The bright red sunrise was an ominous sign of what was to come on this morningâ€™s Tour de Eltham. With the temperature in the high teens and humidity a plenty, another large showing of riders clipped in to commence the 90 minute journey into pain and suffering.
Despite Sean being up the front and usually wanting to keep a moderate pace up Beverley and Banyule Roads, it was well and truly on! The climb up to the Viewbank horse paddocks was dispensed with in an almost trivial way, whilst Bonds Road failed to thin out the pack to any significant degree other than for Kieran who dropped his asthma pump just prior to the climb. If you can use the pump youâ€™re trying hard enough mate! David C left us all in his wake and is displaying an amazing ability to climb any gradient with apparent ease.
Approaching and along the back of Monsolvat there were surges everywhere. David C in particular seemed to be in ferocious mood and I was interested to see what Mt Pleasant Road could dish up given the warm northerlies and balmy conditions. With my legs still recovering from Saturdayâ€™s effort, I was more interested in how I went up that bugger of a climb in the 39/53 â€œman-ringâ€. As a precaution I took the front possie as we commenced our journey on the Mt Pleasant Rd descent and surprisingly held it until the first bit of the climb was done with. Perhaps I was just too good a wind break for everyone else????
At this point the usual suspects moved forward and powered up the climb. Despite the northerly we had several impressive times posted: Paul Richards 7:24 along with Paul Muldowney who started a little behind him. Ben posted a 7:30, and Ian posted 8:42. Phil stopped the clock at 7:27 after going at medium pace for the first third of the climb, then about 90% effort into the headwind. His heart rate tells the story with an average of 176 and max of 184! Happily I can report the 39 crank acquitted itself well, with only a short use of the 25 tooth gear. Maybe the placebo effect of a 34 compact has been holding me back all this time?
The fun for me commenced on the shoot down Research â€“ Warrandyte and Main Roads. With the wind at our backs it was Troy, Ben and I who set a quick pace. At one stage I looked around and couldnâ€™t see anyone on my wheel, but it wasnâ€™t long before David C was hovering ominously behind. As I approached the Main Road bridge I started easing up to bunch everyone together before the big roundabout. What I didnâ€™t know was that a bunch sprint was on and I was promptly passed by half the peloton!
Paul Richards took this along with the horse paddock sprint. Mia culpa for trying to lead out Sean and Troy, only to find that the headwind may as well have been a brick wall. I sure wasnâ€™t Mark Renshaw today! Sorry fellas.
I did manage to redeem myself somewhat though. After copping some flak from Phil and Sean up Beverley Rd I decided to abandon my usual warm down routine, put it in the big ring and proceed to absolutely bury myself in a sprint to catch the leading group. All was going to plan as I headed toward the little bridge ahead of the field ...that is until Phil made me look really silly and blew by me like I was enjoying a pleasant Sunday ride. I guess thatâ€™s why heâ€™s a B-grade racer and Iâ€™m a...well...um...neopro wannabe maybe?!
We were back at 7:21am and after leaving at 6:02am, this would have to be the quickest Tour de Eltham ever. As a postscript to the ride, six of us commuted into the city for work and despite big Johnny protesting, we decided to go in via Kew Boulevard. Again the pace was on but we had a great ride.
Oh, by the way,
happy birthday big Johhny!
Hereâ€™s a link to the KoM Leaders Table for your enjoyment:
http://www.peak.bikehub.com.au/Home/Loc ... fault.aspx
Winter seems to be hanging around with another cold morning greeting the Peak Peloton. However riders still showed up en masse, including Patricia who normally gives cold mornings a very wide berth. Thankfully she took a HTFU pill as Emma also showed up for the ride and hence we set a new record for female participation. Where was Clare? The newbie theme continued with my neighbour Rob giving it a crack and Zheng on a Ridley flat bar also joining in the fun. We also welcomed back Josh after his winter hibernation.
With clear skies and a rising sun the 18 strong peloton set a comfortable pace up the Beverley & Banyule rd climbs. A group of 4 or 5 formed a breakaway approaching Bonds Rd, though I suspected a few were saving their legs for the Mt Pleasant KoM. The relaxed pace was a pleasant change from last week and this continued along the back roads around Monsolvat, aided by some lucky breaks that left 4 of us well ahead of the main group.
The peloton reformed, we commenced the Mt Pleasant leg with the likely climbers assuming the front positions. David C and Sean had a fair dip, with both posting new PBs of 6:49 and 6:57 respectively, well done fellas! My ambition to set a sub 7:30 time stalled as quickly as I did after the initial steep section past the tree stump. Hayfever all week has left me a little congested and I wasnt able to breathe freely enough to put in a good effort. Most unlike me I had to resort to the wog hanky and two snot rockets later (John D would have been proud) I was breathing a litte better.
I stopped at the switchbacks to give the rubbish truck some room and wait for the rest of the peloton to come through. It was here that I noticed Nicko not looking the best so I stayed with him for the rest of the ride to make sure he got home ok. This turned the ride into a very relaxed affair and with the sun now warming our backs it was one of those mornings to savour.
Suprisingly the guys ahead still hadnt sipped their lattes at a new place we thought we would try when Nicko and I arrived. Service was slow and the coffee average, back to Rocket next week!
The reach of the Peak Peloton continued to extend, with Dan riding the summit of Kaloko in Hawaii. Here's a link to a short video clip he posted on YouTube:
hi everyone, i am the only flatbar guy yesterday. it was my 1st time riding with the group. i was a bit nervous and didn't know what to expect. as a rookie, i maybe a bit all over the place, cutting someone off or making other mistakes without knowing. please let me know and forgive me if i did so. this ride itself is awesome. i'm sure i'll enjoy more after i feel more comfortable riding with the group and know the terrain a bit better. only the traffic on the way back is a bit scary.
i didn't get to know most of you. only a few and i've forgotten their name already. Gary(? did i get the name right?). thanks for talking to me and giving me some pointer during the ride. i hope Nicko is feeling better today. as anthony looking after Nicko, i tried to find the way back myself. however, i got lost near rosanna golf course area and had to ask for the direction, add a few Ks on my legs, hehehe, silly me. i couldn't hang around for the coffee, as i had a seminar to give in our department at 8:30am. THANKS again guys, and hope i'll join you again. (ps, should i get a dropbar?) cheers,
No worries Zheng...you rode well! Riding with a new group is more about confidence and less about outright riding ability. It alsway takes a few times befoer you get the feel for the ride, learn how to tackle it and fee l comfortable riding in a group.
