. instead of stopping to watch him, we just dropped the pace right down to allow him time to chase back on.

we did a short stint on brookton hwy before turning off behind the big orange shed to encounter the hell that is patterson rd, mt nasura. usually we head up over carawatha, but this gives a slight variation and a much harder climb. the whole climb is probably just over 500 metres, but kicks up so sharply that if you stall the bike, you will have trouble getting started again. rob and jordan were at the front as the road turned and some people got their first glimpse of the hill. it is instantly into the easiest gear you have and just grind it out till you hit the top. i was struggling from the start and the one hour ride to get to this point had not really warmed me up much. it may have had something to do with the cold morning…

anyway, i was past by a number of riders but was grateful that when cj past by he commented on the steepness of the hill. it was good to know that even a pro can find our climbs hard. well probably not hard, but challenging. it was hard for me and i watched jordan, cj and ryan fight it out for line honors as they crested the hill and rode out of sight. my arms were hurting from pulling up on the bars so much but i managed to grind it out and reach the top. after finding a patch of sunlight to try to thaw, we regrouped and headed to the next bit of fun. as for the name, this hill will now be known as the f_ckinberg.

canns rd was our next climb and we all started it together in a nice pack. from the front, rob and myself began to up the pace until we split the pack in two. jordan eventually came around and began to step up the pace further. i’m not sure what it was but i started to feel a tightness in my left quad when i need to apply more power. whether it was the cold, a cramp or whether i had damaged it on that first climb when my muscles were not entirely warm, was hard to tell. it hurt so i had to back off. a number of riders came past me as we continued up the hill, but i wasn’t too concerned as i was more worried about my leg. by the time i reached to top at a easier pace, the pain had subsided and i put it down to a cold cramp.

regroup. headed off down churchman brook rd which becomes the wonderful decent of soldiers rd. the road was nice and the decent was fast but not without its issues. the main one was what could only be described as an ice-cream headache. the wind-chill across the skull combined with the fact that the sun had not quite reached that part of the valley, meant a very cold decent.

a quick regroup to make sure everyone made it back to brookton hwy and we were off up peet rd. rob and ben made a quick start and headed up the road in front of everyone else. we started to step it up and i came around jordan to chase down the other two. as we came past, jordan stepped it up again and pulled a gap. i had nothing to go with him but rob came around with cj to chase him down. ben and i rode tempo to finish off the peet rd section before turning onto urch. ryan was not feeling 100% today and was hanging a bit behind us on the climb. as the road stepped up again on urch, my left quad problem came back to visit. i had to back off and this allowed ben to come past, followed by carlo and ryan not long after. meanwhile, rob was giving jordan a run for his money and it was good to see rob climbing so well.

i managed to hold it together till the end and was grateful for the rest while regrouping. mel turned up on a soft rear tire so we spent a bit longer watching her change it… with a bit of help from cj.

the rolling hills between here and pickering brook posed no real problems and no-one was really on the attack as we had two main climbs to go. as we hit the base of the other patterson rd and began the climb to the observatory, carlo shot off the front and took a large gap over the rest of us. no-one chased and we held together and took a nice tempo which broke it down into a select group of about eight. eventually cj and jordan held the front and paced us along the hill. as it wore on, you could see carlo start to look behind himself and was obviously slowing down. on the last pinch of the climb, the pace stepped up again and i had to unhitch. i left the boys reel in carlo and fight it out for line honors which went to ryan.

another fast decent and we were on our final climb of the day. michael and emma had turned off after the observatory as emma was on shift and they needed to get home. the pace was on and it was way too much for me and i very quickly fell off the back. a group of about 5 or 6 headed off up the road and i was caught by ben who also set a pace higher than i could manage. setting myself a tempo, i ground out the rest of the climb to make the final regroup for coffee. according to ryan, he managed to take them on
the final pinch for line honors.

an extended coffee stop and luckily the day had started to warm up so it wasn’t too bad sitting outside. cj asked if i was drunk when i came up with this route as even he thought it was particularly brutal. i said that i set it when i was a lot fitter than i am now. anyway, we left jordan, cj and josie as they were going to do extra km’s and it was beginning to get late. it was good to catch up with them as they are not in the country as much anymore and it is always good to have some of our boys pushed a bit harder by better riders.

so we had a good decent on welshpool rd as the practically windless day caused no problems. bella pushed hard to chase down some of the guys but no landspeed records were broken. the return to town was relatively uneventful with the required sprint up to macdonalds in vic park being to main event. ryan again, i believe. heading towards the final sprint to macdonalds in south perth i jumped on the front to set the pace along berwick rd. as we crested the final hill, bec and sam pushed around me but had ryan tucked neatly in behind so he had an easy final push for the line.

so, around 105km by the time i got home and over 1300m of climbing. a good day but i am a bit disappointed in my current level of fitness and will have to do a lot more work to get back in form.

a bit of video from going up peet rd. jordan is the rider in shot for most of it and cj is the orange and blue rider a bit further back. i would like to say that i kicked both their arses going up the hill, but the video does not go long enough to see me fall off the back and ride the rest of the hill on my own.

sunday 16th mar – kahuna & urch

ride report by dr melvyn.

