For our second overnight ride of the year we chose Noosa and we made it a bit of a party because Dee and Ali and JJ drove up to join us — and we met Dayne (who splits his home between Brisbane and Noosa) up there as another bonus.
So at about 5:30 Saturday morning Shirts, me and Scott headed out into the dying dark. Almost immediately there was a bang and the hiss of escaping air coming from Shirts’ rear wheel. It was a sound we were going to get used to today. I have never seen Shirts get a flat, yet that day he got four. Yep, four. Which is just a silly amount of bad luck. If you scripted that for a movie, people would think you were on drugs.
And here is a mosaic of each and every one of shirts’ flats. Just documented for the AGES.
And it was a brand new tyre and was fitted the night before in a slightly inebriated state. So apparently it was because it wasn’t beaded well enough. I dunno. Shirts had all these excuses! (Just kidding!)
Anyway, that sorted we headed up Gympie Road and managed to catch up to a MB Cycles bunch and suck their wheels for at least 20ks. It also helped that the wind seemed to be at our backs. So the going was easy. Too easy – even though the average speed crept above 32. But it would be a long day and any early help would be much appreciated later.
So I had a chat with the dude at the back and just got dragged along and Shirts and Scott didn’t seem to mind. But at Strathpine the MB crew headed left and now suddenly on our own the going got so much more noticeable.
Just a bit later I accidentally led the group down the wrong road, (Narangba Road) and eventually when things looked quite different I said to Shirts, “Are we going the right way?” And he was like, “No.”
“Oh.” I said, “But this road goes to Caboolture — right?” And luckily Shirts said it did and it turned out to be a far nicer road, scenic and less traffic, and only added about 5kms to the journey plus about 50m of extra climbing — NBD.
But there was one little incident.
We saw this sign saying a roundabout was ahead and Scott was in front and a car was heading in from the road at the left and Scott seemed to be giving way to it. Shirts and me were a bit bemused by this, “You don’t give way to cars on the left at a roundabout”. So I followed Shirts as he pushed through, but then I tentatively perceived two big STOP signs I had previously been oblivious to and the car on the left wasn’t slowing down and it punched through like a missile and missed me by a metre or two. He would have had a great view of me too – but no sense of caution. So we realised later that the road we were on ended and then just a few metres later it led into that roundabout on the right. A really, really stupid intersection.
So yeah — it was my fault and I blew that stop sign — and I spent the next 10 minutes just a bit queasy struggling who to blame — me or the design of the road? I settled on a draw.
Past Caboolture we hit the country roads and had a break in Beerburrum. I had a chiko roll — which seemed to be the only edible substantial food at the store there and did my second-ever mid-ride use of the facilities for matters other than number ones. Apologies for that extra detail, but that’s what happened, and under the circumstances I felt it needed to happen. These rides mean you get up so unnaturally early and all your normal patterns get thrown about.
A few kilometres later and Shirts flatted again. Scott and I had a bit of a LOL and got to see Shirts’ considerable talent in tube changes all over again. See, a few years ago when I first flatted in front of Shirts he saw me fluffing about, taking forever and just being a general deadshit and soon went, “Ugh, you’re doing it wrong” and grabbed the wheel off me and took over — attempting 1) to get going again ASAP and 2) showing me how to do it right so he never had to suffer the bullshit I was displaying ever again. (Admittedly I learnt a lot that day.)
At Beerwah we turned left and about 5kms later we hit the gentle and civil climb up to Peachester. It was so gentle and civil I stopped to take a snap of the obscured but awesome views of the Glasshouse Mountains not realising we would get even more spectacular views — perhaps the best views of this range — just a tiny bit later.
Then we turned right onto “Bald Knob Rd” (LOL) which wasn’t signposted, but it looked right and said it led to Maleny. This road was suggested to us by someone commenting on my blog about the Nambour ride. And wow. It was one of the most beautiful road climbs I’ve ever done. Thanks dude! Even when it got really steep and fucking hurt I forgave it, just cause there was so much beauty all around.
We stopped to gush over the incredible view.
And then there was this lonely caravan in the middle of this serene field with the most epic view. Wow.
At the top we headed over the Blackall Range and through those massive gullies up there. They would look like champagne glasses from the side. There’s at least three of them and that day this is what they meant to a bike rider: you head down a 10-12% drop at 70kms an hour (with a crazy cross wind to complicate things), then smash through the tiny plateau at the bottom and then get about a third of the way up the other end before your speed plummets and plummets to virtually nothing as you slowly rake yourself out of that shit.
After the second of these bad-boys I looked back and noticed Shirts was missing. So I screamed at Scott who was about 100m ahead. That didn’t work so I literally had to shout the loudest I could manage. And just quietly (pun intended), being in a band and having to sing and growl like Kurt Cobain occasionally has taught me some skills in this department. This time Scott heard my WAIL and we turned around and grudgingly headed back up that 12% hill. We knew we had to go back cause Shirts would have run out of tubes by now and would need ours.
At the top Shirts was changing his third flat. As it turned out he had patched that tube and was attempting to repair a 2cm tear in the sidewall of the tyre. For a bit it looked like this would be irreparable, but with some patches and a $5 bill the tyre was good again.
