Tales and tall stories…

Road Cycling

Week 1 for 2010

Well it’s been a busy week for me on the bike and I’ve started 2010 with all guns blazing, managing to get out for 3 rides this week. My goal for the year is to keep this up and I’m aiming for 5000+km on the bike, both road & MTB. Hopefully this will increase my cycling capacity and make me more competitive at races as well as being good for my health and dropping a few kilos (that will in turn help me on the hills).

Tuesday SPR ride

I dragged myself out of bed nice and early for this, was a struggle but slowly getting used to it. The weather was cool, rather nice after all the hot days of late. On arrival it was good to see Andrew join us for the morning along with the usual regulars.

We headed west along Mounts Bay Rd with a nice cool breeze at our side, it was going to be a nice ride today. Heading thru the back of Dalkeith I got dropped on the usual hill but caught back up after the top with the help of Matt and 1 of the other guys drafting me back. Andrew was bouncing off the back of the group with me as well, the pace was a little quicker than usual thru here.

Next was that lovley lil hill thru Mosman, 1 day i’ll make it without dropping to the lowest gear I have, especially when the ‘Flying Finn’ does it on the big ring of his TT bike (bastard :p). The rest of the group were waiting at the top for me at the regroup point, we headed off soon after, once 1 of the group had ducked back to pick up a dropped tool bag. Its quite a scenic ride thru the back of Peppermint Grove & Mosman especially with a cool clear morning. One day i’ll stop and take a few photos.

The group continued on thru  East Freo and back towards the river again. Again I got dropped off the back here with Andrew, but we continued on at a steady pace and caught glimpses of the group now and again, but never quite able to get back on.

Heading back up the Freeway PSP for coffee I lost Andrew somewhere, but it was good to see so many out commuting to work and reaping the benefits of cycling. On arrival at Atomic, Dave had already ordered my hot choc so was able to sit down and catch my breathe a bit. Dave said they had only just gotten in so I wasn’t too far off the back. Michael also dropped in to say hi after attempting to make the novice ride but just missing them.

Route & Stats

Thursday Ride

Thursday morning required extra motivation to get out of bed, but I managed. Headed off and it was feeling pretty cool with a light breeze until Riverside drive where a very humid breeze swept in off the river. On the way a fellow SPR rider zipped past hoping to get to the start of the fast group ride on time.

On arrival at the Bell Tower I found the rest of the Sweeper ride group there which included Lee and Dave. Maybe Lee was feeling guilty after all his running of late and us hassling him about it (remember Lee friends don’t let friends run 🙂 ). We started off soon after at a nice steady pace, but could already feel the effects of the humidity creeping up. I fell behind on the usual hill, nothing new there, but slowly improving. I hoped to get back on at the top but someone in the group put the gas down and they were gone.

Continuing on I found Toby waiting for me at Stirling Hwy, he was recovering from a Jacob’s Ladder workout the night before and wasn’t keen on the fast pace either, so we set off at our own speed. The roads are nice and quiet at this time of morning so it was good to just enjoy the ride instead of worrying about cars.

The rest of the ride was pretty standard other than a short stop to find an annoying clicking noise coming from my bike, which was very intermittent and hard to track down. Toby ended up finding the problem after watching my wheel spin down and noticing the speed magnet on my back wheel just clipping the sensor. That sorted it was back to a peaceful ride back to the coffee shop, via the back streets of Como & South Perth.

Dave & Lee had already arrived with Lee heading off for work and Dave preordering our post ride refreshments. We had the usual chat about the ride before heading our respective ways for the daily grind (well except me who was still on holidays).

Route & Stats

Saturday SPR Ride

To round out the week I did the usual Saturday SPR ride. This morning was a bit discombobulated, got halfway up the road and realised I’d forgotten my water bottles, not good on a day that will be hot. I quickly ducked back to grab them to save the pain later. En route to the start point I ran into Matt and we had a quick chat along the way. On arrival Michael was already there and getting along well with the rest of the novice crew. I dropped around and said hi to a few others before Toby finally arrived.

The route brief was given and ended up being the reverse to what was posted, but no biggy and we headed off. The group kept a nice steady pace, somewhat slower than usual I think, but that was probably due to the large turnout and trying to get everyone thru the lights. We headed down Canning Hwy with no problems and then up the hill near Alfred Cove, long and slow. I dropped off the back here on the way up. We turned into Stock road and I made good time to try and get back with the pack, but due to 2 consecutive red lights I didn’t quite get there and ended up not catching them again.

