One perfect day.
Slightly overcast, a little bit cool, it was a perfect day for riding, with 44 riders out.
We had two rides to choose from. The shorter was down the SOB, around Edinburgh and back along the SOB. 62kms and 181m of climbing. The longer ride was the real challenge with a zig – zag up and down the foothills, before an ascent to Para Wirra, then a dip in to and out of the South Para river, before a run back to Gawler via Balmoral Road.
The day started with the safety brief, highlighting the need to always be aware of your surroundings. It also gave an opportunity for anyone to highlight specific safety issues the group needed to be aware of. It is very important to get in to the right frame of mind at the start of the day.
The longer ride took off first. Their first climb was at Alexander Avenue, which starts with a steep section that rises right up in front of you, before settling down a bit all the way to the Gawler One Tree Hill Road. The group then headed over to Medlow Road for a quick run down to Craigmore and a regroup at Adams Road. It was important to get the group together as the next section across to Williams Road took in a number of suburban roads with some interesting twists and turns. So a big thanks to Denny, Craig B, Vin and Glen who all helped with navigating the group across to Williams Road. Williams Road is a real challenge and a bit of a grind, but everyone made it up in good time and then across to One Tree Hill. This was the big break and a chance to rehydrate and take in some energy bars.
The next section was to the gates of Para Wirra. This is a great climb with some long sweeping bends. Just past the gates there is a flat section where you can pull off the road. The group had a quick break and a chance to remind everyone about the steep descent in to the South Para. This is a very tricky section, very steep and a sharp turn at the bottom. Everyone took it cautiously and there were no issues. The climb back out was a bit of a grind, but once past that section, it was essentially a clear run back to Gawler.
A big thanks to Craig for taking on the role of rider leader. He wasn’t expecting it, but stepped up to lead.
All in all it was a great ride, and for those doing the challenge ride as part of the TDU,a great training ride.
The other ride also had a good time of it with 26 heading out.
The first section was ridden at a steady pace although a headwind did spring up adding to the challenge. In particular those with dish rims had to be very careful of side winds.
Here is the majority of the group at the end of the SOB.
Given the numbers, it was decided to split in to two bunches as there was a number who had to get back to Gawler quickly, as they were a little bit pressed for time.
What was really nice about the return trip was that the group now had a strong tail wind to enjoy, as so many times it’s a head wind that you are battling.
At times we come across different animals in the rides. A few weeks ago it was a big kangaroo passing a few metres in front of a rider. This week a snake was spotted on the SOB and to the surprise of one bunch a hare which decided to run along the SOB in front of them for 100 metres or so. The bunch spotted the hare and held back a bit to give it some space to move away, but it kept a steady quick pace out the front. It did a great job leading out the bunch. Finally it pinned its ears back and shot off in to the bushes. So, like always, you need to be aware of your surrounds at all times. You never know what you may come across.
A big thanks also to Andrea and Paula who were the joint TECs. They did a great job supporting everyone, especially with the jelly snakes. (There was a hint they were going to bring along jelly pythons, which would have been a bit of a challenge for everyone, to get through at a regroup)
Here is Andrea and Paula ( far left and right) plus others, including Tim, who is well on this way to recovery.
It was great to welcome some new riders out with the Wheelers.
Firstly Kia. Kia is a younger rider, but took on the longer rider. He did very well and enjoyed the ride.
Tracey. Tracy is training for a big 800 km charity ride from Torquay in Victoria to Adelaide over 6 days in February . This will include a section of over 200kms in a day. Tracey rode very well and enjoyed riding in a group.
Deanne. Deanne is a friend of Karen and Alistair and recently completed the full Iron Man event in Busselton. She rode very well and also enjoyed riding with the group.
Back at the Exchange Hotel it was a chance to rehydrate and do some recovery time.
Scott and Ken
Again we had our weekly recognition awards.
Firstly to Matt.
Matts is always helping out other riders, either through towing them if they are getting tired or mechanically if there is a problem.
Denny is one of our younger riders and always supports others on every ride. Again great stuff.
So another great day out with the Wheelers.
This week we see a week and a half of all thing cycling, starting with the Women’s TDU from Thursday. Then on Sunday the finish of the Women’s race and then the men start. The next Saturday sees the Challenge ride, with many of the Wheelers taking part and I hope you all enjoy the challenge. So if you get a chance to get to a stage, cheer all the riders on. It’s a great time to be in SA, with the focus on cycling, with all the benefits cycling provides, both physically and socially.
Until next week,
Gawler Wheelers: Winners of the Gawler Australia Day Community Group of the Year Award 2013