A drop bar would make the ride more enjoyable for you as you'll be able to maintain a better pace, but you did really well on the flat bar anyway.
Come join us again, hang arond the back to build up your confidence and you'll be fine!
cheers and thanks for the ride.
No offence intended and as someone from Italian heritage I certainly wouldn't mean to! Apologies if I did!
The continuing balmy weather and north easterly winds have not been kind to north east commuters this past week and my legs this morning were duly grumpy. I dont think they have had a chance to fully recover from the Kinglake double on Saturday. Patricia drove the peloton early and set an impressive pace. Perhaps she was taking out her frustrations from the double flats she copped on Sunday? Consequently the grumpy legs groaned their way up the Beverley Rd climb but after about 15 minutes seemed to find their rythme.
Sean, David and newbie Mark powered up Bonds Rd and try as I could I wasn't able to close the gap. The pace continued unabated all the way up Mt Pleasant however with the strong northerly there wasn't any chance of new PBs. Well nobody told Dan this as he lit the wick. Recording peak power of 975W & an average of 375W Dan set a new benchmark of 6:39 for the KoM! Amazing!
On a still day I reckon he can break 6:30.
The wind proved its worth on the return leg with a group of us swapping turns at the front at 50+kph. With minimal traffic the peloton stayed together so we all got to have some fun. David C was lamenting his seemingly lacking aerobic fitness today but that didn't stop him from starting the longest lead out for the Viewbank sprint in Tour de Eltham history! He hit the in button just after the Plenty river bridge, which is a long long way from the finish line at the roundabout. This early surge eliminated all pretenders bar Sean, Dan and Mark. It was an enthralling spectacle to see who would pop. First to go was Sean followed by Mark. Pushing hard was Dan however he didn't quite have the stamina after the KoM and it was David who prevailed. Well done!
My garmin recorded an average of 28.1kph, just 0.2 below our quickest set a couple of weeks ago in still conditions and 3kph faster than times from April! Very satisfying set of numbers they are!
Well itâ€™s almost Christmas and amazingly my cycling attire this morning still consisted of a wind proof vest and arm warmers to guard against the 8 degree temperature. Iâ€™m totally over this faux pas spring and summer weather thatâ€™s dominated to-date....bring on the warmth I say!
Despite the cold morning we still had a good showing for the molehill ride. Usuals in Gary, Phil and Elias were absent (soft!) however this was tempered with the return of James, Troy and the scorpion king himself...yes, thatâ€™s right, Nicko! Leo also fronted for his final ride before Xmas holidays and Patricia rounded out the neat half dozen.
Troy drove the peloton reasonably quickly early on, perhaps explained by the lack of warm clothing? I was cold just looking at him in his short sleeve jersey and short knicks! At the junction of High, Kilby and Bourke in Kew we came close to being road kill, with a right turning vehicle oblivious to our peloton until the death knell of his attempted turn.
The climb up Doncaster Rd is always a hotly contested KoM. I jumped at the base of the climb with Troy and Leo in pursuit. Putting in a solid effort all the way up the climb I managed to pip Leo by a few bike lengths , however he took his revenge on the Wiliamsons Rd climb shortly afterwards. Nicko continues to ride into better form with each ride, keep it up big fella! And Patricia rode as she always done, leading the way and giving it everything up Rosehill Rd.
The sprint at the Viewbank horse paddocks was a craftily conducted one, with Nicko and Troy hatching a plot to position Troy for the win. Rounding the bend at the head of the pack was myself and Leo, coasting along in the 39. Troy came around me followed by Nicko, and then James asked if the sprint was on. From that point on it was and Troy took off. I changed into the 53 and just got out of the saddle to start sprinting, however Nicko used his criterium racing experience to just alter his line slightly at the opportune time and boxed me in. This left Troy, Leo and James to battle for the sprint and I think it was Troy who took the chocolates. I was too busy chuckling with Nicko about his shifty tactics.
The ride ended with some further driver aggression down Beverley Rd, thanks to an impatient plumber with a complex about cyclists. Anyone get the business name printed on the side of his ute?
Apologies for not drafting a ride report for Saturday, I was too busy building up my new (to me, thanks Nicko) Ridley Damocles frame. It and I survived itâ€™s maiden ride and other than a little tweak needed to the saddle setback I think sheâ€™s cherry ripe! A big thanks to Sean for swapping over my crankset whilst flat out in the shop on Sunday.
With upgraditis now cured I have a few components to part with, so hereâ€™s the plug :
- 2009 Scott CR1 full carbon frame and fork 53cm virtual top tube (980g claimed weight)
- Campagnolo Record 10-speed levers, brakeset, front derailleur, rear derailleur, 11-25 cassette and chain that Iâ€™d prefer to sell as a complete set
- Zipp VumaQuad 39/53 172.5mm carbon crankset (too long for me, claimed weight 580g)
- Deda carbon seat post 31.6mm in gloss white finish (as new â€“ sorry Nicko, a bit blingy for me)
- Specialized S-Works Barmac integrated handlebar and stem (400mm x 82mm reach x 132mm drop)
Email / PM me if youâ€™re interested in the above. Thanks.
After lamenting the 8 degree morning on Monday Iâ€™m thinking I may have a line into the weather gods, for this morning was a magnificent 19 degrees. Bib knicks and jersey was all that was needed...yeah! Unless youâ€™re Troy however, as he also was sporting the exact length white socks to be classified as Euro Pro cool. Dan debuted his Ridley Noah, complete with a stem angled so low he would rival Cadel Evans for flexibility. I also was giving my Damocles its Tour de Eltham debut. Despite giving the bike another shakedown ride yesterday into work I was to find out that the unexpected can happen. More on this later.
