Tag Archives: zig-zag

sunday 22nd june – welshpool & mundaring & kalamunda

ride report by peter

so my first hills ride in a long time and before i even started, i knew it was going to hurt. if i hadn’t been racing, i had been unable to ride due to other commitments. the racing was generally on flatter courses too, so it has been a different style of riding.

many of the usual suspects toed the line this morning, but we had an influx of estrogen as we also had four girls come out with us. davina was out on her final hills ride before she heads to the usa for eight weeks of racing. you can keep tabs on her progress via her blog which can be found here. a friend of hers, bec, also joined us along with sandy, who i used to do triathlons with, and anna an old regular. as far as the blokes went, we had ryan to keep us honest on the hills and carlo, a friend of stu’s who was a bit of a dark horse.

i had mapped out a new route this morning to take in the mundaring weir road. we often ride mundaring weir, but are usually heading towards kalamunda for coffee rather than away from it. i thought the change would be good, but to get to it, we would have to get across the scarp via welshpool rd. after mundaring, we would head back through darlington and back up to kalamunda for coffee. it was planned to be just over 100km by the time we got home.

the morning was fresh, but not as cold as yesterday. everyone was rugged up but wary of the fact that it was going to warm up as the day progressed. we headed out great eastern hwy to get onto orrong rd and picked up mike on the way out. great, both mike and ryan to hurt us on the hills. nice and uneventful on the way out and pretty soon we were beginning to climb the “lower slopes” of the welshpool hill.

everyone had been doing turns on the front and just as the road began to point upward, the guys peeled off to leave sandy and anna to lead the way up the climb. michael came to the front with davina on his wheel and i jumped on as he set the pace. a train of ryan, mike, mark and a new guy, carlo came past as the climb got harder. i switched wheels to see how long i could stay with them. i was sitting on carlo’s wheel when ryan swapped turns with mike and set a higher pace. i pulled off to the side and i think jerry may have been there too. all blood was channeled to legs so the short term memory was not functioning properly. anyway, eventually it ended up being ryan, mike & carlo up the road and they had about 100 metres on mark and myself by the time we past the servo.

after that, i don’t really know what happened to the front guy’s navigational skills. all three turned up lesmurdie road. when have we ever turned up that way??? mark asked me if we were going straight and we just kept powering by as they eventually looked back down the road and realised their mistake. the aim now was to try to stay ahead of the hapless trio.

as we crested the next section, we saw a few cyclists a bit further up the road. these turned out to be, doug, dr paul & dr greg. doug had lives up that way so always joins after the start, whilst the docs had left early and were going to do their own thing.

after the second “step” in the climb, we were still ahead of them but they were closing fast. ryan and mike had dropped carlo and very soon they had overtaken us. it was now a matter of jumping on board and holding on till the end. on the final pinch i tried a bid for glory, but came up a little short as they caught me as we crested the rise. we then rolled down to the intersection together. there may have been a dispute as to who should really claim the first on this climb, but the commasaires have reviewed the tape and have declared that they were stupid to turn up lesmurdie road.

a regroup at the top and we were off into bickley valley. a few of us tried for the landspeed record down the glenisla rd as it was ideal weather with little wind at that time. as i said yesterday, it was the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year. as we past through bickely valley it still had not seen the sun and was absolutely freezing. their winter solstice must mean a day of only three hours direct sunlight. another quick regroup to make sure we had everyone and we were off again, but unlike every other ride, we were heading away from the coffee shop.

the road to mundaring has a couple of main climbs and a lot of undulations in between. we hit the first one as soon as we turned onto the road and as i was “leading the way” i ended up with a decent gap on the rest of the field. carlo bridged across to me and soon ryan, mark and mike were there too. jerry briefly tried to make it across, but was a little short and didn’t manage to get a wheel.

the pace wasn’t high, but consistent, and we swapped off turns all the way to the weir. the decent into the dam wall was a lot of fun, especially the last couple of hundred metres where they have laid hotmix. all that road needs is about 20km more of it and it will be awesome.

