I have found myself short of time to write a regular post so I find myself posting this catch-up. I don't have a lot of time this morning either so I will keep it brief or I will start it and finish it off in the next few days.
Last weekend turned out to be a special time for Lynn, my wife. After the Redliners Outer Harbour ride I went on a ride with Lynn, who has been learning to ride for 12 months. It has been a long and painful process for Lynn, as she had a big stack at over 30 kph after only a couple of months of learning to ride. Now, when I say learning to ride, she did ride a bike as a kid with training wheels but never rode again when the training wheels came off so for all intensive purposes its been like learning to ride for the first time. The stack made her far more cautious and delayed her progress enormously as you can imagine. She was still determined to learn to ride once her injuries healed but it was going to be slowly. It's now 12 months since she started and she has now ridden just over 1,000 km, most of which has been in the last 3 months. On this ride, 19 km's from Glenelg to the end of Seaview Rd and back, she reached a goal, that goal was to ride at an average speed of greater than 20 kph as this is the target speed for an SSRC L ride. She has now indicated she will ride here first SSRC L ride on the 16th of March. I just felt it was worth mentioning that Lynn has been determined enough to achieve this and I am proud of her achievement.
Sunday was to be a recovery day however I noticed that I was only 4 hours riding short of completing the Strava challenge, "CyclingTips February Fifteen", CyclingTips and Strava are challenging you to put in 15 hours on the bike during the week of February 25th. I figured I could do this at a nice easy pace. Sunday morning I set off towards Meadows. I took it nice and easy up Chandlers hill Road. Its been a few days, and nights, of hot weather so an early morning Sunday ride was looking peaceful. Descending into Clarendon was like riding into an ice box! I can't believe just how cold Clarendon gets at night when most of SA is sweltering! With very little traffic I did the nice easy climb to Bakers Gully road and then on to a section of road I have never ridden on, between there and Kangarilla.
A recent SSRC P ride had brought us out of Kangarilla and had headed East to my intended next turn at Brookman Road, near Meadows to head to Willunga. Before we reach this turn we traverse the Strava segment "Bakers Gully to Old Coach Climb", a miss-labled segment that actually goes from Kangarilla to Old Coach road. Heading along here I get beeped by a driver. I ignored it as it didn't seem to mean anything. As I approached the pull off for slow traffic on the steeper part of the climb I see a car pulled over and a person standing at the back. As I got closer I recognized them as Brett Ryan so I stopped and had a chat. He was on his way to Strath! I continued on my way and with little wind to speak of It was an easy ride. Turning into Brookman Valley road I did some basic calculation and felt I would knock of the 4 hours of riding if once I reached Willunga, then McLaren Vale I was to make a visit to Moana. Certainly riding at a nice easy pace allowed me plenty of time to consider my options. I decided that I would put some effort into one Strava segment, that would be "Old Willunga Hill Rd Climb", another segment with an inappropriate name! It is actually a climb along Brookman Valley road to the top of Old Willunga Hill but you would not guess that by the name! I did this climb for the first time on an SSRC P ride and wanted to concrete it as a PR. Its a 1.3 km long climb with an average grade of 7%, something to put some effort into. I did in fact PR it knocking 25 seconds of my first attempt only 1 month prior, on the 2nd of Feb. That was the only segment I contemplated contending and the only one I tried to contend. After all, I was out for an easy recovery ride with lots of time on the saddle :-)
I completed the ride after some 4 hours and 5 minutes some 11 minutes longer than I needed for the challenge.
If you can not see the embedded map then you can check out the ride here "An easy cruise in the country".
Tuesday morning I went on the "SSRC Range Riders" group ride tackling Chandlers Hill (actual climb) once again. This time with a little more vigor. We had a small group of myself, Michelle, Graham and Paul. I had decided to push hard in the big chain ring this time as well as the 24 on the back. I let Michelle sit on Grahams wheel preferring to start a little further back. It didn't take long to catch up to Michelle who had lost Grahams wheel and I was able to slowly pass her as I pushed forward. I was watching my heart rate to avoid blowing up. Normally, as I round the last bend I have a little left to stand up and push home in a last ditched effort to secure a good time but today I could only raise the tempo a little. At the top I knew that I had produced the best I was capable of with nothing left in reserve. I was indeed happy to have knocked of 24 seconds from my previous PR I had only set on the 26th of Feb 2013, only 1 week ago! Michelle had also PR'ed reaching to within 7 seconds of my previous PR. Paul was on a recovery ride so we regrouped at the top and waited for Paul to join us. Quentin was already at the top waiting for us as he had ridden up earlier believing he was too slow to ride with the group. I don't think that's the case, maybe he will join us at the start another time!
