It’s been a while since I done one of these so lets see how it goes. Alarm went off at 5:45 and as opposed to yesterday it wasn’t raining cats and dog. So this meant was time to roll. By the time I got to the end of the street their was enough water on the road to make my brakes slip. Thankfully I still stopped. Bit of a head wind this morning and I was being blown around like a rag doll. Headwind was easier to deal with than the fences put up for the HBF run for a reason. Cycle Path closed 8:30 – 10:30am 23/5/2010 . According to my time it wasn’t even close to 7am. More of a rant about this later. Was the first to arrive at Coode St and as it got closer to 7am I was starting to think I might be the only one here to ride today. Thankfully as is the SPR way everyone waits until 6:58am to start showing there faces and by about 7:05am I think we must have had close to 20 riders. Noticeably missing all the #spr twitter gossip bunch. I’m sure they would be tweeting there excuses later.
Peter announced the routes and added my suggestion for the main group of also doing Gooseberry Hill Rd. Its a Sunday ride one climb up Kalamunda was not going to be enough. After a show of hands I thought there would be a decent main group today. More on this later. We rolled out with Peter and Stuart I believe heading towards Burswood. Sitting on a comfortable 27 – 32km/h and a nice tailwind was looking like an easy start to the day. Stuart who had already had three flats in the Saturday ride (That’s what happens when you ride in crazy weather) felt his rear was going down and after taking a glance it looked like he could do with some more air. The group pulled over just near TBE Belmont for a quick tyre change but as things seemed to take longer than expected we were told to ride on. Taking the opportunity of the tail wind I rolled off and found myself on the front and not being gobbled up by the faster riders. At one point we took off from the lights and starting pushing over 40km/h (love tailwind) when we were told to back off. Bugger tailwind abuse it :). After the turn off Great Eastern Highway time to pull off and let these stronger riders do the work into the headwind for the ride down to Helena Valley. Just as we crossed the train line Darryl dropped his water bottle and thought he might have just blown a tyre. The group pulled over again and waited to see what was wrong. No flat it seems and we were soon rolling again. Another rider who sorry didn’t get your name was telling me he would come do Gooseberry Hill with me as he also thought today’s route was a bit short. Road was still wet and plenty of sand being picked up. It’s great to add weight to a heavy bike when you know your soon going to be climbing up hill.
Right at the round about and into the warm-up climb Ridge Hill Rd. Picked my gear and pounded away. Gotta get me a Garmin so I know how well I’m doing on these hills. Then again I will probably just be disappointed. Reached the top and wasn’t the last. Regroup was at the bottom of zig zags. Peter announced the whole group would detour slightly from the planned route so he could wave of those that were going to do the climb with me. Of we rolled and the whole group sitting on around 50km/h for the down hill and a nice spray coming off the road. On the approach to Gooseberry Hill Rd only saw one other rider turn left at the round about. With a quick good luck from Peter it was a flick of the finger and get the hell out of my big gear. Quickly realised it was only myself and Peter (another Peter) doing the climb. He was quickly around 50m in front of me and seemed to be doing well. I was jumping between gears trying to find my rhythm. I think I left it down the bottom. As we arrived at the crest before the second half of the climb I had caught back or Peter had backed off and I told him that was the easy part its the kicker at the end that kills you.
Rounding the corner and taking a quick look at the view it was down to the 3rd gear and up off the saddle for the next few hundred meters. Glace at the speed a few times it was between 12 – 15km/h which is little less than some of the other climbs but this was steeper. The rain from the past 24hrs had left enough branches and sticks to avoid but was no running water so that was good. Past the point I had to stop on my last attempt and thought I’m doing well. About 200m from the round about I thought for a second ok tallest gear. Ah wait sucker you already picked it keep going. Felt robbed I thought I had one more left but this was it. Was questioning why I chose to do this so this was it last 200m go for it. I got to the roundabout closed my eyes and prayed no car was going to make me stop because I was coming through. Into the round about no cars 30m and left turn then stop. I got to the top made the turn and stopped about 5m from the corner, head collapse over the handle bars. Happy I had finally ticked this one of the list and was thinking never have I felt so spent like I do right now. Just after me Peter pulled in front happy to have also reached the top. I think it was at least 2 minutes before either had enough air to say a word.
However after just a few minutes rest we started rolling down the road towards the Zig Zags. The easy roll helped to get the air back and quickly felt good again. Was a bit of a cross wind on the Zig Zag today and didn’t pick up the speed thought we would. I allowed plenty of time to slow down for the corners as the roads were wet and so were our brakes. Bottom of Zig Zags and back to where we were with the rest of the group not long before. Easy ride through to Kalamunda Rd. Soon it was the climb up Kalamunda. Second time for me and I was unsure. Legs felt ok but its the start of this climb that has the sting. Peter lead the entire length of Kalamunda Rd. Was a comfortable pace and nothing to gain by pushing each other. Greeted by three walkers managed to say good morning as we crossed paths. I think they thought cyclists on this road was a strange site. They should go for a walk more often on a Sunday morning.
Arrived at the Cafe expecting to see a few bikes lined up but there wasn’t. Only person I noticed was Darryl. All the rest had gone to suffer Peters route. Was a little surprised but thought oh well. Meant there was no line to get my chocolate muffin for a change. Like last week they had a new girl on the till and I must have said chocolate muffin 4 times and she kept entering Hot Chocolate, Mocha blah blah. Eventually the boss lady pressed the right button.
Having explained our climb to Darryl and finishing muffins, coffees etc back on the road. Because of the wet decided to take Canning Rd to Pommeroy Rd and Welshpool down the hill. Darryl and I were swapping turns on the front. Short turns each seemed to be working well. On the decent down Welshpool Rd was sitting right behind Darryl and I think I rolled past him However I don’t have the weight to carry me down and the headwind capped the top speed at 66.8 km/h Again Darryl was doing the work on the front and I kindly sat on his wheel. Didn’t have the legs yet. We got a rhythm going and shared the workload again until just after Roe Hwy when Peters rear tyre got sliced and he decided to call it a day. A phone call to his misses would see him finish his ride here. Least it was at a bus stop. Darryl and I continued on sitting above 30km/h. I took my care crossing the train line at Welshpool not wanting to repeat a previous blowout here. For a change we stuck to Albany Hwy and cruised through the Cafe strip. Haven’t been through this area myself for quite a while. Having arrived at the Causeway bid Darryl fairwell and decided I would take a route through East Perth home because of the HBF Run for a reason event being on. Last week had my avg speed destroyed by dogs on the million paws walk. This week I was stuck in traffic because of the chaos caused by this event. From what I could tell they owed the causeway which had an african band playing on henderson island. Runners on both sides of the road and cars not knowing where to go. Noticing that the runners seemed to be heading the same way I was I ditched the traffic and jumped into their lane. Best move because they couldn’t keep up :).
However caught at the lights for at least five minutes waiting for a green arrow. (This would be the pattern for all the other lights.) green light clip in go. Stop. Green Go. Climb the hill in East Perth Stop. Go, over the hill down the other side Red Light stop. GRRR was like this until I eventually got through and onto the East Perth cycle path and had a nice tailwind helping me sit on 36 – 37km/h all the way home. Distance of 86.5 kms and was only 10:30am. Good ride and look forward to Tuesday morning.