as we came up out of the weir, we changed plans and would stop at the roundabout as i was concerned that some of the group may not know the way and would get lost. this meant that the second climb would not be that long, and ryan could go harder sooner. he did. about halfway up the first pinch out of the weir, he started going hard. mark and carlo dropped off but i managed to hang on, but only just. just as the climb approached the roaundabout and the grade steepened, both mike and ryan stepped on the gas and i had to let them go. i think mike pipped ryan for line honors.

regroup and off again. the pack stayed together till about the halfway point, where ryan, mike and carlo took off on one of the rolling hills. i again, managed to stay around for a bit but soon ran out of legs and could not hold wheel. mark and darren picked me up as they came past and we were only about 150 metres behind once we hit the regroup point again.

the rest of the decent into darlington was going to be controlled and the group would stay together. there were too many twists and turns for people to get lost in, and michael and i also wanted to take the group down one of the steepest hills in the area. this particular hill is called mills rd and averages about 17%. when going up (and we will do this one soon) your arms get sore from pulling up on the bars and you are always searching for an easier gear. when going down, you are going over the crest and still can’t see the bottom of the hill. you tend to ride the brakes the whole way down as you pick up speed in no time. there is also a semi-blind corner that you don’t want to cut, just in case. a small bonus climb to get us to darlington, and we started another descent.

this eventually brought us out at the base of ridge hill rd, our last bonus climb for the day. my legs were not cooperating by now and when carlo and ryan went, i couldn’t really respond. i just rode tempo to the top but kept them in sight till the start of the zig zag.

as we regrouped a coup happened. not from within the ranks, but rather from my legs. they said “i swear that if you make us ride up kalamunda rd i will put your foot through the spokes when you are coming done welshpool”. they were pissed, and who could blame them. i hammered them pretty hard today, and they were out of condition to start with. my cardio backed the legs and my brain made my mouth tell everyone that i think we should just go strai
ght up the zig zag. a few of the others turned off to go home and then ryan and mike took off up the zig zag at pace. i was content to just cruise along and enjoy the view for a while. a couple of other “hardcore” riders decided to still tackle kalamunda rd. darren, dr melyvn and anna all deserve the insanity medal for that one.

about halfway up i thought that i better make the most of it and took off catching mark by surprise. michael must have been expecting it and sat neatly on my wheel until i ran out of puff. he then took off up the road to leave me suffering alone. mark and jerry started the long chase and eventually swallowed me up then spat me out the back while they went after michael. i snuck down a back road and beat all three of them to the coffee shop.

as i said before, today was davina’s last ride with us for a while. i can still remember the first sunday when she and josie turned up. we went up carawatha hill in mt nasura near brookton hwy and davina had to push her bike up, claiming that she was a track sprinter, not a road cyclist. how things have changed, as now she is smashing it up those same hills and going racing in the usa. josie has also just returned from a few months racing in europe and will be heading back again soon. for the rest of us that are well past our prime, we can all live vicariously through those in the group that are doing well in the sport.

coffee was good. service was not too bad considering it was closer to 11 than 10 when we arrived. so refreshed, rehydrated and recovered (maybe) we were on our way again. a fast descent down welshpool was not an option as the wind was not in our favour. a group of us stayed pretty much together until the bottom, when i ran out of legs (again) when they began to time trial to the regroup point. all present and correct and we started rolling through to keep out of the wind. we managed to box ryan in almost till the end but he still managed to stretch his legs for a couple of hundred metres to the intersection.

lining up for the final sprint along berwick, both ryan and davina were eyeing each other off as neither wanted to be on the front. knowing i had no sprint, i went to the front and paced the final section from kent st all the way to the end. as we came onto the flat section and the final sprint, ryan, jerry and davina all jumped off my wheel but ryan was too strong and managed to hold off a fast finishing jerry at the unofficial invisible line.

