Now first things first (so that i don't forget) a good mate of mine by the name of Chris Brock is doing the 1,000km Bridge2Bridge ride from Brisbane to Sydney in May to raise money for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and while the survival rate for things like leukaemia have improved a heck of a lot in recent years, brain cancer still has a terrible mortality rate. This is a really important cause, so please check out his Facebook page, and if you're able, make a donation.
So onto the riding, and as i hoped, the absence of kittens made it a lot easier to get ready for a proper Sleeping is Weakness type ride. Which is to say, up at 3:30am. Oh the humanity.
I headed up through Cedar Pocket at a nice steady pace in the pre dawn gloom, dismounting at the bridge over Cedar Pocket Dam as i didn't fancy my chances of negotiating the gaps in the timber at that time of morning. With no wind or wildlife, all i could hear was the clip clop of cleats on hardwood, making me wonder out loud if a troll was going to jump out from underneath (it didn't).
In spite of the very hilly terrain clobbering the average speed, i still managed to get to the meeting point in Gympie EARLY. That's right, mark this date in your diaries, LDR was EARLY for a ride! So when Chris arrived on time there was nothing to stop us heading off straight away. It was a fair few kilometres before i thought to ask "do you have knicks on under those shorts?" to which the reply was "no, just boxers". Sweet Jesus he's going to die from an impacted undercarriage i thought, and told him as much. He insisted he'd be right, and there wasn't a lot to be done about it, so on we went.
The ride down through Amamoor was uneventful besides a group of 8 or so passing us not far from Traveston, also on their way to Kenilworth. I was surprised to find that my brother was nowhere to be seen when we reached Traveston Rd, despite us being about a quarter of an hour behind the expected schedule (some of the climbs on Mary Valley Rd are a bit steeper than i remembered). It seems he had made the same mistake, being slowed considerably by a big climb between Cooran and the highway that he had forgotten about.
After the obligatory introductions we set off down the deserted old highway (recently bypassed), the novelty of which has not worn off for Warwick hence his swerving from one side of the road to the other just for the heck of it.
At this point i should insert some photos of the beautiful (and very green thanks to recent rain) scenery, but the couple of photos i took turned out to be rubbish. We kept slowly making our way south, slowly being the operative word. See, i had got myself a bit muddled (fancy that) and thought Chris had told me on Friday that his longest ever ride was 75kms. Yea, turns out it was actually 45! He still put in a solid effort, especially on the many climbs.
After passing a few wallabies (one with a joey only the size of a cat at foot), some stray cows and a burnt out car, we reached Eumundi Kenilworth Rd.
As we climbed the last hill before Kenilworth, i spotted a good length of rope on the side of the road and exclaimed (with my trademark eloquence) "Rope!" By the time my brother turned around to yell out "You bloody tiprat!" i had already dropped the bike and shoved the rope up my pants (there being no space in my jersey pockets).
By the time we reached town the public toilets were, for me, a gleaming beacon of joy.
With that taken care of, and the rope neatly bundled up to fit in my pocket, we headed for the supermarket for some black gold. As well as a can for myself, i grabbed one for chris, and some bananas and an Ice Break for Warwick. The young bloke on the counter accidentally rang it up as a cash sale rather than eftpos, but for some reason rather than reversing that sale and doing it again, he rang up a $10 cash out and gestured to the scanner. I did the card thing, it went through, and he handed me a receipt and $10 note. "Ah" i said "so i give you this for that" (indicating the note and the goods). "No no, that's cash out" he said.
LDR-"Well yes, but i need to pay for the stuff"
Hillbilly checkout kid-"No you got cash out"
Well so i did i guess, so apparently it was free groceries day in Kenilworth.
We perused the noticeboard-
And then headed north. I had been hoping to open the taps a bit on Brooloo Gap but with 95kms down there wasn't anything in the taps. I still pulled out enough of a gap to turn around at the top and go back down to take pics of the other 2.
Down the other side we encountered a veritable cloud of migratory Blue Tiger butterflies which hung around for the next 10 or 20kms. This was a bit of a mixed blessing, they are very pretty things but the constant threat of inhaling one dulled the enthusiasm somewhat.
Eventually we reached Tuchekoi Rd, where Warwick mentioned he had told his wife he would be home by 8 and asked what the time was. "9:15" i replied with a grin, and so after some debate he decided to take the shortest route home, especially with the strengthening headwind.
From there on we just kept steadily slogging on, stopping for a while near Amamoor to recharge for the final push into Gympie. Chris was the kind of buggered that all long distance riders are familiar with, and turned off for a very slow couple of k to his place. I was still feeling alright, despite the fierce heat, so grabbed a meat pie and can of lemonade at a corner store on the Eastern side of town that is open on days i didn't even know existed.
Planning on a 75ish km ride from Noosa out to Carters Ridge and back tomorrow, yet to decide if i do it before or after work.