Tag Archives: welshpool

sunday 1st aug long course hills ride.

sunday hills ride.

it seems that we have all been a bit slack on the blogging front lately, so i thought i better pull my finger out and add my sunday experience to the mix.  after missing the saturday group ride due to kid duties, i was pretty fired up to go out hard on sunday.  i had planned a long route to get the most out of the course but it was not as though my legs had a total rest on saturday.  on the mtb with dan on the front and towing ben behind meant that i was carrying and extra 40+ kgs with me.  i tell you, any small inclination in the road and you can certainly feel it.

so we set out from the carpark on sunday with 32 people in tow.  a couple more joined us along the way but it was a pleasant jaunt out to welshpool road.  i noticed gez in the group as he stands out with his “cafe racer” jersey and massive video camera on his head, and tried to stay out of camera shot least i do something stupid.

bonner and i were at the back once the climb started so i got a ride on his tailcoat to the front as the gradient started to slow the field.  the selection was made early an soon i was in a pretty exclusive pack.  bonner, mike t, john gilbertson (now referred to as gilbert as in phillipe gilbert), ashley and sato.  unfortunately, it was clear to me that the group was a little too exclusive and i watched them start to attack each other  which quickly unhitched me.  actually it was good to see ashley attack then mike t counter attack before they settled down into a rhythm.

i continued up setting my own tempo not realising the i had actually recovered too much.  with my garmin out of service, i had no take on my heart rate and i became too complacent and let it go too low.  next thing i know there is a group of about 5 or so riders coming past.  damn, i just got caught on camera being passed by gez.  and even worse, i was getting chicked by dianne who is climbing pretty well lately.  i sat in for a while before getting on the front to up the pace.  matt came around soon and next thing we know, we are the only two left.  a couple of more turns and we are passed lesmurdie rd and onto the next section.

it was hard to know who to chase as there were lots of riders on the hill that day.  i was pretty sure that we wouldn’t be catching any of the front guys though.  matt went quite hard on the next section, but i decided to set tempo and hope to pull him back as the road flattened a bit.  i managed to grab back enough space to be with him once the road hit the next climb and with only two pinches to go i attacked to try to get away.  i was sure that i was out of the points, but this now became a pride thing.  as we raced up the climb, we were picking up riders from the other group (stadium club i think) but we came across a struggling ashley who had burnt his matches early trying to smash the front boys.  hmm, i think that there are points up for grabs now.  one more small uphill and matt and i basically sprinted for the line, with me managing to hang on to both the position and my breakfast.  although, both were a close call.

welshpool rd – mike t, mike b, sato, gilbert, peter.

a regroup with all the short course riders took a bit longer than expected as we were missing julian.  apparently he broke a spoke at the bottom of the hill and was out for the day.  judd tried to help him but left him to taxi home as the bike was unrideable.  as luck would have it, josh was just driving down welshpool rd with the bike rack on the car so gave him lift home.

we headed through bickley valley and under the finishline for the junior state champs that was on that day.  pretty hardcore course for the kids as they had to do multiple laps up over the observatory and then had a steep climb to the finish.  ndcc nick who often come out on the sunday rides managed to get on the podium with a bronze in his age group, so well done to him.

we split the group at the bottom of mundaring weir road with the short course heading left straight to kalamunda  while we headed towards mundaring.  there were about 11 or so that were going long and it didn’t take long before the pace was on.  as this climb isn’t as steep, i managed to hold on for a lot longer but was soon spat out the back once the attacks came on.  i set a tempo again, but again let my mind wander and was picked up by a few more riders.  as i sat in i looked up and saw that ashley and gilbert had been dropped off the back.  i wondered how much i had in my legs as to whether i could catch them before the top.  why not, so i attacked the group that had graciously given me a wheel to follow, and set off up the road.  ashley was definitely putting too much in too early and after a bit of time off the bike, didn’t have the endurance to keep it up (these young guys are all the same, no staying power 🙂 ).   i picked him up and started closing the gap on gilbert, but he spotted me too early and was up out of the saddle to keep me away.  we caught wally and nev who were doing the same course as us, but different, so this wasn’t to be the last time we saw them.  unfortunately for me, gilbert used his spring classics legs to dart up to the top of the berg to claim the minor points.

asher rd – mike t, mike b, sato, gilbert, peter.

we headed towards the weir at a nice pace and had rugged up with the impending brain freeze that is always invoked at this time of year.  as the descent started, it was clear that this was not to be our usual ride with a thick fog soon engulfing the approaching road.  right, i thought, this is where i am going to get away.  i hit the fog hard and took first wheel.  my plan was to try to get ahead as those behind would slow with the worry of not being able to see the wheel in front properly.  i just had to hope that there were no slow moving vehicles or stray animals to dodge.  however, attacking downhill is never really the best, and after a fast and slightly hair-raising descent, we were basically together at the bottom.

keeping the pace as long as i could, i managed to hold on to about halfway to the roundabout, but then watched them scamper up the road.  ashley and i worked together for the remainder of the climb, and besides coming across wally and nev (again) we never saw anyone else.  ashley gifted my the points, but according to gilbert, he was lucky that the fog kept him hidden as we may have ridden harder had we seen that he was also dropped.

mundaring township  – mike b, mike t, sato, gilbert, peter.

the normally sedate township of mundaring was abuzz with activity.  well as much abuzz as the truffle festival can evoke.  the centre of the park was surrounded by a 8 foot high fence which was meant that everything was completely blocked from view.  i guess they didn’t want us to see how much fun that they were having with fungus.

we took the nice decent through darlington, complete with bonus climbs, to reach kalamunda road.  there a couple of riders headed straight home while the rest of us took in the last climb to coffee.  i really wasn’t feeling it at the start of the climb and considered taking the sweeper role, but managed to find a good rhythm by about halfway.  again, i picked up ashley and had gilbert in my sights, but he was constantly looking behind his back to make sure i didn’t catch up.  at the front, however, mike t started to fade after racing the previous day and bonner and sato claimed his scalp on the final climb.

kalamunda rd – mike b, sato, mike t, gilbert, peter.

coffee break was good, but we couldn’t really explain how nev and wally managed to beat us there as we passed them on mundaring weir rd.  another tear in the space time continuum.  i think we were all a bit bugger as we may have stayed a bit longer than normal and is was close to 11 by the time we departed.  a bit faster of a descent today, but still no speedo to really let me know what we were doing.  i had an interesting talk to rupert who was climbing really well today.  it turns out that a slight change in his diet has meant that he now has more power and has lost a bit more weight.  it is amazing the small changes that can be made that make a big difference to your riding. 

another is getting a proper bike fitting.  unfortunately, this can be a bit more expensive as nathan just found out.  not the actual fitting as that was though the member benefits at glen parker south, but rather the fact that he had originally been sold a bike that was a size too big.  he is not the first person to have this happen, and especially new riders are susceptible to getting the wrong advice.  there is a lot of experience in the group so don’t be afraid to ask.  we are not always right, but it is always good to see the light hearted  verbal abuse being thrown around when someone asks “which is better, shimano or campag”.  it is shimano of course :).