By now I was into a nice rhythm and kept that up for the rest of the trip only being bothered by a territorial Wattle Bird that i thought was trying to hitch a ride but instead was dive bombing me, lil bastard. On the home stretch near the Causeway the fast group ended up catching up with me and I tailed them along Riverside Drive until I caught another red and a stalled truck. I dropped into the coffee shop and caught up with everyone and how their rides went. Most notable was Brendan having a mini stack after perving instead of looking where he was going…lol!!

I then headed home throwing in and extra loop around Burswood to rack up some extra km and to enjoy the ‘scenery’ since it was such a nice day.

Route & Stats

All in all a good week just short of 200km, hope to have many more like it. Safe and happy cycling.


First Ride for 2010

Well the motivation indicator was sitting a bit low this morning but I managed to drag myself out of bed for the 1st SPR ride of the year and also my 1st ride for 2010. It was shaping up to be a warm one with 36C forecast for the day and a decent NE blowing in. I headed out the door to the start and passed a few fellow SPR riders on their way to the start as well.

Numbers suggested the New Year celebrations hadn’t affected too many and the novice group was at its largest yet (well done guys). Since Peter has been away the start is a bit shambled with no one else too keen to step up, but with a few ‘lets get goings and a rider or two heading in the right direction the rest followed.

After the initial breakup thru the lights along Canning Hwy & the start of Great Eastern the group got into a nice rhythm. Already we could feel the affects of the headwind as the pack was travelling slower than usual along this section. The split near the Garratt Rd bridge went well with a few last minute decisions by some to not do the fast group. The main group continued on over the bridge and onto Guildford Rd, passing many a New Year’s day race goer coming back to get their cars from Ascot. After a short distance things took shape and a roll thru began, but didn’t last long as the wind took over and the stronger riders upped the pace. This is where I fell of the back (nothing totally new). I maintained sight but couldn’t quite get back on. As the turn to West Swan road approached it was starting to look like I might get back but 2 Red lights halted any chance of that.

Along West Swan Rd I had the group in sight  and was slowly gaining as they slowed to regroup a bit, but once they turned and had the wind behind them they were off. I continued on enjoying the once headwind now a tailwind, it really does make life easier. Every now and again I caught glimpses of the group as we rolled over a few small hills. On my own though i was feeling every change in the wind and even the slightest turn towards it caused a big slow down.

Heading back to the city thru the back of Morley and down Coode St, I could still see the main group in front of me, so I wasn’t too far behind, just not able to bridge the gap on my own though. I was sort of expecting to start having a few of the fast group catch me by now, but think they were feeling the wind as well.

Once I hit Railway Parade it was home stretch. A few road repairs here had made the surface nice and smooth and a pleasure to ride on, now they just need to finish the rest of the road. I rolled thru the back of East Perth and enjoyed a fast downhill run to the river only getting 1 red light at the end. The trip down Riverside drive was nice with the wind at your back and the coolness of the Swan to refresh you a little. I got into the coffee shop soon after the rest of the group bad was pretty chuffed the fast group hadn’t caught me for a change.

All in all a good start to the cycling year and looking forward to racking up many more Kms (aiming for about 5k) and improving my riding fitness. Although I was a bit disappointed with the amount of glass out and about on the roads & PSPs after New Year’s celebrations. Not the best thing to have to avoid all morning, but thankfully avoided any punctures.

Route & Stats

Christmas Calorie Burner

After the usual Christmas food & drink overkill I thought I should get in a few kms and burn some of it off. Being in Busselton visiting the family it was a good chance to see some different scenery. I was lucky to have the bike back on track this weekend after the minor damage I did to it on the Tuesday SPR ride. Thanks to Eddy Holland who managed to fit in a last minute repair and service for me on Christmas Eve.

Knowing the parent’s neighbour was partial to the odd pedal I invited him to join me on the morning ride. We made plans & readied bikes the night before. This was mainly to stop us from piking out overnight.

Early Sunday morning the alarm went off and with much resistance I dragged myself out of bed and into my gear. Mark (the neighbour) was waiting at the end of the driveway as I came out, showing he was more keen than he felt. Both of us having had 2 solid days of food & drink – the usual Christmas fare – it was going to be a gentle ride. No overdoing it with full bellies.

