Well it has been and gone, that is the Freeway Bike Hike for 2008. I chose to ride in the C group out of Kwinana for my first ride as I really had no idea of what my time would be. I thought if I got in under 2.5 hours that would be a good effort. As it turned out, I did it in 2 hours 7 minutes at a average of 27.7 km/h so pretty happy. I suspect no wind till about the city and then a light north easterly probably helped. Still I think I will go for the B or even A groups next year, depending on what happens.
Graeme picked up at Fremantle at 5:30 AM and we drove to the first train station north of Kwinana for a warm up ride of about 30 minutes. This got us to the start in plenty of time.
I mixed in with the C group, starting in the middle. With hindsight should have gone for the front of the group as I spent quite of bit of time working my way through the group to get clear air. Not helped mind you by the need for pit stop on the side of the Freeway! On a positive side the C group riders where a good bunch to ride with, being road aware, generally keeping to the left, looking before passing and allowing faster riders to pass on the right.
Unfortunately the 30 km riders that I had to merge with where not so smart, showing a general lack of riding skills, road awareness or manners for that matter. I had been warned about the merging but really was not prepared for what was to come. Keep left? You got to be kidding. Lets spread out, line abreast right across all three lanes. Bad luck if you want to pass. Oh I want to pass, should I look behind first? Nah … much smarter to at least scare them faster riders or heh lets just hit them.
Basically from the merge point to the end was just a continuous stream of bad riding and having to weave through to maintain my relatively slow pace.
Interesting all the near misses I saw and the one fall was after the merge point … Clear riding up till then.
Next year, I think the organisers should get the timing better to ensure that at least the B group of 60 km riders has cleared the merge point and ideally most of the C group riders as well to reduce the risk.
I for one will be aiming to personally clear the merge point before the 30 km riders come through.
The little hill at the end of the Freeway was sweet this ride, at long last some evidence of a fitness improvement. I used to struggle up this little incline on my Churchlands to Joondalup commutes second semester 2007.
There ends the Freeway Bike Hike for me for 2008.