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Audax ‘Perru’s Parambulation (DNF)’ – 300km

I barley got 3 hours sleep so arrived at Bullsbrook feeling very tired. After faffing about setting up my bidons, rack etc, I set off with the group feeling like crawling into bed and struggling with energy levels. I was hoping with coffee, the right nutrition and the right hydration I would come good. I didn’t.

After the first checkpoint (Bindoon?) I started to struggle to keep up. The headwind got stronger and stronger and the hills got stepper and steeper, and I got slower and slower. Carolyn, Rowena, Steve and Grant kept stopping to wait but eventually Steve and Carolyn had to ride off because of time constraints. I eventually, barely crawled into Toodyay, the 100km point and realised I would not be riding 300km today.

The cafe at Toodayay is awesome! They have a range of amazing food, drinks and desserts and I felt better after after a huge salad and cheese sandwich and a drink.

I set off back to Bullsbrook along the very bumpy Julimar Road. I kept up with Grant and Row for a while but eventually they kept dropping me and then stopping to wait. I got slower and slower and they eventually took off to the control so that Grant could get water. I met them there only 10 mins behind (they took the high road and I took the low road). After a drink and a break I managed to hang on until the end of the ride.

I would rate this as the hardest ride I have ever done including Dambusters, a 300km ride and the first ride back 2 weeks after breaking my knee (i.e. my knee was still broken and extremely painful). The hill, heat and headwind were relentless and really sapped my energy levels which were low to begin with.

However, it was great to get out again and catch up with the guys, Caroline and meet Missy24. We rode through some spectacular countryside along very quiet roads with very little traffic. It was very relaxing to ride without the constant noise of cars. A huge shout out to Caroline who kept going on to do 300km after Toodyay, you are an amazing rider. Thanks to Grant again for the company and Missy… if that is how you ride when you are struggling, I don’t wanna see you on a good day. Congrats to all.

Link to the Map of the route

You can read my original ride report, and what other people said about the ride, here

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First year of cycling

Well, it is now one year since I got back on the bike after more than 15 years without regular exercise. I started the year very unfit and obese. I don’t recall being particularly happy at the time and really felt like making some major changes in my life. I guess my impending 40th birthday played a big part in the changes I have made and my return to cycling could be considered my ‘mid life crisis’.

I started the year with a pretty basic goal, to ride the 9km to work and back every day. I was lucky to have a working circa 1990 Repco Superlite in the shed which I have owned for more than 15 years. A service and a new tyre later and I was off. What suprised me was how much fun I found cycling. I really enjoyed my rides to and from work. The feeling of cycling is pretty hard to describe.
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Audax ‘God’s Bison’ – 100km

It was very windy at the start of the ride, so windy that I was being blown around on the road, even though I was riding my steel bike! The winds didn’t really amount to much of a tailwind even when I turned around. Out in Death Valley, it started to get hot and hilly. Very hot and very hilly! I started to struggle to keep up with Andrew and eventually I told him to go on because I didn’t want him to time out.

The heat, the hills and gale force headwinds at the start really took it out of me. I spent the last leg (Mundaring Weir to Kalamunda) in a complete panic that I would not make it in time. I didn’t want to be disqualified again because I am too slow!

Using my rudimentary maths skills, I had calculated the time limit would be 6h 20mins. I made it in 6h 20mins. However, the correct time limit is 6h 40mins.

All up, with my gearing the hills were manageable, my heavy steel bike helped with the gale force winds, I had enough water and wasn’t too hot most of the time. It was quite a scenic ride and I actually had time to enjoy the view quite a few times. I only really overheated on that last hill which was quite a struggle. For me, it was a mostly enjoyable ride but I got to the point where I didn’t want to see another hill! Although I must say that by the time I got to that last hill I was a bit over it.

Anyway, glad I did it and glad I finished IN TIME!

I loved the shade on the side of the road
Hills
uphill
another hill
every hill made my stomach sink and my speed drop – even before I got there
It was hot
My head was spinning
I stopped for water at Mundaring Weir
Hot, hills, hot, more hills
I made it… just

Temp on the bike maxed out at over 40!

Link to the Map of the route

You can read my original ride report, and what other people said about the ride, here.

Audax ‘Coastal Cruise’ – 200km

It was great to catch up with the guys (and gal) again on a day with with nice weather and a scenic route down the coast. The first leg took us through Fremantle and down the coast to Rockingham. Most of the 200km riders didn’t stop but pushed on to Mandurah for our first break. The ride through Rockingham and down the coast towards Mandurah is picturesque with great views of the deep blue ocean for much of the route. The only problem with the coast is headwinds!

I was supposed to be looking after Shaw (who I ride with on South Perth Rouleurs rides) but as the headwinds picked up and my pace dropped off, he ended up dropping me for the first time on the ride.

