Ho, ho, ho and a bit of climbing.
Our ride before Christmas, was to everybody’s surprise well attended, with over 40 riders out. I suppose everyone had all their preparations finalised and wanted a little bit of a ‘blast’ before settling in to the festivities.
So there was one ride on, out on the SOB, then through Craigmore before the first climb up Yorktown Road and the only regroup at One Tree Hill. From there a climb up to the gates of Para Wirra Conservation Park and around to the South Para River. Through the ford and then towards Williamstown, then through Sandy Creek and then back to Gawler. 65kms and 706 m of climbing.
When everyone rolled up the weather was a bit cool, not enough to put on too many layers. There was also a hint of rain.
At the safety brief we discussed the extra traffic we may come across because of Christmas. Given the size of the group it was decided to break up into a fast and moderate speed groups.
The first section along the SOB was fine and gave everyone a chance to warm up. Also there was no wind to speak of, so that was good.
Once the group turned on to Curtis Road it was eyes wide open for debris on the side of the road. This section always has bits and pieces that have dropped off vehicles you need to watch out for.
Once through the suburbs, and on to Yorktown Road the first bit of climbing started. This climb stretches out a bit, but it’s not too bad as you climb in big ‘steps’. Once everyone reached the top of the climb the clouds had stared to clear, so the chance of rain was gone.
The one stop for the ride was One Tree Hill.
Unfortunately, Brett who was out for his first ride with the Wheelers, had some mechanical problems.
Brett had just arrived from interstate and it looks like his bike had been damaged somehow in transit. He was having trouble getting into the top ring on the rear cluster.
There was some effort to see if some adjustments could fix it, but unfortunately not possible.
Given that the hardest climbing was still in front of the group, Brett decided to head back to Gawler directly, and get it looked at, at a bike shop so it can be sorted.
The next section of the ride was the real climbing for the day. The first part was up to the gates of Para Wirra. This is a steady climb as you make your way up in big sweeping steps. Once past the gates it flattens out and you get to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the native vegetation as it comes right up to the side of the road.
As you work your way round the Park you get to the South Para River. This was the most technical part of the ride. Firstly, the descent into the ford is very steep and the road turns sharply at the bottom. As you cross the ford, you need to get ready to attack the other side, by building up some momentum and selecting the correct gear, if not, you will come unstuck. Once on the ascent, it’s a matter of grinding it out as you look for the gate on the left that marks the end of the climbing.
Once you get the climbing done it’s on to Boundary Road with its smooth sealed pavement which is a treat to ride on. After a few kilometres you reach Yettie Road, which signals the end of the climbing and the run back to Gawler along Williamstown Road before turning at the Sandy Creek Pub.
It was a fairly straight forward run back into Gawler, although the group did come across a petrol tanker, whose driver made sure he gave as much room as possible to everyone, including waiting until they had sufficient room to pass.
So a great ride to settling into the festival season.
A special thanks to Craig B. who took on the role of leading the faster group. They zoomed around without any problems.
Also thanks to Ian who was the TEC. He did a great job supporting everyone, including having a huge bag of jelly snakes to dole out.
The only real incident was a big roo that crossed Ashley’s path.
The roo was on the side of the road and just as Ashley was approaching, decided to cross. No real issue, just another hazard to keep an eye out for.
Also, a big welcome to Laurie, who is Adrian’s uncle. Laurie is down from Brisbane, and always takes his bike with him, when on holidays, so he to fit in a ride. He enjoyed his day out with the Wheelers.
Back at the Exchange Hotel, we presented our weekly awards.
Firstly to Sue for riding in her festive costume. Great to see the colour out on the ride.
Secondly to Craig H.
Craig was supporting Brett on his ride and when he decided to head back to Gawler at One Tree Hill, Craig rode back with him to provide support . Craig is always helping out on rides and supporting other riders, so again thanks for your ongoing support.
Linda was also recognised. The other weekend we had our Christmas lunch, which she organised, but was not able to attend. So thanks Linda for all your work in keeping the Wheelers rolling along.
We also had some great efforts on the day from Andrea and Caren.
Andrea is recovering from a work injury and felt doing the big climbing would be too much at this time, so did the first part of the ride up to Yorktown Road and returned back via the SOB. It was great to see her out and back on the bike and building up her strength.
Caren also had a great ride. A few weeks ago, her derailleur arm broke in two. She took the opportunity to reconfigure her gearing and now has a rear cluster that is really suited to climbing. She had a great time climbing. Well done.
So another great day out with the Wheelers, and a merry ho, ho, ho.
Until next week, stay safe, and given the forecast, cool,
Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013