I knew there was something I had forgotten to do today, the ride report! What with my daughters 4th birthday party and preparing my bike for racing tomorrow it nearly slipped my mind.
Anyway, nine of us turned up for the classic L ride route including new bloke Quentin on his Avanti. This route takes us from Port Noarlunga, down the esplanade to Moana, then across the bike trail towards McLaren Vale, where we pick up the famous California Road. The return route takes us east along Malpas Road and around the back of McLaren Vale via the bike trail and then back to Port Noarlunga by the same route we took on the way out, usually a nice peaceful ride through the beautiful South Australia vineyards.
Today looked like it was going to be largely uneventful, the weather wasn't really doing anything, it was just sort of there minding it's own business and we had a distinct lack of Matts to spice up the ride with comedy moments. Even RD6 has become a distant memory for most SSRC riders - some say he has forgotten how to ride a bike and has taken up lawn bowls instead.
However, I hadn't factored magpies into today's equation and now I'm starting to see what all the fuss is about. It would appear that a couple of squadrons of the black and white Stukas have taken up residence along the middle part of this route and were on full alert for our impending arrival.
Brooks Junior, Brooks Senior and David
His and hers Meridas
As if California Road isn't already interesting enough with RD6's dog, Strava silliness and the occasional Belgium Owl, today was punctuated by a concerted and organised assault by the flying Kamikazes along this stretch. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. The first major attack came at the bottom of the Tatachilla School segment, if it had been part of the Red Bull Air Races I would have been impressed by the precision flying required to pass within millimetres of Brett's head at about 100 kmh. Next up was Ellison Junior on the other side of the hill where he suffered a two pronged assault whilst going up the hill.
Waiting for the enemy to strike - California Rd
Top of California Rd, Ellison Junior survived two near fatal attacks
As we turned east onto Malpas Road, another rider coming west reported being attacked further down the road so we proceeded with caution. Our assailant was lying in wait for us in the middle of the road, watching us with those beady black eyes. Only a passing car was able to save us from impending doom and almost certain death.
At the far end of Malpas Road where we turn off onto the bike trail, Brett had become so pre-occupied with becoming avian-prey that he missed the turn off for the bike trail completely and carried on for the hills. It was only his faithful Trek Domane that brought the petrified cyclist back to the relative safety of the peloton. Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that Domane is an anagram of Madone?
Once through McLaren Vale we made the near disastrous decision of stopping for a quick break near the visitors centre. Here we encountered the feathered equivalent of the Red Baron, not the muddies Baron - he's a nice bloke from South Africa - but a flying black and white rat who woke up on the wrong side of the nest this morning. He made concerted efforts to kill us all as we stood posing for photographs, I think within the space of a couple of minutes he'd had a couple of goes at Brooks Senior and made several attempts to steal the camera from me as I was taking photos. We decided to escape whilst he was pre-occupied with maiming another cyclist and we legged it down the bike trail and back up Pedlers Hill.
Renata survived the magpies, but Pedlers Hill took it's toll
The remaining part of the trip was as I had predicted earlier - largely uneventful, one saving grace for today was that we had no visits from the puncture fairy and the weather was reasonably kind to us for most of the route.
Total distance: 40.8km
Metres climbed: 270m
Average speed: 23.3 kmh
Pun***re Fairy visits: 0
Grin factor: 8/10
Magpie attacks: 8+
SSRC rides run every week, alternating L and P ride routes. Next weeks ride will be a P ride on Sunday. Event details here
Good report as usual Phil and good luck on your racing tomorrow!
This is a genuine Group Learning ride alright. I think everyone on the group at some stage cycled alongside me to have a chat and check that I was OK.
Considering that pre-ride I was nervous about keeping pace, it wasn't long before I felt comfortable and just got on with enjoying the ride (leaving aside those "undulations" in California Road). Gosh we live in a pretty part of the world!
Thanks all and hope to see you again on the next L ride.
brave brave lads (and lass)
Footy season is now over!! So speaking for Matt K we shall come and help with black and white vermin more regularly!!
An entertaining report as always Phil but following Durian Riders Magpie attack report, Magpie reports without video lack credibility.
Well done everyone, if it's not the weather putting me off now it's birds! I wonder if I am ever going to enjoy cycling soon lol
Not a magpie in sight today! Could these just be wild stories......
I didn't see any today either, but we were going a fair bit faster than yesterday, not that should make much difference