sunday 11th july – hills ride

checking the radar this morning and i could see that it was going to be a wet one.  it didn’t look consistent, but there would be no way that we would be able to totally avoid any showers.  i was a bit late and turned up with bec to make a total of 11 at the start.  people don’t seem to mind the cold, just not too happy about the wet.  it is all km’s to me though, so i need to be riding lots now as august has a pretty full race schedule.  bec and i had been discussing being overdressed on the way to the start and it did feel a bit warm before we set off.  out along great eastern and across kalamunda rd made navigation easy but an early shower set the standard for what we had to come.

 soon we were facing the bottom of kalamunda rd and young jamie set the pace early on.  the ride last week was the first time that jamie had ridden kalamunda rd and then didn’t know what to expect.  today we had the added bonus of wet roads to deal with as well.  jamie, ndcc nick and i made it up to the first plateau but i was struggling at the steep point and was sure that nick was going to smash me when he looked back to see how i was going.  no, he waited till the road flattened off and then attacked once the road started upwards again.  jamie and i basically just watched him ride away.  we continued to tap out the pace as stu bridged across and just kept on going.  i sat on jamies wheel for a while before he started to fade a bit and i came past.  i wasn’t really expecting to catch nick and stu, but just wanted to make sure i had enough space ahead of jamie to make sure i held 3rd position.  the rest of the climb was just survival in the wet.

kalamunda rd – ndcc nick, stu, pete, jamie, claire.

a regroup undercover just near chicken treat, and we were down by one as ndcc nick rode on ahead to meet up with some others.  the state junior road race this year is to be held at pickering brook and takes in the observatory.  a group of juniors were headed out that way to try out the circuit.

we were headed along to lesmurdie rd with the intent of using that descent as part of the precursor  to the next climb.  unfortunately, as we approached, the fog got thicker and thicker to the point where we could see that far in front of us.  nick c came up to the front to suggest that we neutralise the lesmurdie descent as if we couldn’t see the cars then they won’t be able to see us as they pull out of side roads and driveways.  we cruised down to the welshpool rd intersection and turned left to take on the top section of the hill only.  we lost two more as nick c and di turned right and headed off home.

jamie took off like a shot and attacked the first climb instantly getting a gap on the rest of us.  we set a tempo on the climb and slowly pulled him back.  stu eventually dispatched me and went on ahead.  i caught jamie and left him to continue alone as each of us seemed to be doing today.  usually with the bigger groups, there is someone else that is around your climbing capabilities so you tend to form into little echelons.  today, it was more of a solo thing.  as we got closer to the top the rain started coming down harder.  i didn’t pull back any time on stu but kept away from jamie to hold my position.

welshpool – stu, pete, jamie, mark e, claire.

we lost ivan here as well as he was heading straight to coffee.  by now i was discovering the limits that a wind proof jacket had in a downpour.  it was shower proof but not water proof and now i could feel the water slowly seeping down my arms.  the previous discussion with bec about being overdressed was revisited and we decided that we could do with more.

past pickering brook and we started the observatory climb.  stu moved ahead and i told jamie that he better get on his wheel.  i followed him and sat on their wheels for a while until my legs just decided that they had enough.  i sat up and just tapped out a tempo until claire and bec caught up with me.  i sucked wheel up the rest of the climb until we hit the plateau before the final kick.  up ahead, is saw that stu had dropped jamie and was powering on alone.  as the pace went up on the plateau i came around to offer some support.  unfortunately i was going a bit hard and so gapped the girls quickly.  i looked back and decided to just keep going to see if i could reign in jamie.  as the road kicked up for the finale, i came past him and continued on to the top.  stu was finished and had turned around already by the time i got there.

observatory – stu, pete, jamie, bec, claire.

at the top i noticed that claire had the electronic dura-ace on her bike.  it had been raining fairly consistently but she was doing fine.  claire competes in the disabled athletes category as she doesn’t have full use of her left arm. she said that the electronic was awesome as she didn’t need to try to push the front derailleur like on the manual system, just push a button.  i said that even i had trouble changing to the big ring some times.  maybe i need to go di2.

with the rain, low numbers and increasing discomfort, we changed the route to head straight up lawnbrook so we could head straight home.   the descent from the observatory was pretty straight forward for everyone except for nathan who got the speed wobbles.  he had to slow the thing right down so he didn’t come off.  meanwhile mark e had hit the climb hard using his momentum from the descent and started the hill in front.  i chased him down and set the pace at the front.  that was until stu came past and never looked back.  just before the end of the hardest section, my phone rang.  with the big gloves on i didn’t get to the hand free kit in time so it was going to have to wait.  it had pretty much cleared up weatherwise and the climb was not too bad.  unfortunately that didn’t last long and the heavens opened up with a vengeance.  i never saw stu again until i reached the end where i found a tree to hide under.  i checked my phone to find that it was my wife checking up to see if we were ok as it was absolutely bucking down at home.  it was certainly getting wetter.

lawnbook – stu, pete, mark e, jamie, claire.

it was hammering down by now so we made a break for the servo to wait out the worst of it.  the consensus was to head straight home.  we had already changed the route to change the climb to kalamunda and skip the goose altogether so skipping coffee wouldn’t really matter.  sorry ivan if you were waiting for us to turn up.  the descent was wet so we pretty much took it easy the whole way home.

so even with the wet weather, the lack of cold wind made it pleasant enough.  it was wet though and the bike now really needs some love to get all the sand out.  but i suppose we can’t really complain as it is winter after all.

Main 2 Saturday SPR Ride 12/6/2010

Another chilly morning but compared to Thursday morning it was warm. Arrived at Coode St and only a couple of others were already there getting their wheels on the bike because they drove in. Peter soon rocked up in his car but with the excuse he was doing the time trial this afternoon and was saving his legs.

not a huge turn out today well didn’t seem to be but was a healthy number of riders in each group. I think leaving Coode Street we had around 15 in our group. After getting the group together on Canning Hwy we sat on a cruisy 33kph. Each were taking their turn on the front which was great to see. Even Ivan had the legs on the front today great to see mate.

North Lake Rd gave us a couple rest stops at the lights before taking on the small hills along here. Next was the left turn onto South St and a group of us seemed to open it up a little until we were told to cool it. I’m not sure I think a few may have been stretched on North Lake Road. All seemed to be back on rather quickly. After passing Wheatly Drv the pace was picked up again and for the next 10km the avg speed was 35pkh and this saw us catch up and join onto the back of main 1.

