There was no scheduled Audax ride for Saturday, 17 October 2009, so I arranged to complete the ‘Peel-around-peel’ 200km ride as a Brevet Permanent. I had arranged this ride 2 weeks before for Stuart (Baalzamon) to complete his first 200km ride because I was sure he was ready to achieve that milestone. I was glad to hear that Perry (cavebear2) would be joining us as he is a very experienced rider and good company on a long ride. Earlier in the week the forecast had been upgraded to 33 for Saturday and I started to have reservations about completing a 200km ride. When the forecast got revised to 35 I was worried. I have not had much saddle time in the last 2 months with 300km covered in September and only 150km in the past 4 weeks. With my lack of saddle time lately and the temperature, this was shaping up to be a hard ride.
Perry, Stuart and myself eventually left Deepwater Point at 8:15. The first leg of the ride took us down the Kwinana Freeway PSP to Lakes Road and then into Mandurah. The first leg was uneventful if a little boring. We stopped in Mandurah for coffee and fruit cake (the other skulled choc milk) and then set off through Halls Head on leg number two.
The second leg down the west coast to Lake Clifton was spectacular. We followed a roller coaster shared path right along the coast with views of the ocean and waves crashing on the beach. Riding the path was fun and the views made it a suburb ride. There was very little pedestrian traffic on the shared path and we cruised along at a pretty good pace. At that stage the temperature was very pleasant with a cool breeze coming off the ocean. It was a little warmer as we rode south along the estuary but a nice change from all of the cold rides over winter. The last stretch before Lake Clifton was along Old Mandurah road, which hardly had any traffic at all thanks to the Forrest Highway.
The third leg from Lake Clifton to Pinjarra was miserable. It was hot and we were riding into a headwind. I was tired and really struggling just to maintain 19 or 20km per hour. The ride became a long hard grind through farmland and I had no idea how far it was to the end of the leg. My spirits lifted a little as the road took us through some open forest which broke up the monotony of the farmland but pedalling hard to maintain momentum going downhill into a headwind sapped my strength again. I seemed to have energy in my legs, it was my mind that was not in the game. The ride became a mental battle to keep going as my legs kept turning the pedals. The temperature rose and rose and I started to wonder if I would make it. Something interesting was that I tried Cadel Evans Winner Bars for the first time as they gave them out at the ride to work breakfast. I find muesli bars last about and hour, but the Winner bars lasted about 40 mins. Anyway, I eventually limped into Pinjarra, extremely relieved to have made it after all.
At Pinjarra I was in bad shape. I was thirsty and kind of hungry but felt dizzy and a bit sick and was not sure what I would be able to keep down. I bought a 1 litre choc milk and two bananas and made short work of those. It was really hot at Pinjarra so we found some shade at the local park next to a tap. I took off my shoes and my feet were really hot so I cooled them off under the freezing tap water and poured the cold water over my head. As I cooled down I immediately started to feel better but was still had a bit of unsettled stomach and no energy. We stayed for about and hour, chatting, joking and cooling down. just4tehhalibut joined us on the leg into Pinjarra and told us stories of previous Audax adventures.
We eventually left for the fourth leg to Baldivis and I was not sure how I would go or even if I would make it to the end. I felt better, but the bananas were sitting very heavy in my stomach and I wasn’t sure if they would settle. Although I was not at all hungry, I forced down a muesli bar and washed it down with some water. Pretty soon we reached the start of the Kwinana Freeway PSP at South Yunderup Road. By the time we hit the freeway PSP it was significantly cooler and actually became pleasant to ride. Perry, Stuart and just4tehhalibut took off and I didn’t see Perry or Stuart again. The new PSP is so smooth and new and so fast compared to the dead roads out the back of Pinjarra. I was able to maintain a reasonable speed as my energy picked up and I started to enjoy the ride again. A warning for anyone thinking of riding the PSP at dusk is that it is built through wetland so there are a LOT of insects. I had to keep my sunnies on to stop bugs going in my eyes and breathe with my mouth closed! It was an easy run to Baldivis where I stopped for some more energy as my stomach had finally settled. The servo had cans of 250ml V for $4, so I bought 1 black and 1 green and finished them off before heading back to Perth with just4tehhalibut.
It was completely dark as we made our way back to Perth, so I got to try out my Ayups for the first time. I was very impressed with them. They are bright and easy to adjust while riding, so I gave them more throw in the darker sections of the PSP and aimed them down more when riding next to the freeway. My only criticism is they have a lot of upward spill which may be annoying for oncoming cars, so in built areas I will investigate putting foil across the top of the lights to block the upward spill. It was cool as just4tehhalibut and myself made good pace back up the PSP, chatting and dodging rabbits. I left just4tehhalibut at Cockburn Central and made good time back to DWP. I finally got my energy back as the temperatures dropped and found the last leg pleasant and enjoyable.
I was very glad to arrive back at DWP at 9:10, 12 hours and 55 minutes after starting. That was basically 10 hours of riding and 3 hours of breaks over 218km.
This ride was my slowest, hardest 200 to date. However, I enjoyed a lot of the ride. For those who don’t know, I have different medical conditions in both shins and a broken bone in my left knee. For this ride my shins were fine, except for some slight pain at front of my left ankle for a while, and slight pain in my lower left shin for a short while. While I have been resting my shins for them to heal, my left knee had become so painful that I was having trouble walking up stairs. On this ride it started out a bit achy but soon warmed up. It still wasn’t very strong though – I couldn’t spend any time out of the saddle. However, by Falcon I was able to comfortable climb the short, sharp ascents on the shared path without any discomfort. It appears the strategy for managing my knee while it heals will be to keep it mobile. The lack of pain in my knee and shins on this ride gave me confidence my injury issues should soon be behind me and I can ease back into a full cycling program.