Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thursday, September 18, 2008
on sunday, mark, jerry, stu and i will be competing in the state team time trial (masters division) down at pinjarra. as stu was the only brave soul to venture out last week (and since he will be racing) i have mapped the same route as last week.
saturday 20th sept
sunday 21st sept
kahuna & peet & patterson
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
as far as racing in perth goes, nothing can come close to the popularity of the cyclo-sportif events. however, as the organisors will tell you, it is not racing but a participation event. as such, the different format today gave others an opportunity to see how a real road race is run. instead of the normal team time trial format, this event would be a grand fondo mass start event. well mass enough to head off in groups of around 40 – 50 riders with 2 min between each group. as such the “no drafting between groups” rule was not in effect likewise the “stick together as a team rule”. this meant that we could form big groups and work together as well as drop team mates and not have to slow the whole group down to allow them back on. not that we were going to do it deliberately, but there would be other groups that would dictate the pace.
so, getting ahead of myself a bit again.
the event was to be held at york which, from previous experience, meant open roads with lots of crosswinds. it was not forecast to disappoint. the course would take us north to spencers brook before turning west towards toodyay, but not quite hitting the toodyay shire border. there is a bit of a dispute with the toodyay shire after they stuffed around the cyclo organisation earlier on in the year. it seems that 600 cyclists with supporters is an inconvenience to a town. the toodyay event this year was moved to lancelin. because of this, the advertised 108km event would be shortened to just under 100km.
so, as this event was not being run like a team time trial, we opened it up to anyone that we normally ride with as opposed to the normal race team. we were also keen to get a few riders into the 70km event so that they get a taste of racing rather than just coffee rides. at the end of the day we had a team of nine in the 100km event and a team of six in the 70km event. lorraine’s version of events for the 70km race have already been posted below, but well done to those guys and girls as for all of them it was the first event of this type they had been in.
in the 100km event along with myself, were, mark , mike, dr jerry, michael, dr mark, doug, ben and carlo. it was the latter four’s first time at a cyclo event and it would be interesting to see how they held up.
as we were a new team and had previously been riding under the rio tinto jersey, the organisors did not know our form and as such put us in the last group to go. i did a bit of negotiating and managed to get us into the third group alongside the current rio tinto riders. it would be interesting to see how this event would play out with such a wide range of skills present in each group.
we headed to the line and i noticed how tight my quads were. i had spent the entire previous day building a play-bench for ben and was now paying for the constant squatting and drilling and cutting wood. it was not a good sign for the start of a race but i was hoping that they would get better as the day wore on. pretty soon we were off.
our group was quite big and probably contained about 50 riders. with no real organisation the group was all over the place from the gun. mike suggested that we do single turns at the front and peel off, but i was keen to see how the rest of the group would actually work before i committed our team to dragging everyone around.
so, what happened instead was riders would go hard at the front and start to smash the group apart. we were guilty of that also and slowly but surely we dropped riders from our group and picked up others that started two minute in front of us. after about 10 kms i decided that i we needed a bit of control. we had already lost doug, dr mark and ben to an earlier surge up a undulation and they got caught in the back of the group. we had lost all the rio team except jens who had stuck with us on the surges. the majority of the group was made up of our spr team and a team from southern river bikeforce.
as i said i eventually got sick and tired of the chaos and rolled to the front and started yelling at people. we got a roll through happening. mike was concerned that we were chasing down carlo and jens who were currently up the road. i said that it was way too early and they would not stay away from here, so we will pull them back and just maintain control for now. some of the other teams were concerned that we would roll through too hard, but i reassured them that we would just do this to keep out of the wind.
it was all going fine, although some people needed a reminder every so often when they would not hold a wheel properly and let gaps appear. also, whenever something out of the ordinary (i.e. railway crossing or corner) appeared, the group would lose it impetus and have to be reminded to roll through again.
after the left hander at spencers brook, we came across a railway crossing that was at an angle. the rider next to me swerved to avoid the guy in front who had turned to get his wheel perpendicular to the tracks. the guy next to me had his front wheel slip out as the track was damp from the light mist that had been present all morning. he came down with a thump and jens narrowly avoided riding straight into him. we looked back briefly, but kept going.
we were now riding almost straight into a headwind and along the way we dropped a whole bunch more riders. pretty soon it was the southern river guys and us along with maybe a handful of different individuals that had lost their teams.
