Last weekend saw race 2 of the PMBC XC series contested down at Pemberton in WA’s beautiful South West. This was set to be a big weekend with 2 XC races on the Saturday with 20% extra points up for grabs followed by a Super D on the Sunday.
With a bit of prepacking on Thursday night it was a dash home from work on Friday to load it all into the car before heading south. The trip down was pretty boring except for the spectacular meteor that flashed across the sky half way down. A quick stop for food in Bunbury and I was soon in Pemby where I met up with Doozy and we headed to our humble accommodation for the weekend, the Pemberton Forest Stay. 1st on the list was to get the fire going so there was some warmth when we hit the hay, really should have been going and waiting for us but we won’t hold that against the rest of the crew 🙂
Saturday morning after some sort of sleep it was up and at em. The crew was ready to roll with 6 of us mounting up for the day including our new recruit Gemma, this was to be her first XC race (did she really know what she was in for??) Most of us were hoping to get in a practice lap before rego and the race, as per usual this didn’t happen. I managed to take Gemma for a quick lap of the skills loop to give her a taste for the terrain and bit of a leg warmup.
A bit of a quick opening presentation and the juniors were soon off and racing, some of these young riders are well on their way to being future champions. Soon after it was time for the 1st wave of riders to line up and head off. Mike was first off with the old fellas soon to be followed by myself in Sport Men & Gemma in Sport Women for race 1. Mounted up with 2 cameras this race I was hoping for some great footage and the spanking new seat post mounted GoPro did not disappoint. The start was not too frantic with many riders choosing to take it easy early on as part of their 2 race strategy.
We headed around the skills loop and back through the transition area before heading up the hill via a number of switchbacks and the firetrail before heading back into the singletrack. A few kms of this and we were soon at the top of the Relentless Blue Downhill course. This is a nice flowing downhill run with a number of small North Shore obstacles to liven things up. This included the much loved wooden berms were I got some good footage of the rider behind be eating dirt on the exit straight (he has informed me that although a little sore he is stoked someone got it on camera). Lap 2 was much the same but with less fuel in the legs and the inherent need to keep some reserves for race 2, and the fact I did an extra lap of the skills course at the end didn’t help.
The GoPro at work
After finishing it was time for a rest and to see how the others had fared. I caught up with Ness (the better half of my team mate at the 12hr) to see how her race had gone and in the process found poor Gemma in the ambo being attended to. I though great this is what she needs in her 1st race, an accident to spook her. Well there was a bit of blood and a nice ‘trophy’ of the incident but Gemma HTFU and was keen for race 2.
By now Cat, Ash & Doozy had headed off for their races so while we rested and waited for our 2nd race we cheered them and the other riders on. There was some tight competitions happening between the different categories which definitely kept things alive from lap to lap.
Soon enough it was time for race 2 and too much chatting and catching up on how the others went almost saw us miss the start, but we made it just in time. Race 2 incorporated some common parts of the race 1 lap but threw in the Hell Mile. As the name suggests, its not the easiest piece of trail to ride, especially for your 2nd race and with the ‘lovely’ conditions. This section would make or break some riders. I took a nice swig of HTFU and just kept on going, the only thing stopping me was a few mislocated tree roots that proved a little slippery for everyone. We soon came out of Hell Mile and hit a bit of familiar trail that would lead us to the top of Cool Runnings. Now this is a lot more enjoyable, a nice downhill run consisting of a number of dirt berms and jumps to negotiate. I swear this is the only reason we are stupid enough to ride up hills.
The first lap was spent mostly trying to find the right pace and get through to the end. Lap to was just a matter of getting to the end and not giving in. Most of this lap I spent with 2 other riders who were around my pace and we helped push each other through and have a laugh along the way. As we were nearing the end of lap 2 I passed the ambo out on course, never a good thing. They already had the rider so I didn’t know who it was. I finished of the lap and was soon to find out that it was Ness. She had come off and bashed her knee on a rock. After a quick pep talk and reassurance we would grab her bike (the most important thing) Ness was off to the hospital for a checkup. (don’t worry she was fine and made it to the presentations that night)
Race 1 Start
Mike, Gemma & myself stuck around for a few laps of the 2nd race for Cat, Ash & Doozy before heading back to camp to get in a quick shower before presentations. Soon after the rest of the gang rocked back to the house, got cleaned up and we headed in for a feed and presentations.
