Killarney Overnightah (pt 1)


Although this ride was fucking awesome and epic and beautiful and a bunch of other superlatives — ultimately it ended up being a much tougher ride than anyone expected. Like much, much tougher. Both days. There were moments when I thought this was a bridge too far. I couldn’t help but compare it to the Boonah Ovanightah from April which was another gravel adventure in a similar direction and over pretty much the same distance. But this ride was twice as tough as that. More hills. Much, much more gravel and a real remoteness. For instance if disaster struck in the 35k section around White Swamp there would be real, real trouble. Plus there was the absence of any opportunity to replenish water, which led to (in my opinion) desperate measures. More on that later.

80% gravel and hills and hills and more hills

I don’t think it is much of an exaggeration to say Day 1 was about 80% gravel. I kinda fucked up here. I really didn’t do enough research to work that out. I just saw road on the map and assumed it would be a bit of gravel, then a bit of bitumen. Stuff would even out. I did a bit of google street view exploration and of course that stuff just cannot accurately detail what the practical conditions are. It’s all lies. The severity of any steepness is entirely under-represented and any gravel looks smooth and inviting.


So I was being a conscientious Di2 rider and put my bike’s battery on charge on Thursday night. Friday morning I attempted to plug that battery back in but the lever that secured it suddenly snapped. Disaster. I rode it over to Scott at Velo in the Valley single-speed-style for rescue but the whole system was fucked. I would need a new bike. I thought this adventure was all over for me. Luckily Scott had his Specialized Crux. But it had no wheels. Then Jesse, god bless him, donated his wheels to complete the ensemble and I was back in business. But in my heart of hearts I was super glad to ride a cross-bike — a bike much more suited to these conditions. It would be far more comfortable and ideal for the hardest part: the 20ks and 14 river crossings at the end. But I was wrong.

WAKE UP SCOTTY! (part 1)

So I was picking Scott up in a car and ferrying him to the meet point at a place called Mt Alford, just south of Boonah. I rock up only about 10 minutes early and there is zero sound emanating from his flat. I can see into the living areas (which are empty) so I knock on the window I assume belongs to the bedroom. Something stirs. Suddenly the front door opens and here is Scott in some flesh-coloured jocks and my reflexes kicked in. It takes me a micro-second to spin away (hoping they were in fact flesh-coloured jocks and not a completely-naked-just-woken-man) and I start dragging the bikes to the car. Thankfully they were on the deck and I could get busy without actually entering the flat with this possible naked person lumbering about attempting to get ready.

Only about 5 minutes later and Scott appears at the car fully dressed and carrying his panniers looking almost completely composed. Well done. Soon we are heading south and although Scott has not had a chance at his morning poo, I assure him there is a public toilet at the ride start that will suit this necessity.

At Boonah we get pastries and pull into the Mt Alford Hotel’s carpark only just a bit late. Us parking here didn’t seem like an issue, but we got some grief for it later as you shall see. Duggie (AKA Cameron) and Wookie (AKA Brad) were setting up. A minute or two later Dan arrived — making our full crew of 5 complete.

Of note, Duggie and me (et al) had done a trip to Killarney back in 2014. That was a super-tough ride too, but a road-bike and bitumen thing. That standard route to Killarney.


Duggie and I had collaborated on this ride — both of us being such fans of the country out here and that first adventure. We were both super-enthused. And Duggie wanted to put in the Condamine River Road, while I was all about adding this White Swamp arc. Then Duggie included an extension at the start — just to make the final tally of kilometres respectable at about 82. This excursion out to Moogerah Dam was super-beautiful but pretty bumpy. 20ks later at its end I could feel that it had taken a big chunk out of my overall awesomeness. In other words, my legs were starting to whinge a bit.

So the route when viewed from above looked like a figure 8 with an extra circle attached. On the map Duggie layed-out — and stuck to the pannier on the front of his bike — it looked beautiful. There wasn’t much overlap between Day 1 and Day 2. Maybe only 4ks.



So it took us about 20 mins to get all our shit together and just about 100ms after we started rolling I remembered my wallet was still in the car. Bullet-dodged we were properly off. Then I said to Scott, “Oh yeah, how do you change gears on this thing?” (I wasn’t used to a SRAM gear-setup.) It turned out to be pretty cool. You only had to use your right hand and it was a half-click to go down to a tougher gear and a full-click to hit the granny-gears. Loved it. But in saying that, my hills-gear only went to 40-28, which meant a lot of grinding while everyone else got to spin almost twice as much. But beggars can’t choosey.


