The valley wouldn’t be the valley without some of the “tales” that have been hold down the years. The Death Valley ride has been an institution with the Club for over 15 years, so some of the memories live on through our legends.
- 1 Mal’s miracle escape
Mal Cruickshank – former Club secretary and great participant in all Club events, now living in Bunbury (to get as far away possible from “Death Valley” – we think) had the “greatest escape” – flying down O’Brien Road Hill at around 60kph Mal lost concentration and ran off the sealed road onto the pea pebble shoulder. Only a very cool head kept Mal with us that day – he gradually slowed until he reached a speed that allowed him to guide the bike back onto the sealed road. After 100mts on that dirt it was a very pale faced Mal that rejoined the group.
- 2 Three puncture Kilometre
On the ride a few years back the group of Tony Highfield, Rob Lees & John Cooke had their own little battle with the elements. Besides suffering from the heat, the hills, the flies, snakes etc they did hit a stretch where tyres kept popping. The last thing that these 3 exhausted men felt like doing right then, was changing tubes. The story has it that they spun a coin to decide who’s wife to ring to come and pick them up – well we’ve never been told who got the job, but we do know when they went to call on the mobile, it was discovered that there was no signal!!! So finally on the road again these poor souls got back to Kingsley some 2 hours after the rest of the group.
- 3 Brockies last stand
Look out for Brocky’s memorial (the great Peter Brock of Holden Racing Team fame). Just before the turn up into Reserve Road you will see where Brocky wasn’t as lucky as Mal Cruickshank. A few years back the great man came to grief during a motor rally through “Death Valley”
- 4 Last sighting of Moose, Bourbon & Grumpy
(Paul McSweeney, Glen Hollows & Bill Whalley – all founding members of the Club (or close to)) These guys were/are legends of Death Valley, riding it sometimes up to 10 times a season while training for Ironman events. These guys became so attached to the Valley that it is believed that when they went missing from the Triathlon scene that’s where they settled. They were last seen as a group heading out of “Death Valley” into “Big Valley” (now that’s another ride the boys like to talk about). It is believed that Bourbon (Glen) has never returned, but Grumpy (Bill) does descend from the hills for the odd race and cappuccino and Moose (Paul) it appears has done a “Forrest Gump” and just kept riding and was last glimpsed up Broome way. Look out for 3 old men on rusty steel bikes – if they answer to any of the above nick names above, you will have had a sighting of a lifetime (forget the African Big 5 the valley’s Big 3 is better). Bill actually appears out of the mist quite frequently these days – he’s just a little confused at not recognising any of the riders. (Bill, your mates all retired years ago)
- 5 Di’s Hill from Hell
(Di Scott – Long time Club member, former Club secretary, 2 x Ironwoman and now “Youth Focus” campaigner). Di’s hell – it was her 1st of many Valley rides and turning up out of the valley into Reserve Road, Di believed that she’d conquered the ride. Well little did she know what Reserve Road had in store for her – it is long, winding, steep and whacks you in the gut. Bill Whalley was on that ride and he tells the story of this groan that was echoing around the valley. Quite alarmed, Bill contemplated ringing the local vetenarian as he believed that one of the local Friesian cows must have been having a very bad labour. Well all was revealed as he rounded the next corner to discover that the noise was emanating from a cyclist travelling at around 2 kph zig zagging around the road. Well the rest is history – that cyclist was indeed Dianne, and she did make it out of the Valley that day and has in fact gone on to become a very accomplished rider (she rides the 700k Albany to Perth ride every year with “youth Focus” to raise money for this very worthwhile charity)
- 6 The Super Sweep from Heaven
It’s not all bad in the Valley – as on many occasions a desperate, disoriented and confused rider has been rescued and been returned to family and friends (to live a normal life again), by the Club’s super sweep. Often back tracking half way through the Valley, super sweep Silverlock (AKA Bazza) was renowned for his herding instincts and ability to get riders to believe that they could actually pedal out of “hell”.
We miss “SSS” these days as he heads towards towards his twilight years. Fortunately there is always some kindly soul that steps up to the mark on the day and does the honours.
- 7 The smiling seducer
The story goes that one former professional lifesaver joined the group a few years back – he thinks he’s the life of the party with all his conversations revolved around “Bondi Rescue” and “Bay Watch”. But true to image he did try to seduce the two Lisa’s convincing them that he knew a quicker way out of the Valley. No “The Hoff” (just call me Erle), Big Valley is actually 10k longer and you were never on a winner with those 2 ladies. Will “The Hoff” be on the prowl again this year??