so, a good first ride back for me, as i actually finished without totally dying and managed to keep the big boys in sight at the major climbs. we have a cyclo-sportif event next weekend so not hills for me, but after that the next race is not till august, so i expect that i would have reacquainted myself with most of the climbs in perth by then.

sunday 3rd feb – welshpool & observatory & kalamunda

well another hot day was forecast, so i thought that we would stay close to the coffee shop as possible. the temp only dipped to 25 deg overnight so this generally meant that a crap night was probably had as well.

the course would take us up welshpool rd, over the observatory, up mundaring weir rd to kalamunda, back down the zig-zag and up kalamunda rd. it was a bit of a criss-cross on the map as we rode the same patch of road twice and also came within 100m of the coffee shop before riding back down the hill.
just over 20 riders showed up this morning, with the heat probably scaring most away. a couple of regulars were racing crits and ryan was sunning himself in thailand so i was interested to see who would bring the pain on today. it was therefore good when young mitch turned up (pictured). he is only about 18 or 19 and is in some wais program or something, so can pretty much ride a bike well. he has been out with us before and i have seen him crack ryan on a climb. so, it should be a good day.
as we rolled out we picked up alistar on berwick rd. al is a fly-in fly-out engineer, so doesn’t come out with us very often. however, when he does, he usually does a good job of hurting us. stuart was also back after a week watching the tour down under and doing a few serious rides while over in adelaide. all in all it should make for an interesting ride.
the trip out was fairly uneventful. we picked up russell and doug along welshpool rd just to swell the ranks a bit. the main thing was the hot wind that was blowing directly into our faces all the way out. i sat at the back the whole way out as the pack got split early on and so i dropped back to ensure everyone was still on. this meant that i would be starting the climb behind the eight-ball. however, mitch, al and stu were all back with me too.
as the climb started, the pace at the front began to slow, so i started to come around. michael and ben s were on the front, but i wanted to try to thin the head of the pack out a bit. michael did stay at the front for long as he had decided to do the entire climb in the 53 x 19. just cause he can. i pushed the pace up the first section with al, ben, stu and greg in tow while mitch was still finding his way to the front. i was trying to set a hard pace while at the same time waiting to see who would be coming around. by the time we hit the main part of the climb, mitch had taken up the pace making and was making it difficult for all. a little way up the steeper section he accelerated again and i just did what i could to hold his wheel. we managed to gap the others, but not for long as stu bridged across quickly.