Presentations went alright for the crew, with Mike getting 2nd for his category, Gemma picking up a bottle of wine for competing in her 1st race and Ash claiming the Grand Prize in the raffle. All in all a great day was had. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible, I don’t need to be individual Tony has done that, but I will thank him for making this race happen. With out him and the support he gets from everyone these events wouldn’t happen for us.
Note – I didn’t see much of the Super D as I had to head back to Perth, but it sounded like it went well and the bit I saw will make it worth staying for next year.
Most photos thanks to Jose from Apogee Photography – the race gallery on the Apogee site is progressively being updated this week so check back regularily to find a photo of yourself.
As the weeks have gone on the body is starting to see big improvements from all the efforts put in. I’ve now just completed my 8th week and in that time have already dropped 7kg and increased muscle mass while reducing body fat. The effects of Crossfit and a healthier diet are starting to be noticed by those around me and also myself when working out and riding. I have really noticed a marked improvement when racing as well.
This week kicked off with a decent smashing. We warmed up with a nice lil run session, 200m forward, 200m backwards, 200m forward and another 200m backwards. This was followed by the main session, 5 rounds for time of 12x Wall ball, 24x kettlebell swings and 12x ring dips or hand release pushups. With the kettlebells I started at 16kg but ended up dropping to 12kg for the last 2 rounds so I didn’t drop the damn thing on my head. I managed to knock this one over in a respectable 13:40.
Wednesday saw us take on another strength session, 20mins to find out 1 rep max for overhead squats. Warmup was 21-15-9 of overhead walking lunge (with 10kg), ring rows and 200m run (I subbed with a row). I was very impressed to make the top 5 on this WOD with 65kg.
Friday’s session, which I almost missed after getting away from work later than usual, had us completing 3 rounds of 400m run, 15x Sumo deadlift highpulls, 15x box jumps and 30x doubleunders or 75x singles for time. A nice way to end the week. I subbed the 400m run to 200m, had 43kg on the bar (as we ran out of weights) and did the 75 single skips. I finished with a time of 12:23 and then went and did a 600m row to make up for the shorter runs.
The Saturday session saw the guys doing this week’s Games WOD which was an AMRAP of 5 minutes to smash out as many squat clean and jerks as possible. The guys at 75kg and women at 50kg. Not competing in the games I did have a test of the weight to see what these guys were up against and 75kg is heavy, i struggled to even pull off 1 rep at full weight.
To see just how hard this WOD is check out the below video of The Crossfit Chamber’s head coach Chad Johnson doing the WOD. Chad completed 25 of each to get a score of 50.
To see one of the machines at the top of the ladder, check out the 2008 Games winner Jason Khalipa completing this WOD and his lead up to it.
With the Dwellingup100 off-road enduro coming up in September and having just done the Kep track with PIHC I was in need for some more distance mountain biking. I’d only ridden the usual XC rounds and a few small enduros since the last 100km effort (2010 Karri Cup). I remember telling myself after the Karri Cup that I’d need to put in some more saddle time before doing the 100km again. The time for action was nigh.
I was keen to give the Kep Track a decent effort after the small introduction a few months ago. It’s basically a dirt track that follows the Golden Pipeline from Mundaring Weir to Northam, 75km away. It’s not technical at all but does provide ample riding distance on dirt which would suit our purpose nicely. I’m not really into touring and staying in Northam didn’t interest us, so it was put forward that we ride it out and back. It’s not even hilly but my thinking was that what it lacked in elevation would be made up for in distance. The Dwellingup100 involves quite a lot of up and down but is only a mere 100km – so surely this would be a good training ride! A few emails to some interested parties, a short debate on a free weekend and a date settled on. It’d be good to knock this one over in a day.
By the time Sunday morning rolled around our band of riders had been whittled down to four. Lee, Craig, Dave and myself, rocked up to Mundaring Weir Hotel carpark at 0600  where it was deserted and dark. Dave and myself on dually’s, Lee on his cool Focus hardtail and Craig on his Surly Long Haul Trucker. After some Mindless Banter™ – mostly about how chilly it was, and jibes about Dave and myself not having lights we set off shortly before 0630.
