Monday, December 17, 2012

Bordering (On Madness)

Today the Brisbane South Mountain Bike Club (BSMC) organised a social ride in the south western corner of the Scenic Rim, along the New South Wales/Queensland border as a part of it's monthly away social rides.

The plan was to ride up the range on Carney's Creek rd to Queen Mary Falls, then around past Killarney and back along the Condamine River rd. This was a ride I had been keen to do for a while and what better way to do it than with a group of like minded MTBers.

Pre ride planning saw my bike prepped the day before with my gear sorted out. The wheels nearly fell off of the operation that night though. Having caught up with good friends for dinner (and being child free for a week or so) I took it upon myself to assist with the demolition of some great red wine and before I knew it "pumpkin o'clock" had come and gone. An 80km(50mi) ride in 35C(95F) heat with about 5 hours sleep was going to hurt a bit! Not to mention all of those "antioxidents" at work in my body.....

Anyway, at the appointed time we set off from the corner of  Carney's Ck Rd and Carney's Ck Rd(?) with the talk being of how the climb a few kilometres down the road was going to rip our legs off. This was from experienced riders too. Gulp.

The morning was warming up quickly but I was glad that we had parked away from the climb so that I could warm up a bit before the climb. Small sections of cool shade taunted us as we made our way along here.

When we did finally get to the climb I just clicked down through the gears and spun at a nice, sustainable pace. Tony was kind enough to flat, thus giving us a small rest. 

But these were the fast pair so Chris and I took the opportunity to get ahead a bit. Chris was soldiering along on his single speed and making a pretty decent job of it so far considering that he had done about 30k and 700m climbing on it the day before. What you can't see in any of these photos is the slope. Rest assured, the "S' turns are to flatten the hill out a bit with his gearing...and they mostly worked...

Then came the inevitable...

I am not sure how long it took us to climb to "The Head", but somewhere around an hour is probably close enough. The views were amazing and it was now obvious how far we had climbed.

As we popped over the top the view changed to one of rolling pastureland on our right (Queensland) and dense forest on our left(New South Wales). It was simply stunning with bright red Flame Trees in full bloom dotted across the lush green hill sides. It felt all the better having bested that bloody climb!

The Rabbit Proof Fence ran along our left for quite a while here.

Shortly after this stop we met up with the guys who were doing the 40km(25mi) version of the ride. The club is trying to give everyone a ride distance that they feel comfortable with and it was good to see some takers for the ride especially as it is right before Christmas. So, with their car parked at the intersection of Spring Creek and Condamine River Rd we set off for the "loop" section of the ride.

Pretty soon we came to another section of road that tilted up rather steeply. No problems. Just dump a heap of gears and spin, spin, spin. Well, until my bum went numb from not moving on the seat with all that damn spinning!

We soon broke out of the trees and were greeted by another stunning view. This wartime Nissin hut was probably shifted here decades ago and it was easy to see why. It has a commanding view across the whole valley! Someone, once upon a time sat on that verandah, taking in the majestic views and breathed the clean, cool air that being 3500ft above sea level brings. I wonder what they thought about?

Not far past this idyllic spot is the official lookout. It pays tribute to a Lincoln bomber crew who lost their lives on nearby Mt Superbus back in 1955 while conducting a medivac flight.

One day I plan on visiting the crash site, but that will have to wait until I find another day to squeeze into the week.

The next few kilometres were steadily downhill toward QM Falls and passed quickly, yet pleasantly. The shop provided a much needed coffee and toasted sandwich to fill the hole that all of this climbing had created.

Several motorcyclists stopped in as well and I took a few moments to admire the various weaponry that had assembled. I must get back out here on my motorbicycle soon.

From the cafe the road dropped down a steep, winding hill which I guess is why the motorbicyclists frequent this road. We breifly stopped at Dagg's Falls before getting back to the business of  screaming downhill.

Turning into Condamine River rd we began the trek back toward the cars and the 14 river crossings of the Condamine River. They would be much appreciated as it was quite hot now and there wasn't much in the way of shade.

This pleasant section of road passed quickly enough, but on each small climb the body was telling me that it wasn't overly thrilled to get the heart rate up again. So we took a few more breaks.

And got a bit wet.

Exiting the tree cover again we ground our way across open paddocks, into a stiff headwind and were before long back at the finish point for the 40km riders.

This left somewhere around 15km of mainly downhill before we were back at our vehicles.

Al was keen to get going but my legs would only go around so fast. He found a few picturesque spots to wait for the rest of us Freds.

The ride down The Head proved to be an interesting one. I had the new experience of cars pulling over to let us past as we were going far quicker than they were, even though we weren't even pedalling! Screaming down a narrow, winding mountain road in a pair of shorts, jersey and a small foam helmet was a hoot and yet we all lived to tell the tale!

Back at the cars and we had covered 77km (48mi) with a bit over 1500m (4900ft) of climbing in under 6 hours total time. Notice that first climb from the 6km to the 10km mark!!

Not a bad day out at all and if anyone is interested in coming along for any of the future rides with BSMC, just check out their website or get in contact with them. You don't need to be a member and you will have a great day out and maybe see some new-to-you country.

Cheers....I need a lie down.


  1. I know that area a little bit, and the ride you did was mad & incredibly steep. Why not start in Killarney, up the bitumen to QMF and over Carrs Lookout down to the turn, and back down the dirt through the creek crossings to Killarney. Or is that one too easy for you & Chris???

  2. ;-) Far too easy doing it that way Andrew. I am just glad that we(well I) had MTB gearing as it would have been murder on a road bike. I plan on heading back to explore the area a lot more. Both on the bicycle and the motorbicycle.

  3. I bet on that 6 - 10km stretch you wish you had a motorbicycle to get up that hill.

  4. Wow, all that riding and after over imbibing the night before too.

    I can see why you enjoy the riding though as those views are beautiful.


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