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.