Monday, August 24, 2009

Breakfast in the Trees

It seems that the Brisbane Forest Park is my playground. As I climbed out of bed and put my obligatory cup of tea on I was a little concerned that the morning was already warm enough to not need warmers or a vest. That soon fell by the wayside as I hit the road on the way over to meet my friends at the base of Mount Coot-tha.
My course takes me on a 12km warm up ride across a steep climb on the bitumen with a full tilt run down the other side and finishing with a little singletrack in Gap Creek Reserve to the carpark. The gang of intrepid explorers planned to scoot straight up South Boundary Road to the recently re-opened Boombana Cafe for a bite to eat (read an enormous breakfast and 2 lattes in my case!) a nice chat and then a run back down the hill and off home. The day was perfect.
There were 9 of us at the start with a varied skill and fitness range from the whippet like racer boys to the slow and steady "more mature riders" and me probably somewhere right in the middle. I am always amazed at the breadth of conversation that occurs on a ride. We start talking about mountain bikes but soon that dissolves into talk of holidays, books, movies and basically anything else that you feel like chatting about. Needless to say there are some small breaks as a little pinch climb takes all your breath or the next descent thins out the rockets from the more cautious riders but miraculously the little groups reform and the conversation continues seamlessly. I must point out we always regroup along the way, noone gets left behind. We're like the marines, never leave a man behind.
At the top the cafe was run off its feet as 9 hungry mountain bikers descended along with a couple of surprise guests. The coffees flowed, the talk was of seeing our mate Eric up there and on his feet after a horrific incident on the road and the feeling of cameraderie could have powered a small town. Erics crash was an awful shock to a lot of us. He tirelessly organises adventure rides and weekend trips and gives so much of his time to the mountain bike community. Seeing him upright and talking about when he can get back on a bike was awesome.
Well, what goes up must come down. The down bit is actually slightly misleading. While there is definitely more down than up heading back to Gap Creek there are still some tough little climbs to face and man had it got hot! 32 degres, in August! I did suffer a little on the way back but I found my salvation at the Mobil service station half way home. I had run out of water so I stopped, bought some water and Gatorade and scoffed a Chocolate Billabong. Aussies know, that would be heaven. The Choccy Billabong is the king of ice creams. Refreshed? Hell yeah.
The final slog home. Up over the same nasty little bitumen climb, this time on the steep side and then down to home in a flurry of big ring and bravado. The road is really narrow in parts and I don't like riding it at all. In fact I avoid it normally but I really wanted to ride over to the start of this one to rack up some more K's for the day. Some motorists are very stupid though. Wait a second maybe 2 until it is clear and safe to go around. No, lets fly past and see how many coats of paint we can remove on the cyclists jersey as we do it. One lucky motorist learnt that you shouldn't do it at the top of the hill though where the cyclist has a more than fair chance of thumping it down the other side and catching you at the lights. The extra little burst of adrenaline only made for a more imaginative stream of expletives as I pulled in front of the clown and made my displeasure known. He felt me.....
Home and exhausted. I sat on the yard serat, turned the hose on and dowsed myself to cool off. I downed a big drink of water and checked my stats. 70km, average speed of 16.4 km, 1700m of climbing and 3 goannas. Not a bad day for a social ride.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to visit the blog site......

Oh my poor neglected blog! It's been pretty busy since my last post. Not busy in the fun exciting way but the dull, nagging and dragging way. I hadn't ridden for 6 weeks until last Sunday when I took a day off from my commitments and sat on the bike for a nice 50km spin through the hills.

First the commitments. We have a rental house, the tenants moved out and left it in a mess and ever since I have been there every weekend fixing it up and trying to get it ready for new tenants. So far the tally is 3 dead rats, 7 bags of rubbish from under the house, countless cockroaches and other bugs and LOTS of money to get the place to a livable state. Soul crushing probably describes it best.

So how bad did I need a ride? Until I managed to get out on the bike I was seriously considering upping my medication. My stress levels were through the roof and I had started feeling pretty low again. Along came my mountain bike buddies to snap me out of it. Its funny how suffering up some steep climbs and cracking a few jokes about it makes most things come rushing back into perspective. The day was perfect and the conversation oscillated between the riding and the usual collection of blue references to butts and the coffee and food waiting at the bakery after the ride. I was exhausted when I got home but SO happy. So far this week has been tolerable and with the prospect of another monster ride on Sunday things can only get better. I tell ya, get some exercises people. You won't regret it.