Nicholson Rd seemed to have a bit of a tail wind and there was a semi kinda roll though along here. Approaching the lights at Albany Hwy and 90% of the group were in the left turning lane and not the right. seeing everyone jumping across lanes I’m sure this pissed off every driver around us. You need to look at the map people. William street was a bit of chaos also. Lots of over taking and cars not wanting to be patient. Maybe this would have been safer if we hadn’t merged with main 1.

Once onto Welshpool Rd we paired up again and a few got a break away because of some red lights the pace was within 33 ~ 34 for this section. Once we turned right on Shepperton Rd the pace was lifted and it was time to fly home. Because of some red lights I fell to the back and missed the finish but apparently we caught the Transitional group and it was a big sprint on down Riverside drive.

Was a good ride this morning and my legs don’t hurt. Looking forward to Brookton Hwy in the morning and while the rain stays away I hope just as many show up tomorrow as they did today.

UPDATE: Forgot. Set my own new milestone today got home with an average overall speed of 31.1kph over 70kms. Pretty happy with that. Took so long to get 30kph this was unexpected. Yay me 🙂

By Nathan Rzepecki

sunday 13th dec – welsh, obs, camel, goose

ride report by peter.

 

a hot, hot, hot day predicted so i came up with a new route that would allow us to stay close to kalamunda.  this would allow  some easy shortcuts if the temperature got too much and they needed to head straight to the coffee shop.  there was one new climb around the camel farm, but the rest were just other hills cobbled together.  there were a couple of up and back climbs so all up there would be maximum elevation gained for minimal distance.  hopefully that also meant minimal time.

there would have been about 20 or so at the carpark, but it was clear that the doctors were plotting an early breakaway as to escape the mid-day heat.  we headed out along welshpool rd and picked up mike and the “abdominal brothers”.  once we hit the climb proper, the pecking order soon sorted itself out.  jonny was on the front and setting the pace early on until i came past dragging the rest.  i managed to keep pushing on till about halfway up the first half before mike came past to set the pace.  he didn’t attack and held a nice pace to lesmurdie rd. 

a break had formed and there were about 6 or 7 of us all together.  as the climb turned to rolling hills, some others started coming around mike to push the pace a bit higher on the shorter climbs.  chris took the first turn at the front and then shao had a crack.  as we passed the girls school, heiko did a stint but in hindsight was too early and too long.  i was just biding my time waiting for the last climb and i noticed brodie sitting at the back of the pack not doing much.  we turned the final corner and started the last pinch to the top.  once the end was in sight, i attacked the group and tried to make a break.  brodie was straight onto it and chris jumped on his wheel.  i looked back to see the train that i was towing, and then promptly ran out of puff.  chris took advantage and attacked straight away and brodie sat neatly on his wheel.  i had blown about 100 metres too early and watched as brodie came around for the points.  mike scooped me up before the end and shao trailed not far behind me.

1st – brodie, 2nd – chris, 3rd – mike, 4th – peter, 5th – shao.

 

a regroup at the servo and it was a matter of sitting in the shade and filling up the drink bottles.  i had frozen half of my bottle overnight and it was back to liquid already.  we had a couple more climbs before the next servo so i recommended that everyone fill up now. 

we continued on to lawnbrook which would take us straight to the observatory climb.  a nice descent proceeded it and alistair and davina took advantage and managed to gap the field a bit.  the road kicks up straight away and the 15% gradient means that you go from 70km/hr to close to zero in a short amount of time.  the correct gear selection is crucial and i left it in the small ring for the descent to get and advantage on the climb.

we caught the leaders and started the climb in earnest.  jonny was at the front setting the pace but there was a fair crowd forming up behind.  i wanted to thin the numbers a bit so made a few small attacks then settled back to the same pace.  heiko came with me each time, but the smart guys were just sitting behind mike’s wheel getting a nice tow back to me each time.  the attacks managed to shake a few riders and the group had been reduced to about 6 or so.  i was caught off guard when mike attacked and i actually pulled a mono when i went to follow his wheel.  chris jumped on mine but i found that i couldn’t hold it for very long.  i waved chris through and sat up to catch my breath.  we had gapped the rest of the group so i was stuck in no-mans land again.

as i started the final push up to the observatory, heiko and jonny caught me so i sat in for a while.  up ahead i could see mike and chris battle it out for line honours as the gate approached quickly.  i went to make a move and started my uphill sprint.  however, jens was not having any of it and we were soon sprinting up the hill towards the finish.  i ran out of puff before him and sat up as my heart rate was in the “spew-zone”.  jonny came in for fifth.

1st – chris, 2nd – mike, 3rd – heiko, 4th – peter, 5th – jonny.

 

we waited a while for simon and dr carl as someone said that they had a mechanical.  we decided to head back down the hill as we were going back down the same way and would pass them.  they must have already turned off for coffee as we didn’t see them at all. 

the next climb was going to be kind of new.  we would turn right after bickley valley and head towards mundaring weir.  towards the top of the first climb we would turn off at fern road to loop around and finish where the camel farm road joined back onto mundaring weir rd.  as we hit the weir rd, a couple of riders turned left instead of right as old habits die hard so they squandered their advantage over the smaller climbs. 

we settled into a rhythm and the bottom half of the climb wasn’t too bad as the majority of the group stayed together.  the road steepens up before we turned and that is where things started to string out a bit.  the camel farm loop did not really contain big climbs, but rather a bunch of smaller ones where you could gain an advantage with some well timed attacks. 

on one of the longer climbs, mike did attack and chris tried to go with him.  i set my own pace to the top and brodie and brother jules were on my tail.  on the descent we managed to catch chris who had slowed after an altercation with a 4wd trying to take up the whole road.  we sped past the camel farm but then they all attacked on the last stretch and i had nothing by then.

1st – mike, 2nd – chris, 3rd – brodie, 4th – jules, 5th – peter.

 

sitting in the shade while waiting to regroup, we bemoaned the lack of water taps in the area.  next time i may need to make the finish point the camel farm itself as there are some facilities there.  we headed back towards kalamunda and down the winding descent before starting the fourth climb.  i started my clock just to see what time we would do and set myself into a nice tempo.  i was dragging the rest of the field till about halfway up when mike came around with chris and brodie in tow.  i jumped on board with heiko and we managed to sit in till the flatish section.  i looked back to see that we had dropped the others and that this would be the final selection.  heiko went to the front and set the pace on the false flat and we were happy to sit in.  once the hill started again i am sure i made it to the front and thought that i could keep pushing on.  mike came past with davina on his tail.  she had managed to bridge across along the false flat and was now challenging mike for the line honours.  unsure of the finish, she pulled up a bit early and mike managed to take the points.  brodie and chris rolled me before the line so i picked up fifth.  my time was only 8:18 which was only 12 sec quicker then when i did the same course on wednesday by myself, so nothing to celebrate.

1st – mike, 2nd – davina, 3rd – brodie, 4th – chris, 5th – peter.