I caught up with the slower riders at Mandurah for some cake and coffee. After a short break, we set off again through the spectacular Halls Head and down the coast to Port Bouvard. The ride is fairly flat but as the headwinds picked up even more, I was ready for a break and to turn around so that the headwind would become a tailwind!

By the time I reached the turnaround point I had joined other riders and the now team of four would ride (mostly) together until the end of the ride. The ride through Wannanup and Falcon turned out to be a bit tricky. There were a lot of turns and a lot of streets were not signposted. We were lucky to be riding with Shaw, who called turns using his Garmin and kept the group on track. I found out after the ride that most people got lost in this section. I can only blame the ride organiser (me) for not picking a better route.

What happened next was unusual and disconcerting. I was riding in tight formation with three other riders on Pinjarra Road heading out of Mandurah which is two lanes each way. We were riding two abreast as is legally allowed in Western Australia. Cars started driving up behind us and tooting for us to get out of their way even though there was a whole other lane for them to use (and when I checked it was quite often empty!). After riding Audax all over WA for more than a year, this was the first time I had experienced that kind of behaviour. The most odd part of the whole thing was that there wasn’t actually anywhere for us to go. The shoulder was too narrow to ride on and there was no bike path so we held our ground until we reached the Freeway PSP.

I was so glad to be off Pinjarra Road as I was sick of the tooting drivers and for once enjoyed the smoothness and quietness of the PSP. A tailwind behind us we made short work of the trip home and finished in just over 10 hours, one of my quicker 200’s. I was great to “help” Shaw through his first 200, even though he dropped me at least three times and I kept having to chase him down to catch up!

Ride discussed here

Audax Long Flat One’ – 200km

There were quite a few riders on this ride. I didn’t count exactly how many but it was more than usual. I wasn’t feeling great on the ride because I had been really struggling with energy levels for more than a week (due to illness, not from too much riding!). Consequently, I was dropped before we hit the 25km mark of a 215km ride. On the leg down to Mandurah I was experiencing mild stomach cramps, lower back cramping and a slight cramp in my left calf. Not a good start to a ride that would take about 10 hours!

Next, I got lost because I didn’t have a route sheet (partly) but mainly because I was dreaming along not really paying attention to where I was going. I knew the next section though and soon found my way back to the designated route. After that, I limped in to the first checkpoint feeling sapped of energy (70km down, 145km to go). Although Grant had been behind me, I caught up with him at Mandurah and we rode most of the rest of the ride together.

After coffee and date and walnut cake, I was feeling a lot better as Grant and I set out through the very scenic Halls Head and headed down the coast to the Dawesville cut. The riding along the Peel Inlet was spectacular! The weather was cool and overcast with just a slight headwind. I find that stretch of road very pretty and relaxing. I was faring better energy wise but was still glad to reach the Lake Clifton checkpoint at the 97km mark. We had another break there.

I always find the next leg into Pinjarra a real struggle, even though it is only 40km. However, with cooler conditions and Grant to chat to, I did find it easier than the last time I rode that leg. Still, I was glad to reach Pinjarra for another break where I quickly consumed a litre of choc milk. My various cramps seem to have disappeared by this point and I was faring a little better energywise. At Pinjarra we were caught up by Rod and three other riders who had left 35 mins after us. Grant and myself decided to press on for the Hopelands Primary school where I figured Rod and the rest would catch up again.

The run up Hopelands Road was a real struggle. I was still lagging in terms of energy, feeling lightheaded and riding into a constant headwind the entire way. I recalled to Grant that Hopelands school was after a cross road, bridge, house on the right and some trees. We saw all of the signs but then there was no school. By that point I was really struggling, frequently dropping off the back of Grant and then struggling to catch him again. We came across another cross road and I thought that maybe we needed to start counting again from there. I was cursing because I was getting desperate to stop. Finally the school emerged from the trees and I immediately lay down on one of the benches. I closed my eyes and felt my head swimming. All I felt like at that point was going to sleep. Unsurprisingly, I soon heard Rod greeting Grant, so made my way around to the rain water tanks to top up my water. My hydration pack wasn’t sealing properly but as I wasn’t full (the water level was below the seal) I figured it wouldn’t leak. After a quick rest, the now group of 6 of us set off for Baldivis. As I rode along I felt something wet and cold dripping down my back and into my shorts. It turns out that putting the pack on my back forced the water up and over the seal, filling my pack where the water leaked out and down my back, soaking my shorts and running down my legs into my shoes! It would have been quite nice if it had been a hot day but it was cool, so not great. After a year of cycling, I am still making n00bie mistakes.

