Mt Mee via Ocean Road

Today we met up at 5am — the earliest we have for quite some time just cause BOM was predicting a 34 degree day. It turned out to get over 35 so that was an inspired decision.

We were heading for Mt Mee and we were gonna do it a different way, via a side road that claimed to be 18%. Although that road — Ocean Road — was pretty fucking brutal, we were pretty certain it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as 18%.

Anyway — it still got pretty fucking hot by the end and Ryan was just getting back into riding and he was getting intimate with the biggest depths of the pain cave by the end.Image

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Gear jersey trackstand triplets!Image

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On the way down Mee I felt this slapping on my back and I stopped and realised my headphones had come away from my helmet strap and had got caught in my rear wheel and consequently the earphones were shorn clear. Shiiit.Image

Itsa me — Mario!Image

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Mount Mee Ride

We had a brand new recruit to the ride today — Benny. Last time Benny and I did any physical activity together I ended up with a broken finger. (AFL accident)

But this time round the only incident was me being a rubbish rider.

RUNNING

See, the reason I sucked so much today — I assume — was probably cause I had dabbled in running for the very first time on Wednesday night. I had been thinking about doing it for ages and had plenty of peers who seem to enjoy it — like Shirts, Ryan, and Timmy (who’s training for a marathon atm).

But Shirts is a bit of an expert. Shirts runs almost as much as he rides. He would say if you are time-poor, running is the best exercise — the second you’re out the door you are at about 80% effort. No coasting and even downhills don’t provide much relief.

My reasoning for running:

a) get a more intense workout
b) get my legs stronger for riding — hopefully without injuring them in the process
c) have a basis for exercise in case I don’t have a bike (like when I’m OS)
d) something different

So I walked down the street in horribly unsuitable shoes and tried my best to get out of the way of the melee of kids dashing around in Halloween costumes high on sugar. Then — when I was positive no one was looking — I started running. And I kept running to my surprise for about 2.5kms. Around the Go-Between Bridge I had a bit of a rest, then pushed on a bit, eventually turning around about 300m later. And then I ran all the way back and past where I started. I looked an absolute mess when I got home, but felt a tiny bit of those endorphins they tell you about.

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But this all meant I was in fucking agony only an hour later. Thursday was worse but Friday was a little bit better. I felt the pain a lot more on my left side. It seems you can favour your preferred leg on the bike, but not when you are running.

Anyway — getting back to today.

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I tried to make the ride a little bit more interesting for Benny so we hit those roads at Bunya again. Shirts led us along a more direct route via Samford Road and Dawson Parade through Arana Hills.

I stopped at that cute pioneer cemetery to take some photos — where all the graves seemed to be of 140 year old babies — and then mashed a little too hard to catch up with everyone as the road sprung up out of the South Pine River valley.

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Turning right onto Mount Samson towards Dayboro a paceline got established. We fucking smashed it here and the average speed was almost 31 by the time we stopped at the bakery in Dayboro.

I had two spinach and feta pasties, a coke and a powerade.

And then it was time to climb.

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The last two times (March 2012 and June 2012) we did the Mt Mee climb it had these roadworks in the middle with a single lane controlled by robot traffic lights that didn’t give bikes anywhere near enough time to get up the one lane section before the lights sent all these cars down and you just had to find a slither of road at the side to escape doom.

Luckily all that nonsense is gone and the road is open. Yay.

But I wasn’t feeling in the mood to celebrate as the climb punished me. It took ages longer than it usually does and I felt like I was going around in circles as every corner I turned delivered more road going up instead of the end.

According to Strava I arrived almost 3 minutes after Ben and Tom. Oh well. I just felt so sore and my legs so heavy. Shirts told me it was probably the lactate build up in my muscles that was the real problem.

Luckily I was greeted at the top by this awesome tree.

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From here there is still a considerable amount of more UP and I got dropped from the group and just did my own thing. I wasn’t feeling particularly pathetic, just sore and defensive. Eventually I caught up with the group (cause they had stopped for me!) and the road got a tiny bit more civil.

Meanwhile the wind was fucked. It was coming from the east so was completely useless or in our faces for the whole ride. On the Mee plateau it became pretty gusty.

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Taken by Tom

Next was a brand new road — Campbell’s Pocket — to bring us down and more-or-less towards Caboolture. Immediately I regretted the decision as the road under-wheels was chewed-up and turned to gravel for roadworks. For about 1.5ks it was fucking sketchy and steep and I expected the bike to be washed out at any second. But then it turned back to bitumen and the scenery was amazing and all was cool.

There was still plenty of UP and that really hurt. It hurt so much I was so fatigued I couldn’t be bothered taking photos of all the nice stuff around me. After a shitty pinch we stopped at a crossroads.

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After another shitty hill into Wamuran (where we stopped for water) we were on the D’Aguliar Highway towards Caboolture. And then a minute later this bus overtook us and then quickly cut back into the shoulder and then OVER the shoulder into the grass and gravel beside kicking up all this dust and stones. It had to be deliberate. What a fucking, fucking cunt.

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At Caboolture we said goodbye to Shirts who was riding all the way home (of course), while Tom and Benny and me took the train which for once was leaving only 20 seconds after we climbed on board. At home I was greeted by the cat looking amazingly pleased with herself.

I had a shower, a slightly frustrated nap, and then my SECOND SATURDAY dawned. YESSS.

How we rode to Nambour and how I hit the emergency brake on a train

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dayboro 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Woodford

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.

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Tom took the fenders off his Colossi. That doesn’t sound such a big deal, but to us — we care about that shit.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Montville

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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.]

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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