 

a regroup at the servo and an opportunity to fill the bottles again.  it was definitely hot in the sun, but overall it didn’t seem too bad when riding.  a number of riders headed straight for the coffee shop but about 8 of us sped down kalamunda road to the bottom.  i was not really feeling it at the start of the climb and let the main group of chris, jonny, davina, alistair and heiko get away.  once we hit the little plateau i knew that i needed to make an effort as the next two sections were going to hurt.  on the first pinch chris and jonny broke away and i managed to pick up alistair.  heiko and davina were making there way up and i came past just before the final turn where you can see the finish line.  unfortunately that was pretty much all i had and they both came back past me before the end.  i actually contemplated getting off the bike and walking at one stage, but thought that would look pretty bad.  i slowly made my way to the finish.

1st – chris, 2nd – jonny, 3rd – davina, 4th – heiko, 5th – peter.

 

from there it was to the coffee shop and with only 5 staying for a brew the rest teamed up with the early group to ride home together.  brother dan showed us his awesome handing skills when he came a cropper after getting tangled with the chairs.  as jules said, as long as his wheels are ok.  there was some reluctance to make a move as it was getting hotter and hotter but we finally headed home.  that wasn’t till after brodie’s failed attempts to chat up a local girl who was sitting at the next table.  he had all the moves down and we were astounded that she couldn’t resist his sweaty charms.

the ride home was terrible.  once we came off the hills it was hot.  hot and stuffy and dry.  the water in the bottles was pretty damn hot by now and everyone was suffering.  we rolled through to spread the load but it seemed to take forever.  i walked through the door at 11:30 and was glad to reach the air-con.

saturday 8th aug – canning vale and welshpool

ride report by peter.

 

i checked the weather this morning and it said that it was 14 degrees.  i checked the radar and there were generally clear skies with maybe the odd shower.  it was all looking good and i was set for an excellent morning ride.  the roads were a little wet but not saturated and you know that it had only been a light shower as there were dry spots under the trees.  must be those little bits that i saw on the radar.  not a problem.

not really sure how many we had at the start but i would say close to 40.  the threat of weather had scared away the novice group so we were down to just the two that would split up later.  we had quite a few new riders out with us this morning so it was good to have them along.  especially young alex who was only 12 and managed to keep up with the main group ok.  it was also good to see steve back on the bike after a bit of back surgery had him laid up for a while.

the course was a fairly new one as we had only done it once before.  a common route past booragoon and onto canning vale before splitting at nicholson rd.  the main group would take nicholson back to albany before crossing it and coming home via welshpool rd.  the fast group would continue on and take warton up to welshpool.

we wouldn’t have made it 500 metres up the road before the rain started coming down.  not just the light showers that were predicted, but a decent soaking.  at least being at the front meant that i also did have to endure the road spray as well, so i only got rained on once.  we also managed to get every set of lights once we hit canning hwy so by the time we were heading up risely, the group was a tad splintered.  the easy pace meant that the stragglers could regroup but it all came to a halt when dan’s tire spectacularly went bang while as we took off from the lights.

we pulled into murdoch drive and got off the road while melvyn and i helped him change it.  there was a fair gash in his back tyre and we tried to cover it with some spare rim tape that i had with me.  new tube in, a quick lesson on how to use a gas bottle and the tyre was up…and bulging all around the flesh wound.  not good.  we sent him on his way as there was no way it would survive a fast paced effort in the rain.

up and running again, the group meandered along to south st and headed towards canning vale.  the group splintered a bit along the way and i had to get the boys to ease back a bit.  i think that they were just trying to stay warm.  pretty soon we were at nicholson rd and the group split quite evenly. 

a bit of crappy driving from a local, who couldn’t use the accelerator, found the group split in two with a car in the middle.  she had ample room and time to come around but didn’t before the road narrowed and made it impossible.  it soon widened out and we got a roll through happening.  all this time the rain seemed to be intermittently coming down, but combined with the road spray, it was pretty much a constant thing.  we turned up warton rd and the roll through involved almost all of the group.  stu is training for a mtb tour of timor and as such had the fat wheel beast out with us today.  unfortunately he was a bit short on gears and couldn’t keep the pace up when we were really hammering.  he did manage to sit in quite well for a lot of the ride though. 

a couple of intersection and roundabouts played havoc with the group and we needed to ease back a bit to allow the group back together.  it was a pretty hard slog but we finally reached the end and turned onto crystal brook rd.

a slight downhill and tailwind made this section a lot more pleasant and the group hummed along quite nicely.  we passed another group and one of the guys that we know from it came up for a chat.  resplendent in my yellow jersey today, i was content to act as protected rider and hang back to catch the draft.  i managed to sit in this spot for the majority of welshpool rd and onto shep rd and had a few good conversations in the meantime.

the rain got a bit stupid along shep rd but at least it was double lane, so cars were giving us a wide berth.  the lights made sure no attacks went on this section and we all rolled down to the causeway together.  it was great to see the group stay in the lane at the lights and no-one tried to slip around the cars for and early break. 

contador3the pace started to pick up as everyone was anticipating the sprint along riverside drive.  jerry went early and had a decent break by the time we veered off the causeway.  the group started to string out as they chased him down and at one point i though he may have gotten away for good.  i was jumping from wheel to wheel coming from the very back of the pack and was soon sitting about midpack.  about then the group caught jerry showing lots of compassion for his efforts, sat on his wheel instead of coming around.  this caused the group to bunch up and spread across the lane.  i looked back twice to check for traffic (a sure sign of a move coming) and then hit the accelerator.  this was not a stand up sprint but just a power down seated time trial.  someone called out that i was going, but no-one responded and i got a decent gap.  running scared i looked back a couple of times, but i had managed to put enough space between myself and the chasers to allow me to be first to the stop lights.  if is was really thinking straight i should have done a pistol in the air salute like contador (since one of john’s kids thought i was riding in the tour this year).

no stop for me as i had an appointment and i was too damn wet to want to sit still for too long.  the rain cleared later in the day to reveal much better riding conditions and to mock us for being so stupid.  however, i had a good time even if my bike now needs a damn good clean.

sunday 22nd mar – welshpool & observatory & kalamunda

ride report by peter.