about halfway along this stretch, mike took off. not a deliberate attack, but i think he broke away on a small hill and just kept going. carlo soon bridged across to him and the two stayed out front for a while. now whenever a southern river (or ss riders as that was their race number) tried to move off the front, mark would just swing off with them causing the group to snake along the road. when asked why he wasn’t doing a turn, mark replied that he had teammates up the road so he wasn’t going to chase them down.
this continued for a while and i thought that it was a good opportunity to exploit it and try to bridge across to mike and carlo. i was on the back so sprinted to get around the group and managed to gap them as they were still stuffing around. i got about halfway across the gap and looked back to see jerry on the front of the pack, chasing me down. i sat up as i didn’t want mike and carlo to be caught. i asked jerry what he was doing and he asked me why i was chasing down my teammates. i said that i wasn’t as i had a gap and was trying to bridge across but he was the one that was dragging the rest of the pack along. we drifted to the back and had a talk about tactics. it was decided to just leave mike and carlo out there and see how they did.
from then on it was up to the ss boys to do the work, so we left well alone. they did an admirable job and mark commented how they didn’t once complain that we had stopped working. as we approached the turn around, the other two groups in front of us came blasting back along the road. that tailwind looked good and i couldn’t wait to taste it.
just before the turn we got to see how far ahead mike and carlo were, and the gap did not seem too great. at a right hand corner, one of the ss boys went left for some unknown reason, so the rest sat up to wait for him. i tried to take advantage by attacking to see if i could get across to mike. mark also made an effort, but when i looked back, they had started to get organised and where chasing. i sat up again and found my place at the back of the pack.
the tailwind turned out to be not quite a tailwind. as the road turned the wind came from every direction but mostly was blowing across the road. our group was strung out trying to get a draft and the ss boys were doing a good job of forcing us into the wind or risk riding on the other side of the road. i think we lost a couple more riders along this stretch and it was not surprising. if you didn’t get in the prime draft position, it was a hard ride.
after the turn at spencers brook, michael dropped to the back and was bouncing his back wheel in the tried and true method of checking whether it was flat. i had a look and it was pretty soft from what i could see. i bid him farewell and he stopped to change it… three times.
the remainder of the race was pretty much the same. the wind was now coming across from the right and was quite strong. the group echeloned across the road, but that really only gave protection to the first 4 or 5 riders before the rest of us had to line out behind. this meant that we were exposed to the wind for the rest of the ride.
mark had got around that problem by joining the ss boys in doing some turns at the front. he wasn’t chasing but gave a hand to set the pace and i allowed him to stay out of the wind.
i had no computer as i was still on chris’ bike so i didn’t know how far to go. it was probably the last 15 min or so that my legs began to cramp up on a small rise and i fell off the back. i was in damage control mode for the rest of the ride and just did what i could to get to the end. luckily i was picked up by a couple of total triathlon guys for the run into town and they gave me a nice draft home.
so, as is the format of cyclo-sportif, we all headed to the town hall for lunch. with over 600 riders, the logistics of getting everyone fed is quite a job, but they manage to pull it off at each event and I have never known anyone to go hungry. a few awards jerseys are given out for the bravest, strongest and stupidest riders as well as a bunch of raffle prizes.
so at the end of the day, the results were based on the combined time for the first four riders. I had missed the briefing as I was chasing down carlo to give him his race number and didn’t hear that bit of info. luckily for us mark and jerry stayed with the group and with mike and carlo up the road, my time didn’t matter. however, as we were actually competing against all the teams, not just the ones in our group, we probably should have just all worked together and may have got a better overall time. we will know for next time.
Monday, September 15, 2008
7:00 - leave front door - looks like rain. Go back inside to get rain jacket.
7:02 - leave front door again.
7:04 - arrive Coode St. Nobody there. Think. Am I so late that they have all left? Or, are the conditions so bad and am I so mad that nobody else is coming? Maybe.
7:06 - decide that I'm riding anyway, so cease pondering madness and weather, and follow the designated course in case other nutters abound.
Nice tailwind, so contemplate changing course to get a nice time up Welshpool Rd hill, then decide I don't relish such a big pain shot. Lots of lonely fun riding around the hills, so much so that eventual arrival at Kalamunda cafe prompts another loop down the zigzag and back up Gooseberry Hill. Further contemplation of forever riding in loops around the hills to avoid the strong headwind home, when reality strikes - no magic carpet is going to take me home. Damn. Go home. The End.
Hope you guys had more fun than that...