We headed out of town past the sports grounds and towards Nannup. Mark was going to take me on an old route he used to ride. Originally I had thought of going to Dunsborough, but due to average road and too many tourist cars about, the other side of town was a better option. The ride out was a gentle gradient increase til the cemetary where we hit the 1st little rise of the day (Busselton is very flat being on a large coastal plateau). I powered on fairly easily while Mark was starting to feel the ‘Christmas effect’ already. Continueing out past the airport it was more of the gentle rise we had seen previously.

After not long we came to the Sues road junction and turned to head back towards the coast. It was a slightly more downhill gradient from here with the only real rise being an overpass. The pace was nice and gentle, sitting just below 30km/h. Very comfortable for 2 heavy laden cyclists. This time of morning was great for a ride out in the country, the fresh smells of the bush and surrounding farms, beats sucking in petrol fumes any day. The roads out this way were in pretty good condition (better than many suburban streets) and provided a nice smooth riding surface. Me on Tuart Drive

From the end of Sues road we turned towards Bunbury and headed north for a few kms before turning in towards Tuart Drive. Tuart Drive forms a large part of the cycle leg for the local Ironman competitions. This was a nice section to ride with the morning sun coming through the tops of the Tuart trees and a cool breeze keeping the sweat away. As we were returning down this stretch of road we started to see a few other cyclists heading out for their morning rides, many looked to be Tri guys getting in some course time and Christmas training.Trffic was also starting to pick up a bit too as tourist flood to the area, a popular place to be at this time of year with many places fully booked. Tuart Drive

At the roundabout we turned right and headed through Wonnerup and the estuary. We started to get a bit of a light headwind along here as we got closer to the beach. I got into a nice rhythm along here and Mark jumped on my wheel to have a bit of a rest. We headed on back to town skipping around Geographe Bay marina and along the foreshore to the Jetty.

By the time we got there The Goose was open and ready for us to relax and enjoy a coffee overlooking the bay and Jetty(which is currently under repairs). It was a nice way to wind down after the morning ride before heading home to relax and enjoy some holidays.Coffee overlooking Jetty

Route & stats

My 1st SPR Tuesday Ride

Well this morning I made the early rise to attempt my first SPR Tuesday morning ride. Somehow Toby had talked me into giving up a few hours of good sleep, for a few hard hours on the bike. What was I thinking….??

Anyway I woke to the 1st alarm and jumped out of bed to get ready, and headed out the to meet Toby on the way. It was a nice morning, not yet too hot with the sun still rising and a gentle breeze off the river. We got there on time and waited for others to arrive and Toby introduced me to Mino & Mike before we headed off. The pace started fairly ok along Mounts Bay Rd (where I remembered I should start the 705, I always seem to forget to hit start) averaging about 35km/hr.

Soon we were heading thru the back of Crawley & Dalkeith (you know, where the other half lives along Jutland Parade). This i where we hit the first hill, and we all know I hate hills (improving). I kept good contact with the group but dropped a lil way off, but soon caught up, but as we continued the upwards slant i slowly dropped back a few 100m. I kept everyone in site along the Pepermint Grove waterfront but as Mosman Hill approached, most disappeared up there like rockets. Needless to say they were waiting for me at the regroup point up the top, thankfully I didn’t hold them up too long.

The group contunied on to Freo at a good speed and we enjoyed a bit of the ocean view. As we went over the river my rear slipped into one of the expansion gaps and may have been the beginning of damage to the rear wheel. At the time thinking nothing of a lil bump it was ignored. We headed thru East Freo and around the back of the Defence Barracks and up to Point Walter, this is where I got spat out the back again (and didn’t get back on), but did have a few other SPR riders out and about pass by.

From here I continued at my own pace and took in some of the view of the wonderful Swan River, trying to push my average speed back up to 30km/hr after it dropped on the hills (we use that term losely around the city). Heading along the Applecross foreshore is where I got the 1st indication something was wrong. Something in the back wheel started clicking and twanging away, I stopped pedalling briefly thinking it was a twig or similar and when I started pedaling again it was gone so left it at that. Soon after though it came back and with more avengance. This time I stopped to have a look and found a spoke hanging out the side of the rear wheel & hitting eveything on its way around. I pulled it out and assessed the situation, it didn’t look to bad and there was no other damage, so continued on my way taking it a little easier especially over bumps. These road wheels just arn’t like my MTB ones. Riding on, the only thing I could think of was I broke the spoke nipple back on the bridge when I dropped in the gap, who really knows…??