The other three headed up the road and then wondered where I had got to. Having done this ride before I knew the way. I did the first half klick on the track whilst the others plodded up the road and then joined the track. Jumpers and jackets were discarded shortly afterwards. The 7km or so to Mundaring township is mostly wide-ish sniggletrack , crosses the road a couple of times and very pleasant to ride, even uphill. It was dark, with just enough moonlight, and a bit of mist. A favourite part of any ride, we were just waiting for the Tauntauns to appear out of the white haze…
We negotiated the unsigned dogs-leg at Mt Helena with no hassles thanks to my prior knowledge. Most of the track is easy to follow but this intersection could be a trap for first timers.
Past the BMX jump track near Chidlow, the rest of us resisted Craig’s call to ride the jumps. I was keen not to break anything too early in the day.
The next section of flat path was dry but quite bumpy. In the not too distant past it seems a horse or two had been through here when it was wet and left many hoof marks which had now dried hard. Kind of like corrugations but different. Certainly not the most pleasant surface to ride on.
Went past Baker’s Hill and it’s pie shop. Plodding along at a steady pace, Dave starting to feel the effects of his limited saddle time of late and the previous day’s crit race.
Nearing Clackline there was a fun downhill run ending in a gully across a stream. Video
Six or seven kilometres of deserted road provided Craig with a chance to stretch his Surly’s legs necessitating him to wait for the rest of us at a lovely paddock edge. Reminded our two ex-pats of Wales apparently. It is quite scenic in parts and all the sheep were out with their lambs following them about. We continued on past the West Northam water tanks followed by a nice run of downhill sniggletrack just before Northam where I got the chance to open it up and show Craig he can’t beat me at everything on a bike. A cool, rough downhill, complete with dodgy pipe crossover (almost came unstuck here) before a short pathway blat into Northam town centre where the Garmin told me we had done 75km on the dot.
Not much doing in Northam on this lovely sunny Sunday. I was looking forward to the mountain bikers lunch of choice  but was sadly disappointed with what was on offer. A bakery, a cafe or Chicken Treat. We settled on the bakery which was empty when we arrived but within a minute of entering it was filled with more than a dozen locals. Purchases were made and we adjourned to the local park by the river to scoff down our sausage rolls, pies, buns, pastries, milk & Cokes.
After refilling CamelBaks and bottles we headed back out of town and climbed the steepest part of the ride. The rough track next to the pipeline wasn’t as hard going up as I thought it might be when I was barrelling down it earlier on, but was still a task after the recent belly filling.
A regroup at the Wales-esque paddock took place as the others waited for me, before the short roll down the road to Clackline. We waited there too as it seems Lee had a puncture. Craig went back to help him out with Dave and me heading off up the track. It wasn’t too long before Craig and Lee caught, then passed us and we were off the back again. This was the last time I saw Craig until I finished the ride! Lee I could see in the distance for a bit then he disappeared into the yonder again. I was struggling at this point but a short break and a few lollies gave me an energy burst and helped me catch up to where Dave had stopped and waited for me. He was knackered and inhaled his emergency gel and we had some more lollies to see us thru. A lady rider heading the other way said she hadn’t seen anyone else on the track. We figured Lee and Craig must’ve finished. We re-mounted , determined to finish off the day. Dave spent most of the remaining kilometres back to Mundaring township yo-yoing off the back of my wheel. I perked up once we reached the downhill sniggletrack back to the Hotel, this was the prize at the end of the day and we bombed down it, legs forgetting that we’d already asked 143km of them. We rolled into the carpark, and the band was playing in the pub across the road, with 150km on Mr Garmin.
Craig was waiting for us – and had been for 25 minutes! Strangely, Lee turned up a few minutes later than us. Turns out he stopped to fix another flat and then got lost, missing the dog leg mentioned previously at Mt Helena on the way back and started heading to John Forrest.
The ride was certainly harder on the dually than if I had taken the hardtail as previous, but the whole exercise was time in the saddle on the same bike I would do the Dwellingup100 on.
* A big thanks to Dave since he wrote most of this and I edited in my bits.
 “It’s 0600. What’s the O stand for? Oh my God, it’s early!” – Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam
 Meaningless MTB-OZ reference
 Sniggletrack = singletrack
 burger with the workx & chocolate milkshake
Well it was going to be a big weekend for the 2010 KarriCup from the start, with a few weeks of organising and getting prepared, most of us managed to make it. Unfortunately a few of the crew dropped out due to work commitments (next time guys). The caravan was picked up on Friday afternoon and bikes readied that evening. Saturday morning was almost a no go when someone’s alarm didn’t go off. Luckily the missus woke up and we got the show on the road with not too much time out. The car was packed and we hit the road for the trip south.
