Well my plan to get out of Canberra for a nice warm event didn't really
come off. Two wet days and a climb over the range near Warwick with high
winds and the temperature hovering around five degrees at the top (1050m)
meant it wasn't really beautiful one day and perfect the next.
There were 60 riders including my friend and 2 time kokoda walking partner
Wayne Wetherall from Kokoda Spirit. After be on his turf in PNG it was time
to do my sport. We always joked on the track about Wayne trying to break
me, I was out to try and break Wayne.
Still there was lots to like about this challenging ride. I have never done
these sorts of distances on back to back days and I was very happy with the
way I rode and the way I recovered between stages.
Day 1 - Brisbane to Toowoomba 203km
We had a large group of people to wave us of at the start. There was a
photo of Adam Smiddy put on everyones bikes to look at when you were
suffering and look for inspiration. Some of the riders added photos of
their own loved ones, some lost to cancer and some going through treatment.
The start was great with about ten seconds of drizzle followed by a
beautiful rainbow as we made our way out of town. It made me think of Adam
Smiddy, who died from cancer at only 26, may be looking down on us. I
stuffed up by eating too much at morning tea and had a grumbly stomach,
elevated heart rate and some leg cramping at about the 90km mark but came
good again. After lunch a multi-tool come out of my saddle bag and, after
going back for it, I had a tough chase to get back on the bunch. I blew up
and got cramps again at the 150km mark. 20km in the sag wagon fixed me up
though and I rode the rest including the climb up to Toowoomba. The climb
is only about 400m vertical but it is the steepest road I have ever ridden,
including Tom Groggin in the Snowy Mountains. Quite a few people got off
their bikes and walked. Wayne and I called it even after I used the sag
wagon and he got off and walked on the climb.
Day 2 - Toowoomba to Warwick 158km
The light rain that started the day soon changed to the heavy stuff as we
all rolled out at 7am. I hate riding in the rain so I was a bit grumpy for
half an hour but after that my whinging licence was withdrawn and I tried
to be more positive. I felt pretty good on the bike and the nice flat
terrain helped. After lunch we scored a ripper tailwind and the group
cruised in the high 30's for a couple of hours. It was nice to get in just
after 3pm and have a bit of time off in the afternoon, mostly wasted with
cleaning the dirty bike and chain.
Day 3 - Warwick to Brisbane 209km
The big one. Warm up on the flat then a gradual 600m vertical climb,
followed by rolling hills most of the way into Brisbane. We started in the
dark at 6am and had about 20 minutes of rain, enough to get wet and grumpy
again. The weather improved until we reached the big climb. Up high on the
range it was windy and pretty tough to steer in a straight line. Strangley
I really liked the climb and was quite happy with the way I rode and the
fact that Wayne was struggling behind me with his tongue nearly touching
his front wheel. The descent though was a bit like a day we had a couple of
years ago down to Leather Barrell Creek near Thredbo: steep and wet with
lots of branches blown all over the road. It wasn't much fun and was a
waste of all that climbing effort. Morning tea beside the road got us all
cold again for the rest of the descent. My effort on the climb cost me
later as I struggled before lunch with some very short and steep rollers
that I didn't like at all. As the afternoon rolled on we were running late
and had to shorten up the breaks and try and up the pace a little. We had a
big crowd waiting for us in Brisbane and they expected us in between 4:30
and 5pm. We rolled in at 5:45pm with lights on and had a wonderful
reception. Then as always we made a big circle and gave a big smiddy chant.
From there it was all about eating as much as I could to recover.
All up the ride was about 560km and, with my 20km discount from day one, I
did 540. I was very happy to finish and it was a great bunch to ride with.
Unfortunately I didn't break Wayne but I certainly stretched both of us a