Meeting at Guildford we had 10 riders register for the Hills Honkynut Delight rides. Ed, Perry, Bruno, Wayne and myself registered for the hilly 200km with Julie, David, Ryan Glenn, and Brad (on his recumbent) registering for the flattish 50km.
We all headed off @ 7am with Ed very quickly disappearing into the distance, being time poor with a prior commitment. Ed rocked up on his fast bike and was hoping to be back by 5ish (no social niceties for Ed today).
The 200km route had just over 3000m in climbing that started at the 7km mark and continued pretty much all day. I had been off the bike for quite a while and was thinking this was a crazy idea attempting a hilly route first ride back!
Ride with GPS had 16ish climbs in total with grades ranging from 3.2% to 8% however I cut that back in my head to just the major ones: Hillsden Rd 800m @ 11%, Oxley Rd 1.8km @ 8% , O’Brien Rd 2.8 km @ 5.3%, Mundaring Weir Rd 4km @ 4.3%, Walnut Rd 3.2 km @ 7.2% and thought “take your time buddy and use your granny gears”.
With fresh legs Coulston Rd, Hillsden Rd and Darlington Rd climbs were no dramas and I really enjoyed the early morning valley views from Park Rd. Feeling pumped after a short down hill Oxley Rd climb was a breeze and I was keen to get to Gidgegannup bakery for a coffee and pie.
A few kms out from Gidgegannup, I was really surprised to find Ed coming up behind Perry and myself as we thought he was ahead. Ed flew past and was enjoying the pastries when Perry and I arrived. Bruno and Wayne arrived not long after and over coffee we work out there was a small glitch in my route that I had missed. Having local knowledge I had ignored the glitch however Ed, Bruno and Wayne had followed the red line giving them a small gravel detour on the heritage trail. (Sorry guys)
Fuelled up with water, coffee and pastries we all made our way towards Reen and O’Brien Rd climbs.
Once more Ed disappeared into the distance never to be seen on the ride again! I have ridden Reen Rd from Stoneville numerous of times, but never in this direction and found the section very enjoyable. We had a bit of company on this stretch with a few other riders from Freo enjoying the hills.
Crossing over Toodyay Rd we meandered our way through the back streets of Gidgegannup passing the volunteer fire brigade in the midst of a controlled burn.
We then doubled back to crossing Toodyay Rd (once again!) heading onto O’Brien Rd. This section of road is quite undulating and has a great sweeping down hill but very quickly forgotten once you start the climb out!
The day was certainly warming up and with the slow pedal up O’Brien Rd found myself quite cooked by the time I reach the top. I was keen to find a shady tree to re-hydrate and to chill for a bit. (Checking out my Garmin later I was not surprised to find this was the hottest part of the ride with a road temp of 33 degrees!) Knowing this leg was 70 odd kms between water stops, I was very glad I had thrown on my camelbak with extra water.
After a small break and regroup we all headed off to combat the tail section of death valley and was discouraged to find I had completely forgotten about Reserve Rd climb! Thank god for granny gears! Wooroloo seemed a long way off and the kms seem to take forever, but in spite of the heat, the scenery with the white gums was still very enjoyable. Rounding a corner I found Bruno under this interesting tree art asking us to ‘tell them about our day’ stopping a moment to reflect.
Arriving at the Wooroloo general store hot, tired and craving sugar I headed straight for the ice cream freezer and the fridge for an ice coffee. With 75kms to go I only wanted to stop long enough to refill my water and enjoy my Magnum, nearly riding off without my ice coffee. Quickly tucking it into my jersey, however the rough surface along Liberton Rd nearly had it falling out…so in my hot and tired state I figured I could open and drink the ice coffee while riding! Really stupid idea on a rough road and only proceeded to cover my Garmin and handle bars in ice coffee :(( should have just left it behind!
The rest of the ride to the Mundaring control went without incident and I managed to catch up with Perry and Wayne at the Dome. Unfortunately it was closed for renos, so having plenty of snacks on board we pushed on to refill our water bottles at the weir wall car park. The weir climb is about 4kms long but with my tired legs it felt more like 10kms. Unfortunately with only counting the major climbs one always forgets the smaller hills in between. By the time Bruno and I got to the start of the Walnut Rd climb we where ready for a break and regroup.
I just have to say that the Walnut Rd climb after 170ish kms and 2500m of climbing already done was a real challenge. I was very relieved to get to the top making the most of the down hill into Pickering Brook.
Perry and I made our way to Kalamunda then onto the historical Zig Zag taking time out to enjoy the spectacular views over the city.
Ridgehill Rd offered up another calamity when I accidentally pull off the mouth piece of my camelbak completely soaking myself with a couple of litres of water before I was able to find a place to safely stop and reattach. With the finish so close there was no need to find any water. I made it back to Guildford without any more dramas!
All up, even with all the climbing, a really great day on the bike!