Normally a trip south is a couple of hours and not too bad but towing an ‘anchor’ in big winds can double that and the fuel usage. Eventually we made Pemberton were the fellow SPR guys were to race the Pemberton Classic. A quick stop here to drop off a jersey(thanks Kimbo) for Dave then onto Northcliffe to set up camp and have a quick rest.
Our accommodation for the weekend was Round Tu It Caravan Park in Northcliffe. A lovely bush setting to park the caravan and take it easy when not on the bike or checking out the local tourist attractions. We parked up the van and set about getting it habitable, with annex and bedding etc. Once all was done and a quick rest out of the way, I set off back to Pemberton with the ol man to catch the action at the Pemberton Classic Crits series. Meanwhile we left the wife and my brother to guard camp and have dinner ready for our return 🙂
We made Pemberton in quick time and arrived to the SPR crew warming up and getting ready for their Crits races. The lads were looking sharp with a good showing of force in the SPR Team kit. The guys put in some big efforts to make a few key placings, despite the unbalanced grading. (full report here) While in town I caught up with a few of the locals from when I grew up and caught up on the goss about the new MTB course being built.
After the completion of the Crits races we bad the guys farewell and wished them luck on the road race the next day. From here we headed back to Northcliffe with Dave in close pursuit for our pasta dinner and a good sleep before the race ahead.
The campsite was packed with fellow riders and I ran into a few of the regulars who get to these events and had a quick chat about plans for the next day. After a good carb load dinner and final bike and kit prep we were off to bed.
No sooner had I fallen asleep (had a pretty average nite trying to sleep properly) and it was time to rise. The park was springing to life with bikes and riders everywhere. We had a quick breakfast and kitted up for the short ride to the start at the Northcliffe recreation oval. Everyone hustled around the start to hear the pre race briefing, catch up with friends and chat to other riders. Before we knew it though the start was underway. We said farewell to our support crew, my wife & father(thanks guys, was much appreciated by the 3 of us), and got under way. The start was slightly staggered but maybe not quite enough to avoid the congestion on the Round Tu It single track. It was a quick start for most until that point when it became a stop or walk situation for a little bit, but eventually things sorted themselves out and there was free roads ahead.
After the Round Tu It single track there was some open road and fire trails to get riders warmed up. Just before this ended and we hit the paddocks, riders had to negotiated a nice sand patch before the Borara Rd crossing. This proved entertaining to watch as inexperienced riders came unstuck or got caught out. It was then thru some paddocks, over a dam wall, past some cows and back into the bush. Fast flowing sections of firetrails and single track ensued broken up with a couple of river crossings which proved a bit too much for some riders who didn’t exercise caution and had some OTB moments. Thankfully the few incidents I saw were not too bad. It wasn’t long and we were into the Borara State course, which brought back a bit of technicality to the ride and kept you on your toes. Soon after and we were at the end of the 1st stage, were Dave was already waiting.
We had a quick rest & resupply, water was much needed as the day was warming up and then it was on the way again. Stage 2 was the shortest of the 4 and also the fastest. It was mostly flat lantana and dry swamp flats with a few minor undulations. Dave pulled away and Devan and I continued on at our own pace. There wasn’t much to say about this section as it was over pretty quick, just dusty and fast, but fun.
End of stage 2 was the half way point and lunch. The organisers provided a good selection of food including fruit and sandwiches to help riders refuel. Also the local CFA had a truck setup for getting a hose down and bit of a wash to freshen up, this proved pretty popular. As I pulled in the 50km riders were just heading off.
After a good rest, feed and knicks change it was back on the bike. Stage 3 started with a nice section of technical single track just to remind you this was not going to be easy. I found this by far the hardest stage of the day, not because of the actual course but more probably by the fact i had just had lunch and fatigue was setting in. This section was a good mix of terrain and even a tree across the trail (that had fallen overnight) for riders to negotiate their way thru, once some figured out that yes they were going the right way. I think I spent a fair bit of time pushing my bike on this stage as my back was giving me grief and cramping was hitting me. Mainly I think due to poor nutrition, I was finding it hard to eat even though I knew I had to, my stomach just felt nauseous. At least I was able to pump the fluids in but food was probably more needed.
