Ride Start Date:
Author: Wayne Hickman
South Perth Foreshore-Pinjarra-Collie-Boyanup-Donnybrook-Nannup-Boyup Brook-Kojonup-Katanning-Wagin-Pingely-Beverley-Chidlow-South Perth
GIRO DE PERTH
Day One, South Perth to Bridgetown 485km 3539m
Day Two, Bridgetown to Popanyinning 314km 2658m
Day Three Popanyinning to South Perth 204km 1276m
Ride Length 1003km
Total Time 69.58hours (time limit 75hours)
6th November just before 8pm we assembled at the South Perth Observation Deck.
200km riders Ed & Perry, Nick Mandoki & myself 1000km.
It was a warm night & perfect riding conditions as we rolled out with the City of Lights across the river, always a nice view & headed towards Optus Stadium. We followed the Armadale railway line on the cycle path which goes from Burswood to the Roe Hwy with a couple of sections on the road. We headed through Maddington & were soon onto the Tonkin Hwy Cycle path at Mills road east. The tailwind pushed us along nicely, plus for some strange reason i actually felt pretty good, hoping that it lasts. We passed a check your speed sign around Byford and it flashed a smiley face at us with a speed of 29kph (yes 29kph, woohoo i thought).
Mundijong was a control for Ed & Perry 10.25pm. Nick & i left the boys at this point, wished them safe travels, they were heading to Serpentine then up Kingsbury Drive to Jarrahdale. Perry later told me it was the nicest ride along Albany Hwy to the Canning Dam turnoff he had ever done. They only saw one car so you could ride in the left wheel ruts which were very smooth.
On the way to Serpentine Nick and I got Flashed by a lady on the side of the road! Here we go I bet your all thinking. But no, it was only Julie who was taking our photo! We stopped at the Serpentine roundabout so Julie could get a better picture without all the fluoro glare. We had a quick chat and Julie said she had been Dot watching. We left Julie with camera in hand waiting for the 200 boys to come through.
The route brought Nick and I out, half way along Hopelands Road towards Pinjarra where we refilled bottles. It was here Nick checked his back tyre & found his rear derailleur cable had been rubbing on his rear tyre and had worn a big groove in it, all the way around on the side wall. He decided it was not that bad and did not needed to be replaced. Old Bunbury Rd we had to go the long way around to Fishermans road to add some km to the route, we had to do the same when we got to Bristol Rd, these became known as ‘The useless loops’. I did not map the route through Yarloop to take away the temptation for a power nap, it was not a concern though as we both felt good!
Harvey we refilled bottles at the new Puma Garage because gasp upon gasp the toilet block was locked. Small section along Southwest Hwy then onto Mornington Rd towards Collie. Nick and I have both ridden this Rd before but coming the other direction, yes it’s just as hilly whichever way you ride it! Collie 6.50am 230km (Ed & Perry finished back in Perth 6.30am 205km) I had a coffee (turns out this was my one and only coffee for the ride) from what looked like an old railway carriage and muffin. We refilled bottles at a car sales yard as the water in the park was bore water! I took off my knee warmers & fluoro as it was very pleasant weather. We had a few hill out of Collie. Along Preston/Collie Road on the right is Glen Mervyn Dam which you can Water ski on. Nick also reminded me of PAP 2018 how the late riders into Collie overnight control had come in soaking wet as it was pouring down. They had travelled along this road but in opposite direction, one rider had gone to hospital with hypothermia, but thankfully all was good. The Mumby Pub just after the right turn towards Donnybrook has an outside toilet block, perfect timing, say no more!
The road to Gnomesville I thought was only about 1.5km long but it is in fact just over 10km, and what a long 10km that was, with a few lumpy bits which I also did not remember! Gnomesville the highlight of the ride for me, just a magic surreal enchanting place. A past Audax member Jennifer did not like this place at all, she said all the gnome’s eyes followed her around and it gave her the creeps! A few, well a lot of the gnomes have been washed away in the great flood of July 2018 but slowly they are returning. We meet a few cycling riders here that were on a cycling weekend. When I explained we were riding 1000km in 75hour why do people always think you are doing it for charity. They were riding about 60km that day, Nick & I were at 276km from the 8pm start last night, still going strong without any sleep. We bid them farewell heading up the hill, Wellington mills rd. When we turned right into Ferguson Rd we saw this bunch of riders again, they had taken the easier shorter route.