A HELL OF A WAY DOWN
After a stop at Montville for food and Scott’s enormous disappointment that his favourite patisserie didn’t stock some goodie he craved (the one he had so loved from our last visit) we turned right at Phillips Road. And the bitumen ahead just seemed to disappear. And even though it was virtually straight, at the bottom was a corner. So we had to squeeze a good deal of lever to keep our speed under 70kms/hr. Indeed, if we ever do this again, it just might be ok to do this descent without much (or any) braking. But we simply didn’t know what that corner, beyond our vision, really meant.
Pushing though Nambour we stopped at Yandina — the ginger capital of Queensland! Scott rang Dayne and they decided he was going to meet us at Coolum. Meanwhile Scott was also increasingly worried about this pain in his knee — but more on that later. After a tiny detour cause we got confused looking for the road to Coolum we hit the cane fields. A few shitty hills gave way to a mostly flat section and that gusty south-westerly wind just maybe started working in our favour and Scott was leading and then seemed to be fading so Shirts dragged us ahead.
Dayne loves stretching!
A bit later there was Dayne waiting for us after a roundabout. And we said our hellos and had a break and Dayne gave us a bit of a tour of his ‘hood. At one point he pointed to something in the distance and there seemed to be a few hundred metres of burnt grass and then I realised there was a smashed and burnt out car in the middle. “Stolen car that crashed. That made the news,” Dayne exclaimed!
Welcome to Coolum!
So 2 roundabouts later we hear Shirts swearing like a cut snake and we stop and realise it is flat number 4. Surreal. But Dayne, almost just to accentuate the surreality of the occasion, points across the road and there’s a bike store perfectly adjacent. So we walk over and take another much-needed break from the heat — perhaps now approaching 30 degrees — in the shade of the alley beside. (My jersey had been stained with salt-sweat marks for the last 80ks.)
Dayne is a local so is all chummy with the staff and Shirts buys 3 tubes and sorts out his most recent malaise and makes use of the store’s pump.
The last 15kms was a bit tough but David Low Way has a generous bike lane the whole way which is nice. But Scott was suffering. His knee was fucked and he limped along trying not to exacerbate the situation.
Just at Noosa I almost came unstuck. I was coasting down a hill and in this daze of just having ridden 177kms I didn’t notice this semi-camoflaged traffic island until literally a milli-second before it was too late and I did this massive counter-measure and missed certain doom by inches.
I like to have a very refreshing nap on Saturday afternoon after a big morning ride. I mean, that day I had been awake since 3:30am (I woke up and being so eager just couldn’t get back to sleep). Scott calls this “two saturdays”. You have this big adventure in the morning, have a nap and wake up and it’s like Saturday all over again — and an even better Saturday cause you can get toasty and smash some awesome food.
Because Dee, Ali and JJ were still an hour or so away, we went for a trip to Subway just in our sweaty kit and barefeet, Back at the main apartment I was feeling quite zombified, so I slunk off for that sleep next door. In my state I didn’t want to mess up the bed or manchester so I used a towel as a pillow and slept on the floor for about 30mins. It was glorious.
Back at the main apartment I was about to have a beer when the driving party arrived. Crucially Dee had brought a change of clothes and with this civility I dived into our shower and banished my stinky jersey and knicks.
“Amnesia Clothing” WTF? Instantly forgettable? Also “Open 7 days” just in case you forget.
Not sure what happened here!
“Monday is ‘Ladies Night'” with the wet T and wet jock comp. Classy!
After drinking (a lot — definitely a new record) and stories and laughs and Thai for dinner and Scott, Ali, Dee and JJ sneaking a trip to the spa after curfew, we all retired.
I slept so, so fucking good. Best sleep for ages.
The next morning Scott had a test ride to see if his knee was any better and he decided it was still fucked. So the new plan was just me and Shirts heading towards Nambour or maybe Landsborough for the train home.
While we all got organised, Scott Tetris’d the car getting his bike and all the luggage and gear into the boot. Then we went for breakfast at this wine bar down the road. Yep. That’s how Noosa rolls. And while we sat there we had a perfect view of every bike that went by. And 90% of them were TT bikes or road bikes with TT bars. One dude was even rocking a sperm helmet. You hardly see a TT bike in Brisbane, yet up here it was a different world. Bizarre.
After breakfast Shirts and I headed off. He led the whole way. And it was into a brutal headwind which I only noticed if I strayed a tiny bit left or right of his line. But snug in behind him I was almost in a cocoon. He was going nuts and the average speed went over 35 at one point. But then after some very steep climbs it still stayed above 34.
After a roundabout when Shirts had to necessarily slow down I said to him — should we just go down the motorway? Technically bikes aren’t allowed but this would be the most direct route and avoid any navigational worries I had about getting to Landsborough.
And that’s what we did. There were no signs saying we couldn’t so I felt legit. That didn’t stop a bunch of cars beeping at us. We were utterly and absolutely no inconvenience to them — yet they chose to do this pathetic “beep protest”. How fucking weak these people must be. It must really, really suck to be them. Oh well. 🙂
But just smashing at 40km/hr was pretty tough along that tiny bit of concrete. (And remember Shirts was grinding into a serious headwind). Any slight downhill the speed picked up to 45 and on climbs it was at least 33. FARK!
Eventually I broke at this big hill at Parkwoods and Shirts made the call that we should head to Nambour.
And just like it was ordained — the train was there waiting for us, it was a direct train to Brisbane and went express through some deadshit stops. YAY! Naturally Shirts got off at Petire to smash out some more k’s and in that spirit I got off at Eagle Junction and was a tiny bit proud of my extra 16kms which I brutalised as best I could to arrive home with a 30.6 km average. Just saying!