Heading thru Applecross I also came across Gus & Lennie on the side of the road. Gus had flatted & they were repairing it. They had things under control so I kept going. The rest of the trip was pretty routine up the Freeway PSP, its busy at that time of morning with commuters & other cyclists out for the mornign ride. I saw a few regulars from the SPR sat ride and also past Durx on his way to work, can’t miss him with his Pink Giro jersey.

I dropped by Atomic as I came thru South Perth to let the others know I was done and wish all a Merry Christmas, it was good to hear Lorraine had remained upright for this trip and there were no other spills either. From here I headed home to prepare for the work day ahead, which included a nice plate of scrambled eggs on toast to refuel.

As the first attempt for me of the SPR Tuesday ride I was happy with the effort. I had set a slighty ambishious average of 30km/hr and came in at 27.3, so not too far off, few more rides and i’ll be there. Its a nice scenic route around the river, taking in many of the richer suburbs with spectacular views of the river & cityscape. All in all a great way to start the day.

Route Stats

The Comeback – SPR Sat ride

Yes I know there hasn’t been any updates for a while but due to work commitments I’ve been off the bike for the last 4 weeks. In preparation for this weekend’s Sat ride I did step out for a quick spin on Thursday to make sure the bike was ok & I wouldn’t carc it. Needless to say I felt pretty rusty.

Anyway Sat morning came round and it was already pretty warm on leaving the house, this was going to be a hot day. I arrived at the start point feeling pretty good after such a long time out of the saddle. I then realised I’d forgotten to load the morning’s route into my Garmin, thankfully it has the nifty ability to transfer courses between units using Ant+ (Cheers Melvyn).

Soon after we were on the way, heading out Great Eastern Hwy at a nice steady pace. On the way out I got speaking to a couple who were over from Canberra for a few weeks and had decided to join the SPR crew this morning (and after the ride said they would be back again) after hearing about us and checking out the website. Looks like we are really getting a name for the club.

The ride up Garrett road and Grand Prom went pretty smooth, although the pace was slowly creeping up with the fast guys eager to put down the pedal. By now I was starting to feel the lack of kms in the legs over the last few weeks. Hills were hurting more than usual and taking their toll on me. After the group split there was still a lil more climbing before a few rolling hills with a generally downwards flow to the city. From here it was pretty smooth sailing (me still struggling on the hills though, but making up for it on the downs & flats). The heat was not helping as the temp had crept up to almost 30C by now. We hit the fast downhill section behind Kings Park and everyone made the turn behind the hospital, but we did miss the turn thru the back of Claremont, but no biggy as we could take the slightly longer route at the next turn.

Thru the last half of the route Toby was a great help with drafting me back to the group after some of the hills and big Dan was a machine helping to push me up a few of the hills and not drop too far off the back of the pack. Thanks to them I managed to keep with the main group all the way until the home stretch thru Dalkeith, where the day took its toll on me and I couldn’t hang on any longer. At this point the fast group started to trickle thru as they caught up, offering words of encouragement and then disappearing into the distance (maybe 1 day I’ll be at their level). From here I continued at my own pace with what I had left in me, back to the coffee shop where i replenished the water stocks and had a breather before heading home.

Having a few weeks off really does drop the fitness level and make the first ride back a bit of a struggle, I spent half the ride in the hurtlocker, but its good to know your putting in. Also with the holidays coming up I hope to get a few extra rides in to get back to where I was and also improve my endurance and speed.

Route Stats

Tour de Perth – Stage 2 & 3(ITT)

Following on from Saturday’s 1st stage of the Tour de Perth (not counting Friday night’s Northbridge crit) was Stage 2 & 3 held at Perry Lakes. This incorporated the PIHC Festival of cycling. SPR had the team tent out for the day and showcased their wares as well as having a Power to Weight ratio challenge to see how riders stood against each other.

Racing was pretty much a repeat of Saturday with the womens race and overall winner decided long before the finish line. Ruth Corsett of QLD put in a smashing day yet again to dominate the field from the outset. Other placings were where the action was with a hard fought sprint finish and big efforts in the Individual Time Trial to be the deciders.

