What a weekend! A healthy dose of "Get off your arse and go ride" took hold yesterday with a 40km smash around some singletrack with two much stronger riders. It started out pretty cruisey but a crash to one of the guys that started the ride meant that 3 riders dropped out leaving me, Nick and Rupert. Nick most of you know by reputation as the "leg ripper offer" and Rupert is well, just younger. Fast, bloody fast and just keeps going.
We started at Bunya and headed straight over to Ironbark and the start of the hills. There are some cranking climbs in there and by the time we had made the top of "Fridge" the legs were burning with the 20% gradients and the promise of the fun technical descent was all that kept me going. After heading over to "Mexican" the next step is the bitumen climb up Bygotts Road to the link track that spits you out in Ironbark again. The reward is "Sunset". If you have the pleasure of doing this trail as the sun hits the horizon you will see where it gets its name. The grasses get a golden hue and the insects become little beacons as the sun bounces off their wings. Pretty special. The trail also happens to be wicked. Nice flow and some tricky little spots to negotiate before the balls out bolt down to the main fire road around Ironbark that runs parallel to Samford Road. Sweet.So then it was up to the top of the fire road and over to "Powerlines" for more fast and furious descending. The nice social punt along the rail trail to spit us out on the climb up "watertank" to finish off with the small bitumen roll back to the car park. Not bad for a shade over 2 hours and 1000m of ascent.
Now today. Boy howdy. The plan was to ride out to Granchester and Old Hidden Vale for the 3+3 event to have a look and then roll into Ipswich and catch the train back to Brisbane. About 130km at a pinch. 6am and we were off from home loaded with food, fluids and a positive attitude. Out to Jindalee via Bardon and some hills to warm up on and through the back of Darra to avoid the new road to Springfield and then finally onto the Centenary Highway for the 50 odd K slog out to the Roseview turnoff. All was going pretty well. I needed a stop at about Yamanto to refuel as a bonk of epic proportions started to hover with that empty feeling in my stomach and a loss of concentration as well. If you don't know, the bonk is the cycling equivalent of the wall. The body runs out of fuel and it may happen before you really know it and then its a hard road back with only food and rest as the cure. Iced coffee milk, a nougat bar and a banana and all is good. On to Roseview.
It felt like a bit of a death march into Roseview with a gravelly surface that bounced me around and made it hard to keep a rhythm. I was very relieved to see the sign announcing the township and even more relieved to stop for a comfort break! Full bladder, bouncy road, rigid carbon bike. Bad, bad mix. 20km from Roseview to Old Hidden Vale through the little town of Grandchester and we were there. After chatting for an hour or so and necking an espresso frappe (yep, espresso frappe!) Nick started making noises about rding all the way back. I said I wasn't sure but would ride back to Roseview with him and see how I felt. The bakery there served up a couple of pies and more fluids and the time came. What was I gonna do? I didn't feel great but thought it was time to harden up. Whinging about feeling crap wasn't going to cut it as Nick is very sympathetic listener when it comes to that whole excuse thing. Not! Suck it up and stop complaining. So off we went again. I was surprised to see that we were still ripping along at around 27km per hour as an average and pinging it along the flats at around 35km per hour! Not bad.
The road became smooth once back on the Centenary Highway and the pace didn't let up. That continued until the hills started again in Toowong. I reckon some of those hills had me pedaling with my nose I was so hunched over the bars. But I was still going. Finally Samford Road and the bike track home. I rolled along and chatted to Nick until I had to climb the last cruel hills to home.
I now have that nice feeling back of accomplishment. It has been a while since it hung around with me but now the motivation to train is back. All it took was 240km in two rides and the suffering and succeeding that comes with making it through a tough ride you were sure was going to beat you. Here come the big rides.