On Saturday, May 16 2009, I was one of 11 intrepid cyclists who left the East Perth train station at 7 am for the ‘UAF Yanchep-Chittering’ 200km ride. The route took us to the coast, through Yanchep, across to Bullsbrook, through the Chittering Valley, Ellenbrook, Whiteman Park and back to East Perth.
The weather was amazing as we headed up the coast and were treated with truly spectacular views. The group rode at a steady pace sometimes on the shared path, where there were a lot of pedestrians and sometimes on the road, which was narrow and cars were having problems overtaking us. By the time we got to Burns Beach to vote in the daylight saving referendum* we had not really made good time. The run to Yanchep was a lot better. We stopped for coffee, cake or muffins with some electing the eggs on toast option. I found the coffee and chocolate muffin delicious and the service excellent. While we refuelled we were treated to more great ocean views, which I really appreciated.
The next leg took us down Old Yanchep Road to Neaves Road and across to the Maze. I was pretty eager to stop by then as I had been sitting in the saddle for far too long and needed a break. It was at that point I downed my first ever GU Gel, which I must say was quite disgusting and had me wishing for toast. After a short break we headed off through Bullsbrook and up a gradual incline to stop for lunch on Chittering Road.
I ordered a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich which was served with a salad garnish, warm fruit scone with jam and cream and homemade lemonade for drink. All of the food was delicious and I was sure glad to eat real food after all of the trail bars, iso drinks and gel I had consumed up until then. The lunch stop was at roughly the 140km mark, so we left with only about 60km to go.
There was another hill out of the valley where we had lunch, but again I found it manageable as it was not too steep. We were rewarded with a steep long downhill into Bullsbrook to make up for it though. That was fun!
The rest of the ride from Bullsbrook through Ellenbrook, Whiteman Park and back to East Perth was uneventful with the exception of my rear wheel, which dislodged and started rubbing on my frame. We stopped as a group to fix it and were soon on our way. The last 60km seemed to go pretty quickly, although by the end I was ready for a break. It was great that everyone was able to finish.
This was the second ride in Western Australia ridden as a group along Union des Audax Francais guidelines. As it was my first 200km ride, I found it very helpful to be riding with a group. My energy levels were lagging a bit some time before the Neaves Road turn off, but I got chatting to another rider which helped me keep pace and passed the time much more quickly. Had I been on solo ride, at that point my speed would have dropped off and I would have struggled to make it to the next stop.
Although I was a bit saddle sore, I really enjoyed the day and am looking forward to more Audax rides.
* apparently a referendum which does not affect the constitution is a plebiscite.