Cycling is a lot of fun. As we saw today, you can go for a spin, be more competitive or take to a road trip. The humble bike is pretty versatile.
It was a much warmer start this morning, almost balmy, so a lot more pleasant than last week.
Given it was a long weekend, and with many taking the opportunity to get away, it was a great to see 38 riders out to tackle a ride.
Again we had three options. The first was the SOB return run. This is still proving very popular as an option for those who may be a bit stretched for time, or coming back after a break off the bike etc. The middle ride was up to the Warren Dam for a 50 km ride and 638m of climbing. The longer ride was a 60 km run up to Kersbrook including the monster challenge of Toolunga Road, for 1100 metres of climbing. So as usual, plenty to choose from.
The SOB ride, ably lead by Andrea took off first with two others, Kate and Colin H. The conditions were almost perfect, it was warm, and very little wind to cause any concerns. So as a result it was a pretty cruisy number. Along the way they also passed Caren and Kirsten and also Richie.
So plenty of chatting and an enjoyable morning all round.
Here is Andrea setting up her camera.
A well timed shot, with Colin looking like he’s advertising an airline company, what a star.
The longer ride then headed off and had some serious hill climbing in their sights.
Toolunga Road is one of the steepest climbs round. It’s a quick run down to the bottom and then a brutal climb back out.
Once the group got to the turn-around, they had it all in front of them. The gradient gets up to 20%, and when it ‘drops’ down to 19%, which some navigation devices were saying, it’s almost a respite. To the group’s credit, everyone kept nothing in reserve as they edged their way up. In particular Dave Hughes conquered the climb for the first time.
Well done everyone.
The next section and climb up and over Mount Gawler was, as expected, ridden at a very conservative pace, as everyone looked for a bit of recovery as they reached Kersbrook.
The next section through to Williamstown which undulates, was ridden at a better pace as everyone was starting to feel a bit better.
After the regroup at Williamstown, the group broke up into small bunches for the run home.
Everyone had a good time on the ride and there were no incidents.
Thanks to Geraint for leading the ride, the ride really did dish out a bit of punishment.
Here are some shots of the group finishing off the ride.
The middle ride also had a good time.
After some initial climbing into the Barossa, the real challenge started on Pimpala Road, which takes you through to Lyndoch. It’s a good stretch of road to really get you ready for the climbing to come.
As we got closer to Williamstown we were able to see the competitors out on circuit, as part of the SA State Road Titles. They were racing in an anti-clockwise direction around Williamstown including going up Yettie. Our ride was essentially going in the other direction, so we didn’t go on to their circuit and distract their racing. From what we saw it looked like some pretty talented riders, some fierce competition and a well-organised event.
At Williamstown everyone decided to tackle the run up to the Warren Dam. To the group’s credit, everyone made it up. In fact some were saying the hill felt flatter. Not sure if that is physically possible, it’s more likely that collectively the group is getting fitter. Great stuff.
Here are a few shots of many topping out the climb.
Wendy, her first time up to the Warren Dam. Great stuff.
Paula and Karen.
The return trip was fun, although Chris T broke one of his rear spokes. He tried riding back slowly, but there were some complications with the derailleur. In the end he needed to be picked up. So always good to have a backup plan in case things go pear shaped. Bad luck Chris.
It was also good to see Gundi out again after a big break. As usual he rode very well.
So in the end another great ride and thanks to Karen for TEC duties which she did very well, and thought it was a lot of fun.
At the top of the climb to the Warren Dam, we were able to say hello to a couple who were touring, Max and Audre from Austria.
They were checking their maps and wanted to know the direction to Darwin. They said they had plenty of time and would also be off to South East Asia. What a great adventure.
So, from recreational riding that we do, racing for State Titles, through to touring, we saw a great cross section of how versatile a bike and cycling can be.
Until next week,
Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013
Paul great report and photos. As you say, cycling brings everyone together, and the diversity is unbelievable. How about those two you met today, just wanted directions to Darwin, did anyone tell them they only have 3800 km to go and do not take the wrong turn at PT Augusta Lol!
All I can say about our ride is for the engineer that designed Toolunga Rd "shame on you" did you not know us cyclists will attempt anything wow!!! Strava showed on one section of that rd 27.3% gradient, no wonder I went sideways. To be honest I had more fun going up, as going down was heart in the mouth stuff, new brake pads tomorrow!
It was a great trip to Kersbrook, with the ever ending climb, through some of the bush land that was devastated by fire, but you know what, you could hardly notice, nature sure takes care of itself. As we decended to Kersbrook, I decided to unzip my jersey as the climbing had warmed me up, well the next thing I Knew the jersey unzipped completely so i had my jersey flapping in the breeze, as this happened a few articles started to fall out of my pockets, spare tubes and tools, it must have looked comical as I headed back to pick them up. As I was about to shove off I heard the swish of tyres and David the now Toolunga Rd champ and Geriant flashed past, asking if I was Ok. No problems I said catch up with you shortly, as we pulled into the op shop in Kersbrook I caught up with them, boy were they moving!!!
Yep, I suggested Max and Audre some direction, ie across to Two Well, then straight up. They are keener to take the back roads, so that sounds a bit more interesting. Although you wouldn't want to be caught out in the summer through the Centre and the wet in the Top End.
This weeks Thank you and Appreciation awards brought to you by Gawler Wheelers and The Exchange Hotel.
What a magnificent winters morning. Way too good to waste. A cool start but the sun pocked it's head out to help defrost the fingers and toes.
Firstly thank you to the RC's and TEC's this week. Andrea looked after the SOB, Geraint took the longer hills ride and Paul K lead the Willy loop. Karen H did a great job as TEC making sure everyone was accounted for. Thanks too all, without these rolls our rides would not run as smooth as they do.
This week we recognized 2 long time GWers.
Firstly David Niblett AKA Sox. David has ridden with us for many years and seen many changes. It's nice too see people embrace the new and fondly remember times gone bye. Your contributions to GW are wll embraced. Having a young family with a new arrival due in July David fit's his riding in with family commitments and always enjoys his Saturday mornings. Well done David.
Secondly we would like to recognize Andrew Maitland. Andrew is also a long time GW'er. Andrew has kindly volunteered as a one of our skills training coaches. Being an accomplished rider Andrew has raced, competed in triathlons and is an avid runner so no slouch when it comes to skills. He is very much enjoying his riding at the moment and we look forward to the upcoming clinic. Thanks Andrew, great too see you loving what you do,
David Hughes, no award for tackling Toolunga but a high five for your first time :)
Great ride report Paul.
Great selection of rides. The Wiliamstown loop with a trip up too Warren is always fun as what goes up must come down. Our group all did an awesome job with TEC Karen doing a great job and not much time between the front and rear riders. Always a fun day.