Riding in a group of 6 into a headwind was much easier than a solo effort. I felt a lot better after my rest and took some turns up the front as we made our way to the freeway PSP. One rider left us there and so as a group of 5 we headed up to Baldivis, the final checkpoint at the 180km mark. By then, I was lagging in energy again but no one else wanted to stop. I farewelled the rest of the group and headed over for some energy and much needed break. The guys had been asking if I was ok when they left me and I found out afterwards that I had a blood nose and there was dry blood across my face. I didn’t even know!

The final leg started off slowly until the energy started to kick in. I then had some better sections and some sections where I lagged again. I was very tired by the end of the ride and was gladder than usual to pull in to the end point.

The total elapsed time for the ride was 12:05. Very slow but I was glad to finish after starting in such bad shape.

A huge thank you to Grant for keeping me company and pulling me along. Without you I would not have finished in time.

Link to the Map of the route

Ride discussed here

Audax ‘Prison Pedal’ – 100km

On Saturday 2 Jan 2010 a bunch of us set out from Deepwater Point at 3PM in 35 degree heat for either a 100km or 200km ride. We set out down the Kwinana Freeway PSP into a strong, hot, headwind at a fairly quick pace (for me). I caught up with Chaderotti to find out how he pulled up from last weeks ride (his first 100). Soon we turned off at Bateman for a quick jaunt down Murdoch Drive to visit our first ‘prison’ of the day, Rangeview remand centre. After a quick photo we set off again heading east. At this stage we were still managing to stick together as a group and most of us made it to Hakea Prison together for our next photo. Standing in the stinking hot sun waiting for someone to figure out how to work the camera evoked some choice comments from the other riders. Pretty soon we gave up and headed off for ‘Banksia Hill’. Only some of us made it in time for another snap but I felt it was cooling down a little by then. As we backtracked along Warton Road, we saw the last of the stragglers arriving.

This is the point where I started to struggle. It was hot, we were riding into a headwind and my legs were starting to feel it from the 60km I had ridden earlier in the day. I dropped off the last group but bridged the gap again with a bit of effort. I dropped them again when I ate an energy bar and it too longer to chase them down. Just as I caught Andrew (Aushiker) and Rod, the stragglers we had left behind at Banksia Hill caught us. They must have been working pretty hard to catch up. I ended up riding with Andrew and Chad to the Thomas Road petrol station where we stopped for food and drink. I quickly downed a small tin of creamed rice and a 600ml mocha. I refilled my 2L hydration pack (which was already empty) and all too soon Andrew and I set off well behind the rest of the group.

A wrong turn on the route sheet saw us head the wrong way down Orton Road but we soon realised the route sheet was wrong and headed in the right direction. It was easier riding east and not into the headwind as we reached Casuarina Prison. A quick tour and we were off again, quickly catching Chad, who was looking for us. We turned south into the headwind again but this time it felt a bit cooler. Cooler was good for me because I was wearing full leg warmers to protect my legs which were still sunburnt from the UAF 100 last week. I quite liked the next section of the route which took us through bush and rural land. It is nice to get out of the city and enjoy riding in the country where the roads are quiet and there are not a lot of people around.

I needed a short break by the time we reached Russel Road where we switched on light and I removed my leg warmers as the sun was disappearing and it was noticeably cooler. I struggled to hang on to Andrew and Chad as we made our way to Cockburn Road but I caught them and with a tailwind found it easier to keep up. It was good to have some company and interesting conversations as we made our way up the coast to our Final Prison in Fremantle. Just before we got there we had another quick stop at a servo for energy drinks to give us a boost for the final leg home. I was suprised to see Roland arrive as we were drinking our drinks. He had accidentally followed the 200km route sheet but turned back as he was only doing the 100. By this time it was getting dark so we donned our reflective vests and switched on all our lights.

The final leg from Freo to DWP along the river was very nice. It was cool and fairly still. Excellent riding conditions. Roland got a cramp halfway back and we left him to limp home. We managed a reasonably fast pace back knowing we were almost to the finish. As we discussed the ride and the day at the end, Roland arrived. I chatted with Andrew for a couple of minutes after Chad and Roland left, when Andrew noticed that Rod had arrived back. He had been on the 200, but he had also really suffered from the heat and wind and pulled out early.

Overall, it felt good to ride 180km of my 200km challenge for the day. However, the heat and wind hit me harder than I thought, so I couldn’t manage the extra 20km.

Link to the Map of the route

Ride discussed here

Audax ‘UAF Perth’ – 100km Ride Report

I found this ride very hard. On bike paths I find it very hard to maintain a good speed. Combined with the headwind it was a struggle for the last 5km with me and Grant as last wheels at the back of the group.

Pluses: finally getting to ride with Chad from the forum. Congrats on your first 100km ride. It was pretty hard for a first 100km. Now I think about it, it was my third hardest ride ever.

The route is spectacular and I loved riding around the rivers again. It was good to ride with some new people and meet some new forumites. Also, I finished, so that was a plus as well.


Link to the Map of the route

Ride discussed here