The nice weather brought out a sizable group nudging 20 riders and despite the northerly headwind we made good time with Sean and Troy pulling the bunch at a fair clip. It was almost too much of a good thing however, with the leading riders failing to give way to an oncoming 4WD over the Plenty river single-lane bridge. This was a very unpleasant surprise for those of us mid pack and beyond, and the driver was most unimpressed! Not good form guys and we need to smarten up our riding on this section of the ride to avoid a head-on accident at some stage. There, Iâ€™ll get off my soap box now.
With the peloton split Iâ€™m unawares of who took out the Bonds Rd KoM. I hope you enjoyed my tow Patricia, it was harder than usual into the wind. Up the short pinch climb weâ€™ve dubbed â€œPhilâ€™s hillâ€ (after great cycling legend Phil Anderson, not Catton!), Philâ€™s workmate â€“ a sprinter Iâ€™m guessing by his bulk â€“ almost seemed to come to a complete stop as he ground his way over the crest. Not to worry, on my first Tour de Eltham I was well and truly dropped by this stage! So much so I got lost from memory.
As the group rolled around the back of Monsolvat, I starting hearing this unsettling rattle coming from my bike but couldnâ€™t pick where it was coming from. At the regroup point at the start of Mt Pleasant Rd I got off and bounced the bike around a couple of times to discover my saddle bolts had come very loose! That could have been a very nasty surprise and had me getting so much more intimate with my blingy white seatpost than I care to imagine!
With the saddle reacquainted with its post thanks to Danâ€™s allen keys we set off in pursuit of the peloton. Dan can sure lay down some hurt when needed. I was trying to save my legs in order to post an improved time on the KoM leaderboard, thanks for the tow Dan but it wasnâ€™t easy keeping up.
This morning I hit a milestone that had me pumped for the KoM, in that my little caricature â€œDaddioâ€ on the kidâ€™s Wii Fit Plus finally got to dance for joy at the weigh in. At long last it no longer had me as â€œoverweightâ€ and I had snuck into the â€œidealâ€ rangeâ€ based on BMI. I personally donâ€™t think BMI is much of a measure for cyclists but the top of the ideal range was my goal weight for the Alpine Classic, so Iâ€™ll take it! Despite the headwind I didnâ€™t disappoint myself and managed to shave five seconds off my time by clocking a 7:30....yeah! They say no pain no gain but man, I hurt this morning!
Congrats to Sean on his new PB of 6:41 however that wasnâ€™t enough to hold out Dan who also set a new PB of 6:31...amazing, both of you!
Truly spent fomo the KoM effort I was happy to sit 5th or 6th wheel on the journey along Main Rd, with Paul pulling at the front. We kept the pace in the mid 40â€™s and it was quite a sight with Elias, Josh, Phil and his mate, Kevin, Ben and John all motoring along. We did have one grumpy driver toot us but hey, we were single file and going nearly as fast as the traffic!
Did I mention Paul was pulling us along at the front? Well, this is to never, ever happen again for we got every single red light between Research and the Fitzsimmons Lane roundabout. Change your knicks, your butt cream, whatever, youâ€™re jinxed Paul!
Coasting along with Gary towards the sprint point it was amazing to see Sean â€“ by his own admission not a sprinter - lead out and continue to open up the gap, with nobody responding to his surge. Good effort!
Just a reminder about this Saturdayâ€™s extended shop ride for those interested in some Alpine Classic training. Should be about 150km and 3000m of climbing. And given next Wednesday is the final Tour de Eltham before Christmas, come dressed in the festive spirit, should be a laugh!
The months of training for the Alpine Classic finally reached the ultimate training milestone, taking on the "Double Banger". For the uninitiated this was to entail about 150km and 3000m of climbing around Kinglake, Healesville and Yarra Glen. The "double" referred to the Kinglake climb from St Andrews and the Toolangi climb from Healesville, a nice test with about 20km of sustained climbing.
Sean and Dan looked after us this week by setting a reasonably comfortable pace out towards St Andrews. Dan kept trying to get us going harder and at one point, pushed Patricia along way up the road at a great pace...it must have been a fantastic tow! One thing I did note was that if Dan had the BMW propellor logo tattooed above each calf he'd have the best replica of the traditional BMW "double kidney" grille...those calf muscles have just a "little" definition to them.
Rolling into St Andrews, Patricia and I crafted a plan to shed some of the load by sharing three water bottles between us, but somehow I ended up with the two full ones for the entire ride. I also suggested she ditch the arm warmers as the weather was forecast to improve as they day went on. We also hadn't realised that John had caught a couple of lights and had gotten dropped...way back at Diamond Creek...opps . His "painter's" legs were already giving him grief after days climbing ladders.
Refuelled, it was time to bid adios to those returning to Heidelberg and for the more intrepid travellers to commence the journey up Kinglake. It must be said that I take my helmet off to Keiran in taking on the double banger. He was on antibiotics less than a week ago....tough stuff mate! Kinglake was kinder this time, with the northerly breeze a little more tame than last time we ventured up. Paul, Jeremy and I settled into a nice pace, with Keiran, John and Patricia not far behind. I timed this section at 22:53, which is a great effort given the additional weight of supplies being hauled and the more measured effort. Six months ago my "all out" effort with only half a water bottle was a 23:03...training does pay off!
On Wednesday I spoke of my direct line into the weather gods. Somehow I think we've got our wires crossed, as the heavy rain we encountered between KInglake and Toolangi was not the "isolated" showers that were forecast. With rain stinging her care arms, Patricia rightly pointed out that her arm warmers would not have gone astray. I think Paul summed it up best by saying that they may well be isolated, but they seem to be following us! At Toolangi it got so heavy we decided to seek shelter at the Toolangi Tavern on the Myers Creek Road. What a fabulous place! Right pretty it was and the owner kindly allowed us in despite our drip drying state and put on coffees and teas for us all whilst we thawed out and consulted the weather radar. Thanks!
The radar looked grim! Rain was blanketing the valley and moving steadily east to west. Reluctantly we decided to cut out the second climb and head back to Yarra Glen via the safer Chum Creek Road descent and then off the main highway onto Old Healesville Road. It was a smart move! The descent from Toolangi, though wet, freezing and still raining, was easily managed. The only caveat was having to pedal at 100+rpm without building up excessive speed to try and keep warm. By the time we go to the outskirts of Healesville the rain had stopped and the Garmin was showing a much friendlier temperature. Keiran must have been pumped by this as he set off like a greyhound chasing rabbits....but missed the Old Healesville Road turn off. Let's just say that the main highway to Yarra Glen isn't a fun place to be for cyclists. Plenty of bogans tooting us and one driver even suggested Keiran try riding without his seat.