Our next goal was to help Michelle take QOM across the range. She is strong enough and today she seemed especially strong and ready to take on the challenge. Well Michelle made her mark on the Strava segment "Piggott Rang Road - Coxs Hill Rd" by taking QOM by a massive 50 seconds while I managed to take 7th overall at "Piggott Rang Road - Coxs Hill Rd" knocking 45 seconds of my previous best.
You can check out the route at "SSRC Range Riders" if you can not see the embedded map.
Thirty six hours later and I was out with the SSRC again, for their Wednesday night training ride. A few more riders for this one including Matt Be, Paul Mc, Phil C, Graham K, David E, Rob D and myself. I only managed the first lap with them last week so was hoping to go a little further with them this week. I am not going to go into to much detail as I am running out of time but the first lap was good and I felt better than last week. I improved on the climb up the segment "River Rd to Dyson Rd North" by slicing 30 seconds of my PB over the short 1.1 km's. I also PB's on the segment "Beach Road to Bluff smash". Averaging 31.5 kph for the first loop compared to 34.4 kph for last week certainly left some in the tank to go a little further. Still, I was not going to do the full loop again and so took the half loop with a few others by turning back at Port Noarlunga. I was still happy achieving a 31.5 kph average for the entire 30 km ride. I still need more work but I felt it was an improvement and this week I had taken more time at the front on rotation.
You can check out the ride at "SSRC Wednesday Night Training" if you can not see the map.
On Thursday Lynn had the time for a ride so off we went. This was to be on some new roads and to cover some different environments than usual. We decide to head down to Beck's Bakehouse at Port Noarlunga. Lynn was keen to set off early to avoid traffic so we rolled out of the driveway at 6:40am as it was just coming light! We took main roads down to Doctors road Hackham before we entered the Coast to Vines bike track, ok, the Coast to Vines shared track. From there we followed it to River road and then took river road to Port Noarlunga. No bike lanes, moderate traffic and a rough edge. Still, a nice ride over to Port Noarlunga in the early morning. We stopped at Beck's for a morning cuppa before returning home along River road and the Coat to Vines all the way to Reynella. Although Lynn felt slow she actually did quite well. Not the 20 kph Lynn was hoping for but 18.6 kph average with more undulation than the L ride will have by around double. I was happy with her progress even if she was not.
If you want to see where we went you can check it out here "An early morning ride with Steve".
What an interesting ride this turned out to be! Last week I left home at 7am to meet with them at the Buffalo at 8am and arrived there 15 mins early so today I decided to ride a little further first. Instead of heading down Cross Roads and Anzac Highway to Glenelg I thought I would head along to Sir Donald Bradman Drive and head down past the airport to the beachfront then back to Glenelg along the normal cycling route. I realized I had miscalculated when I turned down Sir Donnald Bradman drive and it was already 7:45am!
I picked up the pace and headed down to Seaview road which in hindsight I should have cut it short by taking Tapleys Hill road, but I didn't! Heading along by the Patt I could see it was only minites off the 8am start time so pressed on. Each group of riders I passed I checked to see if it was the Redliners and each time I just turned forward and pushed on!
David had told me he would join me on the Redliners ride but he would meet me there by driving to the start. I was picturing David flying off down the road with them in the opposite direction at any time!
As I approached the Buffalo I noticed Stephen Saunders leading the Redliners out to start the ride and as he saw me he indicated for me to circle around and jump onto the back. There was no sign of David in the group! A little way up the road David caught up to us. He had seen me circle onto the back of the group so had chased us down the road. Not knowing any of the Redliners he had decided that if I did not show he would go on a ride with Renata, his wife who, was intending to go on her own solo ride while we were gone!
I am so glad they take it easy to warm up at the start so I had a chance to recover from my last 15 minute dash to reach the start.
Talk about starting a ride on the back foot! Unfortunately I didn't have time to save my ride down separately so it ended up as one ride, I guess it was one ride because I didn't have a chance to rest! I was happy enough to stay at the back for the first 3 or 4 km's.