Around the dam we hit an amazing road that skirted the Main Range peaks south of Cunningham’s Gap. It was so “Australia”. There was even a flock of gallahs and occasionally we saw kangaroos leaping out of sight.





30ks in and we passed the “Head Road”: the route up from that 2014 ride. Duggie shuddered when he contemplated what we did that day. “That climb gives me shivers,” he said. And so we committed ourselves to a new way up. It turned to gravel almost immediately and it was pleasant for about 5ks and then it started getting shitty. By now the sun was getting near it’s peak and my jersey was saturated. Despite it being deep into May, the humidity was nuts and I knew exactly then that water, or lack thereof, was going to be an issue. We stopped for a break just as the first 12% hill loomed. We could literally see it snake it’s way up. In my head I was like, “Yeah, once that’s over that’s the worst of it.” I definitely even said that. So up we went and at the point where it looked too epic to waste blowing up my legs I got off the bike and walked. And Wookie instantly reciprocated. He was so appreciative. Wookie had been off the bike for 5 weeks due to life-stuff and needed to take it gentle. I have a philosophy of no-shame-walking. When it’s so steep there’s no need destroying your legs when you can get up that bullshit by walking. And especially when you get to the top only about 30% later than riding up.


IMG_0138Me! taken by Duggie.


That pinch done we rolled on expecting things to get civil, but then bang! Another sign saying “12%”. Ugh. Once again me and wookie did a bit of walking. I kept telling everyone, “I think this is the worst of it over”. But sure enough I was proven utterly wrong and everyone started cursing any optimism I tried to put down. Quite rightly it should be said. The third time the sign came about (this time 13%) Duggie and Dan started walking. By the 4th, another one of those evil 13% fuckstains, Scott had succumbed too and we five were all trudging up the road on foot.







Eventually at the top was the NSW border and we rested for a bit and then thankfully we did get some relief — in the sense that is was more down than up for 10ks. But there were a few shitty little hills randomly biting us whenever they felt like it. The terrain was just so random it just didn’t make sense. There were super-crazy descents but then another pinch straight away. We’d get a sudden burst of bitumen on a downhill only to find that at the very bottom, where you were travelling so fucking fast, was a point where it changed to gravel.


Another random section was a super-incredible descent (on bitumen) which Wookie nailed — he is one of those fearless downhill riders and has a bunch of KOMs or near KOMs to prove it. At the bottom in a dip was a dodgy culvert and Scott got a flat. But it was a beautiful place to change a tube under this big ancient gum tree with Mt Wilson looming over us.


A bit later, at White Swamp proper, we were turning right and it was up and up again. There was more walking and it was now super-warm. Touching on 28 degrees and super-humidity. Meanwhile Scott decided he had to roll. He explained that with the panniers at the back of his bike it was just fucked to walk his rig. Every step and your calf would bang into the rear bag. So as he struggled ahead we 4 just sauntered up. Everyone was really, really feeling the intensity of this adventure.

At the dilapidated border crossing where we went back into Queensland again we could see our next target: the Condamine River Road. But then everyone was like, “I’ve got no water left.” I had about 600mls (some of which was still frozen) sitting in my backpack. Everyone was too polite to drink more than a mouthful and thus was determined to drink the water from the creek. I was mortified. “Dudes, there’s houses down there. I will knock on a door and see if we can get some.” Implying there was no need to drink untreated river-water from country surrounded by cattle. But no one listened. It seemed like a challenge. Something primal. Meanwhile I just thought of how Bart dared Lisa to drink the water in that episode of the Simpsons. EEK.






We slid down and turned left onto a brief section of bitumen (the same bitumen as from 2014) and then right onto white gravel. According to my Garmin we had 21ks to go. But seeing as the last 60ks had taken well over 4 hours I was starting to wonder if I would start suffering soon. Like “Suffering” in the EVIL sense. There was no question that I was suffering in a GENERAL sense, I just feared that situation escalating. And confronting us now was all dirt and 14 points where the road crossed the river. After a particularly brutal pinch Wookie looked in trouble. We stopped and assessed the situation. He ate some more food and drank some of my water, but he was struggling. I really wondered how brutal this next section would be.


me_duggiePhoto by Dan!

