Monday, December 21, 2020

Well, I Didn't See That Coming


Hey there! 

It has been a little while since I have had anything to say, what with 2020 doing what 2020 has been doing. December - finally, in a year which has been the longest 10 years of our lives!

Anyway, Sunday the 6th of December saw me doing this.......

Not the view I usually have but I was on a special mission. You see, since I sold my F800GSA back in February I have been really missing the adventure bike. They are so easy to ride AND capable of tackling anything.
Since the Beemer went down the driveway for the last time (actually, from well before that) I had been perusing BikeSales, Gumtree and FB Marketplace. I was specifically scouring for Yamaha T700s, Honda Africa Twins and to a lesser degree BMW F850s, hoping to spot a bargain or some deal that was too good to refuse. 
Unfortunately, CoviD job cuts made this an exercise in futility. Research became the order of the day instead. Watching what was listed, for how much, how much interest was shown and how long bikes were on the market for became the name of the game.

Back in February there were plenty of second hand bikes for sale. But as the Government's stimulus measures kicked in the price of bikes, motorcycles, campers, name it, went through the roof and obviously became quite scarce(or the other way around, actually because, well, economics).
 One particular bike caught my attention because of how well spec'd it was. It was well priced and at the time I though about making a cheeky offer but I was afraid he might accept and as it wasn't my prefered bike, I decided discretion was the better part of valour. The bike disappeared after about 6 weeks so I thought it was sold.
Fast forward to the end of November and as my research continued what should pop up again? Yup, that same bike.....only $4K cheaper.....

After a day of should I/shouldn't I, checking with that model's gurus AND getting Ministerial approval I called the seller. He confirmed he had pulled the advert when CoviD made everything too hard. After a bunch of questions and him passing the "bullshitter" test I was confident enough to tell him that "I'll take it"!

Now it was a mad scramble to organise everything as I was starting to be rostered some flying again on top of the warehouse job I have been holding down since August, plus the bike was located THREE states away. That is a long way in a country as big as Australia. So, a crazy plan was hatched......

Jump on a jet late Sunday afternoon, leaving a muggy 34C Brisbane day to touch down in chilly (12C) Launceston. I was off to a random pub, the Centennial Inn, which turned out to have a great restaurant attached. After the rush of the flight and taxi ride, as I sat in the bar/restaurant it hit me how much I have missed my work overnights this year. I have taken them for granted for a decade and a half but this beer/wine/dinner was sublime and so relaxing.

The next morning the bike's owner very kindly drove an hour and fifty minutes to pick me up, then another hour and fifty minutes back home. He seemed a decent bloke and talking bikes, Covid lockdowns, pubs and some politics, we got on well.

Arriving in Bernie we went straight to his house where I began to inspect the bike. 

Looking around his garage it was obvious that he looked after his gear as everything was ultra tidy and his dirt bikes and mountain bikes were immaculate as well.

The bike was a 2018 model with just 9000km under the wheels.
Fitted with -
Full Ohlins suspension
Arrow slip on exhaust
Scott steering damper
Garmin Zumo GPS wired in
Genuine locking panniers
Barrett soft pannier racks
Givi tall screen
Givi 15lt lock on tank bag
Denali LED driving lights

Plus all of the original parts that had been removed!

A quick test ride was conducted - a mere formality as I was pretty well committed by now and the Dunlop D606 front tyre was obviously all wrong but the bike still shone. Cheque and receipt exchanged I set about loading up all of the original gear, plus the meagre stuff I had brought with me. This took a little while and I had to admit defeat with the original exhaust and screen, which Ben would post to me.

So, all loaded up like a supertanker I wobbled off, looking for a place to topple over as this is one tall bike! 
But if I did I would have the biggest shit-eating grin on my face as this is one fucking awesome looking and equipped bike!! And how good did it sound with that Arrow pipe?!!

What IS it though....? 


A 2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports in immaculate condition. 
Did I mention the immaculate condition?? 😛 Yeah, it is in IMMACULATE condition.

Now began the 2200km trip home. 250km of that would be by boat as I needed to cross Bass Straight via the Spirit of Tasmania. The ferry left from Devonport, which wasn't far to ride from Bernie so I enjoyed the cool riding conditions and stopped for lots of photos and to just ogle the beauty of this beast.
The following photo was in front of the local church in Penguin, Tasmania. I was trying to sell the boss on a warehoue parts-picking version of the AT.

 Apart from making the ferry on time I had another dilemma to solve. As regular readers of my irregular posts would know, I am in a challenge to pedal my (or a) bicycle for at least 15 minutes per day, every day of 2020. I haven't missed a day and I certainly didn't want to fall out of the challenge so close to the end. 
So, after trying to find a new, more road oriented front tyre for the AT and failing, I thought I best try to find a bicycle.

Lobbing into Giant Devonport I waited for the owner to be free of customers before starting.
"I have the strangest request you are going to hear all week" I began. Filling him in on the challenge, he listened, then offered me a basic mountain bike!
 I was stoked!!
Dumping my riding gear in their office I pedalled off in a flat looking direction (Tassie is pretty lumpy) in my RST pants and bike boots. Luckily it was cool and I felt like a school kid who was wagging school!