Dardanup store was a pleasant 10min rest and bottle of coke stop, on our way out we saw the bakery cafe doh. The towns of Boyanup & Capel (11.50am) had soon come and gone, lots of dairy farming country, weather still good and favourable winds. 365KM Donnybrook & late lunch or early dinner stop. I went to IGA, 2 pasties (was going to eat one and save one but ended up eating both) & 2lt bottle of coke which I drank about a litre, now I’ll have to carry the remaining litre, damn extra weight. Nick rang to ask my location and we meet up in the park in middle of town. We both have trackers but sometimes the updates are a bit behind. We stopped for about 30mins here which I think was our longest stop on ride apart from the sleep stops. We both just wanted to keep stops as short as possible for this ride. We rode out of Donnybrook & took a nice quiet back road called Sandhills Rd, now that name should give you a clue to what the road was going to be like. We did not see much sand, but hills yes there were, Rollercoaster Rd would be a better name. We had a conversation about how much climbing there was on this ride and the profile map. Nick said he did not look at the profile before he signed up (if he had, I fear it he may have had second thoughts). I drew the course but did not look at where the lumpy bits were, just knew that there were lumpy bits! Whilst going down one of the hills my bottle of coke fell off my rack bag, no! no! no! just leave it I thought, Nick will pick it up maybe. Not being a litter bug, I had to stop and climb back up hill to retrieve bottle. It had to be placed a certain way back onto rack bag as lid had a small hole in it from road. Kirup, I was waiting for Nick across the road in the shade of the PO veranda, just as he got to the T-Junction a Truck then Car and caravan went past so he did not see me, by the time I was able to get back across the road he was about 300mts up the road. Its 13km to Balingup where we turn right and head to Nannup, we were back together again now.
As we started along the Blackwood River Rd ute’s and trucks are putting out temporary fencing along the side of the road. We found out that the next day the road would be closed for a race and time trail as part of the Margaret River Classic. A man was also getting the honkey nuts off the road with a big blower. This should have been a quiet road but there was a lot of cars with bikes on the back going to Nannup, they gave up lots of space being fellow cyclists, I wondered if they thought we were cycling to Nannup for the race the next day. We got to Nannup 6.45pm & it was packed with people walking about, a few kids riding mountain bikes also. A volunteer man came and spoke to us as we were munching on snacks (me drinking last of my warm coke), asked what we were doing, turns out he was the honky nut blower man we had seen along the road earlier.
Nannup to Bridgetown is about 45km, we were both feeling ok and it’s still early so we headed off up the hill out of Nannup. This was a hill I remember as being long, but it has a bend 1/2 way up and then you can see the tree line at the top as a marker, so it’s easy to break it down into sections. What I don’t remember is how very very up and not so down this road is. There are at least two category 1 climbs on this road, if you don’t believe me you can ask Nick. I apologised to Nick after the first climb & said I just don’t remember that hill, the 2nd big climb I was just a little bit in front, but far enough away he could not hit me with a vegemite sandwich! We were at Bridgetown by 10pm, we looked at a couple of places to camp. I saw the old museum building which had a big veranda but up some stairs, perfect, under cover, out the wind until a light went on inside and a lady in her night dress looked out the window. Oops, Nick quick let’s get out of here. The Memorial Park has an entrance archway and inside was 2 benches, beauty one each. It has a large roof but is not totally enclosed from the elements. I slept snug as a bug in my sleeping bag, Nick or should I now call him Russell, did not sleep that well in his space blanket. He said he just could not get warm during the night, & the damp air made it worse. He should not have worried that much as we were up by 4.40am and away by 5am straight to the first climb out of Bridgetown, & warm once again.
Leaving behind the forest lands of Bridgetown & Nannup, Boyup Brook about 30km away & back into farming land. I had ridden this road a few times but always the other way & in the dark (Blackwood 600), it’s nice to see it in the daylight, apart from the lumpy bits! 80km to Kojonup
Kojonup was the 600km mark 12noon cut off or just after. I ordered a burger and chips which I put extra salt on, it was nice to sit in the air con for a bit as the day was quite warm. Nick even commented it’s the first time he saw me putting sunscreen on. My ear lobes always tend to catch the sun! I was surprised by how many people there were in Kojonup, noticed the ladies had to que to use the local toilets. Thought this would make a nice base for people to come see the local areas. Kojonup is on the Albany Hwy & you guessed it we had to go up the hill about a km for our right turn for Katanning 45km away.