 

welcome to the last daylight savings sunday hills ride.  on my way to the carpark i missed a call from ryan.  it seems that he and jerry were both having trouble getting to the start today because the freeway was closed for some damn bike ride.  those inconsiderate bastards, taking up our roads.  as we sat around for a while waiting for them to arrive, stu realised how cold it was and took off home to grab his vest.  i knew that we had a couple of people waiting for us on the way and didn’t want to delay the start too much.  jerry and ryan fronted up so we took off sans stu.  he had the bike setup as a time trial bike, so i was sure that he could catch up.

we headed towards orong rd, which is not a usual route for us, as it would take us straight to the welshpool rd climb.  there were about 20 riders all up with a couple of new faces.  a young guy named sam was looking for a sunday ride so bella and sam (girl) had invited him along.  he had a talent identification jersey on so it would be interesting to see how he went today. 

we lucked out as we turned onto orong rd as a group of 4 guys managed to turn in front of us.  they all had local team jerseys on and looked like they could be “a” graders so we caught up to them and let them draft us all the way along to the climb.  on the way we picked up mark and sharon who were waiting on the flats before the climb started.  stu had rang up to see where we were but had still not caught up to us yet.  it looked like he would miss out on the fun.

the hill started and our 4 escorts were not in a fighting mood, so we had to go around.  i am always wary of passing a rider who you don’t know as they could come and smash you later on the hill.  these guys didn’t seem too worried though.  as the memory fades from a long week at work, i cannot remember exactly who did what, but i got to the front at one stage to set the pace.  i wanted to see how the young bloke went and the answer is – very well. 

it all became too much for me and i fell off the pace allowing ryan, sam, mike and a couple of others to head up the road.  i think that mat was in the group too, but eventually fell back from the pace.  by the time we reached the lesmurdie rd intersection the three front guys had a decent gap on mat, lindsay and myself, who were chasing hard. 

chasing mountain goats in mountain country is never going to work and i was sure that we weren’t going to catch them.  i started to concentrate on the other 2 as we were still in the points and i wanted to maximise mine.  another attack a bit later on was too much for mat and this left lindsay and i to fight it out for 4th and 5th.  local knowledge goes a long way and i managed to jump at the right time to stay ahead of lindsay for the points.

ryan was too much for sam and mike and they finished in that order.

ryan – 10, sam – 7, mike -5, peter – 3, lindsay – 1.

 

i got to the top and found that i had a text message from sharon.  she said not to wait for her as she would find her own way to coffee.  not a chance.  if she had enough energy to write a text, she was not trying hard enough.  we waited to make sure she did the next hill.

 

i am running a week behind, so i will fast track the rest of this blog.

 

observatory climb i got blown out and sat up to make sure everyone got the turn right.

ryan – 10, sam – 7, stu – 5, mike – 3, lindsay – 1.

 

rolled back around and did the mundaring weir rd climb to kalamunda.  it wasn’t the last climbs so i was looking for some pb’s on the hill climb times.  it didn’t disappoint.

ryan – 10, stu – 7, sam – 5, lindsay – 3, peter – 1.

stu 7:29, ryan 7:31, sam 7:36, lindsay 7:51, peter 7:52, mike 7:58, jerry 8:12, mark 8:31, julian 8:34, dan 9:03, paul o 9:22.

 

down the zig zag and back up kalamunda rd.  a few went straight to coffee and the girls went down kalamunda and back up again.

ryan – 10, sam – 7, stu – 5, mike – 3, peter – 1.

 

it’s been a busy week so sorry for the delay.  not really used to this whole work thing after so long on holidays.

saturday 14th mar – canning vale & welshpool

ride report by peter.

 

after a day trip up to the pilbara yesterday which included 3hrs of flying and about 3hrs of driving and about 3hrs of meetings, i was keen to expend a bit of energy today.  i managed to get out early enough to be the second one to arrive at the carpark and sat around in the dark waiting for the nominated hour.  there was a chill in the air which belied the expected top of 33 today and a number of riders were wearing vests.  the dark and the cold made it seem more like winter than just leaving summer. 

i didn’t think the numbers were too large today but decided to still split the group anyway.  it has been a bit of a mess when we don’t so i think we may have seen the end of the one big group.  maybe next week for the breakfast, we might stick together and take it easy.  especially since it will be raining.

the common course took us out canning hwy down to risely and up past garden city shopping centre.  we made our way to south street and the group was generally taking it easy and getting a good conversation in.  a bit of a lane change mix up had us dodging a few cars near where we normally hang a left into banister, but all up not a bad start to the day.  as we approached the intersection of ranford and nicholson, people began to move into their respective groups.  this would be our split point and the main group would go left up past livingston marketplace shopping centre (home of livingston specsavers – for all your optical needs drop in and see sharon (i will invoice you for the advertising later sharon)), while the fast group would go straight.  hopefully someone will enlighten us to the adventures of the main group for that was the last we saw of them for the day.

as soon as we headed through the lights i knew we were in trouble.  there wasn’t much wind when i was tucked in the back of the pack during the ride out there.  now we seemed to be riding straight into it.  i got the roll through happening and got to have a look at who was riding with us today.  most of the usual suspects but some others that were giving it a crack today. 

we turned up warton rd and immediately got hammered by the fierce cross-wind.  we continued to roll through but i felt we were doing it the wrong way as the wind was on the fast side of the line.  however, in a non-race situation, rolling the other way while trying to keep out of traffic can be hard as the group seems to migrate across the lane.  thankfully for some of the riders, there were enough sets of lights to allow a regroup along the way.  we continued on and the wind seemed relentless.  after we passed albany hwy the distance started to take it’s toll and the group really splintered into little survival packs.  i had only one or two riders around me and we were trying to bridge across to a pack of four containing judd, jerry, davina and james.  the rest of us continued were just trying to keep them in sight, but big judd and his diesel engine just seemed to power through the wind.  i really have no idea who was riding around me at this time as i was sending all my blood to the legs rather the head and was just trying to survive.

judd in full time trial mode
judd in full time trial mode

as we hit tonkin hwy the lights allowed us to catch the front group which had now shed james who was back training after his fall in renae’s race.  as the lights turned green, everyone did a “ryan” and seemed to have trouble clipping in as they didn’t want to go to the front.  this allowed judd to take off and gain a big gap.  davina tried to chase him down but he is a big strong boy and was setting a nice pace.  the rest of us caught up and jerry and myself came around to help out at the front.  even though there were at least three of us doing turns at the front, we just couldn’t put a dent into the gap judd had over us.

the pain finally ended when we turned onto crystal brook rd and gained the full advantage of the tailwind.  quite a few of the group had caught up back at the lights and we now had a fairly solid group to chase judd down.  we were pushing 60km/hr along crystal brook and onto welshpool, but unfortunately for us, judd was going just as fast.  he managed to get the lights as we crossed back over tonkin and that was the very last we saw of him.

with our bigger group we tried to start to roll through again, but it just didn’t seem to work.  everyone wanted to go faster than the last person and this meant that the pace just went up and up until the group started to splinter.  we also tried to single file and pull off the front when you were done, but this also proved fruitless and we just seemed to go back to a couple on the front and a little bit of roll through when we could.

the rail lights were flashing along welshpool and we slowed to get behind the traffic.  suddenly a ute in the right hand lane put his indicator on as he wanted to turn left after the rail crossing.  he just started to push his way into the line of bikes.  jerry banged on his window and asked what he was doing.  he pointed that he wanted to turn and so therefore that was excuse enough in his mind to try to cut us off.  as the traffic got going again, a few choice words and some single finger waving from both parties had us happily on our way again. 