The climb out of Yarra Glen was as spectacular as ever. Deciding to fit my 12-27 cassette was more spectacular however and made it much easier on the legs! A mid-80's cadence sat well with them and the heart rate too...bonus! Paul and I led the pack up towards Skyline and the rest of the group wasn't far behind at all. Great climbing guys! By this stage the wind had changed however, so it was again a headwind we had to battle against on the journey towards Kangaroo Ground, at least the sun was shining and the roads dry. Still feeling fresh in the legs I sat on the front and did my best Cancellara impersonation in trying to contort my body into a wind defying time trialling position. It must have been working, as everyone was happy to tuck in and enjoy the tow.
Returning via or usual Saturday route, the group was split in Eltham due to traffic, idiotic drivers, and pedestrian lights...oh the joy of riding in the 'burbs' at lunch time approaching Christmas. Paul, Keiran and I had just enough left in reserve to muster up a sprint at the Viewbank horse paddocks. In a well executed move, Paul came around me to claim the chocolates by about two bike lengths...bravo!
Arriving back at Heidelberg just after midday, we'd traversed 125km and 1800m of climbing. Not quite what we'd planned but a character building ride anyhow for what the Alpine may throw up at us come January. And then it showered with rain again!
Well it's another year done and another year of thoroughly enjoyable riding with the Peak Bike Hub peloton. I kept a training schedule this year for the first time and with the decision to ride the Alpine taken in August, I found it useful to keep track of how many km's I'd ridden and how my weight was going...hopefully down!
They say stats don't lie, though I think they're made up to protect the guilty! In my case I think I've acquitted myself reasonably well. Today's ride and commute to work and back will have me clock up over 7,200km from late January to now. That's 11 months of up hill and down dale, riding in the rain, putting up with idiotic motorists and dealing with freezing cold mornings, the latter of which we've have had our fair share this year thanks to that scrupulous and shady "El Nino" character that makes the weather boffins dribble all over the cardigans and their pocket pencil protectors mist up. This morning they would have been in a frenzy, who can believe it's a couple days shy of Christmas and we had a temperature of 5C!
Lord knows how many energy gels, Cadel Evans mountain mix bars and electrolyte additive the 7,200 kms represents, but the net sum of all this riding is that I'm lighter, fitter and healthier now since my mid 20's. Wow! When I started this caper two years ago I was an overweight smurf with cholesterol in the mid 7's and a BMI that did justice to my 25% body fat. I remember having to buy a larger pair of golf shorts because my old pair (an 87 waist mind you) were too tight. Yesterday I treated myself to a new pair of shorts for our holiday and found a nice pair in Target (that's with the french pronunciation darlings!) in a size 77. This caper makes you suffer at times, however I wouldn't swap it for anything.
So with another year of the online ride blog done we've grown the regular Wednesday and Saturday shop rides to solid numbers each week, whilst the Monday molehill ride is gaining momentum also. Over 11,000 visit have been recorded to the blog and the occasional reply from people I don't know expressing the enjoyment it brings makes it all worth while. Clarke on th eColnago travelled from Abbotsford to rider with us this smonring...welcome! A big thanks to everyone in the Peak Peloton for their support and encouragement. I attempted a career in journalism but didn't get past the entrance exam. Who had time to study current affairs with a maths/science theme to my Year 12? LOL!!! This is far more enjoyable anyhow.
A big thanks to Sean, Troy and Dan at the shop for their ongoing encouragement, expertise and good companionship. I remember I got lost on my first Tour de Eltham, I was so far off the pace. I just about puked trying to ride up up Reynolds Rd as I thought that's the way they had gone. However I made it back to Rocket cafe...eventually...in one piece and slowly improved each week. Without their encouragement and support it would have been easier to not turn up and just feel embarrassed about how unfit and slow I was. Thanks guys!
Enough now of the internal naval gazing....we had a our Christmas ride on today! I came suitably attired with my flashing reindeer ears with accompanying music. Sean, Patricia, Troy and Zheng also had a splash of Christmas with them, however it was big Johnny who took out te prize for the most decorated bike in the peloton. He'd gone to great lengths applying tinsel, balballs and brightly coloured bows all over the bike and himself too, well done mate.
We rolled at 6:03 and returned by 7:23, with minimal waiting at the regroup points. With a reasonably large group again today that's a fair effort and thankfully there were no close calls over the single lane bridge this week, though Sean had his life flash by on the descent along Research - Warrandyte Rd due to an impatient driver.
I took out the Bonds Rd KoM just ahead of Keiran, whilst Paul and Sean shared the honours at the top of Mt Pleasant. Phil set an impressive time for the KoM of 7:09 after chasing the peloton in an individual TT. He backed up to take the sprint after a strong surge by Sean, followed by Paul and I. The scrutineers may need to be called in however, as Phil's schmick Look 595 Ultra would barely register 6kg in my books, it's as light as a feather!
We also had by far the largest group for the post ride coffee and tall tails, a sure sign we'd all enjoyed ourselves. Have a great Christmas everyone, enjoy the time with your significant other, stay safe and see you in 2011!
It's funny how, with one week left before our Alpine adventure next Sunday, some self doubt creeps in and you start questioning if enough training has been done, and if I really should have eaten that piece of chocolate sponge cake the kids baked yesterday. (I did and it was yummo! )
Having planned my tapering strategy for this coming week I'd intended to do our usual St Andrews shop ride today and include a Kinglake climb. Initially I thought I'd done enough training, especially in the two months leading up to my Christmas break. However Sean was keen to do our Summer Challenge ride again and with the weather forecast finally indicating some fine weather, I decided to join Sean for one last hit-out. To hell with the strategy, just ride!
