This ride had spectacular scenery and the road was blissfully smooth. It was a pleasure to ride on. It was also very relaxing riding along the valley and being able to hear running water! A rarity in WA.
I had been off the bike too much before the ride and consequently it took a long time for me to warm up. I am used to warming up properly before hitting the hills but these hills started off pretty much straight away, so I was struggling from the start. My left knee (the broken one) was aching and I couldn’t seem to find a good tempo. After 40 mins I wondered if I was going to warm up at all.
I finally found a good tempo, the ache in my knee disappeared and the hills started to feel great. I was able to relax and enjoy the spectacular views and listen to the sound of the creek flowing along the valley floor. I also found there was very little traffic on the road to break the sounds of the bush and that the little traffic was very courteous.
The short trip down to Waroona Dam was nice and I found it fun riding along the dam wall. The short, sharp climb out is quite challenging and I was quite puffed at the top and struggling to get my breath back when a bogan called out of his car window “FEEL THE BURN!”. It was actually quite funny and put a smile on my face for a couple of ks.
The trip around Waroona was quick for me and quite pleasant in the afternoon sun. I stopped in Waroona to meet up with Tony and Caroline. I joined them for the hard slog out of Waroona which I think I made without walking. After that there were long sections of downhill, which I found a lot of fun.
However, the climb out of Nanga was very hard for me. I was having trouble with my gears, had run out of energy and ran out of water on that last climb. With only 7km and 1 hour to go, I looked at my speedo and saw that I was traveling at 6km/h out of the saddle! I wasn’t sure if it was quicker to walk or ride. I got off three times to push on the same hill and started to think that I wouldn’t make it in the time limit. I wished I had brought more water and that I had eaten in Waroona. I had food but without water to wash it down I wasn’t sure about to eat it. That was just bad management on my part.
Anyway, the hill (which I thought was going on forever) was actually a lot shorter than I had remembered and after that it was downhill for a couple of ks. I was dreading that last hill up to Pinjarra-Williams Road but it was not as steep as I remembered and even in my fatigued state I easily rode up. In the end I made it easily with a lot of time to spare and had not spent nearly as much time struggling as I thought. For the whole ride, I only found two hills difficult and I am sure with better gearing they would have been much easier.
I would recommend this ride. A lot of the ride to Waroona is uphill, which I enjoyed while my legs were fresh. It also means that besides about three moderate hills, a lot of the ride back from Waroona is downhill, which is great when you have tired legs. I also enjoyed being able to see wildflowers from the bike as I rode along.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and felt great after finishing.