I eventually made the end of stage 3 where Dave & Devan were already waiting for me. I managed to get a bit of food in here which pepped me up for the final run home, even though I did have serious thoughts of throwing it in. But I had come this far and wasn’t going to give up too easily. We set off on stage 4, basically the reverse of stage 1, for home. Dave was off from the start and I hung with Devan for a bit but he soon took off as well. Back thru the other half of the Borara State course was quite pleasant and I had a little chuckle at the downhill corner, jump with a tree in the middle of it, knowing good and well that many a rider had been caught out by it earlier (the bonus of knowing a trail). Out the back of Borara and it was into a good section of flowing downhill trails, which brought some welcome relief for the legs. These continued down til the creek crossing and then it was back up again, yuk, I hate hills.
Eventually it was out of the trees and back to the paddocks and I knew the end was not too far way. It was here I caught up with Devan again and we tackled the paddocks together, before he took off again. Coming thru the last paddock, the farm owner was kicking back in his camp chair (minus a beer) cheering the remaining riders on. Back thru the sand pit and along the final fire trail and I forgot about the 50m section of calf burning hill I had to negotiate. I finally made it back to the short bitumen section and rolled almost to town, the temptation to pull into the caravan park on the way and finish there was strong but with only a few kms to go I struggled on and eventually made the finish.
I collapsed into a chair and stretched the legs a bit, while getting more fluids in as it had been a hot day. We watched the final few riders come thru and had a bit of a chat with a few of the organisers while waiting for the presentations. They kept getting pushed back so we ended up going back to camp for a well deserved wash and feed, before making it an early night.
All in all it was a good day. Having done a few 100km races/rides before I thought this would have been a bit easier. I think my nutrition was what let me down the most, as I was fitter than when I had done the previous events. But next time(if there is) I hope to be even better prepared and have more training under the belt. It had been almost 6 months since Dave & myself had been on the MTB bikes, too much scumming had made us soft we think.
A few improvments for next year –
- a few extra signs on some of the confusing intersections
- make distance markers harder for delinquents to remove (this 1 is not always easy)
- more staggered start or change the singletrack location
- bit less of the paddocks, while generally ok, a few grass hidden holes seemed to catch some out.
- better organisation of presentations time as it got pushed back twice (1hr 1/2 in total)
Other than that a big thank you to all the organisers and volunteers who helped make the day what it was. It is a well run event and really well supported by the locals, whether they were lands owners opening their land for use or helping thruout the day, Thank you.
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.
After another early rise I was packed and off to the WA XC State Champs at the Goat Farm. The weather was looking a lot better than Saturday morning, except for a strong wind, but in mountain biking the wind is less of an issue and actually was of benefit to staying cool while out on the trail.
Madrapper and myself arrived early but with no intention of wasting energy by doing a practice lap. We registered and setup bikes for the race. While preparing we heard the reports of what to expect on the course from those who had ridden it already. We were in for some climbing (which is pretty normal at the GF) but this time it was steeper and with a more technical surface (read heaps of rocks & gravel) than usual.
Just after 0930 we started, fairly uneventful with a nice wide road for riders to self seed on. Right from the outset it was climbing, the 1st km was the longest stretch of straight climbing with about 100m of vertical gain. A few riders got a bit of a push around the 1st corner by a keen spectator, while not overly needed it did aid the traction and relax the legs momentarily.
The first lap was just a matter of getting to know the course ready for the next 2 (normally thats what the practice lap is for). Most of the field had taken off and left me tail end which is normally the way on a track like the GF which has a large amount of climbing, I catch them on the downhill though (if they are not too far in front). The course zig zagged across the hill face with a few more ups and downs to mix it up. The GF has some fast sections, but is generally technical in nature due to the abundance of rocks.
After the initial climb I kicked back to enjoy the ride and lapped up every downhill run or change to get a bit or air. I passed thru the start/finish line and swapped my water for a chilled Powerade, ready to tackle the climb again. Needless to say I probably walk half of it. Saturday’s SPR ride had drained a lot of the energy I was relying on for today.