We had a big turnout today, including Dan back from his recent knee surgery and Claire back from her NZ trip. Zheng - now a regular on our Wednesday Tour de Eltham - also joined in and brought along his mate Patrick too...welcome! It was a steady pace out towards Diamond Creek however our peloton was split several times by amber lights. As per a few weeks back Paul's presence near the front of the peloton on each occasion was seemingly the issue. He claims his magnetic personality must be influencing the traffic signals.
Approaching St Andrews I noticed Chris and Andrew working their way up towards the front, no doubt for the impending sprint. Kevin was also in the mix here and though tempting to join in I had to resist temptation given I had the best part of 100km to ride yet. I think Andrew took the chocolates but will stand corrected by someone with better eyesight than yours truly.
About half the peloton decided to climb Kinglake and it was well worth it. Despite the increasingly muggy conditions it was a delight to be enjoying some sunshine. Sean and Kevin led the charge and in my enthusiasm I tried to stay in touch but succumbed to a little over exuberance I think. I found the humid air a little difficult to suck up and had to back off to keep my heart rate at about 85%. Good news though was that I was aiming for a 22min time and nailed it on the nose. I almost spewed just after the 60kph sign though. Sean gave us a glimpse of his climbing prowess by posting a 19:10, followed by Kevin on 19:45. Paul's cankles served him well as usual and Phil also rode strongly, finishing about 200m ahead of me. Hat's off to Ian though. Coming back from his accident a couple of weeks ago, he continues to recover the strength and fitness he had before decided to try some bike-robatics on Heidleberg Rd on the rain.
Suitably refreshed and rehydrated, six of us rolled onto Toolangi and were joined by another group of four riders. The descent towards Healesville was epic as the road was dry but debris on the road from the recent rains kept you honest. Fortunately we didn't miss the turn-off for Old Healesville Rd this time and the views across the valley were fantastic as we crested the 11% gradients. I reminded Keiran about his Pinarello back home, complete with compact crankset, whilst he wrestled with the 39-25 gearing on his Colnago.
Yarra Glen was a welcome relief. By this stage the Garmin was showing temperatures in the high 20's and we were all pouring with sweat due to the humidity. Sean and Phil led the charge up the climb towards Christmas Hills, closely followed by Keiran and I, with Michael and Ian a little further back. We agreed to roll towards Heidelberg at our own pace and unfortunately Ian dropped off the rest of the group as the climb tested his mettle. I summoned my inner Jens to bridge the gap to Sean and Phil, dragging Keiran and Michael with me in the process. It was a good move as the five of us rolled turns into the wind most of the way back to Heidelberg. Up Old Eltham Road I just about cramped, one better than Kieren who did...poor bugger. Amazingly Sean had just enough juice in the tank to kick off a sprint of sorts at the Viewbank horse paddocks. This was like a red rag to a bull and the rest of us tried to muster up a response. Only Phil was successful though and managed to pass Sean in a canter. Sean was to pay for his efforts though up the last little climb along Banyule Road.
All up we covered 125km and just under 1900m of climbing, finishing in 28 degree heat and 50% to 60% humidity. Riding time was a respectable 4hr21m at an average of 28.6kph. Iced coffees were the order of the day at Rocket, follwoed by a cold shower and copious fluids to try and rehydrate! Now for my tapering strategy for this week....
Todayâ€™s Tour de Eltham was my last serious ride until Sundayâ€™s AAC200 and I must admit to some nervous anticipation. Every gear change was scrutinised, the heart rate monitor keenly observed to ensure I wasnâ€™t overdoing any efforts, the road conditions - particularly where Nicko crashed on Main Rd â€“ got a lot of attention, as Iâ€™m sure did any errant wildlife...Sean? Last thing Iâ€™d want is a repeat performance of the Kangaroo incident and there were several carcasses to avoid this morning.
Notwithstanding the above it was a great ride. A keen field of 20 riders made the Peak Peloton an impressive sight on the road. The calibre of the group has definitely gone up a few notches in recent times and we seem to be making better time each week. Phil demonstrated the fringe benefits of working in the bicycle industry by fronting up on his new stead, a Willier Centro 1 with Campag Super Record and the most gorgeous nude carbon finish on a frame that Iâ€™ve seen. His matching Willier knicks and jersey looked the goods too. Iâ€™m about your size Phil...any spares given your copious wardrobe?
Big Johnny demonstrated that a holiday is as good as any performance enhancing substance Contador may claim he ingested via contaminated meat. With seemingly fresh legs and a haircut to match, John grabbed the bull by the horns on the Bonds Road KoM and rode like a man possessed (or perhaps a matador Showtime scared of the bull!) to claim line honours ahead of young Heath. Great riding by the kid too, he was always up the near the front and thankfully it was a calm morning otherwise he may just blow over in a stiff breeze heâ€™s that thin!
My plan for Mt Pleasant Road was to put in just a couple of efforts to give the legs something to think about and unlike Saturdayâ€™s ride, I stuck to it today. Thanks to Nickoâ€™s carbon clinchers the effort needed to crest the rises was a little less. Despite my doubts, you can feel the difference made by taking 250g off your wheels. I wonder if they could turn into a longer term loan? By the time I ventured near the end of the climb with a suffering Elias who raced B-Grade crits last night at Sandown, Sean was amazingly going back for a second helping of the last little pinch. Given he posted a 6:53 time this morning, did Kinglake yesterday and the 125km ride on Saturday I found that amazing! Well done mate, youâ€™re in great form for the Alpine.
With school holidays still in progress there was only light traffic on Main Rd and we made the most of it, except for Nickoâ€™s stretch of infamous bitumen. The patch up job has only made things worse here and I made sure to get to the front and slow the peloton for everyoneâ€™s safety. After that it was pedal to metal to the Main Rd bridge at almost 50 kph....nice!
I rolled towards the Viewbank horse paddock sprint with Sean and we were a fair way behind the leading pack. Gary provided glimpses of his inner Cavendish in a few fleeting moments of raw energy and adrenaline. You should ride that more often. With everyone in the leading bunch waiting for the other guy to get on the front they slowed down measurably and Sean was able to stir up the sprint. I think it was Andrew who took it out though in a closely fought out affair.
Most were able to stay for coffee at Rocket and it was almost 8am before we begrudgingly set off for the drudgery of work for another day. Four more sleeps to the Alpine...canâ€™t wait!