We had a bit of a cross wind along this farming area road to Katanning. Nick commented how he is not keen on traveling in the same direction for long distances in case of headwinds (remembering “the Wave Rock “ride which had monster headwinds for the first 3days). I’d always liked long roads with few turns as less likely to get lost was my thinking, but Nick argument makes a good point. Katanning by 1.50pm, we refilled our bottles in the toilet block where I also make a deposit! Behind this toilet block we saw a mini railway line and just saw the train pulling away from the station as we rode in. This whole area has been recently improved by new playgrounds, carpark, toilets etc, Royalties for Regions me thinks! A loop of Katanning to take us past the shops in case we needed supplies, but we were both good. We rode past the Rec Centre which we had used for a control in PAP2014 before turning right onto Great Southern Highway. Nick had taken some performance enhancing drugs, I’m sure, or he had turned on his secret electric motor in his bottom bracket as when we rode out of Katanning he was up the road before i could even blink. I only caught him when he was stopped on side of road & he said his Garmin had thrown a tantrum. I said I think we were supposed to have turned right onto Trimmer Rd about 1/2km back. Quick check of route sheet, yes, we should have turned. So back we went, & Nick still had that secret rocket up his butt. Nick waited for me at the Woodanilling turn back onto Great Southern Highway, across the road a big tree branch came crashing down onto the verge, ‘you see Nick’ I said ’that’s why we don’t sleep under trees”
The ride to Wagin was a case of head down, get it done. I was still a warm arvo but cooling down now. We both got a cool drink at IGA in Wagin, I was going for an ice cream but then thought about my waist line and decided against it! We went for the usual photo under the Giant Ram, the sun was disappearing behind the tree line at this point, refilled bottles in park behind & were off towards Narrogin. We did not go the most direct route as that would be to easy, but I had put in a slight half a loop onto quiet roads. The right turn at Dumbleyung Road seemed to take forever to get to. We both had a wee to celebrate, or was it marking our territory. Typical, we had not seen any traffic along this dark road but as we both had our ‘manhood’s’ in our hands a road train turned at our junction. Another road train came about 1min after the first one and nearly overshot the junction, they were very close to the right-hand ditch when they turned. We could see the harvester lights in a field off to the right about 3km away & assumed that’s where they were heading!
We soon saw the light glow of Narrogin in the distance, always a pick me up I thought, unless you’re riding The Giro in Tassie where you see the light glow of Queenstown about 30km before you get there. We rode straight through Narrogin and it was surprisingly quiet, then I remembered it was Sunday night. Think it was about 10pm. We pushed onto Cuballing 13km away being passed by a couple of cars as we rode out of Narrogin.
Quite cool when we got to Cuballing, I had to put an extra layer on top, the night air was getting damp which added to the chill. No suitable accommodation at Cuballing so we pushed onto Popanyinning 20km away. The Milky Way up above us was a great sight in the night sky. You really have to get out into the country on a late night to really appreciate the amazing stars above. I even saw a shooting star, Nick cannot confirm this as I think he was to tired to turn his head to look.
Popanyinning & our sleep stop for the night. 3star toilet & shower onsite in the middle of town, with cafe across the road for breakfast. Sounds very nice I hear you say, well in fact it was the disabled toilet & the super clean floor had very cold tiles on the floor, O for a bit of cardboard to sleep on! Got waken by a truck air breaks sometime in the night, but rolled over and went back to sleep, Russel, at the other end of the room did not sleep that well as he was cold for most of the night. Think it was about 5am when we rolled out, the cafe across the road was not open so we missed out on a breakfast burger. 203km back to Perth.
Pingelly where we would have stopped for the night but we both knew that the local ranger shuts the town hall toilets. There is a big entrance room before the toilets, which would be an ideal place to camp down. The local bakery was open so we both got a breakfast pie, did not like having to pay 60cents extra to use my bank card, bit rude I thought. The clouds were starting to look darker and darker!
