Death in the “Valley”??

Written by Dave Norton on . Posted in News

Challenge your body & challenge your mind – join fellow North Coasters on this character building ride, coming up on Sat 20th April. Just love those death defying descents and lung bursting/leg busting ascents.  STOP PRESS  a shorter version of the ride  will now happen – route map now on the Club website.


Note departure point – Sorrento Surf Club – Departure Time – 5.00am

Death in the “The Valley”?

(Well, not quite but we did see a deceased rabbit).

An old timer  (Phil Prosser) remembers a previous ride (2010)………….We all arrived bright and early 5.30am (note the start time will be 5.00am in 2013) Saturday morning at Dome Café   in Kingsley (Sorrento this year), everyone was on time with plenty of fluid and food for the 5 ½ hour journey (sounds like the beginning of a Gilligan’s island episode, I know!). Mike Tindale packed for a week with bags and satchels hanging off every conceivable part of his bike. (We now know why…read on.) Some of our elite cyclists got chauffeured to the start point by their lovely wives Rosa Illingworth and Cath Balde; I trust the girls put Peter and Chris on gardening duty when they got home for making them get up so early.

All ready to roll and we set off for the valley at a modest pace lead by Brad “the machine” Hoskins (its ok we locked his brakes on when he wasn’t looking). It seemed as though Steve “the mechanic” Waterman was getting a bit bored along Marshall Road and after watching his favourite TV show MYTHBUSTERS the night before decide he would test the tensile strength of a Corona beer bottle vs. a bike tyre. Anyone interested in this fascinating experiment will be blown away to learn that the tyre came off second best, (so did Shaun Kelly’s shin when the bottle hit him.) After Steve’s 3rd attempt at fixing the tyre assisted by Rob “all thumbs” Lees and after 25 minutes had passed we were off again. There is a whisper going around that Steve Waterman will going into business fixing bike tyres soon? Don’t put the deposit on the Ferrari just yet Steve!

After climbing Toodyay Rd Hill, the pack split quite rapidly, we then regrouped again at the O’Bryan Rd intersection and then set off into Death Valley at our various paces. Lee Scott who has obviously spent too much time in the sun without a hat, thought he was Alberto Contador and teamed up with Brad Hoskins and Marcio Menezes for the day…….and survived! (Well done Lee). The valley was tough as usual and Cookie was definitely suffering severe abandonment issues from last year and stuck to Norm “the Iceman” like a seagull on a chip all day! All of a sudden there was a trail of smoke coming from the valley and we were all concerned there was a bushfire imminent (not too concerned though as we had Brad the fireman with us). But it was a False alarm! It was just Gilly’s brakes smoking it up on the descents; he’s goes faster uphill than downhill.

Finally we were out of the valley after inventing some brand new swear words on some of those glorious hills (hint of sarcasm). We then regrouped again at the Gidgegannup roadhouse to refuel and do a head count. After 30 minutes we still had 2 missing….. Chris Balde and Mike ”can anyone read a map” Tindale. Phil “are we there yet” Prosser then received a call from Big bad bustling Balde and apparently he turned back after the first Toodyay Rd Hill, he broke a fingernail and got a paper cut from his roadmap, what a stroke of bad luck. We waited and waited but still no Mike T. So we put in a phone call to our lost soldier, but no reception no answer so we waited some more and waited and waited, 3 iced coffee’s and a pie and sauce later, we did get a call. It turns out that all of Mikes years in the navy haven’t made him too familiar with road maps (not too many roads out at sea), so whilst holding the map upside down, mike took a left turn and not a right turn and rode 15km’s in the wrong direction until he realised that he couldn’t remember cycling this road last year. (For those concerned readers, he did make it back to the Dome café before sundown, good effort Mike!)

The decent down Toodyay rd was fast and bumpy due to road works. More bushfires???… No just Gilly’s brakes smoking again. Norm was proud to announce his progress for the day at the bottom of the hill. Top speed 84km/h and average speed of 17km/h. (we all laughed and decided it is time for Norm to invest in a new cycle computer.) On the journey home we discovered Shaun “oops” Kelly to be a premature braker and he tried his hardest to put Bobbles Edwards into the dirt and one stage, then Phil “are we there yet” Prosser must have thought he was a real life version of Mario cart and was dropping water bottles off the back of his bike like missiles, nearly taking Norm and Bobbles down at one stage, time for a new bottle holder Phil.

What was supposed to be a leisurely ride home turned into a rapid time trial with Cookie (over his abandonment issues) and Lee Scott now with more sun to the head and thinking he is now Mark Cavendish turned it into a pacey time trial back to the Dome, we all needed that???

All in all it was a great day; we all arrived back at the dome café at around 11am as scheduled despite all the stoppages, for a well earned coffee. 126km travelled and 156km’s by Mike T. Make sure you come along next year if you missed out this year; it’s a lot of fun. (Apart from the hills and all the riding!)