This is the story of how we climbed two really big hills, how we ate a shitload of food, how I managed to accidentally push the emergency stop button and bring a halt to our train home and how, bizarrely, somehow Scott and I beat Mr Thomas — “the human mountain goat” — to the top of the Maleny Road climb.
And I know you are all probably getting quite sick of these crazy bike adventures, but unfortunately for you, I am not. I am fucking, fucking, FUCKING loving it. The buzz you get after lasts for days. You are all just going to have to get used to it. Sorry.
I love taking pictures just after dawn – all that golden shit makes pretty ordinary shots so much more wonderous
And this one was special, one of those rides. Even though it was 8 hours of hard, hard riding and then 4 hours stuck on a train, it was all so worth it.
So statistically the ride looked like this: 171km of road travelled, 2514m of climbing (which broke my previous record by 600m), an average speed of 27.5km/hr and a top speed of 78.9km/hr coming down into Nambour.
So this was Tom’s ride and I almost said it couldn’t be done, and then I said I couldn’t make it because I needed to be in Ormiston that evening for a family dinner. See as this was a one-way ride up to Nambour with a train back I just thought there wasn’t enough time to do it. But then I figured I could just keep catching trains until I got to the Redlands and send a change of clothes ahead of me. And so I realised I really didn’t have any excuses.
It wasn’t the easy way to Nambour. We would be going over two serious climbs and after the last climb there were a few quite fucked-up pinches of road that would smash the spirit when the end was so near. But then we could look forward to that last 10kms which were all downhill.
Thomas looking very serious!
The ride to Dayboro was pretty uneventful and after two pasties and an Ice Break we were hitting our first mountain – Mt Mee. Although it is a long climb, the gradient is pretty gentle, but then at the top there is still some climbing to do as you cross the “plateau”. The scenery was incredible up here and so green and wildernessy. This was riding. It was ART.
I like this house at the top of Mt Mee, it looks like that big “mushroom” tree has grown out of it — a bit like in the Totoro movie
After dropping down into D’aguilar and scoffing a coke and a chocolate bar we pushed on to Woodford for a bigger meal. I chose the healthy option of a meat pie and a big bowl of chips smothered in chicken-salt.
Next we were heading north again through pretty quiet roads and Tom had devised this plan to avoid a shitty hill Scott and he had suffered through the last time they took these roads (for the Noosa L’Eroica). The new road was called “Commissioners Flat Road” and although a road called thus was entitled to be level, in fact it was actually a tiny bit uphill. But it wasn’t that noticeable. And when we got to Peachester and had this awesome, awesome surprise downhill we forgave the Commissioner — whomever that person was.
Tom took the fenders off his Colossi. That doesn’t sound such a big deal, but to us — we care about that shit.
Great views of the west and north face of Mt Beerwah
Meanwhile, after only 100kms, I was now feeling a bit “shit” and started telling the other guys I might not make it up that looming HILL. But you what? I was just a little low on food and water and feeling a bit of a mental over-reaction to what I assumed was ahead. As soon as I fuelled up at Landsborough — an over-sized spinach and cheese roll plus another Ice Break — I started feeling well again. The secret to good riding, which actually isn’t a secret, is just eating and drinking accordingly — which usually means stuffing as much food and drink down your pie-hole as regularly as you can.
It has taken me all this time to work it out. As Scott says, “Eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty”. Yet I have spent 90% of my biking career riding out without eating breakfast, not eating at all on the ride and wondering why I was such a mess halfway through. But then again, I should be forgiven because I am a total, fucking idiot.
A little bit of cyclocross action on that Commissioners Flat Road
At Landsborough I also downed one of my Endura gels just before we set off again. Scott and Tom blasted ahead while I just settled and attempted to work out what I was capable of. See this climb had been stabbing at my mind ever since I found the bit after Mt Mee just a bit more painful than I assumed. In the past I had driven a car up this road — and even with a decent run-up and my foot glued all the way to the floor — the car would struggle to stay at 60km/hr while at the same time making ugly sounds that would wake the dead.