Taking the bike back to the shop I thanked them profusely but couldn't persuade them to take any money for the 20 minute "hire" of their bike. How generous is that?! Everyone buy a bike from Giant Devonport!

Back on the Honda, I wandered over to the waterfront to be in pole position for the boat. It doesn't look very big in this photo but she be a sizeable barge. Just like the AT.......

I dutifully lined up two hours before the sailing, like instructed but I was basically the only one there for an hour and a half. Covid had passenger numbers waaay down despite open travel being available for weeks now.

Yep, just me and these two guys from Melbourne. Waiting....

Eventually we were let through the front gate. I was apprehensive about dropping the big girl on a wet, slippery metal ship deck as I had read of it frequently happening. I shouldn't have worried.  The loading was straight forward and I was off to find my cabin in a jiffy.

It was cosy and I had to share with some random stranger - yet another hypocritical action during this CoviD-social-distancing mantra time. There were plenty of empty cabins, the shipping company obviously didn't want to pay to have them cleaned.....

At least my room mate seemed like a nice bloke. I tossed him some ear plugs just in case I snored 😁 then headed upstairs to watch us push off and sail away. It had been a very windy week but the ship's captain said tonight would be nice with only 25-30 knot winds and 1.5-2 metre swells. Yup, a millpond!

Charging for the deep blue. (OzRunways doesn't have a ship icon for some reason 😆)

Food and drink was found on the restaurant deck and I settled in to a few beverages and talked bikes with the blokes from Melbourne until late.

The next morning I was awake at about 0530 and could see out the window we were very near to Princess dock in Melbourne. It seemed to take forever to dock and get the trucks off (freight has priority over the general public apparently) We had to unstrap our own bikes and I was the first one off, being at the head of the line. Again, I was worried about slippery decks and short legs but it was fine. 

I motored out into Melbourne peak hour traffic following my new gps. I had a rough idea of where I needed to go but the gps was taking me in the opposite direction! Maybe some freeway on-ramp that I didn't know of? Nope.

 ( I would discover that night that it was set to "adventurous" routing so god only knows where it was taking me!)

Finally on one of Melbourne's heavily speed camera policed freeways I had one eye on the traffic and the other on my speedo. I needn't have worried. Later in the day as I became more comfortable with this new cockpit I noticed that the speedo over read by 7-8km/h compared to the gps.

It was bloody cold this morning at 13-15C and I stopped near Kilmore to fix my glove/sleeve interface. Man, I wish I had brought my winter gloves! Here I had a light bulb moment. Didn't Ben say the bike had heated grips? After a quick search I found the actuator on the left grip........ahhhhhh.

I wasn't sure of my fuel range yet. Added to the fact it was cold and the fact that the Hume (Doom) highway is adorned by average speed cameras I was dying of wind chilled boredom and pulled off the highway at Euroa for fuel, food and coffee. I was pleasantly surprised at how little fuel the big Honda had used. 450 km out of a tank should be very achievable on solid roads!

Even though I had only stopped for 20 minutes it was noticably warmer now and much more pleasant riding as I ticked off the kilometres and the towns. Albury, Culcairn, Henty, Yerong Creek, The Rock, Wagga Wagga then my next fuel stop at Temora. 363km and I felt pretty fresh! After a stop for fuel in the main street, where the young attendant said she thought it was a great looking bike, I stopped for a quick look out the front of the Temora Aviation Museum. It is amazing how many houses are now part of the "air park" where houses have hangers and taxiways up to the back door.

I buzzed along the quiet western roads toward my overnight destination just 150km up the road. This was another draw to purchasing this bike. I would get to break the trip home with an overnight at "home" with my Dad, whom I hadn't seen since July due to bloody Covid border restrictions.

About 30km out of Forbes I ticked off the following milestone. This bike isn't even run in yet!!

I stopped for fuel before heading to Dad's place as I planned to leave early in the morning. Here, another random guy said "that is one good looking bike"! I can't argue with him because it does have a certain presence in the I have never owned a bike that elicited this type of response from Joe Public before.

It was great to see Dad but also a bit of a shock as this year has been tough on him. At 80 he is doing pretty well for a kid who they thought wouldn't make 12. He checked out the AT and I offered him a ride but he said he didn't have a step ladder handy....

I didn't mess around the following morning, getting away early and going hard. Parkes, Peak Hill, Dubbo, Mendooran (with a quick pub photo stop) then Coonabarabran for fuel. 

Ogling the rugged good looks in Coonabarabran.

Then it was a quick squirt up the highway to Narrabri. I planned on taking a new-to-me way home from here so not knowing fuel availability I topped up after just the 100km mark and had a bite to eat. It was starting to get warm now and my RST suit is too hot to be comfortable above about 23C.

Not a bad chicken salad roll.

