So in about 9 days time a few of us, perhaps as many as seven souls, will ride almost due west, up to the mountain town of Toowoomba. And there we will spend the night, drink too much, be horribly cold, not get enough sleep, and then rouse ourselves — a little too early, and a little too dusty — then ride home the long way.
On paper it seems to be (from the Regatta Hotel) about 160kms the first day, then at least 185kms the next day. Here are the Google maps, but be aware they aren’t quite finessed to the exact route a bike must take.
So DAY 1 has this horrible mountain finish. I think it is about 600ms of pure climbing. Plus all the bumps before. It just might end up being a 2000m+ of climbing day. I am kinda hoping so, just cause I actually don’t think I’ve ever climbed more than 2000m in one day. I have got very close on 3 occasions, but never officially got there.
DAY 2 is longer, but we get maybe 20kms for free coming down from the mountain. There’s also perhaps some narrow roads and bullshit traffic around the Wivenhoe Dam which could make the suffering even worse. We shall see.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT TOOWOOMBA
I am not sure if this is true, because I wasn’t quite there, but through various insinuations and just the plain fact my parents said, “Oh we lived here at that time, and then moved there later,” convinced me I was actually conceived in Toowoomba.
Like I knew I was born in Ipswich – that was on my birth certificate, but to me, my conception seemed to be just as important. See Mum was going to art college up there and in a very generous window of opportunity either side of the 9 months before I was born.
Even if I wasn’t conceived up there – the place still means a lot to me. We visited it all the time when I was a youngster. I guess mum and dad had friends up there. I can vividly remember these journeys. And I drew at least one EPIC picture of that journey up the mountain when I was 4 or 5 (or something) and I am gonna get my mum to scan that little piece of history, (or maybe ART in some circles) just so I can show you all.
And so Toowoomba is situated at the top of a mountain range. (The Great Dividing Range I believe). It is stupidly hot in summer and brutally cold in winter. So this must be perfect weather for flowers – which it is also famous for. It has some annual floral festival which seems to be popular and it has quite amazing public gardens and awesome tree-lined streets. The old-school houses up there are quite architecturally fantastic and put Brisbane and Ipswich to shame.
Plus just recently, and quite tragically, it experienced nature’s absolute random fury.
To understand where we are going in 9 days time, I am also going to say just a few words about the first overnight ride I did with my bike-mates. It was back in late 2010. Ryan had put the notion down, and Shirts and me had picked it up. Gypsy was keen too, but he got a knee injury and had to pull out 100ks in. Dan and Jeremy also came for the first day, but for day 2 and 3 – it was just us – Ryan, me and shirts.
And looking back, I know I was no where near as strong a rider as I am now, but that 3 day ride, the 520kms we did, over a few big fat climbs – was quite an achievement. It fucking hurt, but I felt so shit-smackingly good when I finally crawled home despite the fact once I did, I could not bend over to take off my shoes without cramping in the most obscene way. I remember I had to get Dee to take of my shoes. And in the back of my mind was the realisation I had spent the last 4 hours deep, deep in the pain cave. I knew it so intimately and I never, ever wanted to go back there.
We all did well that ride. We all drank way too much. It rained constantly the first 2 days, and then was so fucking hot on the 3rd my gingerness meant I just suffered disproportionately. On day 2 we had to roll over flooded roads and crossed wooden bridges with horrible over-sized screws pointing out above that could flatten a bike at any whim. Shirts was riding brakeless and fixed on 86inches (as he does) and if that wasn’t enough drama for him, he got crashed when a deadshit pedestrian ran into him crossing the road where he shouldn’t.
Anyway. This coming weekend in prep for NEXT WEEKEND, I will just be doing a few Coot-tha repeats and not much distance. Resting is also a great training technique.