Despite a nervous sleep on Sat night I was up early on Sunday raring to go. With Lisa navigating (with numerous maps) Declan managed to find his way to Darlington, pick me up and make great time up to York. Once we got within 30k of York it was obvious from the convoy of cars carrying road bikes that it was going to be a BIG event! With registration, day licenses and team briefing complete all that was left was to eat chocolate brownies, make yet one more trip the toilet, saunter up the start line and wait nervously for our 9.13am start.
Our team were the last in a of a group of 4 or more that headed off and we easily passed a slower team without much effort. The pace out for the first 5k or so was pretty easy but it was obvious that the head wind for those up the front would be the biggest hurdle of the day. At this point our inexperience and miscommunication became our downfall and we ended up passing the CRT team in front of us and heading out on our own at a pace well in excess of our comfort zone. The next fatal blow was the sight of Declan's computer hitting the ground and him swinging around to retrieve it. The horrible wind and mix of abilities meant that we didn't last long with our foolhardy manoeuvre and less than 10k out our little team (no longer merry!) had scattered to the four winds!
%$#@!!! Think I... I know we didn't have to stick together for the Fondo but had not anticipated us breaking up this quickly. With Ronny and Melvyn somewhere out in front and everyone else behind me somewhere I was out in no-man's land on my own trying to cope with the wind. By the sounds of it most of us found small groups to tag onto and fend for ourselves as best we could. A couple of accidents (one with a group Melvyn had joined onto) on the way out were reminder to ride safely, especially with riders you don't know.
I can't describe the relief of turning round the cone at the 35k mark and finally feeling a tailwind...magic. So nice to finally be able to crank up the gears and have a fairly effortless 40k/hr+ ride for a while. At this stage I realised I must have passed Melvyn (at the the accident) as I saw him coming up on the other side of the road. I was enjoying the relative ease of riding when I saw the SPR "A" team cruise past me... "jump on" yells Pete. Damn right I thought, especially as I saw Melvyn had grabbed a lift too. Yee hah... Now this was more like it and I sped along for a good 5 min with the "big boys"... until the first little hill. Adios "A" team... it was nice while it lasted! On my own again... naturally! As I contemplated how tired my legs were starting to feel, out of nowhere appears Neil... Great! A familiar face to work with. Further ahead we saw that Melvyn had dropped off the "A" team. His legs were cramping up and he urged us to keep going. We got about halfway back before Neil also told me to keep going and I took off on my own... Again!
The rest of the ride was uneventful except for the return of a nasty crosswind and a spattering of rain. I crossed the line a little over 2hrs15 which, considering the wind and that I was was on my own for much of the time, I was pretty happy with. Ronny had been the first of our group to finish. He had found some good groups on the way and this, combined with some strong riding, had brought him home in just over 2 hours. We were closely followed by Neil, Melvyn, Declan and Lisa. Lisa had put in an amazing effort considering that she was suffering from considerable back pain on the day.
6 people out and 6 people back.... all still managing a smile on their face. A good measure of success I'd say.
Once we had collected our raffle and meal tickets we headed off to the town hall and met up with the rest of the Rouleurs for a very well deserved meal and rest. With over 660 riders plus all the support peolpe the place was packed. Well fed, prizes awarded and announcements made we meandered back to the cars, said goodbye to friends and team mates and headed home.
As my first Cyclosportif event, I must say I thought it was a great experience. Thanks to Peter for encouraging and organising us and thanks to everyone in the B team for getting involved and representing the Rouleurs.
Onwards and upwards... When's the next event??????
Saturday, September 13, 2008
UPDATE - apparently chris has an oblique fracture of his collar-bone from the fall.
only the hardcore were out this morning. the wind and storms overnight had scared the rest of the riders off and we were well down from the 60 starters from last week. a core group of around 20 made up of mostly old-timers were the only ones to brave the spring storms. however, once the clock struck seven, there were blue skies on three sides with the hint of a rain shower saved up for later.
our route today would take us to cresswell hill next to the yokine golf course, an old favourite from back when simon used to run the show. we would then make our way to a lap of herdsman “lake” before heading across to claremont for the run home through dalkeith and mounts bay road.
the run out was pretty uneventful. chris made the smart decision to get on the front early as we were heading out with a tailwind. we knew this would change as soon as our route turned further north, so he took advantage of it. ryan was still unpacking his car as we left, so we made him play catch-up.
