The last of the autumn colour.
A week before the start of winter, it initially looked like the thought of cold weather had kept everyone one away, but, as is the norm, everyone turned up in a flurry, with 36 riders out.
Dave started proceedings with the safety brief.
Although it tends to touch on similar issues each week, it does put safety front of centre, which is vital for our sport.
We again had three rides on offer today.
The short ride was out to Virginia, via the SOB, 51 kms and only 157 m of climbing.
The middle ride included a run through Andrews Farm after a section of the SOB. Then up Williams Road, before heading over to One Tree Hill. From there a run down the Gawler One Tree Road, for 63 kms and 515 m of climbing.
The big ride was out to Williamstown, across to Mt Pleasant, a loop around to Tungkillo and then returning home via the same route. 90kms and 1,080 m of climbing.
The short ride, with nine riders headed off first. With favourable conditions on the SOB they quickly got to the Angle Vale Road exit. There was a quick regroup and Ashley (on the right of the picture), who lives on this road, gave a quick safety brief.
The road edge is a bit raggedy, plenty of pot holes and the traffic can be a bit ordinary at times, so best only to ride single file. The group then headed off, settling into a well-formed train, with Matt M setting the pace. With the help of a tailwind, they were in Virginia in no time at all.
The next section was along Penfield Road. This road is a difficult section to ride along. There are multiple patched section and pot holes, so you need your wits about you. The group spread itself out along the road giving each other plenty of room. This gave everyone a chance to see the road conditions coming up, and not have potholes etc obscured by the rider in front, and potentially not being able to react safely. All good.
Once back on to the SOB the wind was pretty strong now, and with a bit of marshalling from Matt and Ramsey the group set up a pace-line. The setup saw everyone take a turn of going to the front on the right hand side then peeling off to the left and rolling back. Each rider only stayed out the front for a very short time, as the group smoothly rolled along. It was a great way to beat the wind.
In the end the group got back to the Exchange in very good time. A lot of fun.
The middle ride had the biggest numbers, with 22 taking on this ride.
The first section along the SOB was all good with some help from a tail wind.
After leaving the SOB at Curtis Road the group made their way through Andrews Farm. Unfortunately this caused a bit of confusion and some missed turns , with the TEC looping back to make sure everyone was fine. In the end everyone made it to the regroup on Main North Road.
From here was the real challenge of the day, riding up Williams Road. To everyone’s credit, they powered up it showing how everyone has improved. After all the climbing it was across to One Tree Hill (OTH) via Black Top Road.
Here is the group enjoying the regroup at OTH.
The return trip included a run along the Gawler OTH Road and a quick descent down Kentish Road before making their way through Gawler’s street to the Exchange.
So a ride that had both ends mirrored, with some suburban riding and a hill to work with. In the end everyone was fine and had a great time all up.
Thanks to Dave for taking on the role as Ride Leader, and Glen for TEC duties. Great stuff.
For the longer ride only five could be enticed to take it on. Given the gloomy skies and the fact they were riding into the hills and potentially lower temperatures, it was a bit of a gamble. To their surprise the weather turned out to be fairly good, so that was a bonus.
Here is Colin and Masa making their way up Balmoral Road
At Williamstown one rider, Pat, who is originally from Gawler and now lives in Melbourne had to head off to Lyndoch, so they said their goodbyes.
The section across to Mt Pleasant undulates a fair bit although there is a predominate bias towards more ascending than descending. Colin did a great job leading the group and Masa, the ride leader, made sure the group kept as tight as possible to take into account the nasty headwind.
It was a welcome relief when they reached Mt Pleasant for a regroup.
The next section was a loop out to Tungkillo. Being a section not previously ridden by the Wheelers, Masa did a great job navigating the roads. This area is very picturesque and a great place to enjoy rural scenery, plus the traffic was very light. The roads were more undulating than flat, and there were a few nasty little pinches to get up, especially around Tungkillo.
After the loop it was back to Mt Pleasant for a quick stop as it was getting a bit chilly.
Here is Ian,Darren,Colin and Masa.
Some autumn colour.
The return trip home saw everyone zoom along enjoying the descents with a tailwind, although there were some trickly side winds to deal with.
At the Williamstown regroup, the sun started to peak through, lifting everyone’s spirts. From there, and with a tailwind pushing everyone along, it wasn’t too long and they were all back at the Exchange for a warm drink and a job well done.
A big thanks to Masa who took on the role as ride leader, and after some initial trepidation, did a great job. He was well supported by the group and Mr Garmin. Plus, they set a cracking pace across the whole ride.
Back at the Exchange we had our weekly recognition awards, and again thanks to the Exchange Hotel for their supporting. Firstly to Glen.
Glen did a great job as TEC today, making sure everyone was supported across the ride. Glen usually takes on the bigger rides and was happy to take on the TEC role today on the middle ride. It shows his great support of the group.
Ian is another great supporter of the Wheelers. He takes on different roles when a shout out is made. He always helps out on the road and also by passing on his extensive knowledge and experience of all things cycling to others. Great stuff.
So another great day out with the Wheelers, and next week is officially winter. We will be all looking to get our winter kit ready.
Until next week
Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013