As it turned out, this period was incredible: beautiful and awesome and all our spirits were lifted. I would almost rate this section as a “breeze”. But just quietly.

See we got to stop and get our feet wet. Like saturated. Some of us (not me) tried to smash through and ford the crossings. It should be said the other four got quite good at it towards the end. Me: I managed to only cross the river once in a very easy section. (I made a promise to Jesse that I would walk the bike over all the river — so as not to potentially damage the wheels).

But back to the third crossing, where the river suddenly didn’t look as muddy from all the 4WD activity. Here is where the crew started filling up their water-bottles and drinking the water. Gulping it down. They said it tasted amazing and was clear and cool. I was horrified, but I was in no position to argue. We were desperate and everyone was sick of my optimism.





Onwards and it was actually really fun every time a crossing came up. It was like a computer game working out where to cross and there were 4WDs around either being dickheads or gawking at us. At one point we passed an honesty-system stall where you could pay $5 to get to feed some horses. As awesome as that looked, we really had to roll on. Everyone agreed this section had really made the ride exponentially special.



IMG_0244In most crossings you had no idea what the bottom looked like cause the water was so muddy.



IMG_0246I think Dan was the first to successfully get across without stepping down. Kudos.



IMG_0241Pic by Duggie!


And then we were back on sealed roads and in Killarney central and at the Foodworks buying all the hot baked-savories they hadn’t sold yet before they were due to be thrown out.



1) Too much baked-savories
2) Room booking fail and your bikes are not welcome here
3) Locals only!
4) Friends are made
5) “You outta towners stealing our sheilas!”
6) A definitive list of things you can literally get away with at a country pub (some of which are awesome and some of which are not that.)
7) Drama with barman
8) More “Friends!”
9) 2:30am and some of us are still awake
10) Wookie takes a stand



Bumpy Lake Manchester Ride

Waking up to the news of another epic gun tragedy in a country where just this week a few States were ‘umming and arring’ about banning guns from workplaces just makes you so angry. So angry you just have to punish some hills to calm the blood.

I almost cancelled today’s ride cause mum is visiting and today was gonna be busy but then got a rush of blood to the head last night cause Shirts was like, “Just do a shorter ride – DER!” and then he doesn’t even show up! He is certainly a man of mystery.

But luckily Tom and Benny made it and we set off to Lake Manchester — north of Ipswich — on Tom’s suggestion.

And it was a bumpy ride all the way. Lot’s of shitty little hills, many that were fucking steep.

Plus Tom seems to be a magnet for dirt roads which mean you have to really, really concentrate of the road, trying to avoid the big rocks and finding the safest lines but trying to keep the bike straight.


ImageThe View from Mt Bill Cosby



ImageTom: “There should be more dirt roads in Queensland!”


At the end of the Lake Manchester Road — which incidentally had a very, very sweet and straight downhill where I broke 80km/hr — was this old building and a mango tree, but no lake. It seemed you had to go down this rutted and narrow and steep dirt road so we collectively said, fuck it, and turned around.

Then we turned right into Kholo Road which we hoped led to Ipswich. This road went on forever and had many bullshit pinches and never seemed to be heading towards civilization. I started wondering if we were lost.


But then we arrived at the Warego Hwy and all was well. After a pastry at some bakery we skipped through the ‘Switch and at Riverview we jumped on this brand new bit of bikepath. It was nice and smooth, but it kept crossing roads and at one point becoming a footpath. It was just too fiddly. I think we’ll stick to our usual route next time.Image


ImageBenny got a flat outside the Correctional Facility, but we needed a rest anyway.

ImageJust Tom wandering around kids play equipment.


Then Benny shot off to do a Mt Coot-tha on his way home — he is a machine that boy — and me I road with Tom a bit just so I could get over 100kms. When I got home I was the kind of hungry where if you just tap your stomach all your insides hurt.



Since He Started To Ride (pt1)

So the title is a JONATHAN RICHMAN reference, but it’s essentially the story of how I came to ride bikes. And it is a big story so I have to spilt it in two.