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.

sunday 20th jan – patterson & canns & urch

well today was going to be the hardest set of hills that we have planned. of course i could devise a total bastard of a course, but i do want some people to come back again. we had 18 starters this morning, as i actually remembered to count before we left. none of the usual climbers had turned up so i was a bit unsure how the ride would go. there were a couple of new boys along for the ride, so i thought i would wait to see how things developed.

the course today would take us down towards armadale and to the start of the brookton hwy. a quick turn before the big orange building (hardware or hire place) and we would take the first climb up patterson. down and then up canns rd before a really good decent along soldiers rd to pop out halfway up brookton hwy. cross over up peet and then urch which takes us to the top of the kahuna from a couple of weeks ago. the usual ride back towards kalamunda before the final climb up mundaring wier rd. all in all a pretty tough ride due to the severity of the climbs. it also meant that it would be fairly long as any ride we do down towards armadale will be around the +90km.

so we headed off along berwick and onto albany hwy. the predicted easterly winds were getting an early start and making it hard going, especailly once we got to gosnells and there was not as much cover alongside the road. a nice moderate pace was set, and people took turns on the front all the way to brookton hwy. it is about 25km to the first climb, so at a nice pace it gives you a good oppurtunity to have a chat. once onto brookton hwy we lost our first two as dr paul and dr ian decided they had nothing to prove and would ride straight up brookton then along to the coffee shop.

the wind was ripping off the hillside quite well which made the little section of brookton difficult. as we hadn’t even started the climb yet, i was starting to get a bit worried. we turned off and onto some suburban back roads which lead to the climb. now patterson is an absolute bitch of a climb. it would be less than a km, but i would say it averages about 15% with some steep pinches in the middle. it is so steep, but still has houses on either side of the road. i really can’t understand how half these people mow their lawn as even pushing one of them would be a challenge. i would recommend the flame thrower method of gardening.

anyway, the climb started and doesn’t rise that sharply. there is a left hand bend just after and you look up the road at at least another 500m of sharp climb, before it backs off a bit. i was at the front with one of the new guys. he had that whippet look about him, so i thought i would see how he goes. as ryan, stu & mike were not with us today, i was looking for someone to push me. this, however, is not the type of hill were you want to totally blow up as if you stop, it is really hard to get going again.

the new guy, turns out to be greg, who ryan had invited along. so even though ryan wasn’t there, he still sent someone to hurt me. well as the climb went skyward there was a loud ping/crunch from back in the main pack as nick had dropped his chain at the most inappropriate moment. as the climb progressed i started to fade and greg got a bit of a break. i just tried to maintain and keep ahead of the rest, but josie eventually caught and past me. i had a strange feeling. my inside elbows were feeling sore as i was pulling up so hard on the bars that my arms were fatiguing. i kept pushing as best i could and hit the top about 25m from josie and greg. jerry came in not far after me as he has been climbing well lately.

the remaining 12 riders followed in dribs and drabs as you would expect with a hill of this steepness. everyone agreed that it is a bitch of a climb but i think it was a good warm up. at least everything afterwards would seem easier.

a very short quick decent and we turned onto canns rd. this is a very moderate climb with only a few slight pinches that interrupt your rythmn. it is a good climb to really test your cardio endurance as you can hold a good pace and try to out run the others.

as the climb started and the pack started to spread out a bit i hear this car horn and look around. this white magna is trying to come around and has got impatient. he floors it to get around the guys then flys up past us missing me by about half a metre. there was nothing coming the other way so he didn’t need to do that. just another arse hole really. it did piss me off a bit so i actually chased to see if he turned off anywhere. all i ended up doing was gap greg, josie and darren, and left me on my own. i just ploughed on ahead not pushing too hard but enough to keep the gap.

we regrouped at churchman’s brook rd and continued on. the decent down soldiers rd is great for a mid ride reprieve. the top section is a bit rough but it soon turns to hotmix and widens out significantly. there is one tight-ish corner on the top rough section and scott got caught out there about a year ago. it is all left handers then a tight right hander by which time you build up quite a bit of speed. scott went in a bit hot and his front wheel folded underneath him. quite a lot of gravel rash and a taxi ride home for him that day. i didn’t want to go through that again.

so i lead the decent so that i could ease things up on the offending corner. but i guess as i have riden this way a lot, i have gotten used to the road a bit, so we stretched it out through the corners. once we hit the hotmix, it is all on. they have fixed a number of the bumps and you can easily get to 70 km/h just rolling. there are only a couple of corners where you may need to brush a bit of speed off, but over all the best part of the ride.