The mens racing was a different story after a big sprint finish the Tour leader again changed, this time to stage 1 winner Robert Lang, but he was not to keep it and with a huge effort in the ITT, local rider Travis Meyer took the stage win and also the overall Tour victory. Friday’s critereum winner Graeme Brwon placed 2nd followed in 3rd by Robert Lang.

Our SPR riders did well in the event with most finishing and putting in big efforts, unfortunately mechanicals and injury hampered the ‘dreams’ of a few. Next year we may have our own support vehicle (Nico). Matt Upton also did well in the fashion stakes giving everyone the 1st ever viewing of the SPR skin suit in action and a TV cameo during the start of stage 2. While Nicole Sloan managed the only photo (along with Sally Robbins) in a local paper (Sunday Times) for the weekend. So well done SPR.

Meanwhile back at festival central Pete, Lorraine, Darryl and myself had the SPR tent rolling thru nicely. Lorraine was roping punters in with her ‘World Famous’ brownies, Darryl would then talk their ear off before Pete lured a few to the Power to Weight challenge, so I could pocket there gold coins into the SPR team ‘trust’.  All in all a good showing for SPR at the event and some good publicity to raise the club profile.

Mens Stage 2 finish

SPR Saturday ride & Tour de Perth – Stage 1



Today they forecast an early shower but that failed to deliver, they forecast a top of 23C but it was warmer but there was a decent breeze (headwind at some points). I did the usual struggle out of bed and get myself sorted, didn’t want to be late today as was meeting CasualCyclist to take him for his first SPR ride and he was meeting me at my place. Durx was to join us but wussed out after an apparent late night, so he would meet us at the usual start point.

CasualCyclist arrived and after topping up the air in his tyres we headed off. The ride was fairly routine, but did notice a lot more people out than usual at that time of day. Maybe the warmer weather is bringing them out of hybernation. Also there was a fair amount of activity about with the Burswood open air Cinema in construction and the Camping & 4wd show on the foreshore.

We arrived before time and found Durx already there chatting to Lorraine. Madrapper was late as usual but with a 20km warmup u can’t blame him. He got in just in time for the pre-ride briefing. The route was explained and Global_Bean got a ribbing for his Movember efforts 🙂 The turnout was pretty good with 50-60 riders along for the trip.

The pace was steady on the head out and I kept 2nd wheel for most of the way to the split. After the split the pace picked up a bit on I was hanging off the back a bit on the long gentle uphill to Midland Rd. Along this stretch CasualCyclist got dropped, more used to the slower pace of an AUDAX ride he struggled with the pace the front runners were setting. A few more rides with the SPR crew and he’ll be up to speed.

After the turn onto Midland road Kim(thanks for the leadout) dropped back to help get me back in touch with the group, along the way we picked up a few other stragglers including Madrapper who was yo-yoing off the back also. We caught up just as the group hit some road works, so there was a chance to recover from the extra effort. From here I kept the wheel and avoided being caught snoozing til Guildford Rd. I continued to hold on for the 1st half of Guildford Rd but was bouncing of the back a bit, just staying in touch thanks to a few red lights. Once the rolling hills hit though I was off the back for good and just couldn’t seem to bridge the gap. I kept the group in site til just before East Parade where I caught a red and lost them.


Post ride coffee

With not far left to go I continued on at a steady pace picking up another rider who also got dropped. We continued on to post ride coffee and arrived only a few minutes after the rest of the group. I thanked Kim for the assistance and a few of the lads commented on my improvment since starting with SPR. I may soon keep with the group for the whole trip.

Route & Stats

Post coffee a few of us headed up to Kings Park to watch Stage 1 of the Tour de Perth, where a few of the SPR crew where taking part. It was good to have a club presence and get the club colours out for show. We stationed ourselves on the climb just before the finish line, where we hoped most of the action would take place. The Womens race was pretty much in the bag about half way thru with Queensland’s Ruth Corsett dominating the race, and the group finish was a sprint for the remaining places. The mens on the otherhand came down to the line. Graeme Brown was in front coming up the climb but it hink went too early on the sprint as he couldn’t hang on and ended up 4th, getting pipped by Richard Lang. Perth’s own Travis Meyer held on for 2nd place which was enough to secure him the Green leaders jersey at the end of the day.

Video of one of the mens hill sprints