i didn’t fair too well out of mitch’s acceleration and began to drop off his wheel. by the time we past the servo, mitch had 50m on me and 20 on stu. once they hit the flat section, they both sat up and i managed to catch them. i told them we need to keep going to stay away from the others as this was all part of the game. the next step up in the hill i managed to hold on for a while, but mitch stepped up the pace again, and i fell off the back. i knew i couldn’t catch them, so did what i could to try to stay away from the rest of the pack. repeatedly trying to stay on mitch’s wheel meant that i didn’t have much left, but managed to keep away from al to the top of the last pinch.
we regrouped at the top and headed onto the next climb. as we came past carmel and the sanitarium “factory” the group started to split a bit on the decent. I managed to come around the outside but on the uphill section I hit a rock or gum-nut with my front wheel while I was standing. it scared the crap out of me as it really twisted the handle bars in my hands. well it would have been interesting to get on tape as the video was running at the time.
we hit that little decent before the climb and I made sure I was already in the little ring as I know how steep this climbs starts out. russell turned off at this point so added to the others (dr paul, dr greg and dr ian) that we had lost on the first climb. I managed to get to the front and set the pace for a while. after the first pinch it is not a particularly hard climb, but long with dead roads that sap your strength. mitch eventually came around me and I managed to hold his wheel for a while. this also meant that we had gapped the field in the process. unfortunately my legs were not up to his standard and I fell off and ended up in no-mans land. by the time we got to the intersection, mitch had about 100m on me but also rode past the turn by about 20m. this meant that I “caught” him for the last pinch. stu had found his second wind and managed to bridge across as well.
a regroup at the top and we were on our way for a leisurely decent. not so leisurely for some as darren got cut off at the bottom of the hill and ended up leaving the road. I waited behind to make sure that he and the others were ok. the main group had kept on riding and we ended up getting scattered along pickering brook rd. as the main group was well and truly gone by the time I hit the climb, I decided to have a bit of a rest and just take it easy to the top. about halfway up the first part of the climb, todd caught up and past me. he wanted to know whether I got that on tape as he said it didn’t happen very often. at the very end, we picked up al who had tried to match it with mitch and was now feeling the aftermath.
we regrouped at the top and i asked who wanted to go straight to the coffee shop as it was only 100m away. we had a couple of takers, but as the majority were going to continue, peer pressure forced most of them to continue. i think if i had said that we would just go to coffee, there would not have been any complaints. i knew that we had to do more and we had lots of time up our sleeve. so down the zig-zag to the base of kalamunda rd.
when we turned onto kalamunda rd, the wind was coming quite strongly off the hillside and channeling straight into our face. this forced the group to split into little groups and i got caught in the middle one. i looked up the road and stu and al were in the front one, so i had to catch up as i didn’t want to give them 50m head start before the hill. i think that mitch was with me so we both came across.
as the hill picked up, i managed to come to the front and up the pace to thin out the pack again. my legs were starting to feel it but i kept pushing until only mitch and al were left. mitch then came around me and started pushing a bit harder. it was good to hear that his breathing was labored and i wasn’t making it too easy for him. al also came around and i managed to sit on for a bit. towards the top mitch then hit the turbo and spat me out the back. al lasted a further 10m before getting dropped as well. we just had to make do and maintained till we got to the top. it is a windy climb, so it was hard to judge how far ahead of the others we were, but we could still see mitch when we hit the top. neither al nor mitch were staying for coffee, so i was first in. well not exactly. christophe had ejected before the last climb and was happily relaxing with a coffee when we showed up.
water was the order of the day as i had sweated profusely throughout the ride. coke was also on the cards to get a sugar and caffeine kick to get me home.
the decent was good with the tailwind helping michael to get to 87 km/h and me to about 80ish. when we were all back together, we happily cruised along welshpool rd at about 40 without really needing to push to hard. as christophe and i led the pack along i was waiting for the attack to come and wasn’t disappointed. “mr excitement” aka dr melvyn took off around the pack to try to shake it up a bit. after weeks of trying the same move, he deceided to leave it a bit longer so he would have more of a chance. in the end we only had to sprint for about 100m before having to slow down for the lights.
the final sprint along berwick and christophe hit out early at the lights and got a bit of a break. i chased him down bringing jerry and greg with me. jerry came around me to take second wheel as we hit the downhill. i waited till we were back on the flat before launching. i came around both, but also saw a shadow on my right as greg was trying to come off my wheel. i had to sustain the sprint a bit longer than usual to keep him at bay, but also had another secret weapon. as it was hot, really hot, i was still sweating a lot. this managed to come flying off in the sprint and splatter all over greg as he tried to stay on my wheel. quite disgusting really, so next time he might want to be in front of me. rolled home and found the air-con had thankfully been left on. a quick weight check and i had lost 2 kg through sweating so it was an afternoon of drinking, drinking and more drinking.

sunday 27th jan – gooseberry & kalamunda

well it was forecast to be a hot one today and was already over 20 degrees by the time we started. about 25 rolled up to the start today which is a good turn out considering yesterday was australia’s national drinking day.

the course today was going to be as quick and painful as we could make it. two quick climbs before coffee then a bunch of undulations before heading home. the two climbs were gooseberry hill, and kalamunda rd. i really hate both these climbs as one is just too steep for me and the other i find hard to get into a rhythm. but cycling is all about testing yourself…and hurting other people as previously discussed.