I actually owned my first road bike at 11 — but we called them “racers”. Naturally before that I’d been rocking a BMX — all single-speeds with coaster brakes — but then I got it in my head I needed an upgrade so I put my BMX on the footpath with a sign saying “FOR SALE”. The buyer knocked me down from the sign’s quite artisticly represented “$50” (lovingly hand-painted on the biggest and fattest stretch of found-cardboard around) to something like $38.50. I caved, being a lover not a fighter even when it came to economics. Then with some more saved funds, some begging and borrowing — my dad and I went out to K-Mart at Toombul Shoppingtown and put $180 down. It was a black 10-speed and I have no idea what make it was. But I do remember it was a Thursday late-night-shopping and I felt incredibly guilty as I rolled that brand-new bad boy down the mall because ever single kid we passed gave me this look of amazement, trying their best to conceal their jealousy. If it was up to me they could have all had brand new bikes too — but of course it wasn’t.

Despite my love of that bike — we only got about a year together. I remember it taught me one crucial thing — the glory of the sense of speed. It was almost a religious experience to travel that fast down a hill so exposed. Any bike rider will tell you it feels like flying and I will never forget where I was when I felt that feeling for the very first time.


But then everything changed. First of all our shitty Australian helmet laws came into force and my Dad was such a fuddy-duddy about safety. I remember when I took my “pads” off my BMX he made me put them back on saying, “Do you want to have kids one day?” My friends all heard this and laughed themselves silly once he was out of esr-shot. So dad bought me a bright orange Stack-Hat — the most stupid-looking helmet ever and a design tragedy. It was heavy, bulky, could be seen from Space, possibly growth-stunting and universally ridiculed in the school-yard.


(Stack-hat art – not my photo obviously)

So helmets made riding a bit like a chore. Most of my friends didn’t wear them and certainly didn’t have a dad that would get in his car and secretly follow you just to bust you when he caught you not wearing your helmet and drag you home for punishment — so I was a bit of a leper in any bike crew.

The other big change was the real clincher. Dad and I moved to the madness of inner-city Sydney — and city kids didn’t ride bikes in that jungle. I tried a few times but it was just nonsense so that 10-speed got sold to a friend at school who lived a great deal further out in the suburbs and I literally didn’t touch another bike for at least 10 years.


And when I attempted riding again, it was quite disastrous. My sister’s old roadie had somehow ended up in my possession and I excitedly rode it around the two blocks closest to my house. And after climbing the rather pathetic hill just before home, I staggered off and threw the bike across the lawn. My heart was going nuts and my lungs acted like I had a 5 pack-a-day cigarette habit. It seriously felt like an asthma attack — an affliction I thought I’d grown out of. And to make matters worse I was locked out of the house. Once everything calmed down I threw the bike under the house and there it stayed for another few years melting away with rust.

But then I started dating a woman who commuted to work by bike — and as a night-shift worker — packing shelves at Coles until 2am. And I was staggered by the distance she covered and the one time she came home all cut up and grazed after a minor witching-hour crash. Her commute was only about 8km each way, but to my tiny brain that seemed epic. I was so worried about her bike riding — an instinct I now revile it should be said — I would regularly set my alarm so I could “surprise” pick her up and chuck her bike in the back of my shitty Corolla hatchback and be all fuddy-duddy just like my dad — driving her home.


But a tiny bit of me was inspired and I dragged out my sister’s rapidly disintegrating machine and we went on some rides together, many of which resulted in moments when I was seriously close to vomiting. And she would regularly laugh at me in that state when I was slumped over, head-spinning and in spew-town. Somehow that grief of humiliation motivated me to steadily gain some skills and eventually I managed to go for a decent ride and actually enjoy it.


It was then that I bought a second-hand bike from the Weekend Shopper classifieds. It was a maroon Trek mountain bike. It was too small for me and squeaked and skipped gears and was generally shit — but it served me well. My overall fitness also improved as I had started hiking as well. I worked out a regular Sunday loop ride from my house in Windsor down to the city and then through Southbank, over the Story Bridge, through New Farm and home. And I did this same ride — which totaled only about an hour on the bike — fairly regularly for another 4 more years.


In September 2002 I started a part-time job in the city. And this job became my career — and the job I still have. And as you may have guessed — this month is actually my 10 year anniversary at my current place of work.