Brookton was 21km away. We were soon here and straight out the other side without stopping staying on The Great Southern Highway. We knew the weather was going to get damp and wanted to get as far up the road as possible.
Beverley 870km at 8.46am. Round the back of the Town Hall your find some toilets. We stopped for maybe 15mins having a snack & I put on some legging as we were both damp from passing showers, stupid me had not packed a rain coat, sensible Nick had. We headed out along Talbot West Rd, slight side wind from left. We had both ridden this road the other way a few weeks back on a 600km. I pulled out at Beverley & got rescued by Alison that day while Nick & Aaron went on to finish the ride. It was along Talbot West Rd this day that God punished me for my sins and opened up the sky to soak me through. Nick and I both agreed that if this was the first day of the ride, we would have both pulled out. Talbot west Rd is actually a very pretty road to ride on. Farming lands running into forest areas but on this day, with our dampened spirits we are a bit over the ride to be honest.
The Lakes Roadhouse 1.55pm was an oasis in the middle of nowhere. At this point I said to Nick, the ride is done n dusted with just over 50km to go, just a little ride back to Perth it’s in the bag. Maybe it’s because I was feeling 100% better due to my purchase of a shower proof rain poncho, & I had put a dry riding jersey on under it. best AU$6 I’d spent all ride. Nick said “That will get caught in the wind & slow you down”. In the words of Baldric from Blackadder “I have a cunning Plan’. I put my soaked reflective vest over the top, problem solved. We road up Ash road off Great Eastern Hwy towards Chidlow. Sorry about the gravel Nick. I’d ridden up this road on an Oppy years ago, I just thought they would have sealed it by now. Never assume anything, it makes an ass out of u & me. The road to Chidlow was much longer and short sharp lumps to how I remember, did not mind the showers as it would wash the red gravel off the bike.
From Chidlow we basically rode parallel to the GEH going through Sawyers Valley, Stoneville, Parkerville. Some lumpy bits but we were some into Parks road and John Forrest National Park. Some sections of this road were super smooth but some sections were the worst on this whole ride. After 980km super smooth is what your butt craves, or am I just out of practice!
Now for the fun bit of the ride, fast decent down Greenmount Hill, about 4km worth. Well done Nick, you over took that truck and trailer like a pro downhiller, (if Ladda is reading this, we stayed safely behind the truck all the way down the hill at 40kph). Through Midland & onto the PSP following the Midland Railway line back to Perth. Through the City up Barrack St, round Elizabeth Quay & over the Narrows Bridge. Just as we crossed Mill point Rd onto Mill Point Close we could see Perth City over the Swan River and smell the finish line 1.2km away when disaster struck us, well Nick to be correct. On his puncture proof back wheel, he got a flat tyre. O well, it’s been a good ride, see you later mate. That’s maybe what I was thinking but we had come this far together and we would be finishing together. Four very tired sore hands soon had the old tube out, new one inserted, could not find why it had gone flat. And we were off, Perth City was on our left, we were both semi dry, both feeling a great sense of achievement just going past South Perth Jetty when, OH NO, Nicks back tyre went flat again. ‘Sod it’ he said & we both rode slowly into the finish at South Perth Observation deck.
We had joked if there would be anybody there to see us in. There was Alison with a big smile on her face. Think Nick & I had bigger smiles by the time Alison took our finish photos. Now to mend Nick’s flat back tyre, again!
Whilst Alison was packing my bike into the car, Nick & I had replaced his inner tube and put new rear tyre onto his bike. He had a 2km ride back to train station then a 30km train ride home. He later told me the 2km ride to train, he got soaked by a down pour & had a very cold soggy train ride home, whilst I was in the car with the heater on about 6km from home. Sorry Mate.
PS. About a week later Nick came to my house to drop off my 1000km medal. He saw his old puncture proof tyre which I had brought home in the car so I could look at it more closely, but I could not find anything. As I handed the tyre back to him, the garage light caught a reflection off a shard of glass buried into the outside of the tyre.
Mystery solved. Shard of glass with poor eye sight
This ride was originally to be ridden last April but because of Covid was rescheduled to November.
copyright@2020 Wayne Hickman All Rights Reserved