Riders: Guido Gadomsky (RO), Michael Eva & Diane Humphries (first Audax rides), Kym Murray, Gary Peakall, Tim Pezet, Ed Pley, Perry Raison
East of York, The startline (Photo by Gary Peakall)
Eight riders, all 206k entrants, assembled before 7AM at York for this somewhat remote ‘back country’ ride. Gary and myself travelled togethor to the start, assessing the suitability of Great Southern Highway from The Lakes Roadhouse to York for cycling. it is mostly unsuitable due to a lack of shoulder, poor visibility due to sun position and high traffic loads at certain times of the day/week.
Having ridden this ride last year in July last year, the relatively warm start temperature was a salvation for my hands which almost froze in 2020 even with long fingered down gloves! The wind provided a repeat performance with a fresh north easterly starting up along Goldfields Road to Tammin early in proceedings. Given the rough undulating road surface with little in the way of vegetation for protection from the head wind, you just have to select a low gear to find a suitable pedalling resistance and avoid frustration as much as is possible. Nonetheless it was still difficult to avoid experiencing riding purgatory! Ed and myself yielded to this relentless onslaught just short of 50km from York to have a fuel stop during which Diane rode strongly past. The roadhouse at Tammin was certainly welcome, with Gary, Michael and Guido having arrived about 20 minutes earlier obviously not feeling as much pain! For some reason Diane was nowhere to be seen whereas I met Kym and Tim as I was leaving Tammin with the happy prospect of a tailwind to Quairading. This did not disappoint and I arrived at the BP roadhouse in good time having averaged 29kmh for the 50km even with the undulations and rough pavement.
Last year the water supply to the Roadhouse was disrupted and I assumed I had enough fluid in my Camelback for the 70kms to York. On that occasion the wind was stronger in the afternoon with more sun and I suffered with cramps until the weather cooled near dusk. On this occasion I was careful to avoid the same mistake, however the afternoon had turned pleasantly cooler, overcast with less wind, making the northward 14km ride up Hayes Rd quite pleasant despite the mostly upward undulations into the wind. The 26kms on Cubbine Rd are quite scenic as the road runs along a ridge, however the pavement is very old and extremely rough in places, sometimes illiciting thoughts of Inkpen Road near Wundowie. I was riding alone again as Ed, Gary, Michael and Guido had left the roadhouse 5 minutes before I was ready. I was ok with this as I like to ride at my own pace and take breaks as I wish. In the event I stopped at the 177km point where Cubbine Road meets the Quairading York Rd for ablutions and a much needed feed whereas the others rode on to York without a stop. The last 29kms on the main road to York was fairly favourable in terms of wind and moderate traffic volume. This enabled me to arrive at the finish well before sunset just in time to wave goodbye to Guido as he left the carpark. Whilst talking to Gary and Michael, Diane was observed arriving from the direction of Avon Terrace (the main street of York) having ridden about an extra 20kms, having gone a bit wayward on leaving Tammin.
I would recommend this ride as an option to experience the remoteness of the wheatbelt in an area not far from Perth. Wheatbelt rides are the domain of late Autumn, Winter and early Spring to avoid heat and the problems of carrying enough water. Be prepared for the wind as exposure levels are often very high!