as we turned off the woodrow ave and onto cresswell, the hill looms in front of you as the road is dead straight and you can see to the top. some of the guys had not done this road before as it has been quite a while since we have tackled it. with a race on tomorrow, i was not going to stress my legs out too much and let some of the other guys smash themselves to get tot eh top first.
with such a small group, the regroup point was a bus-stop where we could wait off the side of the road. a little jaunt along royal and main st brought us out onto powis and under the freeway so we could start our next sprint section around the so called lake.
the pace was not initially high and no-one was really keen to step on it, especially with the wind coming across the open expanse of the marsh lands. once someone finally did hit out, the group started to split and i had to bridge across with stu to join back up with the front runners. to his credit (and i will take a repayment later in this blog) ryan seemed to be on the front for most of the time as we took our three quarter lap of the lake.
towards the end, ryan and judd made a move and no-one reacted so they got a gap. i jumped out from the back of the pack and tried to catch up but only really made it about halfway there. we started approaching the turn so i backed off and the chasing group started to make some ground on me.
as i followed ryan and judd through the right hand turn of the round-about, i head a crunch behind me and looked around in time to see chris and james doing a synchronized slide along the road. although it was not raining as we were riding, the previous showers had made the round-about quite slick and they both hit the deck. james bounced straight back up but chris sat on the road for a bit longer, before we had to move him to let the traffic through. both had some scrapes down one side and chris had hit his head hard enough to crack the helmet. well that is what it is for. better that cracking your skull. so the two guys that are both about to become first time daddy’s and both who shouldn’t be allowed out with due dates so close (james tomorrow) were the guys that hit the deck. since i am still on chris’ old bike, i didn’t have the video camera going and missed the perfect shot of these guys coming down. bugger.
after a bit of a rest and check that both man and machine were functioning properly, we headed off again. as we headed south down selby, the rain started up and gave us all a bit of a drenching. nothing too bad though and we soldiered on.
the final run through dalkieth was, as always, a bit disjointed with no-one sure who was going to work and guys getting left on the front then guys smashing off the front. so pretty much the usual. i was content to sit at the back and leap forward to fill any gaps that opened up. as we came towards the final rolling hills i saw jens come flashing past. i thought he was making his decisive move, but in reality he was watching ryan and saw that he was going now. judd was next to me and being new to the group was asking about the etiquette on our run through dalkeith. i told him that if you are really lucky you can get through all the lights and make it to the end unscathed. he didn’t think that anyone could be that lucky. basically the majority of the group were back together once we hit mounts bay road.
so, ryan was on the front at the lights and we were giving him crap about clipping in properly so he can’t just drift to the back and get a good lead-out. it did no good and to his debit (pay back from earlier) he stuffed around and slow timed to make sure he was not doing any work on the front.
jens had taken advantage of the situation and had scampered up the road for a solo bid at victory. 3 kms is a long way by yourself, even with a tailwind, so we just let him go for a while. he did pretty good and it took a while to pull him back. the group lined out quickly and barista boy dave was pushing hise massive frame along to give us all such a good draft behind. as he began to fade, i yelled at the guys in front to roll through. by the time i reached the front, three riders later, no-one else was coming through.
well if i was going to do the work, it was not going to be for someone else. i ticked it up a few gears and sprinted off, way, way too early. i picked up jens and powered past trying to cancellara it to the end. a quick look back and i had a good gap, but the finish line was still around the next corner and i was fading fast. a flash past and ryan had time trialed off the front and was now gapping me with ease. i sat up and slowly the other riders were trying to individually chase ryan down but to no avail. he was gone.
no coffee stop for me as i was looking forward to a day of building a play bench (like a work bench but for a two year old) in ben’s room for all his imaginative play toys. it took all day but finally got it finished. with two south perth rouleurs teams in tomorrows cyclo-sportif event, it should be a good outing.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I have to apologise before I post this link. It is a little story from a man who took his shaving a little further than just his legs (James, this may sway lis towards the legs.. Infact, she may say, 'if you are going to do your legs you should go all the way' (just to put you off smoothness)).
Enjoy the read and I hope to see you on the road tomorrow morning.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
sunday there will be two south perth rouleurs teams competing in the cyclo-sportif at york. reports are that there are over 600 riders registered for the event. should be a big day. hopefully the south perth colours will be flying well. for any others left behind and looking for a hills ride, i have mapped out an easy one (to follow that is) up the kahuna then across to the observatory. enjoy.
saturday 13th september
cresswell & herdsman
sunday 14th september
kahuna & peet & patterson