But truth-be-told, I didn’t find it that bad. There was a tiny bit of relief after 1km where the road got a little less steep, which I initially thought was the end, but then I could see around the corner and instantly realised that section was just a warm-up. A big sign said “2km of steep road” ahead. “Fantastic,” I thought. I rested as best I could on this tiny bit of respite and then started counting crank-revolutions again. I also had some tunes in my ears to distract me from the pain. Periodically I shifted from sitting forward on the saddle (using my quads) to shifting as far back on the saddle and “lifting” (using my calves). Bizarrely at one point I found myself trying to use my arms to lift me higher.
One of those awesome downhills (in the distance) followed by a shit-shit climb on the Montville plateau.
Eventually I caught up to Tom and I hugged his wheel for a bit thinking he was just taking it easy. After 20 crank-revs I decided to pass him and then I started feeling actually — good. I caught up to Scott and just enjoyed the rest of the climb. I know that sounds crazy but my body had suddenly come to the party and I felt supreme.
A bit of “surprise” gravel at the bottom of the descent from Mapleton. I had just hit almost 80km/hr and had to mash on the brakes to deal with this shit
And indeed the whole ride after that was almost like I was as fresh as if I had just left home. But Tom on the other hand was suffering. And this is the very first time I have seen him in this state. It’s not like I am gloating, it’s just, well, refreshing to see him as a human being for a change! It was only a few months ago that he beat me up Tambourine by at least 5 minutes! I should also say we only arrived 15 seconds ahead of him — so it wasn’t that big of a deal — but it still gave Scott and me lots of material to give Tom a little friendly ribbing.
[Also of note on this climb I looked down and my Garmin ticked over the magic, and personally unprecedented, 2000m of elevation. That achievement — which has alluded me for a while, was quite glorious.]
I’ll fast-forward over those beautiful rolling Blackall Range hills and return to the story at Nambour. We found the train station and realised we had missed a train by 10 minutes. The next train was over an hour away. I suggested we have a beer and this seemed to be a popular idea so we tried to find a pub but couldn’t. So a better idea hatched. We found a bottle-o in a shopping centre and Scott and I bought Smirnoff Blacks — the clear stuff. We then found a discreet spot and poured that shit into our water-bottles.
We then retired to the last seats on the platform and waited/party’d on for the train. And once on the train, naturally I did something stupid.
THE STORY OF HOW I ACCIDENTALLY STOPPED THE TRAIN
So we were about 30 minutes into the journey from Nambour to Caboolture. As there was a toilet on the train I got up and went in. And because the train was rocking around and I was in cleats I really couldn’t stand up that steadily so I leant against the wall for some support and because I try to be a good citizen I wanted my aim in this public facility to be as true as possible.
And as I had had quite a bit of liquid of late – not just booze – I knew this trip to the facilities wasn’t going to be a short one. So I am blissfully gushing away giving Niagara Falls a bit of competition and the train suddenly comes to an abrupt stop, with all that bumping and rocking, and at the time I remember thinking, “Good thing I am leaning against this wall. Genius.”
But then just as the train slams to a stop I hear this voice through an intercom saying quite gruffly, “What’s your problem?”.
I kept on urinating for at least another 5 seconds before I figured out that the “voice” might just be directed at me. Maybe. I pushed off the wall and instantly saw I had been leaning quite intently on the emergency help button and freaked out. “OMG! I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to push that. I was just leaning…oh god…Sorry!”
The voice at the other end said, quite a bit more gruffly, “Yeah…alright.” And then the train started moving again.
So I didn’t get to finish my pee and had to cross my legs all the way to Caboolture. I guess that was justice.
And so I made it eventually to Ormiston, at about 8pm — only about 3 hours after I had planned! But I got to the restaurant just before the main courses and just before the bottle-shop closed – so all was good!
And here are the birthday girls — all born a day apart (just different years) — plus the birthday cake.