I was relieved to finally reach the top and get into some descending. A few nice switchbacks and little jumps had me feeling good again, but that was all about to change. On a fast sweeping left I went in carrying just a little (a lot really) too much speed, normally this is ok as u can usually use a bit of run off, but this section was different. The corner was off camber and the edge lined with rocks. The largest one I knew about so avoided that, but unfortunately there were many more hidden in the grass. Handfulls of brake did nothing to slow my speed, I went from 30km to nothing very fast as I collected a number of rocks and sailed over the bars, sliding to a stop in the grass. (This would have been quite spectacular to watch as a spectator)
After a moment or two laying on my back checking for feeling I sat up to see where I had landed. In some miracle my body had avoided any rocks on the way down(the bike was another story), and the only damage to me was a number of grazes, bruised shoulder & kit full of pointy irritating grass seeds. The bike didn’t fare quite as good but came out a lot better than expected. I blew out both tyres and twisted the bars and all attached cabling backwards. The rims look alright but will need a good inspection this week. The rest of the bike seems to have pulled up ok, save for a few scratches, but thats normal for MTB, (no flimsy roadie frames here 🙂 ). Also thanks to the fellow racer who stopped to check I was ok, I must have been in a bit of a daze as he triple checked I was ok before continuing on.
Once I had gathered my brain and put the bike back into shape it was a nice walk down the hill to the carpark. I loaded the broken beast and headed to the finish line to wait for Madrapper. He ended up meeting me half way there and I snapped him loving the climb back up the hill on his final lap. I hang round the finish and caught up with Nic and a few of the other lads whom had DNFed as well or finished earlier races. We checked out the new season’s stock of Merida bikes and watched some rounds of the State 4X Champs that were also on at the time. Eventually Madrapper came in and we refueled on sausage sizzle and Coke.
A rather disappointing finish to the season, but I will be back next year to improve and hopefully have a better season. This was the last XC race for the year excepting the Round Tu-it 6hr & Alcoa Dusk til Dawn 12hr in late November. I hope to make the 12hr work permitting and field a team with Madrapper and a few others.
Course & Stats (at least the lap I managed) *Note the sudden drop in speed at the end when crashing but also the sudden spike in HR when I must have been midair. You can also see how off course I ended up.
Well what a start to the day! What was supposed to be a fairly easy sat morning ride with SPR as a warm up for tomorrow’s XC State Championships, ended up being a battle of endurance and the fight to stay upright.
The weather forecast had been for a nice day, high 20’s and a few clouds blowing in during the afternoon. From the outset it was never going to be that. As I left the house I copped a quick sprinkle so doubled back for a 2nd layer in case it got really wet and windy. Heading down to the start point showed no signs of improvement, the wind was howling & picking up, plus a few more drops of rain were blowing in.
I reached the start point at South Perth just on 0700, so just enough time for a quick chat with Lorraine about the previous night’s saga of replacing a tyre at the last minute (I hate road tyres). I spotted Durx and Madrapper, we got the brief and were off. As usual I attempted to stay near the front so as not to get dropped to soon. Heading off i had a quick chat to the lads but a few kms in we lost Durx to a flat, not a good start to the day and he headed for home.
On the way out we would have the headwind, and coming a long Great Eastern it wasn’t too bad, manageable. The split near Ascot was fun as a few mad snap decisions of the group to join. I stayed with the main group and kept with them til we hit the Great Eastern by-pass, here I started to fall of the back, nothing new really, still not up to the pace of everyone else. From here the fight with the wind was a lone one. The start of Kalamunda Rd was ok, but the wind was picking up, but i just kept a consistent pace and trudged on. This was all fine until just near Abernathy Rd where it opened up and the wind was really at play, heading over the railway overpass was a mission in itself, gale force winds whipping up sand and ripping into the skin. This combined with the gusting of the wind made it an interesting task to stay upright and see where you were going. Needless to say I battled on and HTFU. I continued the battle with the wind along the rest of Kalamunda road and onto Hale road where finally there was a reprieve every now and again. Did have a small encounter on Kalamunda with someones Rotti that was lose on the road, causing havoc to traffic.
As Hale road got close to Welshpool a few of the fast, fast group caught me. They hung around for a bit trying to decide whether to wait for the rest or just go, eventually shooting off into the distance. By now I was heading home along Welshpool Rd, and now had a bit of a tailwind which made life a hell of a lot easier. I spent the rest of the trip wondering when the rest of the fast group would catch me but some how I held them off til the finish, which in turn earned me a Hot choc from Lorraine who said any of us Twitter lads who beat her, it was her shout. Thanks Lorraine, I got lucky today 🙂
The final part of the trip was pretty routine except for all the Tri (hards:) out training for tomorrow’s ITU Long Distance Triathalon World Champs. Some of those guys & gals are machines, better them than me. I enjoyed my Hot choc and chat with the crew before heading home to get started on the weekend and rest up before the State Xc Champs at the Goatfarm tomorrow.