Just 3 riders: Hitesh Madan, Gary Peakall & Perry Raison
Everyone else was either scared off by the prospect of lots of hills or distracted by the Royal Agricultural Show or had footy finals hangovers etc.
The concept of the Dawn to Dusk series has it origins in the very first ‘Audax’ ride, although when a group of Italians rode 200kms from dawn til’ dusk Audax had yet to be formed and the French later started it anyway.
When I drew up this route I may not have been mindful as to the severity of the constant hills on dead road surfaces. Even with favourable conditions it proved difficult to finish by Dusk at 20kmh overall, although Hitesh’s young legs certainly made short work of the brevet by finishing at 16:20 – almost 2 hours before sunset!
We started 7 minutes after sunrise at 6:06AM and cruised to Muchea with a light tail wind, Hitesh quickly vanishing into the distance on his time trial bike. After a short stop during which we were ignored by some ‘short haul’ roadies, (I doubt that we fitted with their image of cycling fashion!) we continued north of Muchea via Reserve and Baracca roads that run parallel with Great Northern Highway thence a mere 600 metre transit on the highway to the tranquility of Blue Plains Rd. Into Bindoon, I jumped a short queue at the counter which hopefully only Gary noticed! The German Donut was great and the coffee terrible.
The light tail wind blew us up the Bindoon Hill to Dewars Pool Rd where we resumed peaceful riding except for a few 4WD’s towing caravans.
The 12km on Bindi Bindi Toodyay Rd was noticeably busy and Toodyay car parks per packed to the gunnels with city slickers not escaping lock down. An abrupt sharp ascent up Folewood Rd and then Sandplain Rd led to a quick chat with One eyed Bob at the top of the second hill.
A beautiful undulating ride down Salt Valley Rd ensued coming into Fernie Rd before Toodyay Rd was reached. The 11km on Toodyay Rd wasn’t too bad for a Monday public holiday, made better by the wide smooth shoulder added on for the last 4km to Bailup Rd. From here through to Chidlow via Needham/Mayo/Breeze and Lilydale Rds was slow due to the old rough pavement with frequent steep inclines. Gary was keen to make the 10% gradient on Needham Rd worse by riding it with a flat rear tyre and we stopped at Chidlow to replace the tube with the sunset finish target receding whilst I supervised repairs and scoffed my last sandwich. The rough roads continued through John Forrest National Park with a flash down Darlington Rd just before sunset.
We finished at Bassendean Train Station without further incident at 18:43. All up an extremely enjoyable tour of mostly back roads with plenty of hills in ideal conditions with great company, thanks Gary!