It took me a little while to understand the different pace-line with the right line moving slowly forward and the leader moving to the left to take the lead. I have only experience the leaders parting ways to let the to rows move through and then jumping on the back before and that has only been a few times. Its all new to me! That's why I am on these Redliners rides, to learn how to play nice with the big boys ;-) Well, on the way to Outer Harbour I did take a turn several times but also missed turns a few times as i was struggling to recover fully from my mad dash to the start.
After passing Semephore I said to Stephen I was having trouble at the front so he told me to tuck in behind. I did one turn at the front after that before we hit the sprint. At this point I was last wheel and the person in front of me, no idea who that was, decided to hop out and chase the sprint group to the roundabout. I decided to try and grab his wheel to attack the "Outer Harbor Sprint" Strava segment with him. I threw everything at it and pushed hard as I pushed up through the gears. The person whos wheel I was sucking seemed to be catching the lead group as we breezed by Stephen. For a moment I thought I was loosing the tow so I did the opposite to usual and took another gear higher. As the segment was coming to an end I passed the ever so helpful rider and closed down on the sprint group but was not actually able to catch them. I didn't know how well I had done until I analyzed my data after getting home and found that I had managed to travel the 700m sprint in 51 seconds at an average of 49.2 kph, placing me 34th of 2,577 riders to have ridden this segment on Strava. I had to coast around the roundabout with my heart feeling like it was jumping from my chest and almost choking on the gallons of air I was swollowing. Mr Sanders suggested I was a burglar as he believed I had been foxing and not taking all my turns at the front so that I had a better chance at the sprint but come on, if that were the case why the hell would I turn the corner into the sprint as last wheel knowing all the fast riders would be sprinting from the front! I know I will never change his opinion on this and he will hold it against me, for ever, but hey, that's life :-)
After turning for home there appeared to be an eager group wanting to push the pace. Maybe the slight tailwind had something to do with this, I am not sure. A definite surge of 5 riders appeared after passing Semaphore including VJ, Kraig, David, myself and another rider. It was a little like last week but this time I didn't want to get dropped at Westlakes. I went with them and tried my hardest to not get dropped. I even took half a dozen turns at the front but at this pace I was not able to stay there for very long. I was definitely extending myself this time as was David. David was proving he had just a little more strength than me by contributing a little mote than I could. It certainly produced a PR on the Strava segment "Outer Harbour to Glenelg" by knocking 1m53s of my previous best made only 7 days ago on the last Redliners OH ride I did! Averaging 36.5 kph for the return leg with only a slight breeze on the day felt like a fantastic achievement One I am unlikely to improve on for some time! Thanks guys for the push and I guess the tow because I couldn't have dine it without you!
I must say, the coffee at the Watermark never tasted so good as it did today!
The actual ride to Outer Harbour and back to Glenelg is covered by the Strava segment "Buffalo to Outer Harbor and Back" and tells us we did it in 81m46s averaging 35.5 kph. Now I know why I felt stuffed at the end of the ride!
If you would like to see this ride and can not see the embedded map then please feel free to check it out on Strava at "Ride to and the Redliners Outer Harbour ride"
I had intended to separate the Redliners ride from both the commute to and from the ride however, as you may have already read, I did not have time to split it at the start of the ride. I had stopped my Garmin when I reached the Watermark Hotel so started a new recording for the ride home. After all, this was going to be more of a cool down after the cracking pace I had just put myself through. David and Renata had offered, several times, to give me a lift home but I had decided that I needed more saddle time in preparation for the Milano Classica 290 km's only 7 weeks away. I am not sure the 1/2 hour drinking coffee at the Watermark was very helpful when my legs would hardly move when I got back on the bike. It took some time to get them moving again but they eventually started to feel almost normal. I was happy that the Seacombe road bridge was reopened last week giving access to the Veloway again from Diagonal road!
I decided to take the Veloway to Majors road, a path I have not taken since the start of the Southern Expressway duplication many months ago. I figured I could just cruise up there to Majors road then scoot across to Blacks road and home via Happy Valley drive, Education road, Fraser avenue and Reynell road. With dead legs and a cruising attitude I was very surprised to do my second best times up the Veloway, a sign I have indeed improved over recent months. I was just happy to get home after such a hot sticky ride.
If you can not see the embedded map then you are welcome to check it out on Strava at "Ride home from Redliners".
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