Today Lynn was busy all day so I took the opportunity to head out for a ride with the Gawler Wheelers. The weather forecast was for a shower or two but I thought it was worth taking the chance. I have only ridden with these guys once and that was on their 1 year Anniversary Ride back on the 10th of March this year. I had such a good time on the last ride I just had to ride with these guys again. If you want to know where this ride went then you can check the route here or check out the data and maps at the end of this post.
Leaving Home at 5:30am
They suggest being there by 7:10am so with so far to travel I figured an hour and a half should cover it. It actually took me 1h17m so I did arrive a little early. Actually, I arrived in time to see the group of 4 riders assemble ready to ride to Port Elliott picking up a 5th rider on their way, Juz! Pete Wilson was the first person I met the last time I went on their ride and he was again this time. Just after 7am other cars started arriving as did some riders on their bikes.
As usual, the briefing was well organised but I will be very surprised if anyone can remember more than 50% of the briefing. Don’t get me wrong, its a great briefing and presented very well by Wilson but there is so much in it and it takes soooo long! On the other hand it all needs to be there because of the different expertise levels of the various riders. I wouldn’t change it as its all important!
I did manage to say hello and even have a few discussions with people I had met before including Keith Hayes and Keith Davis. Sorry everyone else, my memory for names really sucks so even though I will recognise that I have met you I am more than likely going to forget your name!
Setting off from the home makers center I took my time allowing most of the 35 or so riders, a gestimation on the numbers, leave before me as I knew the first regroup was to be at the start of the SOB (Stuart O’Grady Bikeway). At least I couldn’t get lost with so many bikes to follow It was a cool, crisp, cloud free morning with a promise of a beautiful day ahead.
I would estimate that 80% of the riders were in front of me at the first regroup. As soon as we set off from this regroup it soon became obvious that people tend to self seed themselves into similar speed groups. There were exceptions but I suspect these were not regulars to the group. Not knowing many people here and even less their abilities I put myself into a sort of search mode. I was searching for a group with a comfortable speed that I wanted to ride at. This turned out to be a little more difficult than I had expected because each group I moved up to proved a little difficult to maneuver past to go in search of the next group.
I found I spent a lot of energy bridging the gap between groups so I had little choice but to stay on the back of each group for a little while to recover a little. I would then look for a safe opportunity to pass the group and head for the next ones ahead.
I am not quite sure where, but at some stage I came across the group Keith Hayes was in and I think he decided that he would follow me through. I was with him when we were approaching the end of the SOB when we came across a couple of slowing riders who let me through and so I decided to give it a little bit of a sprint bursting up to about 50 kph, but not for long! I mis-timed the sprint and ran out of puff before reaching the car park for the next re-group.
Deciding Where to Start
I decided I would start a little further up the groups after the regroup and stayed with a much larger group through the back streets. Lets face it, I had no idea where I was going! By the time we reached West Ave I found myself in a small group of 6 riders, some of which I had seen before but did not know them. I did chat a little to a couple of them but decided to strike out for a small group of 4 I could see in the distance. It wasn’t until the end of Womma Road that I caught up to these guys but then managed to stay with them until we reached the next regroup at the Petherton Road gate to the SOB. Its the first chance I have had to chat with Wilson but found it interesting that he once had a soft spot for EMC bikes. Nice guy to talk to! We had quite a long wait for the tail end here so I moved back through the bikes to chat to Keith Hayes.
Needing to walk 2 X 2 through the gate onto the SOB definitely breaks up the groups! I struck out on a steady 25-30kph pace with the first few km’s needed to sort out some groups. Not far from here we formed a small group of 3 riding at around 30kph to complete the SOB. Keith Hayes, a guy with tattoos, sorry I forgot your name, and myself formed a nice little line with each of us practicing taking the lead. We managed to keep on around 30kph for the remainder, and some of the SOB. Unfortunately, I took the lead just as we approached the end of the SOB which I did not notice until I was level with the exit and was about to drop onto the rough surface! I failed in my duty….. Keith and I sailed past the exit and had to turn around to continue back to Jaspers.
This Ride is Definately Recomended
I have ridden the Gawler Wheelers route #1 twice now and all I can say is it has a lot to offer from very fast groups down to the slowest of new riders. I would recommend, and have several times, this ride to anyone who wants a friendly social ride of all speeds. It has the variety to provide challenges to many levels of riders with groups of riders at all levels to attach oneself too. Its a flat, smooth for the most part and enjoyable ride and I have thoroughly enjoyed it both times. If you get a chance to, join them on this ride, you won’t be disappointed.
If you can correct me on any names or events then please let me know in the reply form at the bottom of this post
- Distance: 59.64 km
- Riding Time: 1h51m44s
- Av Pace: 1:52/km
- Av Speed: 32 kph
- Av/Max HR: 137/161 bpm
- Av Cadence: 73 rpm
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