The plan for the weekend was to rebuild a mountain bike friday night/saturday morning, knock off work at noon, drive to Kilcoy to segment snipe, then to Doomben to deliver the rebuilt bike and service another, over to Enoggera for the night before an MTB ride the next morning followed by doing the Goat Track near Samford, then home for a nap before starting work at 11pm. Not a whole lot of buffer there, so when a family emergency popped up, the schedule was completely blown to pieces.
The rebuild and servicing was postponed, and i ended up getting to Sheep Station Creek (20k north of Kilcoy) at 20 to 7 on saturday night. The target was the climb up the Conondale Range towards Jimna. The last time i did that, i had turned around at the top of the climb, which turned out to be 50m short of the end of said Strava segment. As you can see, there are only 6 people on the leaderboard including yours truly, which is an absolute travesty as it is IMO one of the best climbs in South East Queensland. Sure it's in the middle of nowhere but it's a great challenge and the scenery is fantastic. Or at least it is when you can see it...
When i got going there was very little light left and by the time i was onto the climb itself it was dark in the way that only the Conondale Ranges can be. I'm generally not a very superstitious or "alternative" sort, but having seen a bit of the country around Jimna i have no trouble believing that yowies could be out there. I have scared myself silly a few times when riding around that range in the wee small hours and Saturday night was no exception, as i looked over my shoulder about halfway up to see a dark shape following me (of course it turned out to be my own shadow).
Blood thirsty/imaginary creatures aside, the first couple of kilometres of the climb are pretty solid going as the road hugs the side of a ridge between two valleys. Once it gets onto the top of that ridge things really ramp up, and the last couple of kilometres are a very hard slog at just 14kmh. I knew from my previous excursions that a series of yellow and black arrow signs marked the corner at the top, so i was relieved when they finally came into view.
I rounded the corner only to see the roadside reflectors continuing up the mountainside in front of me.
This happened FOUR times.
By the time i actually had reached the top i was just about delirious from the effort, but at least it was distracting me from thoughts of yowies (hell being eaten alive would probably have been more comfortable). But job done, while it wasn't as fast as i could possibly do it, it was enough to get the KOM by more than 3.5 minutes.
Then i just had to get to Enoggera, and with a 4:30am start on Sunday, time was of the essence. Fortunately my base model Mitsubishi Lancer has racing pedigree (as i often say to my brothers' great amusement) and i managed to get from Somerset to Enoggera in just under an hour, which required some "spirited" driving over Mt Glorious.
In spite of that, after getting my brother's >10yr old MTB trail ready it was 11:30...
Oh the alarm next morning was painful, so very painful.
But we eventually got to the trails at Bunyaville state forest. Now it's been some time since i've been on MTB trails, about 3 years, 4 months and 16 days actually...
After that rather unpleasant incident, i got the yips something shocking and simply couldn't ride on trails at all. At the time my attention was turning to road riding anyway, so i decided to just give it some time.
Well as we headed down the first trail i wasn't sure it had been long enough, i was terrified of anything and everything and had to stop and walk for some extremely innocuous trail features. It was clear however that the road centric setup of the old Giant ATX wasn't helping, so i tinkered with things like the seat height and after feeling slightly better on the 2nd trail things finally came together on the 3rd (helped in no small part by it being quite smooth and nicely flowing). Suddenly i was having fun!
From there on i was tickety boo, but the same can't be said for my brother. After getting a pinch flat (i thought his back tyre looked a bit soft) he then got another 2 mystery flats so we had to cut the ride short and limp for home, stopping every few kms to pump up the slowly deflating tyre. He eventually had to walk the last couple of hundred metres.
After showering, eating, uploading to Strava and accidentally falling asleep on his couch for a few minutes, it was back into the car to head for home and a well deserved nap. It was well worth the effort to finally break my MTB hoodoo, and now i can't wait to get back out there :-).
With some reasonably strenuous farm work on Monday afternoon i decided to get a bit of extra sleep this morning and ride after work, but family matters intervened once more. The planned 5 repeats of Gyndier Drive didn't happen, but i was able to fit in 1, and made up for it by smashing it as hard as possible. Result- KOM by 4 seconds! Most satisfactory.