we turned onto shepperton road and made our final approach into town.  the rolling hills always provide a springboard for attacks but not today as the group pretty much stayed together.  the main split came at the lights before the causeway as some of the group ducked into the bus lane to get ahead of the traffic while the rest stayed behind the traffic.  as far as our group riding etiquette is concerned, we really shouldn’t run up the side of traffic at the lights when we have such a big group as the cars just have to try to get past us again.  in this case, the risk was that if there was a bus coming the lights would not have let you go, but you would have cut the bus off.  anyway, the lights changed and i was in the group behind and didn’t make it through the next set.  we watched the front group head across the causeway and out of sight while we just made our own way to the coffeeshop.

not really sure what happened as when we got there, most of the main group had already gone.  it was rally busy as there were triathletes everywhere for the national series tri that was in perth the next day.  some of our group headed around to south perth for a brew and others endured the long wait for theirs.

sunday 28th december – mundaring & kalamunda

ride report by mark

Roses are red, violets are blue

Some ride reports rhyme, but this one doesn’t

(Great report for Saturday Pete!)

 

john - new bike syndrome
john - new bike syndrome

OK, so it’s the first ride since Christmas, and I’ve just been away with the family for a week. We stayed in a wonderful guest house on a farm near Peaceful Bay; about 15 min from Walpole. We relaxed plenty, ate well, and exercised little. I even caught some fish, but none that rivalled the one I pulled up on the rig off Vietnam. There were no bicycles; capice?

We got back on Saturday, and I was determined to ride on Sunday, so brushed off the cobwebs and prepared the bike Saturday night.

No problem waking up at 6am, as I’d gone fishing with the kids most mornings, so my body was in early start mode. The weather looked good and I cruised alongside the canning and Swan rivers to the start looking forward to the ride. I checked the blog map before leaving, and was a little concerned about the distance, but what the hell, I was well rested. (Never underestimate the power of rest, I say)

I was amazed at the turnout – around 30 people as we left, with a couple more joining on the way. Lots of new faces which was great to see, and a good turnout from the ladies too.

As Pete was on family duty I did the quick summary of the upcoming journey.

Michael W and I led the group out, and stayed there till Tonkin Hwy; I was determined to do some work after winning the wheel sucker award last Saturday at the SPR breakfast.

Once we got to Welshpool the trouble started. I knew I would not be chasing points, even without Ryan, Pete or Jerry in the group, but got a sharp reality reminder as I struggled to make the top ten on most of the hills.

I think the truth is that whilst I may be off form from too much travelling and not enough training, the group has got a lot stronger. I’m always amazed at how much longer the bunch stays together on the climbs, and the regroup rests at the top are becoming disturbingly short sometimes.

I dropped back and rode at my own pace, and caught a couple on the way. Michael W had gone with the front group, but then dropped back, and pulled me along the bumps from the servo to the end of Welshpool Rd.

I believe the order in front was:

Nico, Carlo, Blake, Michael B, Steve

 

Riding conditions were still perfect at this stage – a gentle breeze to cool you when we stopped, and crisp clear fresh air to flush out the lungs. I think a few went left and straight to the coffee shop.

the fearless leader - fearlessly leading
the fearless leader - fearlessly leading

We regrouped and did the left-right dogleg over the hill to Glenisla Rd, and then coasted through Bickley Valley to the next dog-leg which carries us to the foot of my favourite climb – Mundaring Weir Road.

I had to wrestle the coffee demons and force my bike to turn right and not left. That hill still haunts me from the Tour de Perth support ride that Jerry and I did on our own, after the group started early without us. I took it fairly easy and even the front guys seemed to start at a reasonable pace. Michael B came flying past me and I sensed some anger management in his cadence. That was the last I saw of him for a while

John B and I rode together most of the way up there, till we found the hard cores draped over their handlebars waiting for us. They panted out names with some lack of certainty when I asked for the finishing order.

I wrote down the following:

Blake, Nico, Steve, Carlo, Michael B 

 

the boys take on a truck
the boys take on a truck

The next section of flattish road was done with more haste that necessary I thought, but then I was still in holiday mode. The bunch split up, and a couple of the girls were left in the chase group.

I chased to catch up on the fast descent into Mundaring Weir, and just caught the front guys at the river crossing. Alas it was not enough to keep me in front by the time we got to the roundabout at the top of the first climb out. I signalled for the guys in front to carry on, while I did a few circles to make sure all were still there, and knew where to go. Unfortunately the last few decided to do a U-turn and head back, and that left yours truly to then go and chase the group on his own. Mmm… not quite what I had planned for my reunion with the bike. And what’s worse I’d just taken off the tri-bars that I bought from Pete – so I couldn’t even “assume the position”.  I started picking them up after a few km, and by the time we hit the flat before the next section there were enough of us to take turns and save some energy for the last hill of the day.

The finishing order at the top was:

Michael B, Brendan, Steve, Blake, Stuart G

 

We regrouped at the next roundabout, and I counted 24 riders. Excellent for that stage of the ride I thought. Some of us filled up bottles at an outside tap of a nearby house, and others were late to wish they’d done the same. The temperature was creeping up by this stage; but still pleasant riding conditions. The next section was the bit I can never remember street names for, but it always looks vaguely familiar. We did the very steep descent with the sharp right hander halfway down.

The ride to Kalamunda road was not the normal one that I’m used to; but we got there and the guys in front seemed to know where they were going. A couple of the new guys asked if it was flat from there to the coffee shop, and I had to break the news that there was a small incline to negotiate before the luxury of a latté could be savoured.

The hill was just what I was expecting – one too many. I started off tired, but with a rhythm that I thought may carry me to the top. I was wrong. I cracked ¾ of the way up, and limped to the top, fuelled only by the prospect of my much-missed long black coffee, and ham & cheese croissant.

Up front the order was

Michael B, Brendan, Steve, Blake, Stuart G

 

Paris Brest café seemed to struggle with the 18 of us arriving en masse; there were already a couple of other cycling groups there. The queue was long progressed slowly, but they did their best, and the coffee was great. Peter and Ben popped in as we were leaving; Pete’s eyes told a story of a young baby who had not had a good night. Hang in there Peter; they all sleep eventually.

 

After a healthy rest, we ambled back towards Welshpool road, only to be interrupted by the sound of Dr Mark’s wheel deflating way too quickly.

The change took longer than it should (where is Simon when you need him) but it gave us time to discuss the merits of bombs vs pumps, and the new technology in integrated tyre liners.  

We flew down Welshpool Rd, and I only just caught John B in front at the bottom, who sat on my wheel, and then flew past to take the flag at the first set of lights.

We kept a respectable pace back along Orrong Road, with a few of us sharing the workload.

I said my usual farewell as the group turned right onto Berwick, so I can’t relate details of the final sprint to MacDonald’s. I’m sure someone will fill us in on that.