we lost a couple more as a mate of shao didn’t have quite a good decent on a full tri bike, so took it easy. they both had time commitments so we left them as they were going straight up brookton hwy.

we crossed over onto peet rd and began the next climb. unlike the other week, we were now doing the bottom half of peet rd then truning onto urch and continui
ng to climb. the bottom section is quite steep. it probably averages about 10% and you can really feel it. greg set a good pace so i decided to just hold his wheel to see how he went. we dropped the others and quite quickley put a big gap into them. by the time we reached urch, we could not see them further down the road.

slight reprieve at the start of urch as it headed back down slightly. the climb on the other side kicks up quite sharply, then flattens then up again and again. greg and i hit the climb and started to up the pace. once it got to the stage that we were standing on the climb, i deceided to see how far i could push him. i kept standing and pushed towards the top of the first pinch and managed to put a significant gap into him. i didn’t quite push into the red zone, but my heart rate was defientely in the 180’s and i was panting like a dog. i managed to keep the gap to the end and sat up when it flattened out before joining onto canning mills rd.

we regrouped on canning mills rd and we were lucky to have anyone with us as the rest of the pack got a bit confused on peet and wasn’t sure wether they had to turn onto urch. another pleasant surprise has been the waiting time at the top of climbs seemed to catch me out. i would be talking to someone and look up to see that everyone was ready to go. so off we went.

the trip across the top to the pickering brook intersection was relatively uneventful, with just a couple of small climbs to further weaken the climbing legs. another regroup and we lost another as josie turned off early as she didn’t need to do quite as many km’s today.

as we headed down past the carmel sanitarium school, the best sphincter tightening experieince happened to greg. on the little decent, where you can quite easily get to 70 km/h, he was hit with a slight cross wind and the whole bike started the speed wobbles. it’s not something you want to happen to you and if you have never had it before, it scares the crap out of you. he managed to get it under control, but i would say at the expense of a clean pair of knicks. i waited for him to make sure he was ok, and we made our way through bickley valley.

i deceided that i was now too far away from the front of the pack to push the pace on the final climb up mundaring weir rd. instead i waited for the back markers to make sure that they were ok. as we hit the bottom of the climb i put the power down and was going to see how many of the group i could catch before the top. heart rate well above 180, panting for oxygen, and legs screaming at me i managed to pass almost everyone on the lower slope and had jerry in sight by the time we hit the “flatter” section. he looked back at this point and saw me, but i was still a fair way back. whacking it into the big ring i pushed hard to gain as much ground as i could before the gradient increased again. by the time we were on the last pinch i had him well and truely within spitting distance. i was a bit afraid that i would max out trying to reach him, but dug deep regardless and pushed it into the 190’s and almost to the point of no return. however, i caught and past him about 10 m from the kom line on the road. he said he didn’t even hear me coming.

i was pretty much spend. it must look funny to the others at the coffee shop as we often look like crap when we arrive. sweat dripping everywhere, looks of pain or just that blank stare when the light has gone out inside.

dr paul and dr ian were waiting at coffee shop already so we pulled up a table and ordered. service was exceptional today and the coffee’s came out quick. probably trying to get rid of us before the brunch crowd gets in.

anyway, dr paul recounts their road wanker experience they encountered on the way to the coffee shop. on a very quiet back rd (near where greg had the wobbles), a guy in a car comes up beside paul and ian and starts abusing them for riding two abreast and making it hard for cars to get around. he is doing this while driving on the wrong side of the road. dr paul said that he was very polite, but he is also very sarcastic so i’m guessing he just told him where to go. people just hate us cause they can.

coffes’s down and back on the bike. another car deceides to try to take jerry out, by waiting till the last minute before pulling out of a side street. he had all the time in the world, but waited till it became dangerous. nice cruise down welshpool rd, but the wind was a bit funny and only got to 78 km/h or so. slowed down at the bottom so that simon could catch my wheel, then time trialed it to the lights at tonkin hwy. a last regoup and john told us that he had the wobbles on the decent. he had them really bad last year during a cyclo-sportif race so got rid of the giant to buy a pinerallo. he is a tall, solid guy, so unless he goes full custom, i don’t think it will make any difference. he managed to get the wobbles under control though, so no damage.

the last slog up welshpool was a pleasure with the tailwind and a couple of guys had a bit of at go to see how far they could get. as usual, dr melvyn was one of the main antagonisors. the final sprint to the coffee shop and i thought i would wait to see who would have a go. jerry decided to lead out early, but chistophe and myself managed to get on his wheel. right towards the end, christophe came around me so jerry started his sprint, i had the perfect lead out with these two side by side so managed to come past in the next lane.

as the remainder of the pack came into the car park, there was a noise like a bike skidding on gravel. we look around the corner, and dr marc had slid the bike out about 3m from the very end of the ride. no real damage besides a bit of skin, bar tape and pride.