I have this aversion to public transport. It’s complicated, it’s slow, I have to get really chummy with deadshits and I hate just waiting around (at a bus or train stop) for stuff to happen. I fucking hate it, but bizarrely overseas it seems fantastic and a real adventure! So for this job I decided I would walk to and from work — 40-45 minutes each way. And this randomly coincided with my first iPod. I bought it as a present for myself for that birthday in 2002. It cost almost $800 but it changed my life — another story.

A bit later I started playing indoor netball and got even fitter which made my power-walking to and from work even easier. So on the bike I was now venturing a little further and then a little further.

I sold my car in April 2007 to finance my first big trip overseas and when I got home I hadn’t spent all the money so I decided to buy a new bike. And I was talked into buying a hybrid bike from the dude at Victor Cycles. It was another Trek, a 7.3, and I chose that brand just cause it was so familiar. It was jet-black and had these cool disc-brakes. It looked so tough and I absolutely loved it for the 5 months we spent together. It was this bike that made me feel the need to get serious.



That afternoon I rode home from work in the city — just cause I had to somehow get my new bike home. And cause I was too scared to ride in the city I walked the bike for about 800m up Albert Street and through the Mall and only started riding at the Roma Street Parklands. But this journey went quite well and halved the time of my usual walk. And so that day also marked the very last time I walked to work (as a given). And in those early days I refined and revised my bike commute once I got a bit better at bike skills and riding in traffic. A few weeks later I was on the bike door-to-door smashing through city traffic and filtering and drafting cars and it felt great.

And one Friday afternoon I had my first bike adventure. I was almost pissing myself as I stumbled and shaked uncontrollably around the office that afternoon knowing this ordeal was imminent. My destination was Dee’s folk’s place in Ormiston. That journey — in peak-hour along major roads and through an 80km/hr section with heinous merges — was about 35kms. I had at least 2 breaks and really suffered during the hilly bits — but I made it and the beer and food (and the glory) at the end had never, ever felt so good.


After a couple more of those successful journeys outside my comfort zone — I went to a bike store just down the road from work and told them I was looking to buy a road bike and was prepared to spend $1000. The dude almost laughed at me. These days you can buy a decent entry-level road bike for under a grand, but back then road biking was still a bit snobby and excessively expensive. So I went to a different store — just across the road — mostly in spite and hoping that wanker would see me coughing up my $2000. It was for my third Trek — a 1.7 (2007) and for those that care — alloy except for the seat post and forks, with a mixture of Shimano 105 and Ultegra. It didn’t have pedals like I knew and was used to — it had a weird Shimano contraption that locked your boots into the pedals like you were married with the bike. A system called “Clipless pedals”.

And of course that system would freak the shit outta me. But this was how all those road-bike riders who smashed past me on the bike paths did it and I wanted to learn and indulge in their secret. I clipped in for the first time on the bike path at Windsor and almost squashed a kid when I started falling over sideways unable to work out how to free my left leg.



And then I bought some lycra from the internet — because that was the next step you did if you wanted to ride (and be taken seriously). Lycra looked so silly, but felt so amazing and it also appealed to my logic, being so highly functional. It repelled all my sweat (which would make normal garments feel so wet and heavy and yukky after only 10ks) and it was light and it was so tight and aero. Having your clothes scream and flap about like they are having fits is not cool as you speed along. And I am man enough to say this: it made me look great. Serious, and like an athlete.

The first time I wore it I made sure it was very, very early in the morning. Kit made me feel so exposed and naked. My junk was just out there! And I was used to normal clothing which has that two-layer vibe — which means boxer-shorts are a secret fail-safe layer of protection against a wardrobe fail and any public exposure to my shame.

And for the first 20 minutes I rode in kit I may as well have been a ghost because (as far as I know) no one saw me. But then I rolled around and no one seemed to care and the lycra didn’t fail and actually made things more cool (see above).


Mount Coot-Tha was my first challenge — the front side for anyone who knows this climb. I knew you had to conquer hills if you wanted to be a bike rider. So I set off with this goal. Heartbreak Hill, the stupidly steep hill past the Gardens, just ruined me that time — and the next three times. I had to stop for ages in that little shady driveway as the road turns left. But when I eventually got to the top I actually sought out a bike rider up there as well and excitedly told him this was my first summit. He was a bit, “whatever” but I was still fucking excited and oblivious to him trying to level my enormous achievement.