we rolled out and headed along great eastern hwy avoiding the little patches of broken glass. aussies are tops at drinking and seem to be even better at smashing bottles on the road after they have finished. luckily there was only a smattering mostly near bus stops. the weather was nice, the pace was easy, nothing really to say about the ride out. it was just a good opportunity to have a chat.

once we approached the hills we picked up another couple of riders. russell, who often latches on if we are heading this way, and a new guy neill. he was just out an about and jumped on board for the ride. i had done a turn and had headed to the back so was right at the tail end talking to neill when we turned onto ridge hill rd. this wasn’t one of our main climbs, but is just steep enough and long enough to really hurt people.

as soon as the group hit the climb, it spread out across the entire lane. people were reordering themselves based on climbing ability and were trying to make their way around the slower riders. i looked up the road and greg and mike were close to the front, and i didn’t want to get left behind. up out of the saddle and a quick sprint around the pack found me at the front but also near out of breath. i sat on gregs wheel for a bit before hitting it a bit harder and seeing how many we could drop off from behind us. by the time we got to the zig-zag rd, only greg and mike were close behind. i was guessing that mike was saving himself for the next climb. greg also said that he expected there to be a further climb, so he may also have had quite a bit in reserve.

a quick regroup and we headed off to gooseberry hill. now this hill is not really that long, probably 2 kms max. but it does have some really nasty sections that make you want to find an easier gear. the climb is really broken up into 4 sections. the initial climb which is fairly steep, a reprieve in the middle, a really steep section followed by a f~ckin steep section. the wonderful thing is that each section is preceded by a corner, so you don’t really see it coming.

well i started mid pack again and had to come around the slower riders (i really must work on my positioning). once i got towards the front the pecking order had already started sorting itself out. i sat on gregs wheel with mike, jerry & michael in tow. we pushed on forming a gap to the others. i decided to see who wanted to hurt and came around greg to up the pace again. mike came with but the others kept up their steady pace. i am pretty sure once we hit the flatish section, it was only mike and myself, but greg may not have been too far behind. the reprieve section can often catch you out as you think that the hill is not too bad. you then turn the corner and start clicking back down the gears.

i tried to keep up with mike for as long as possible, but my legs were not working well today. i wasn’t smashing the heart rate, but my legs were just heavy especially the quads. i kept pushing on and tried not give mike too much distance. after the next little bend in the road and the road kicks up even further, i heard greg had caught back onto my wheel. as i said, i really hate this climb. if you are afraid of heights they say not to look down. with this climb, it’s best not to look up.

anyway, i kept the pace as high as i could so greg could not easily come around me. once i could see the road sign for the roundabout at the top, i accelerated a bit to see if i could close the gap a bit to mike and try to shake greg. dropped greg, but could not catch mike who was at least 50m in front once we hit the top. the only thing it did to me was put me very, very close to the spew zone. that awful feeling where, you know that you may have gone a little hard. i hate it as it takes a while to recover and i knew that the next climb wasn’t too far away.

the rest of the guys made their way up to the top of the climb, but no-one really looked happy. it is that type of hill.

a regroup, before a nice decent down the zig-zag. the zig-zag is often used by groups to come up to kalamunda as every other way involves a steeper climb. it is however, a one way road that goes downhill. we have used it in the past, but find it a bit too shallow to use for a sunday hills ride. it is scary when you find a car coming the other way towards you. that didn’t happen today as we were going the correct way.

the decent takes in 4 switch backs and was resurfaced a couple of years ago with nice smooth hotmix. only the last corner caused any problems as it was totally covered with gravel, so i waited to warn the rest of the pack. back down ridge hill rd again and onto kalamunda rd.

i don’t know why i don’t like this climb. we don’t do it very often as it can get quite busy. i have also avoided it lately as it takes us directly to the coffee shop and the temptation to stop early is too great. anyway, the gradient constantly changes which makes it hard to get into a rhythm could be the main reason we don’t get along.