I finished up with about 120km, and the encouraging thing was that I felt fine for the rest of the day.

It was my last SPR group ride for 2008, and a fitting finale. Thanks to everyone who made 2008 a great cycling year for us, especially Peter.

sunday 5th oct – welshpool & mundaring & kalamunda

ride report by peter.

 

after a wet day on the bike yesterday we were all looking forward to a nice dry ride and to forecast said it would be so.  however, the lack of cloud cover meant that the temperature bottomed out at around 4 degrees over night even thought we were aiming for a top of 20.  This always causes a dilemma for me as i know that it will be cold for the first part of the ride but hot at the end and i hate to overheat.  we had a smaller than usual group at the start this morning and some of our regulars are away which kept the numbers down to about 15 or so.  a couple of new riders came out and we found out later that this was to be jules’ longest ride he had ever done.  the winner of this years menzies-kalgoorlie race, paul was also coming along with us today.

 

the course took us out welshpool road before heading around mundaring weir and through darlington before heading to coffee via kalamunda road.  all up we were looking at over 100kms and over 1300m of climbing.

 

we rolled out and headed to welshpool via orong road for a change.  the trip was pretty much uneventful though i did discuss the idea of mountain points for each of the main climbs with a few of the guys.  basically to make the climb more “fun” a set number of points are available for the first 5 riders to crest the climb.  on today’s ride there were four “categorised” climbs that would yield points.  welshpool rd, two on the way round mundaring and finally kalamunda rd.  each climb would give 10, 7, 5, 3, 1 points for those places.  at the end of the ride, the points will be accumulated and at the end of the month, the climber of the month will be “awarded”.  this “competition” will continue regardless of whatever races are on.  for example, next week i intend to race the northam classic but since the hills ride will still be on, whomever turns up will still accumulate points.

 

so we hit the bottom of welshpool as a group and proceeded to find our own position in the group.  we strung out fairly quickly and tackled the first section at a reasonable pace.  after the first kink in the road ronny and alistar attacked and managed to gap the group a bit.  with still quite a bit of the hill to go, i wasn’t chasing and followed my plan of sticking to mike’s wheel as he ground his way up.  we eventually picked them up about halfway to the servo and spat ronny out the back.  alistar jumped back on the train and the five of us continued to follow mike’s wheel.  just after the servo ryan attacked and brendan and alistar went with him.  i was still on mike and he wasn’t chasing anyone.  i didn’t feel i had the legs to go anyway and thought i would stick to the tried and true mike method.

 

he continued to grind his way up the false flat section and onto the next pinch.  it didn’t seem to slow him much and he continued up at the same pace leaving me fighting for air by myself.  pretty soon he had caught the front three and they continued on.  by about the third pitch in this part of the climb, brendan had been unhitched from the group and i was making ground on him.  i managed to catch him on the second last bit of hill and saw that ryan had also been dropped by mikes relentless pace.  i gauged the distance and realised that i couldn’t make up that much ground before the end so resigned myself to fourth place. 

 

alistar – 10, mike – 7, ryan – 5, peter – 3, brendan – 1.

 

a regroup at the top and slowly the riders all filtered through.  we were waiting a while for declan and ronny had to go looking for him as we were unsure if he had turned off or not, but he finally made it to the regroup point.  we headed off through the picturesque bickley valley and onto mundaring weir road.  lisa, declan and ronny turned off and up to kalamunda as the rest of us headed towards mundaring weir and onto mundaring township for the next regroup.  this stretch contained two climbs that would yield points and i explained to everyone what was going on with the competition.  it definitely revved a few guys up as there were attacks coming almost straight away as alistar and then paul went hard up the first part of the hill and i jumped on.  we hit a good tempo but were reeled in by the first corner by a sizable group.  it seemed that people were going to push that bit harder for some points.

 

the top of the climb was to be at the intersection of asher rd which was just after the crest of the hill.  to get there, the road would step up a number of times and could be quite draining on the legs.  our pace was nicely high and we slowly dropped riders until it was only the same five as the welshpool climb.  just before the camel farm, ryan attacked and no-one reacted.  i jumped around the group and told him that we had a gap.  he wanted to know if that means we should go faster, but i said that if he keeps us away, i wouldn’t contest the points.  we stayed away.

 

ryan – 10, peter – 7, mike – 5, brendan – 3, alistar – 1.

 

steve soon bridged across to us as we continued downhill towards the weir.  we were riding like it was a race and people were taking turns and occasionally rolling through to keep the pace high.  we picked up another group out training in the hills and they hung onto us for a short time before our pace was too high.  we smashed it down into the weir and up the other side.  staying together well on the climb, it wasn’t until the final pitch up to the round-about that ryan attack and brendan and alistar went with him.  ryan was first to the top and did a victory lap of the round-about while mike turned left and continued onto mundaring township.  i mentioned to them that it was first to the roundabout in mundaring town, not mundaring weir, but they never really listen to instructions anyway. 

 

mike now had a sizable gap on us and the chase was on to bring him back.  unfortunately, getting him back on a hill usually takes a big effort that none of us were willing to make.  we took turns setting the pace and still had him in sight as we crested the last climb.  i was on the front and had just looked at my hr monitor to see it peak at 188 bpm when alistar attacked and tried to get away.  ryan and brendan jumped across and this seemed to take some impetus out of his attack and he slowed enough for me to catch back up.  as we got closer to the final roundabout we had made up some ground on mike but it still looked like he would nail it.  i attacked and made an attempt to bridge across.  brendan and ryan jumped on but alistar swore loundly as we screamed past him.  a moments hesitation from me as we caught mike entering the traffic islands around the round-about and brendan and ryan slipped past me before i managed to also get around mike.

 

brendan – 10, ryan – 7, peter – 5, mike – 3, alistar – 1.

 

the rest of the group all filtered in and i made a point to make the sprint line a bit further up the road as racing into an round-about was not ideal.  we continued onto darlington and most of this was generously downhill and even the uphill sections were taken at a moderate pace.  we came up over ridgehill rd past the base of the zig-zag which was celebrating some type of zig-zag family day.  it meant that we had a couple of impatient motorists behind us that wanted to show how tough they were by passing us very close.  nice.

 

we had to wait for jules once we got back to kalamunda road and this should have been a warning sign to us.  new rider, struggling, says he is alright.  we should have asked about food and drink, but we will get to that afterwards as it was discussed in depth at the coffee shop.  we took off and paul and clare turned for home as did doug.  the rest of us were headed into the final climb. 