And when I got that record speed on the way down I was hooked on mountains. Climbing and the suffering it entailed was actually so rewarding. You were suddenly so slow and the road and your pain had your ultimate concentration and all your stupid esoteric problems dissolved away so you only thought about this exact one – pain. Perspective was suddenly understood.

Bike riding was now like slipping through the Wardrobe into Narnia. And just like Lucy getting new friends over there in Narnia — soon riding would expose me to a new secret world where I would meet some of the bestest friends I have ever had.

HOSPITALISATION (or “How I knocked myself out and woke up in a pool of blood”)


One Saturday I went for a ride and all was going well. 85kms, one magpie attack and only one abusive driver later I was back home sipping powerade and eating leftovers and humming away at Facebook when suddenly I got this cramp in my leg that just wouldn’t stop. I got up and tried to walk it out but nothing worked and the pain was becoming unbearable. I could feel myself about to vomit or pass out so I sat down in the hall near the laundry and in my hurry to be horizontal I just flopped my head down.

What happened next was suddenly a bit weird. I could hear this music I assumed the neighbours were playing which sounded terrible and I lay there listening trying to work out what it was. Eventually it kinda faded away and I noticed the cramp in my leg had disappeared too. Still lying flat on my back the lino-tiles felt so cold and smooth so I stayed there until I was feeling well enough to grab my phone which was on a bench only a metre away. I grabbed it and lay back down as I rang Dee just to see how long she would be but maybe also cause I felt so bad I might need company. She was out with her fam and they were at Hamilton about to get coffee and then her younger brother wanted to talk to me about his new shoes and all that distraction made me feel better — so I kept quiet about how evil I felt just moments before.

After I hung up I lay there for another minute or two just gathering the strength to get up when I looked over just as I was deciding to move. And it was then that I noticed my left arm was covered in blood. I instantly sat up and saw this massive pool of blood like a halo around where my head had just been. “Oh fuck,” must have crossed my mind.

So then I mashed at my phone’s keypad trying to ring Dee back as quickly as possible. When she answered I spewed out the following like I was auditioning for a cover of Snow’s “Informer” — “OMG! I just hit my head – there’s blood everywhere – can you come home right NOW?!”

She asked me a bunch of questions but all I could say was “blood everywhere” and “OMG!”. So while I waited for rescue I had all this time to reflect so I remembered you should put pressure on any open wounds so I got a towel and wrapped that around my head and then I sat as calmly as I could and waited like I was Dale Cooper in that episode of Twin Peaks. While I sat there I couldn’t help but see how dead cool I looked with blood all over me.

So then Dee and her folks burst through the door (maybe not quite as dramatically as Harry and Hawk and Andy had in episode 8 of Twin Peaks) and Dee’s mum examined the wound and decided it needed medical attention. While I got sorted she cleaned up all my blood — Mary-Anne is such a trooper. So they bundled me into a car and I got wheeled into the hospital by wheelchair because I had another cramping fit outside Emergency.

Much drama ensued but it ended up with brain probes, various needles in my skull and 7 stitches and a full head bandage. I was eventually set free and we walked home and stopped at McDonalds as a treat for dinner (avec bandages!)



A massive effort for the boys today. Basically we rode from Brisbane to Ipswich, then out to Fernvale, past Wivenhoe and up the torturous back side of Mt Glorious, then through to Nebo, the Gap and home. So this ride was the reverse, plus some more, of this ride from earlier this year.

But the thing that differentiated today’s ride from that ride in March, apart from being significantly longer and a bunch of brutal, brutal climbing condensed into one horrendously-long section — was the fact there were no outs at the end. After Fernvale it was ride on or ride back to Ipswich, hitchhike* or curl up in a ball and cry.

And crucially, there was little or no phone coverage past Fernvale until the top of Glorious and there were no shops or towns or water or anything except road and nature for company.

* And 90% of the traffic were motorbikes so good luck trying that




Over 2530 metres climbed — a new record, 153km and a 26km/hr average speed. Not too shabby.


With an extra big breakfast in my belly I met the other three in our little group — Scott, Tom and Daniel (Gypsy).



Shirts was another mysterious no-show and so we set off at about 6:10 maybe thinking he might catch up to us. The pace was pretty relaxed and apart from attempting a new route through Wacol (which some riders heading back told us was impassable) the trip to Ipswich was uneventful. It was cold and there was a bit of a headwind — but it wasn’t that repressive.