i don’t remember a lot of what happened on this climb. i know greg was there at the start and i jumped on his wheel. then i think mike came around and i tried to stay with him as long as possible. he was going hard and again my legs didn’t want to play so i couldn’t hold his pace for long. looking back i could see jerry and michael together and i was stuck in no-mans land between. a saw another couple of riders up ahead and soon past dr paul. he obviously hadn’t stopped at the regroup to try to get a head start on the climb. i exhaled a greeting as i was starting to struggle by then. even the thought of keeping mike in sight by the top of the hill was going to be a hard ask. more than hard. he was long gone by the time i hit the funky gumnut roundabout at the top, but i did manage to keep jerry and michael at bay.

mike wasn’t stopping for coffee but when i rolled in i found that i wasn’t first either. darren and russell also hadn’t wai
ted at the base of the zig-zag and had beaten everyone else up the hill. well first to the coffee is the winner, so i couldn’t begrudge them that.

being a short ride, and doing a bit extra after coffee meant that we rolled up early for a change and promptly took over most of the outdoor section. service was excellent and one of the waiters continually bought out jugs of ice water which was well received. paris-brest cafe kalumunda (free plug).

the conversation at the coffee shop is varied and will often cover most topics. mostly bike orientated, but with eight doctors on the ride today, it can sometime take a bizarre twist. i recommend staying for coffee just to listen in on what is said as i can’t remember every detail. however, i would say that at least once every ride the whole table is pissing themselves laughing over some comment or story.

instead of the usual decent straight down welshpool rd, we were going to head down mundaring weir rd and though bickley valley, before heading back to the city. we usually head up this as the final climb of the day, so it was a pleasant change to be going down. we lost quite a few with a group of them deciding to take the quick way home. i was bring up the rear of the decent when i saw simon on the side of the road taking off his helmet. dr nick and myself pulled over to see what the problem was. apparently he had hit a bee at speed which had gone straight into his helmet and stung him on the scone. no allergy that he knew about so we continued, but i rode the rest of the way with him, dr nick and lindy.

the pack had waited near carmel school and we headed towards welshpool rd for the final decent. no cross winds today and i managed to keep up with the front guys. i even changed lanes at the bottom to take advantage of a passing 4wd’s draft and manged to crack 85 km/h but was pedalling at 140 rpm to do it. i need more gears for both higher and lower.

after a regroup, we headed along welshpool rd proper when adi dropped onto the tri bars and attacked off the front. unusual move as he is a very passive rider, probably cause he is young compared to the rest of us. with the wind behind us, most people took the opportunity to stretch their legs and took off after him. it was earlier than we usually go, but a fun diversion nevertheless. as we approached the final stretch along berwick rd the set of traffic lights at kent rd kept us fairly well together. i jumped at the lights and actually got on behind a couple of cars which were helping me to extend the gap. however, the road works conspired against me as one of the cars was turning so the other now couldn’t get around.

in the interest of making the world a safer place for pedestrians that don’t know how to look both ways, they are converting the rest of two lane berwick into single lane with huge traffic islands in the middle. these “traffic calming” devices are fine if you are a single cyclist, but now the cars cannot get around groups of riders as they don’t have enough room to pass before another traffic island appears. it just makes them hate us more.

anyway, we got the next set of lights which let everyone group up again. michael hit out hard and i jumped on his wheel, letting him draft me to the final sprint. as we approached the end greg and i think jerry started coming around so i got up out of the saddle and went for it too. the sore legs came back to haunt me as i got a bit of a gap but couldn’t maintain it and greg slid past at the end.

no last second car park crashes like last week, so i good ride all around. the morning was heating up so it was off home to a shower and an air-con, before watching the crits in vic park. legs are also looking forward to the recovery ride tomorrow. the picture is supposed to be of where the bee stung simons head, but he didn’t do the decent thing and swell up for the camera.