For those of you who don’t already know, on my last Audax ride, two weeks ago, I crashed on some wet railway tracks and came down hard, injuring my left knee as explained here.
I have been off my bike for 2 weeks and this was my first ride. Of course it was a bit painful at time and very painful at other times but overall is feeling better for the ride. Against this background…
On Saturday 4 July, 2009, I was one of a bunch of riders who set off at 7:30 AM from Deep Water Point for Jarrahdale. It was a cool clear morning with the sun rising over the Canning River as we set off. I quickly found that my knee did not allow me to keep up with the other riders and they soon dissapeared out of sight. I was happy to trundle along at my own pace trying to nurse my knee but also warm up. The warmer I got the less my knee hurt so I pushed a bit to shake off some of the stiffness. I then realised that I didn’t have a route sheet and didn’t know which road the group would use to head east toward the hills after leaving the freeway bike path. I then had to chase down the group I could not keep up with By then though my knee had warmed up and I was able to push much harder. I made some good time and was feeling pretty good by the time I glimpsed the group ahead. I caught them just before they exited the freeway bike path, so just in time.
I had a pretty good run to the foothills along mostly flat and sometimes dodgy roads. The climb up to Jarrahdale started out a bit steep but some careful out of saddle climbing got me through those sections. I had a chat to Grant, Aaron and Nick and then Paul as we cruised through some pretty farmland with forest on the right and orchards in valleys on the left. We were making pretty good time when I felt my back tyre go a bit soft. I checked it and it was flat I was about to send Paul on his way while I changed the tube because I had everything to change it, when I realised in my rush that morning I had forgotten my pump I changed the tube and found an offending piece of quarts which had penetrated the tyre into the tube and worn a hole in the tube. I struggled to get the tyre back on so Paul kindly offered to give me a hand. Thanks Paul
The rest of the ride into Jarrahdale was pleasant and uneventful. After the hills it was actually quite a nice run, with state forest on both sides of the road. It was very quiet a nice to get away from the traffic of the City. I found Jarrahdale quite unimpressive. There was a steep climb up to the cafe where we bought tasty but very expensive food. I bought a toasted tomato and cheese sandwhich which was $7 It was good though It was very cold in Jarrahdale and I could not warm up. I was miserable and freezing cold and by the time we left my teeth were chattering.
The road out of Jarrahdale was a fast, fun downhill with Paul maxing out at just under 60km/h The road down meandered through forest and farmland and was a nice fast run. The road was a bit bumpy though so I took it easy and made it down in one peice. The next section was a long, hard slog along Mundijong Road. Both my knees were aching by then so I couldn’t keep pace with Paul. I did enjoy seeing some Alpacas and their offspring who looked quite bemused by two cyclist cruising past. Near the end of Mundijong Road the sun came out and lifted my spirits. It also provided some valuable warmth and I finally started to warm up for the first time since Jarrahdale.
Finally we made it to the freeway bike path which is much smoother but starts out with some long uphill sections. My left knee and right leg were aching, making those hills even more joyless. Paul and I really struggled on that leg for a long time, amusing ourselves by ticking off each major roads and guessing the next one… Thomas Road, Anketell Road, Rowley Road and Russel Road crept past ever so slowly. I was cold, in pain and pretty miserable by that point and so was Paul. What a pair! The downhill sections around Leach Highway and South Street gave me back some energy in my legs and provided some respite from the relentless uphills. After that the path is fairly flat and before I knew it we had turned off the bike path with just a couple ok ks to go. We both finished and were glad the ride was over. Paul joked to me (and I agreed) that we were miserable old men today (both injured) and it was true. It was not an entirely joyless ride though and I did enjoy some parts of it. Most of all I was glad to get my knee working again and can report that it is now feeling a lot better. It sure was good to be back on the bike after two weeks off. I enjoyed the views of the sun rising over the Canning River, riding through the forest with glimpses of farmland, flying down the hill after Jarrahdale, seeing Alpacas and their offspring and valued every little bit of downhill on the ride. All up it was a hard, painful but entirely worthwhile ride.