 

mike was on the front early and pushed his relentless pace to the point were i fell clear of his wheel.  i dropped back a bit and alistar set the pace for a while to try to minimize the losses to mike.  on the first “plateau” ryan sprinted across to mike and i tried to join him.  alistar was left swearing to himself again but soon caught me as i only made it halfway across.  at the next pinch, he dropped me as i had nothing left to chase with.  i went into damage control mode for the rest of the hill, but kept an eye behind me to make sure brendan or steve didn’t zoom past for the points.  no need to worry as brendan said he bonked on the hill and went into hunger flat.  it was soon rectified at the coffee shop.

 

mike – 10, ryan – 7, alistar – 5, peter – 3, brendan – 1.

 

as we refueled the starving bodies, dr melvyn came in quite late with the new guy, jules.  jules looked like death warmed up and we quickly realised that he had totally hit the wall.  we threw food and drink at him and he then went to order dome stuff inside.  it turns out that it was his first hills ride and also the longest one he has ever done.  he went out with the bike force guys on saturday and they mentioned this ride but said it was pretty hard.  he thought he would have a crack anyway.  with no breakfast, no food and just one bottle of water, he hit the wall on ridgehill road and totally died on kalamunda rd.  we had a big discussion on pre-ride nutrition and what to bring on the ride.  i will have to make an effort to ask any new riders about this before we head out again.  after devouring a coke, hot choc, bread roll, a couple of croissants he was right to go.

 

lisa was still at the coffee shop once we got there but after turning off early she did two repeats of kalamunda road before meeting us for coffee.  so at the end of the day she also managed four pretty big climbs.

 

the return trip was pretty uneventful.  i was talking to jules with brendan and steve in front of us.  we got separated at the lights and never made it back onto the group until vic park.  i lead the group home along berwick and brendan and i kept and eye on ryan to watch him do the “i can’t clip in” thing at the second last set of lights.  we were held up at the final set but when they changed, he shot up the right lane and over the hill.  jens and i chased him but i ran out of puff by the time we came down the hill and watched brendan and steve fly past.  ryan managed to hold everyone off till the end.

 

so, 108kms on my speedo by the time i got home and over 1400m of climbing.  no wonder i am tired.  hopefully this puts me in good stead for the northam classic next week which covers 125kms with five times up the hill leading out of northam. 

 

the final wash up of mountain points were as follows –

 

ryan – 29

mike – 25

peter – 18

alistar – 17

brendan – 15

sunday 24th august – welshpool & mundaring & kalamunda

ride report by peter

as i stumbled out the door just before 7 i reflected on the fact that i was lucky to even be on the bike this morning. we went to the shops yesterday after the saturday ride and from about 11 onwards, ben was totally out of it. constant mournful crying and pretty much inconsolable for the rest of the day. by the time we got him to sleep that night it seemed like a very, very long day. i prepared my bike stuff as usual, the previous night, but i was aware that it would depend on how he woke up in the morning. he woke fine so i was off.

as i turned off my road and onto canning hwy, heading along was dr nick, so i rode alongside and had a chat. she was not heading out with us as there was mountain biking to do that arvo and it was her first love. i rode with her till douglas ave and turn off to meet the others. late as usual.

we had a good size group of about twenty and most were keen to tackle all the climbs today. the course was taking us back up welshpool road and around mundaring weir and darlington, before climbing back up kalamunda rd and on to coffee. all up there was four major climbs and about three or four bonus climbs.

we headed out along great eastern hwy and onto orong rd for a change of pace. it definitely has more traffic, but it is double lane and it was sunday morning, so more traffic really meant more than dead. pretty uneventful start to the day and i chatted with our new guy dr ronnie. he knows lorraine and she told him about the ride so he decided to come out with us. another dr and another cervelo to the group. the more the merrier. riders that is, not cervelos.

as we approached the base of the climb, everyone started to eye off young alistair after his exceptional climb last week. still resplendent in his dunlop sandshoes and toe clips, everyone was keen to see how they would rate against him. it would be interesting.

the hill started and the usual players were straight to the front. the pace didn’t start high and alistair led myself, brendan, stu, mike steve and ben up the hill. we were approaching another large group of mostly triathletes that we had seen up the road previously. they had already started to splinter on the climb and presented a number of targets for us to chase down.

the climb settled into it’s steepness and alistair attacked hard. i was on his wheel and decided not to go with him as expected him to die in the arse and we would pick him up later. brendan had other ideas and took off after him. i jumped on his wheel and took steve up with me. we caught alistair and i think brendan wanted to prove a point so attacked him almost straight away. i managed to hold his wheel, but only just and was beginning to struggle. not sure where everyone really was at this time as lack of blood to the relevant brain functions meant that the only signal out was push pedals and only signal in was pain now.

at some point stu and mike cruised effortlessly up the hill towing either steve or ben. they went past and overtook the group. unfortunately for me, they just kept going at this pace and left alistair, ben and i to fend ourselves, while brendan and steve latched onto the train.

as we slipped further and further behind, i tried to go again and managed to gap alistair but he always seemed to claw his way back on. we ended up riding together after the servo and tried to pull back any ground. my phone started to ring and i tried to answer it via and hands free, but the button didn’t work. after the family issues yesterday i was expecting it to be bad news, but it would have to wait till i reached the top.

as the hill started again ben just kept accelerating and started to gap alistair and i. another expletive erupted for the young lads mouth and i understood where he was coming from. after his efforts last week, we were all keen to attack him just to see how good he was. i sprinted around to get on bens wheel and we gapped alistair again. he clawed his way back again as the road evened out a bit. on the penultimate hill, we picked up steve who’d had enough of the pace men in front. as we crested the top and ran into the last little rollercoaster to start the final pinch, alistair attacked on the downhill.

tactically not the best spot as we all jumped on and were freewheeling behind him as it pushed hard to try to get away. as the road went up again, i attacked and ben also went off my wheel. we sprinted to the top and were soon joined by steve as alistair must have been a bit spent by that final effort. as we cruised down the final hill to the regroup point, i noticed that we were only about 100 metres from the front boys.

a quick check of the phone revealed all. a message from ryan earlier on saying he wasn’t coming and then the later call was from home. i rang to confirm the i was needed back asap. i waited till the rest of the group had arrived before reminding everyone of the route and seeing who knew their way through darlington. brett said he knew so that was good enough for me and i was off.

a quick run down welshpool and back the usual way which did seem a lot longer and harder when you are doing it yourself. family issues meant that i was needed on ben minding duties, so i packed his bag and headed up to kalamunda. we took the long way and came up kalamunda road to see if the group had made it that far yet. they had just began the climb as i came past, so would be up to coffee very soon. i sat with ben for a while before all the bikes came streaming in. i managed to catch up with everyone that made it to coffee as a few had turned of early, but spent most of the time chasing ben around as he wanted to climb the stairs. the he found the eiffel tower and started to climb that too. fun, fun, fun. as everyone headed off, we stopped the car on welshpool rd and managed to capture the group descending at speed on the camcorder. will post it once i drag it off the video.

so i was there for the start and the end-ish, but someone else will need to blog the middle section for me as i don’t know what went on.