It was a day where the wind was the main talking point. The rides coincided with a front coming in, seeing a shift in direction and headwinds for most of the ride. It was predicted that the change would happen late in the morning, after everyone was back, but unfortunately it came right at the end of the rides, so adding to the challenge.
There were two rides again. The medium was out to Cockatoo Valley, then to Lyndoch and Tanunda. From there a loop around Tanunda to Bethany, before a straight run back to Gawler. 63 kms and 657m of climbing
The longer ride also included the section via Cockatoo Valley to Lyndoch, before heading to Williamstown and Springton. From there taking in the Seven Steps before running down Menglers Hills and in to Tanunda. Again from there a straight run back to Gawler. 101 kms and 1,187 m of climbing.
To take into account the longer distance, the long ride left a half hour early at 7. Here are the 10 riders just as they prepared to leave.
The group had a smooth ride to Sandy Creek, up Pimpala to Lyndoch and then across to Williamstown for their first regroup. From there it was the undulating road to Springton. The wind had started to pick up, with a cross-tail wind that pushed the group along, so they made good time.
They had a bigger stop at Springton, knowing that the real challenge of the ride was in front of them, plus that they would the riding into a cross-head wind.
Here is the group catching some shade.
After they headed off they split in to two groups reaching the base of the seven steps.
Dave leading one group.
The start of the climb
The seven steps is always a challenge, and the trick for this ride is to save some legs for this section. If you go hard to start with, you have spent most of you petrol tickets before the climbing starts.
Here are most of the crew after getting to the top. Darrin, Danni, Ian, Rob, Kevin and Chris.
Peter and Glen.
Once you have done the climbing, you know it’s a bit easier beyond this point. This includes a ride past the conservation park and then down Menglers Hill.
Unfortunately though, the wind had really picked up and it became very tricky on the descent down Menglers. In fact one person opted to walk down as the gusty winds were making it difficult.
Also, two people then took a wrong turn and were caught in some very gusty side winds, which caused one person to be blown off their bike. They had been riding to the conditions, had really slowed down, but a gust caught them. They were not too badly injured, although their bike sustained some damage. Thanks to Chris who waited with them, and his wife who was able to come out to pick both up. It’s good, that as a group, we are there to assist and provide the support when needed.
The rest of the group had a stop at Tanunda and were not aware of the incident until they were around Jacobs Creek, and knowing things were under control, continued on.
From this point the ride become really brutal, with gusty cross and head winds as the change moved through. It was really a matter of taking as much care as possible and working together. In the end there was a lot of weary, but satisfied riders enjoying a drink at the Exchange.
A big thanks to Simon for leading the ride. Here he is with a Christmas pudding flavoured ice cream of all things!
It was a very challenging ride.
The medium ride also had a challenging time of it.
Again the first section was out to Sandy Creek and Pimpala Road to Lyndoch for the first regroup.
From there the wind started to pick up with some cross head winds building up and increasing the effort. It was a matter of breaking up in to smaller groups and sharing the effort out front.
The bike hub at Tanunda was a welcome sight.
The next section was a loop around Tanunda to Bethany, taking in Magnolia Road and riding past the base of Menglers Hill. As the group turned to drop in to Bethany they were caught by strong gusty side winds, that were a real menace.
After a quick regroup at the Barossa Valley Way, it was a straight run back to Gawler, with the option to stop at Lyndoch for water etc.
There was some cross/ tail wind, which in the main provided some assistance, which was the only time the wind was favourable for the whole ride.
From Lyndoch the wind really took its toll with the group riding straight into a head wind, which at times was gusting, but everyone rode to the conditions, and were safely back to the Exchange and looking for a drink.
A big thanks to Linda who did a great job as TEC, including doling out the jelly snakes.
Here she is with Paula.
Back at the Exchange we had our appreciation / recognition awards.
Firstly it was great to see Tim out again. He is recovering from the accident a fortnight ago and is looking forward to getting back on the bike.
Also welcome to David, with his first ride with the Wheelers. He is relatively new to cycling and is training to do the TDU ride in January. This was the longest ride he has done to date, so what a ride to pick for your first outing with the Wheelers. He rode very well.
It was also good to see Wendy, Caren and Lisa at the Exchange after the ride.
Wendy had decided to do a ride with the Evanston Ryders, who did a loop out to Wasleys. It looks like the wind was a bit more favourable and she picked up a number of PBs.
Caren had a mechanical last week, so her bike is in for repairs and an upgrade. She’s getting the gearing changed so she will be even quicker up the hills.
Lisa was catching up with a friend that morning to do a Park Run, so decided to do the medium ride on her own earlier in the week. How good is that.
Finally three of our members, Jane, Karen and Allistair were in Busselton over the weekend taking part in the Iron Man event. All did very well and what a great achievement. You are an inspiration to us all.
And don’t forget next week it’s our end of year Christmas dress up ride and then lunch. Should be a lot of fun.
Until next week stay safe,
Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013