At a bakery in Brassall we scoffed some food and then hit Pine Mountain Road. Daniel was feeling a bit sore so decided to bail just a few kilometres from Fernvale. So we three continued on and at the bakery bought more pastry-goodness and drinks. But then I did something I had never attempted before on a ride.


Me being “uncomfortable” — photo by Scott


I will tread delicately around this subject — but let’s just say I felt rather uncomfortable in my ‘gastric region’ around the Ipswich mark and by Fernvale things needed to be sorted. And ‘using the facilities’ in bike kit is hard enough when you’re doing a number one — but for anything else — you pretty much have to get 90% naked. Not cool, but I was desperate. So I dashed off across the road to the public toilets half-way through my sludgy pie and accepted my fate. Luckily the facilities were clean and mercifully empty of human traffic.

And so this little adventure was a complete success and I could ride on in peace.


Scott and his enormous bulge. Plus he had this trail-mix carton in the back of his jersey.Image

I like this cause it shows what it’s like for me to take photos while riding — and how many turn out stupid



After the shitty-little-hill outside Fernvale — which wasn’t too bad and had some relief in the middle we kinda felt the wind turning into our friend and the pace was pretty respectable. A few turns and we were on the road up to Glorious. It was all false-flats here but that tailwind helped.



Note the graffiti!


We stopped at a little picnic ground and had a snack and then Scott gave us all a gee-up. “Right! THE RIDE STARTS HERE BOYS. Everything we’ve done or you think you’ve done already today is meaningless. The RIDE starts HERE!”

And so we pushed off and that little rallying made me think I could do this with some respectability — ie not having to stop or walk the bike. But naturally that was a pipe-dream.


The first part was really, really tough and although I overtook Tom I could see Scott a hundred metres ahead violently fighting with his bike trying to keep the wheels spinning. Me, I was counting crank-turns and trying to get inspiration from the songs in my ears and although the graceful and relaxed tones of  “Little Eyes” by Yo La Tengo are fantastic, they couldn’t quite relax me or put me in any state of grace.

So I unclipped and trudged up around the corner to see Scott had stopped too.


Tom arrived soon after and we looked up and the next bit looked brutal. So off we went again and I literally made it only 50 metres before my legs were about to explode. I walked about 200 metres and then back on the bike and saw Tom had stopped again too and thankfully things got more civil from here on. There was no heroics — whenever it got easier I didn’t speed up, I just kept things steady.


There were so many motorbikes buzzing past and also these overweight dudes on these baby-bikes powered by postie-bike engines apparently. When I caught up to Scott he was like, “I want one!”

And I was like, “Why?” And he said, “OMG! They look like so much fun!” Chu crazy Scotty.


The reason I caught up with Scott was cause he had been stopped by one of these “baby-bike” fellas who had dropped something and was asking if we had seen it.

Anyway we continued on, thinking everytime there was any “down” we had reached the top. But these false summits were prolific. Eventually the mountain seemed to stop fucking with us and that undulating plateau began.



Because I am a dickhead — naturally I can’t help doing something silly with a healthy degree of frequency. So now Scott and I were riding together and Tom was a little bit behind and we smashed down this slope and were rolling along the flat bit at the bottom when I decided to whip out the camera for a shot and it immediately slipped from my grasp and went bouncing down the road. I was going at least 40kms/hr at the time. Scott saw it all unfold and stopped where the camera finally came to a rest.

I backtracked and we inspected the damage. The battery and the memory card had been ejected and luckily we found them on the road and then I said to Scott, “You know what, I bet you it still works.” And It did! Apart from a few dents and the casing being a bit warped, it seems to work fine. So I took this test photo of Scott and the look on his face says it all. Lol and phew! Image


The damage!

At the cafe on Glorious we had a big meal and coffee and chatted with the motorbike riders and then we set off again. The way down is by no means easy — plenty of shitty-little-inclines and the little ring got lots and lots of action.



But we made it to Ashgrove and said our byes to Tom and a few minutes later my Garmin told me I had a new elevation record.




Scott took this photo. “You’ve just demolished that,” he said. And I was like, “I had to cause it keeps just disintergrating. Ugh.”