Audax ‘Foothills Cruise’ – 150km Ride Report

On Sunday, August 30th, 2009 I set off with 9 riders on the ‘Foothills Cruise’, a 150km “flat” ride along the foothills of Perth. It was cool and overcast at the start. I was a bit slow off the mark, riding with Stuart (Baalzamon) and soon lost sight of the other riders and. I didn’t see most of them for the rest of the day.

The first part of the ride followed the same route as the Vines. With little pedestrian and cyclist traffic, Perth’s PSPs are a pleasure. They are smooth and relatively flat and we made good time to GuildertonGuildford. With myself reading off the route sheet and Stuart using his GPS (Garmin) we found navigation a breeze. The flat roads soon ended as we entered Perth’s foothills with some gentle and then steeper inclines. I was riding with a small chainring of 40t and biggest rear cog with 23t, so not an ideal set up for hill climbing. By the time we reached Ridge Hill Road, I was struggling. The hills were a lot steeper than I had bargained for and I don’t think I would have made it up them if I had not completed Dambusters the week before. However, the views from the top of those hills were spectacular, with state forest on the left and views of Perth on the right. Also, the runs downhill were awesome! Top speed of the day was 58.4km/h.

After another series of hills, we reached flat ground and started to make some good time. So good in fact, we caught up to Grant (toofat). The three of us rode together for most of the rest of the ride. Our first food break was at the Kelmscott Deli where I hungrily devoured a tomato and cheese sandwich and hedgehog slice. Break over, we set off for Armadale. Soon after we arrived at Paterson Road. We started up, but as it became steeper and steeper, I pulled off into a side road for a break and Grant and Stuart stopped to rest. Grant decided it was too steep and set off walking. I followed. Stuart rode up most of the way with periodic rest breaks and a couple of walks. Brilliant effort. Fortunately, the hill was not too long and we set off again from the top. We were treated with a long, steep downhill section which was fast and fun.

The route through Armadale was a bit tricky but eventually we found our way south. I really struggled on the roads going south. They were fairly flat, but rough and I felt like I was riding into a headwind the whole way. As we were not even at the 100km mark I was starting to feel worried about the rest of the ride. By Mundijong I was ready for a break, so we stopped again for food. I had better legs after a break and made good time down Mundijong Road. I find Mundijong Road hard going. It is rough and busy and I feel like it is a real effort to keep a decent speed. Stuart and I took it in turns leading and I enjoyed the views of green paddocks and Alpacas as we rode along. Soon we turned off Mundijong Road and waited a couple of minutes for Grant. We set off again down a smooth a quiet road and in a short order and a ride over the new freeway, we reached our final food break at Baldivis.

Refreshed but rather cold, we set off on our final leg up the freeway PSP back to the start point. I have never appreciated a PSP more. It is smooth, quiet and fast. I pulled along side Grant and Stuart and Stuart mentioned with 30km to go, if he could maintain 30km/h he could try for an additional 10km (to make up and imperial 100). I thought that sounded like a brilliant idea and powered off saying to Stuart as I passed, “I’m up for it, let’s go”. I powered off with Stuart close behind. We made good time and took turns leading. However, the hills eventually took their toll and both of us started to fade with Stuart out in front. Although I had already ridden over 130km I really like the feeling of powering up hills, down hills and along the flats. It didn’t last all the way and with 10km to go, I started taking it easier on the hills. I quickly recovered and set off to chase down Stuart who I could not see. I ended up coming in a couple of minutes after him and just a bit over an hour after we started our mad dash for the end.

Stuart needed 9km to reach his imperial 100. Coffee and a muffin came first. After a break we set off for another lap around the river, north past the raffles and back to the start point. The extra km were an absolute pleasure. The wind had mostly dropped off and the water in the cove was still. I could see Perth across the water to the north and the late afternoon sun cast a golden hue across the sky. The still water in the cove was brilliant. We quickly covered the extra km and finished at DWP.

I would like to thank Nick for setting up a brilliant route (I forgive you for those hills) and to Colin for organising the ride.

Map: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Foothills-Cruise-150km

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