As dusk approaches to close off an epic day I ponder what the hell am I going to write about? I canâ€™t write the ride report I envisaged, regaling you with all the tales of the Peak Bike Hub Alpine Assault on the 2011 Audax Alpine Classic 200km ride. You see, a seemingly innocuous action manifested into a surreal turn of events on the weekend that resulted in me having to pull out of the ride Iâ€™d spent the last six months training for.
One of our party arrived late on Friday night and I was the only one to hear the new arrivals at the door. Not wanting to disturb the fellas I was sharing a room with after letting them in, I decided to sleep on the couch in the living area. All seemed good and eventually I drifted off to sleep again.
Next morning I awoke feeling fine and had breakfast as planned before riding into Bright to pick up our rider registration packs. Thatâ€™s when I felt a niggle in my lower back which just got worse with the ride into Bright. On the return leg back to the house I was finding it really difficult to stay comfortable on the bike. When we arrived back at the house it was almost physically impossible for me to get off the bike and straighten my back, and thatâ€™s when I knew I was in some deep merda!
A regime of icing and gentle stretching over the ensuing day failed to liberate me from my back pain and at 5am this morning I knew I wasnâ€™t participating. To say I was disappointed is the biggest understatement youâ€™ll hear from me! I felt like a rudderless ship. Everyone else was filled with nervous anticipation of the challenge ahead and I was..well...sort of empty really. And Iâ€™ll bare my soul by admitting that it was hard to stay in the present with the guys as I zoomed around taking some photos of them climbing Buffalo.
All the positive and courageous aspects on display by the boys just made me miss not doing the ride more so! Thatâ€™s life sometimes I guess but on the flip side thereâ€™s quite a few positives to come out from all the shenanigans. From a personal perspective I dropped close to 3kgs in the lead up to the event, which also demanded some much needed additions to my wardrobe! I knocked more than a minute off my Kinglake time and 39 seconds off my Mt Pleasant time also, which Iâ€™m really proud of.
We also learned that Nicko is the worst snorer anyone has encountered and wonder how poor Mrs Nicko can possibly stand sleeping in the same bed with him, or at least tryingto sleep with your own personal thunderstorm next to you. The only way I shut him up was to throw water on him, and it worked...for a while anyhow before he resumed his nocturnal calling sounds much to everyoneâ€™s displeasure!
I think we also learned further about our amazing ability to rise to a challenge. In todayâ€™s heat the guys rode their butts off...and then some! Starting at 6:40am and finishing a little after 5pm, it sounds like they all faced and surmounted their own personal challenges to complete the ride. Well done guys! Iâ€™ll leave it to the guys who rode to provide further details of what actually took place, particularly of an incident involving Kiwi Kevin, white assos knicks and a little pinch.
Perhaps the AAC 250 next year boys? I know youâ€™re up to it!
Nice to see davecole follow up his Alpine adventures with the Peak Peloton with his debut Saturday St Andrews ride. After the AAC200 our wee little St Andrew's loop should be easy Dave!
Also a warm welcome to Ray from Coburg CC who was referred to us by her friend KC who's ridden with us a few times, and "El Presidente" Luke, the president of Banyule CC, who joined us for the maiden joint Peak Bike Hub and Banyule CC Saturday training ride. To honour the occasion I wore my new Banyule CC jersey and it got quite a few positive comments. Welcome aboard everyone.
The unseasonally cool morning had those of us without arm warmers or vest on wishing we did. What is it with this weather this summer? It''s mid-30's now as I fumble away on the keyboard ...WT? At least the cool temperature was offset by a reasonable eager peloton. Our usual regroup points weren't really needed today as the bunch rolled around together at a fair pace. Andrew showed us what was to come by blitzing the field up the Diamond Creek hill. He did the same to those of us that did the Kinglake climb on the way home at the Pony club sprint. Great riding mate, you're showing some awesome form at the moment! Approaching the St Andrews sprint he may have gotten a little excited, as he led out very early with still a few hills and turns to go. The rest of the leading bunch of six or so riders played cat and mouse without anyone wanting to follow Andrew's lead. On the last rise Andrew came back to the group and just as we crested a nice gap opened up for your's truly on the right hand side. It was head down, bum up and clickety click with the right shifter. I would have done by track-sprinting niece proud by hitting 54kph at 110rpm to claim the chocolates.
Having to switch back into Alpine training mode for another month I also opted for the Kinglake climb today. Understandably the rest of the guys coming off the AAC200 decided they'd had enough of those blastard hils for now and opted for the comfort of a sedate return to Heidelberg to have their warm cocoa and marshmallows! Thankfully I was joined by Patricia, Leo, Andrew and Duncan...who displayed some climbing prowess to reach the top first, well done mate. Andrew followed me up most of the way and edged past just at the last section of the climb. I rolled in about 20m behind and was thrilled to take almost 30 seconds off my PB! At the top of Kinglake it was a refreshing 8 degrees so we didn't hang around too long!
Quite a bit of the lower sections of the road had been resurfaced recently, leaving a lot of fine gravel to catch the unwary cyclist, hence the descent was a controlled one. Leo threw caution to the wind though by drafting a ute most of the way down. At some points it was way too close for my liking as I rolled a safe 30m behind him, he had me whincing at times he was that close to the ute. I'm surprised he didn't just hop in the back of the tray and take a lift down.
Regrouped at St Andrew's we rolled a few turns and edged up the pace. It was too quick for Patricia, her Alpine legs calling it a day at Eltham College, but the rest of us had a blast. I saw 53kph on the Garmin on the flatter sections of Main Rd...wohoo! As mentioned earlier, Andrew was too strong at the Pony club sprint, winning in a canter! For the entire ride we cracked the 30kph mark for the average, coming in at 30.2kph. Great riding guys!
If there was any question marks about the reputation of the Tour de Eltham ride, now in itâ€™s second year, these were answered by the swarm of blinking LEDs that descended upon Burgundy Street just before 6am.
Resembling mutton birds flying back to their nest at dusk, riders appeared from everywhere out of the pre-dawn darkness and by rollout time a healthy gathering of 27 riders had assembled. That didnâ€™t include a couple of regulars who were missing this week so Iâ€™m predicting weâ€™ll crack the 30 barrier in the next few weeks. This is similar in numbers to the â€œother blokesâ€ over the hill so well done to the Peak boys!
