S 24 O. W.T.F. is an S 24 O I hear you mumble?
Well dear reader, it is a Sub 24 hour Overnight. How it works is someone, me in this case, chooses a camping spot. I get the latitude and longitude and send it to other like minded bike-packers. Then we ride as much or as little as we like from wherever we choose to start with the only fixed point in space being the camping spot.
I threw this out to the other
crazies um, I mean keen bikepackers to see who could make it. Being a Sunday night, Andrew of Briztreadly fame, was the only one to put his hand up for some stealth camping.
I had a problem with my plans in that I was helping man the BBQ at the last Brisbane South Mtb Club Summer Sprint round. This meant flipping bacon, eggs and snags from 6am to midday then rushing home to spend 3 hours packing my bike up. Did I mention I was away all week beforehand and had not even set eyes on my new frame bag? No? Well I am spread thinner than salmon paste on a cowboy's sandwich at the moment!
Anyway, the races went well with large fields in all categories, especially the kids races. MTBing is in a good place as long as somebody gives these kids something to aim for. Below is the start for the A grade kids. Some serious body language there!
Once home I quickly threw my gear together, stopping briefly to admire my new frame bag from Bike Bag Dude. It has been custom made to fit the Muru frame and also sports some inspiration that I sort of hope will be conversation starters as well.
I always amazes me how much gear you can fit into bikepacking bags. Too much sometimes!
I was eventually ready at about 4pm and jumped in the car for a 45 minute drive to Beaudesert, my starting point. I had wanted to ride from home but time was against me. Andrew was also starting out from Beauey but I had no idea how far ahead or behind me he was. I would just meet him at the camping spot.
I pedalled off into the evening light and into the serenity that only cycling provides. The first 20-odd kilometres were sealed, so I made good time as I watched the world roll by.
Open fields on one side........
.....and crops on the other. My destination for the night was on top of that range of hills just to the left of centre.
The sun was sinking more rapidly now but my light was working a charm as I sped along, pumping out good wattage from the dynamo hub.
And generating good charge was of increased interest today as I am running my cache battery. It is a Limefuel Blast L60X with 6000mAh capacity and weighs in at a mere 131grams(4.3oz).
To give you an idea of it's size, it is like an oversized cigarette lighter.
The beauty of it is that it can take charge from my USB charger while it is simultaneously outputting to my gps/phone/camera/headlight. It also has a neat LED light in the end of it for rummaging around in the tent or saddle bag.
I was soon turning into Duck Creek Rd and stopped for the obligatory photo. I have ridden this road a few times before so if you want to see what it looks like by day, please check here.
A kilometre or so along the road I noticed a blinky red light in the distance ahead of me. That must be Andrew! I powered on and very soon we were chatting away.
Well, until the climb began that was. We got to the base of the climb just as total darkness descended. Well, not total darkness as there was a third quarter moon shining quite brightly which gave some light to our steep climb.
I waited at the first lookout for Andrew and saw the very last of the twilight fade.
We spent the next hour grinding up the long, slow climb. The next lookout seemed to arrive quite quickly and I let my eyes adjust to the moonlight and took in the vista out toward Mt Barney in the moonlight while waiting for Andrew to arrive.
We soon moved on to the camp site which was only a few hundred metres further up the hill. It did not disappoint with sweeping views back toward Brisbane and lights twinkling in the distance. We quickly set up camp. Andrew had a cup of coffee in his hands in record time, then we both ate a hot meal thanks to our jetboil stoves. Mmmmm....Moroccan Lamb.....
Not a bad afternoon's ride at all!
Some mates had ridden up the road earlier in the week and having the co-ordinates of the camping spot, left us a little surprise. A good surprise that is. We soon found a lovely bottle of red wine, thanks Chris, but alas neither of us drank red wine! Andrew kindly offered to haul it down off the mountain. It would make a good "brownie point" earner for him later on at home.
Trying to keep the weight on my bike down, I had left my sleeping bag at home and was sleeping in a Sol Escape bivy with a silk bag liner inside. The Thermarest air mattress that I bought second hand a few weeks back was also getting it's maiden test. Sleeping in just shorts and a merino undershirt I did wake up during the night feeling a bit cold, so added my down vest to the ensemble. Despite me being a bit chilly, even though it was a warmish, if windy night, I slept about 8 hours so I had judged it about right for the night. Any less sleep would have warranted a proper sleeping bag. The Thermarest was quite comfortable, if a little narrow but feels very thin and susceptible to puncture.
Andrew said he was snug in his minimalist setup. He was rocking a sleeping bag, inside a Sol Escape bivy, upon a groundsheet, under the stars. Nice.
The view in the morning.
All packed and ready to roll, Andrew was going to accompany me about 1km up the hill to see the point where the vegetation changes from open Eucalypt forest to rain forest. Yes, it is that abrupt.
Exchanging good-byes and thanks, Andrew peeled off down the hill while I continued up the road, past Luke O'Reilly's farm and onto the main road to Canungra.
It was then time to put my head down and get my arse to Canungra for breakfast and more importantly, water. I was a bit light on for water last night, only packing about 3.5 litres along. I rationed it overnight but found I still had plenty so drank freely this morning.
There are some pretty spectacular views as you drop of the mountain and it helped having a clear morning to take it all in.
Into Canungra for some fuel and water, I wasted little time getting on the road again.
I took the back way through Biddaddaba(don't do yourself an injury trying to pronounce that one) which presented me with nice quiet roads.
Quiet, because it was a "no through road".......except for mountain bikes. I snuck along a gazetted road that was overgrown with long grass, just following in the tyre tracks. No, possibly not best practice health and safety.....
After bouncing along in the hoof prints for ten or fifteen minutes I stopped to take this photo in a slightly more open area when I noticed that one of my bags was open.
Of course, my phone wasn't where it was meant to be. Oh shit! It is going to be a nightmare to spot in all of that long grass!
I turned back, thinking the worst but hoping for the best. I must have been kicked up the arse by a rainbow at some stage because it was lying on the track in one of the only spots that didn't have 2 1/2ft high grass!
The remainder of the ride was just dirt road grinding with a little traffic dodging on the blacktop into Beaudesert. I arrived back at the car quite refreshed, if not a little disappointed that I couldn't keep riding.
I had covered about 110km(70mi) and climbed 1200m(3900ft) in a total of 7 hours cruisy riding. The bike was heavy to manhandle being loaded up but it was still quite pleasant to pedal. It still climbs well even with the added weight of all my bike packing gear which was a nice revelation. Maybe the gym work and training is paying off? I just need to get some aero bars set up so that I can duck out of the wind a bit more and I am pretty well set it the bike department.
My Limefuel cache battery did it's job. It ran my gps all evening, charged up my phone from almost dead flat in the morning, then ran the gps again. When I checked it at home it was still fully charged. It should have enough capacity to see me through the Tour Divide as today was a mere 4 hours pedalling.
Now, I just need to find more time to get out and do some more of this................
Cheers and thanks for checking in.