A big thanks to Bill Whalley for not only leading the Death Valley ride for 2014, but also writing a great wrap up of the day. Again a special thank you to David Martin as the two wheeled sweeper and chief tyre changer, and Wilson Casado for vehicle support and photography. Enjoy the read below!
Death Valley 2014 Wrap Up, by Bill Whalley.
The ride for me started with my alarm going off at 4.00 a.m. So, down to the Sorrento Surf club to meet fellow members for our annual ride. A perfect pre-dawn morning greeted us all.
Wilson Casado, our official support driver for the day was first to arrive and out came the camera. Slowly, riders arrived and the frivolity began. The sight of cars entering the parking area and the sounds of bikes being unloaded and friends greeting one another gave me a real sense of pride as to how special this ride is. We even had club royalty in El Presidente, Craig Wright, Vice President Glen Mesch and Club Secretary, aka the “smiling assassin” Sue Libbis along. I think these guys came along to ensure we were all well behaved?!
Hats off to Sue, Craig and Helen Vagnoni (and Bill Whalley – ed.) for coming along only two weeks after they all had great races at IM Melbourne. A Special well done to President Craig who, unlike myself, completed the full ride. Boy is he still on a high from IM Melbourne! The popularity of this rides truly amazing.
At the pre-start briefing, it was agreed by all that the “happy valley” riders would join us until the Hills to ensure safety in numbers. We also discussed and ran through the new ride route made necessary due to road works on Reid Hwy at Lord st. After a few words about road safety and awareness we departed, only to reach the 1k mark at the top of Hepburn hill, when Mr Illingworth realised there was a tyre needing some air. So, a quick tyre change of 9mins, with the assistance of David Martin, our official sweeper for the day, and we left once more towards, them thar hills! Mr Paparazzi, Dennis Tan was waiting for us at Marmion Ave complete with the “Go Pro” attached to his helmet. This, along with his apprentice Wilson Casado ensured plenty of photos. Along the way we collected other club riders who chose to join us. I drifted towards the back of the pack to enjoy the colourful sight of the long line of riders ahead of me. By the time we arrived at Alexander drive the peloton had approximately 50 riders. This ride is getting bigger each year. The second puncture of the day was 500 metres from the Stratton service station, where once more, David Martin assisted uber cyclist Fab Fi, with a repair. So, apart from the puncture, a pretty uneventful ride along the flat to the Stratton Service station for an ablution visit and a water bottle fill. (What you let out, you must put back, pretty simple rule really!) The alternative ride along Marshall road and through a new suburb proved worthy with the only thing to report was Nino and myself getting an ear bashing from our Club Vice President who was telling us how good a football coach he is.
With apprehension we turned left into Campersic road as the sun rose, and ten kilometres to the first climb at Brigadoon. Hills are great for raising the heart rate and checking you lung capacity, and this is exactly what happened on the Campersic climb. A re-group in Coonemara at the top of the hill allowed everyone to take in the view and some fluid. Puncture number three from Helen “Kona here I come” Vagnoni ensured a little more time was taken at the re-group. While waiting, Dave Norton decided to fall, bike and all onto Dennis? Dave was either delirious from the climb, or unhappy that Dennis had not taken his photo?
Next stop! OMGWTF HILL!
Not to be outdone by Helen, was Alison ” Kona here I come No2″ Radcliffe, who had puncture number four on Lancewood road. And, so, David Martin once again took out his tools and assisted, which was greatly appreciated by Alison. The time spent with this tyre change allowed us time to see the “Happy valley” riders returning westward along Lancewood road on their way back to Sorrento. My observation was, they were now getting tired and not one miniscule of appreciation was shown for taking them for a hills ride. I might put it to the club committee to officially change this ride name to the “grumpy gully” ride for next near.
Onto O’Brien road for a 3km downhill followed by a 4km uphill and a re-group at Ewing road for a nutrition stop. At this stop, many of the group were already wondering how they were going to respond to the challenge of the remaining major hills ahead? While re-grouping, Meschy was still letting Nino and myself know how to coach a footy team! David Martin on the bike and Wison Casado were both brilliant as our official sweepers and support. These guys made sure all riders were taken care of, thank you Wilson and David from all of us.
The hills are now taking their toll and none other than Bill ” I’ve got a world war 2 moustache” Lakic was taking up the rear with comments like, ” If I need to be getting this MUCH muscle fatigue , I am going to make sure i enjoy the scenery!”. As sore as he was getting, he never stopped smiling. Well done Bill, we all know how much it can hurt.
I think riders are drawn to Death Valley for the challenge of climbing. But for every uphill there is a corresponding big downhill. At the top of many hills there is a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. No better view and downhill can be found at the top of Campersic and Lancewood roads. Inspiring.
Progressing toward Berry road along Clenton road, Dave Martin decided to work the legs and take a couple of turns at speed, causing others to get excited and chase. Unfortunately for Dave this was badly timed as Bill Lakic punctured. Number 5 for the day!! Meaning David had a 2 kilometre ride, back to assist. Nevertheless, I’m sure Bill appreciated the appearance of the cavalry. However, there was gossip amongst the masses that Bill was weary, tired and took time out for a brief nap in the sunshine and never had a puncture. Is this true Bill?
A re-group at Clenton and Berry, followed by a right turn into Reserve road meant the smell of the bakery beckoned. A rest stop at the bakery for some num-num pies, a coke or three and a chat in the sun was followed by a fast and fun return along Toodyay road to the re-group point at the Stratton service station. Thank you to Wilson from everyone for driving to the front on numerous occasions to get some good photos. After a headcount at the servo, it was on along Reid hwy, Marshall road and Hepburn ave, the only truly flat sections of road on the 130K route, and back to the surf club for some sustenance and a chat.
Well, you all finished! Like swimming and running, cycling requires technique and mental skill, not just athletic ability. Done for another year.
Next year, the ride will be better yet. We must all be masochist!
A thank you to Dennis Tan for the “Go pro” highlights. Thanks Dennis.
To David Martin. Once again great support from the clubs official ride organiser. David ensured all at the back of the peloton were okay for the entire ride!, And the mechanical assistance he provided, to all, was greatly appreciated. David organises our club rides, ensures they are all carried out diligently and safely. And on the annual Death Valley ride he was there once more providing assistance and support. Dave from all club members and the Death Valley riders, thank you. You work around the club does not go unnoticed.
The ride could not be so successful without support. All riders wish to express their appreciation to Wilson Casado for his support. Providing the support vehicle. The photography and his enthusiasm. Wilson, From North Coast triathlon club, Thank you. Its people like you that make North Coast a great club, not just a club.