A key theme of this weekâ€™s ride was...unfortunately...traffic! It started with the truck driver who decided to go around us and wait at the red light to turn left... from the centre lane. I think he was applying either the â€œIâ€™m bigger than you so donâ€™t argueâ€ principle or the â€œcyclists donâ€™t pay rego so theyâ€™re vermin scum who donâ€™t have a right to be on my roadâ€ principle.
Next was the guy who opened his door just as our peloton rolled past on Beverley Rd. This was then followed by another close call with on-coming traffic at the single lane bridge just past Rosanna golf course. I donâ€™t think I need to remind everyone what a Give Way sign looks like? Please remember that if youâ€™re leading the peloton here to slow the group down to a speed we can comfortable stop at. Beyond the first six or eight riders you have no visibility of any oncoming traffic.
We also saw the ramifications of a spectacular accident on Main Rd that had a Hilux on its roof and a Commodore Ute looking decidedly second hand! All the rubber necking going on had us come to a screeching halt and Sean's brake pads were once again emitting that waft of heated carbon.
Despite all this motoring mayhem we had an absolute cracker of a ride. My Garmin showed an average of 26.2kph to the top of Mt Pleasant and thatâ€™s quick boys and girls! Averages of 21â€™s to 24â€™s was the norm not long ago. P-train Paul posted a PB of 6:42 I believe, though I was more impressed with his average heart rate for the effort of 180bpm. I think thatâ€™s my max heart rate, probably on a good day too! I also heard that Andrew gave it such a go today he came t-h-a-t close to heaving. Obviously you had a little left in you in reserve then mate! Meanwhile I had grumpy legs today after Saturday's Kinglake effort followed by Monday's molehill ride and the commute to work and back that had it's fair share of whacky racing, particular with one guy on a flatbar who wheelsucked all the way from Fairfield to Ivanhoe. I decided to give him some big ring action up the Ivanhoe hill to test his mettle. I also fluffed up my lap reset at the tree stump so no KoM time from me today. Plus I played corner marshall for all the new guys just after 525..aren't I nice!
Also nice to see was Kiwi Kevâ€™s spanking new Ridley Helium complete with SRAM Red and Fulcrum Racing 1â€™s. Gotta say itâ€™s an impressive piece of machinery and the rider was most definitely doing it justice today. Highlight of the ride for me was the Pony Club sprint though. I weaved my way through the pack from a fair way back with Sean but couldnâ€™t hold onto his wheel. He set of in pursuit of firstly Frosty Johnny who charged ahead really really really early and then Phil on his uber-lightweight Willier complete with Bora Ultra tubulars. That thing would have to be under 6kg! Phil was victorious...just...and I was about 20m back in 3rd place though on handicap I reckon it would be a different story given my comparatively â€œlowlyâ€ spec steed. Would lighter wheels and groupset make a difference? Probably. Enough to take the chocolates? Not a chance!
Impressive riding boys!
This morning I took the opportunity to do a warm up ride before the Tour de Eltham. Why? Well I was awake at 4:30am and feeling hungry, and a mouse under the house was chewing away on something and making just enough noise to irritate me! It was only a short and mostly flat spin to Thornbury and back in the small chainring, but I 'm glad I did it. With the time at 6:01am Sean led our large peloton off into the pre-dawn darkness and at least two thirds of the group got caught at the Rosanna Rd traffic lights. Including me!
Perhaps the leading group didn't realise that we were off the back so early and on they went. From that point onwards the pace was hot to try and reel in the leaders. Despite our frantic pace to try and catch up we didn't get a glimpse of their blinky lights until Bonds Rd. Lucky I did the warm up, riding at the pace with cold legs would not have been a pleasant experience! Sean's pace was also too quick for a small joey we encountered in the dark. Thankfully we all missed it as it folicked around the garbage bins awaiting collection.
With Gary missing today it was harder to manage the regroup points. Not that it's because he's usually towards the rear of the field but moreso because he'll let us know when all riders are accounted for. Fair to say we were a little bit of a rabble today by our usual group riding etiquette and with the larger group this becomes more important. Let's try to get better at this guys. It's dangerous enough with just the cars, trucks and buses to contend with. To this end I will ask that riders following obey the call of the leading pair. So if they yell "stopping" at an amber light such as we had at Rosanna Rd it's not good form to come out from behind, yell "rolling" and overtake. Well done to Kevin Russell for slowing our group at the Give Way sign prior to the one lane bridge.
Oh, my last whinge regarding traffic. After we turn right at the big roundabout at Main Rd / Fitzsimmons Lane please don't merge left into the slip lane, as that's for traffic wanting to merge onto Main Rd from Fitzsimmons Lane. We created all sorts of confusion for the waiting motorists as some of us merged left and others zig-zagged not sure of what to do. Simply stay in the left lane as you would if you were driving...too easy!
Now back to the fun stuff...the ride! A cyclocross bike would have been appropriate today with all the gravel and debrise littering the roads. We almost all managed to avoid catastrophe, however I heard that David J had an off just prior to the Rosanna golf course on the way back. Hope you're OK and the tha the bike is too!
I was following David C for quite a lot of the ride today and would love to see his cadence data. He'd give Gary Niewand a run for his money in the cadence stakes. He'd also make a fabulous grape crusher in the tradition "stomping grapes with the feet" way. Yours truly also had one of my more embarrasing moments at the base of the Bolton St climb. My left pedal unclipped (must be all my power ) and I had no option to get off and walk most of the way up. By the time I got myself sorted I was off the back with a couple of others and out of the running for hte Pony Club sprint. I'm not sure who took the chocolates today but I sprinted anyway and just missed my PB according to Strava.
The other interesting piece of Strava data was the power output it claims I produced as I big-ringed the sharp pinch climb on Mt Pleasant just after the right and left switchback downhill section. It reckons I put out 1160 watts....maybe....I know I went completely lactic and just about puked. To crack the 1000 watt mark would make it seem almost worthwhile!
Oh, and the winner of the "caption this" comp I sent out a couple of weeks ago is Kevin Russell. Well done Kevin, I'll fix you up for your voucher next time we ride and will send out his winning entry via email.
