Our Easter Saturday ride was just Tom and Ryan and me.
We set out dead on 6:30am and the rolling was reserved cause we had a big day ahead of us. We were bound for Mount Tamborine — something Tom and Ry Ry had done before – but for me it was all brand new.
Except of course for the first 40ks which is the usual Gold Coast route. After a stop at the Yatala BP we were heading southwest along Stanmore Road. The scenery was steadily more rural and the road wasn’t too bad. Shitty surface and only occasionally did it have a decent shoulder – but manageable.
The township of Tamborine isn’t actually on the mountain which is odd. Here we stopped for a coke and to prepare for the 8ish kms of climbing ahead. We soon all split up and rode our own pace. When you are climbing these big, long hills – all slow and rhythmic – it kinda feels like meditation. Not that I know what meditation really feels like – but I can imagine the vibe. You are alone with your pain and your thoughts and your battle.
There’s a “loneliness” in this state, but a good loneliness. Another curiosity of these huge hills is you get intimate with the surface of the road. It’s not just that you are going slow enough so that you can literally study the road almost as if you had a magnifying glass — it’s also because you CARE a lot more. A good smooth surface can make all the difference when you’re in the pain cave.
And this climb had each and every variety of surface imaginable. It’s kinda embarrassing, but road surfaces and all their different permutations are a favourite subject of bike riders.
At the top Tom was waiting. Naturally he had killed it. After we had spent quite a good deal of time discussing the bitumen on the way up, we got a little concerned that Ryan was still yet to arrive. This was Ryan’s first big ride in ages and the first climbing he had done in 6 months. He was suffering.
A car stopped and I asked them if they had seen him and they said they passed him right at the bottom. WHA? I figured he must have had a flat. But then he suddenly appeared and I wondered what kind of drugs that driver was on.
After food and drinks at a cafe we took on the descent. A few months back Scott had attempted this fixed and brakeless and in the pouring rain. He ended up in hospital and by the time I got to the bottom I wondered how he survived at all. I am ultra-glad he survived BTW ’cause he is a rad, rad dude.
Anyway – the down was pretty good at first, fast and smooth – but the last kilometre was fucking sketchy. I had this 4WD towing a boat right up my arse and the road surface (yep!) was positively LUNAR. It was so ridiculously bumpy I felt like I would be turned into a human milkshake. After it leveled out my hands felt so sore it was like they had been beaten up.
The last challenge was a “shitty little hill” which a big yellow road sign named “12%”. Towards the top Tom was in front about 250 metres ahead and a 4WD did this angry beep at him, then I got the same treatment and then I waited and listened and sure enough a little bit later I heard Ryan’s. LOL. Angry bike-hating people in cars huh? Little do they realise they can’t break us with a horn. Discussing this with Tom at the top, Tom — so laid-back and chilled — he thought it was a friendly “hello beep”.
After another quite gentle climb we made it to Coomera train station (and our trip home) and said bye to Ryan who was getting a lift to the beach. I bet he enjoyed that swim about a thousand per cent more after that ride.