Redlands/storm ride

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Today’s ride accidentally got a bit dramatic when we were smashed by this massive storm just as we got back to Brisbane. But more on that later.

So I met the crew at Planet Cycles this morning at 6am and we had accidentally chosen the exact time the shop ride was leaving. There were consequently dozens of riders looking very pro. Bike riders are funny.Image

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On the way to the top of West Mt Cotton road as you briefly dip down the 20% section we passed this poor dude in a polka dot jersey walking his bike up the hill. Lol.

At the top we had a rest. The humidity was evil and I had to wring out the sweat from my gloves — never had to do that before.

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Next Tom took us on a cyclocross adventure on German Church Road.

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After breakfast in Cleveland we headed back via Wynnum Road and Belmont Road eventually ending up at Crankstar in Camp Hill.

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After gushing over the Rapha merch we had some coffee and the owner was like, “Um are you guys riding anymore today?”

And we were like, “Just home.”

And he said, “Cause there’s this huge storm coming. It looks all red on BOM

So I checked my phone and was like, “Right — let’s get going!”

This is what the storm looked like at that point

Tom peeled off towards his home and Benny, Scott and me plowed on. The lightning in distance got more and more prevalent and the sky turned black. I really thought we’d make it but by the time we got to Milton the rain had started and the thunder and lightning seemed almost directly overhead.

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Across Milton Road it just got instantly insane. I headed west and straight into the gale while Benny and Scott headed towards Paddington. I smashed as hard as I could to get home in these cyclonic conditions and eventually made it quite saturated and leaving puddles all through the house.

Benny, I found out later, had to seek shelter in a church doorway until the storm passed.

But – of course – it was a great ride!

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The other news from today it that I got my 10,000ks for the year.

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A Ride to Sydney

Not my photo btw

TONIGHT

After a decent mash of the riverloop we had a planning meeting at Archive in West End about a big ride that I have somehow proposed in one of those moments of extreme enthusiasm I am hyper-prone to.

And it is a ride to Sydney — just under 1000kms away.

Usually I would not announce this sort of adventure just because it was so crazy and was likely to be abandoned at the last minute when everyone came to their senses, but this little excursion seems to be gaining momentum and the people who will be committing to it with me seem, well, a bit “committed”.

HOW I GOT HERE

And throughout my entire life – that route between Brisbane and Sydney has been my most travelled major journey. (If you count a major journey above, say, 200ks.)

This is because my mother moved to Sydney when I was 6 and when I was about 8 I went there for the very first time. That first time my dad came with me on the epic day-long train journey, but a year later I was taking that same train journey all by myself — something that would not be allowed these days I expect. And then me and dad moved to Sydney and so I found myself going up to Brisbane a few times a year.

Anyway, this journey, and it didn’t matter which way I was going — it was meaningful.

And so in those times of youthful angst or wilful desperation I can remember when I was particularly upset at a particular parent this thought of escape would spring to mind. So I would fantasise about packing up a backpack and walking up the highway to Brisbane (or Sydney) — escaping all my troubles and being one with the ROAD — Jack Kerouac style.

But then I remembered how big a deal that would be and I would soon enough calm down and chill.

So this journey has been in my heart for a very long time and now, for the first time in my life, I think it is achievable by my own volition. And so here we are.

THE RIDE

And this route we are kinda wedded to, all the way to Sydney, is quite a bit “the scenic route” — by no means the easiest or most direct. It will be entirely self-supported. A credit card, a phone charger and one single set of normal clothes is pretty much all we will be taking (other than what we would normally take on a big bike ride).

DAY 1 — GOLD COAST to GRAFTON (244kms)

And because of that it feels ok to cheat a little by taking the train to Varsity Lakes (cause we have rode those bullshit roads to the Gold Coast so many times).

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DAY 2 — GRAFTON to NAMBUCCA HEADS (131kms)

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DAY 3 — NAMBUCCA HEADS to TAREE (202kms) [via Port Macquarie, Ocean Road and Bonney Hills]

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DAY 4 — TAREE to NEWCASTLE (173km) [Via Airport]

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DAY 5 — NEWCASTLE to SYDNEY (168kms)

Oh boy. I am not sure if I can do it, but I really, really want to give it a fucking go. And sometimes you just have to dive in and worry about the consequences later.

I took this shitty panorama photo on Bondi Beach in 2002

West Mt Cotton/Redland Bay Ride

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Good fucking ride today. Just over 100kms and a lot of brand new roads which were fantastic. This time it was Tom and Nick — who I had not met before. Scotty got a bit excited last night at Archive so was AWOL. Ry Ry had something come up and Shirts was just well, Shirts — a man of mystery.

Conditions were a bit “shit”, but thankfully there wasn’t much rain, just really wet and grubby roads. Traffic was pretty light seeing as it was a public holiday.

So it was mostly Tom navigating today and he led us down Logan Road then left at Broadwater Road just past Mt Gravatt. Then we were on Mt Cotton Road hooking right at West Mt Cotton Road and up that tough little pinch. At the top is a little village of really old and cute-in-a-dilapidated-way houses.

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We saw a bunch of kangaroos but no koalas.

You could see the Gold Coast from up here:

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After smashing down that little mountain we headed south again and then left at Carbrook towards the Bay. We finally got some tailwinds here after battling head or crosswinds all morning. The road surface was so smooth and sitting on 40km/hr was effortless.

It would be nice to take Shirts down here one day, let him loose, and see how long we could hang onto his wheel at 60km/hr.

The road swung directly north and we were now in rolling hills. Wet, but very pretty fields all around and glimpses of the Bay and the Islands to our right every now and again.

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It was quite a surprise to come upon this place which has some significance to certain people who might just be reading this.

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At Cleveland we said goodbye to Nick who had already that morning smashed out a riverloop and was feeling a bit tired.

So Tom and I headed home the most direct way and then my front derailleur was suddenly stuck in the little ring. My whole gears had been misbehaving all weekend and had I just put it down to a worn-out chain/cassette. So it looks like I have to change them now.

Tom is a MASTER of rolling epic distances in the small chainring so he was quite excited by this. I wasn’t that enamoured and the smash down Camp Hill was pretty boring not being able to generate some serious wattage.

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I said goodbye to Tom at Carindale and got home buzzing with that blissful glow only the best of the best rides can deliver.

POST SCRIPT (plus bonus pics)

The cat left me two presents the past two days, in the same spot, where I make a pile of my cycling kit for easy access in the morning. Naturally she was just making sure I had enough protein for the ride. Thanx puss.