Don't forget the Marysville - Lake Mountain Challenge on Feb 26th. So far it's me, Wristy (aka Keiran) and Frosty (aka John D). If it stays this way I'm in for a cold hand job...help!
What a lovely morning for a bike ride. Mostly clear skies and a pleasant 19 degrees...awesome. Another strong showing this morning with the peloton numbering mid-20â€™s again. Our road manners were far better this week so thanks everyone for making an effort. We had a few newbies with us and a few we hadnâ€™t seen for a while, including Peter and Patricia who eventually caught us at the top of Mt Pleasant Rd! We roll at 6am guys.
Courtesy of my Ayups I led the peloton all the way up to the Bonds Rd KOM, with Kevin and Leo sharing the load a little. Kiwi Kevin gave us a police escort courtesy of his genuine Police issue red-and-blue flashing bicycle light. I suspect Troy will be wanting one of those also now but Iâ€™m told by Kevin it came to him via secret Police business from an acquaintance in the bike industry. All Kevin needs now is a siren and heâ€™ll have the clearest road in front of him all the time.
On queue David C â€“ aka the blue terror and also amiss at the 6am role call â€“ whizzed past on the Bonds Rd KOM, with Keiran and a few others in hot pursuit. Generally though there wasnâ€™t much between most of the bunch and riding up the Mt Pleasant KOM it was awesome to be overtaking and then being overtaken by the same bunch of riders as we each tried our own little strategies to conquer the beast. Some went hard on the flat whilst others recovered to then give the pinch climbs an all out effort. Great riding everyone, I really enjoyed myself. Congratulations to James on taking out the KOM here, just ahead of â€œP-Trainâ€ Paul. Credit also to Frosty for doing the entire ride with his Disney Cars backpack strapped to his back.
Given the large group Keiran suggested we split up for the return leg along Main Rd and I reckon it was a success. Apart from a bus pulling into a bus stop we had mostly a clear run right up to and â€“ amazingly â€“ through the Fitzsimmons Lane roundabout. I say mostly as I did have one minor scare courtesy of a stopped garbage truck and my â€œhead down bum up and do my best Jens Voigtâ€ TT effort along Main Rd. Letâ€™s just say that I was thankful James behind me called out â€œcar upâ€ as I rapidly closed in on the stopped truck. That put pay to my effort but it was absolutely sensational to see Gary (yes...GARY!) overtake me and pull the peloton along Main Rd...GO GAZZA!!! Apologies to Patricia and one or two more who dropped off the back due to the rapid pace, Iâ€™ll be much better behaved next week...promise! (Itâ€™s my taper week for the Marysville Lake Mountain)
Regrouped at the top of Bonds Rd we set off in anticipation of a hotly contested Pony Club sprint. Remember how I said we had a clear run of traffic along Main Rd...well it found us on the sinewy pot-holed roads that leads us to our sprint. Never have we had so many car back calls, resulting in us being single file most of the journey past Rosanna golf club. Poor Andrew almost met his maker in a moment of madness with a driver signalling late to pull into a driveway.
Quite a few of us were a fair way back approaching the sprint and with the blue terror himself up the pointy end it was a fair effort for Andrew to chase down David C but narrowly miss out on the sprinters prize. Better luck next time guys.
As an aside I checked Davidâ€™s Strava upload for this morningâ€™s ride and letâ€™s just say he had a day out today! Bravo!
Raining cats and dogs it did but thankfully most of it was overnight. So while the roads were wet it didn't dampen our enthusiasm and a smaller than usual contingent rolled for today's St Andrews ride. I decided to take my mudguard-equipped Fuji CX bike today but did swap wheels with the Ridley to take about 400 grams off the rolling mass and it sure made a difference compared to Monday's ride with the regular wheels on.
Apologies to the missus for waking her up. The tight clearance on the Ridley between the rear wheel and seat tube is great for aerodynamics but also necessitates the tyre being deflated to get the rear wheel off the bike. At 6:15am that's not exactly something you can do quietly. And then I had to inflate the bugger...the pump coming off the valve with 110psi in the tyre isn't exactly the quietest of noises.
Dan greeted us on the corner of Rosanna and Burgundy and brought the rain with him...thanks. So much for our enthusiasm not being dampened! Chris, a MTB rider mind you, bailed a short way into the ride...and I thought those MTB riders were a tough lot. A short while later I did a Schlek and dropped my chain. Not exactly a smooth start to the ride. We were wet and riding into a blustery northerly but at least it was about 22 degrees.
Thankfully the rain had enough of following Dan and left us by the time we crested the Diamond Creek KOM. From here it was smooth sailing into St Andrews, or perhaps tacking would be a more apt sailing anecdote as that northerly buffeted us around a fair bit.
Dan decided to return home via the more direct route whilst the rest of us continued on the usual ride. With the wind buffetting across us it made the going tough with any slight gaps between riders splitting the peleton considerably. Just out of Panton HIll we lost Leo to a puncture and then encountered Kiwi Kevin going the other way. I didn't see him but heard a whaling "Anthoneeeeeeeee" as he went the other way. At the time I was too busy trying to haul the Fuji up the first climb into Kangaroo Ground!
We shared the lead work and made good time through Eltham. James encouraged Phil to big ring the Bolton St climb, which he duly did with only a few minor breaks in traction....impressive! At this time the sun was out, the humidity through the roof, but we were enjoying ourselves. Given the chaotic start to the ride it was a fair contrast to the placid nature of the ride however things took another unexpected turn when the front wheel of Phil's Willier lost traction around the roundabout after Bonds Rd and down he went. It's an odd one, as from my vantage point several metres behind him I could see he wasn't going quickly and was off the brakes. The damp road probably help reduce the severity of the gravel rash but he'll have a sore and bruised hip for a few days at least and also sustained a graze to the elbow. The Willier was okay other than for some road rash on the end of the handlebar and a slightly bent rear derailleur.
We all rode very carefully after this, especially me with my cantilever brakes. Phil continued onwards home whilst the rest of us sought some respite from the humidity with iced coffees at Rocket. Hope you heal quickly Phil and that the bike is OK!
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