From Narrabri I wanted to check out the very promisingly named Killarney Gap rd. As I followed it I was climbing toward the volcanic looking Mt Kaputar. I have noticed this imposing (for Oz) peak many times from the main highway and was pleased to be getting a closer, if only quick, look. (This isn't it though, just some random peak in the range)

The best bit about this road was the complete lack of traffic and a more challenging road design. I will definitely be back here again only next time at a touring pace.
Rolling into Bingara it was getting HOT! The main street was very pretty and quite busy. I love traveling through these little towns as they are off the beaten track, located between the two main North/South inland routes in NSW.

Continuing on to Warialda I noted one of the Blue Trees on the western edge of town. Check the link for details on what it is all about.

Pressing on I was starting to wonder about my fuel level. I knew there wasn't much out here but didn't know how far to the next town that would definitely have fuel.
Rolling into the tiny hamlet of Yetman I saw the little general store had fuel and food. I thought it was time for a drink anyway and I could peruse the map. Seeing that it was only 40km to Texas I decided on no fuel but a couple of cool drinks and a short break as I had been pretty much just twisting a throttle ALL day.

Icy drinks and some outback Aussie art by John Murray.

Filling up in Texas I decided to push on quickly. The ride east out of town was an eye opener, being quite twisty and hilly. Another definite return ride was needed.
Another quick stop for fuel at Stanthorpe and I was on the home stretch with just under three hours to go. 

Eventually I made it after about twelve hours and 1020km for the day. It had been a loong, busy few days and while tired, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable the bike is. It will need some seat reshaping to help lower it so that I can get a more confident purchase on the earth as it is a HEAVY beast when loaded up.

First thing next morning I flicked the dirt bike tyre and fitted a Bridgestone Battlax AX41 to match the one fitted to the rear. The bike immediately felt 1000 times better. Not totally unexpected!
The D606 just wanted to continue tipping in and I had to actively steer out of every corner once I'd tipped in just to stop it from spudding me into the earth on every bend for the last 2000km.

I also organised a roadworthy and transfered the registration from Tasmania to QLD. As anyone who has dealings with any State transport authority knows, this can be a long and arduous process. While it took over half of the day the Transport dept bit was surprisingly easy! 
Apart from the seat, I just need to sort the suspension for me now. It is set for a 160kg rider PLUS his gear, so it is a bit fcuked up for a featherweight such as I.😉

I finished the day just sitting there, beer in hand, admiring that ugly mug.
Happy Days!!


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Spring Has Sprung

 This one is a little out of left field for me as I am not usually a flora or fauna watcher but here in Brisbane in Spring you can't help but notice the Jackaranda trees blooming everywhere. Their bright purple flowers are like a beacon right across the city and suburbs. I also thought Geoff might like it. ;)

New Farm Park, which is right on the river, nestled alongside the city of Brisbane has a large concentration of these beauties and I thought an early morning ride to catch them during sunrise might make for an enjoyable pedal and some great photos.

Having the paths to myself, in the cool of pre dawn, was delightful and I made it to the park with plenty of time to spare. 

So, as I had three batteries for the drone I had a play around with it. I don't get it out much and needed the practice!

Pre sunrise, killing time

In fact, because of a hill on the other side of the river it took the sun quite a while after the "official" sunrise to poke it's head up and bring the colours out on the Jackarandas lining the park's ring road.

The sun finally peeking over the hill.

I set the drone to take time lapse photos and even though it doesn't have a great camera. I was happy with the results. I mean, how can you not take great photos when you have these trees to work with?!

The ride back to the car was much busier but still pleasant as it was a nice cool, clear morning. The old Story bridge looked great in battleship grey this morning.

Excuse the music er noise in the video. "Free" for a reason.....


Tuesday, October 20, 2020


 "Ok, so what the fig does that title mean" I hear you ask? 

Well, some dude (Paul Heymans) organised a MTB race/ride along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail now that the whole trail is complete and without the missing link in the middle bit, that had existed for years. I have ridden various bits of the rail trail over the last 10 years or so but never the whole 161km length at once. But this race existed on the premise that "if a lot is good, then more must be better"! Hence the Times (x) 2 bit.

I recall scoffing at this ride two years ago when it was first mooted. 161km (x2) and bugger all climbing? "How hard could that be" I mused at the time. 

Roll on two years and with everything about 2020 pretty well FUCKED (technical term), about two weeks ago I thought "why the hell not". I mean, I'm not particularly fit and have done exactly zero training for a 322km-in-24-hours ride, so why the hell not? I need to salvage something from the ashes of this year.

I proceeded to get my Tour Divide bike out of mothballs as it runs a dynamo hub and can run a light all night long for free (virtually) - oh, did I mention the race starts at 7pm so the first 11 hours are in the dark? Upon close inspection one of the front wheel spoke nipples had sheared. A quick visit to Troy at Area 54 Outfitters (Troy built the BNT for me for the Tour Divide Race in 2015) and he had both my wheels fixed up and ready to roll. A quick Friday night camping trip with Deano the week before proved a handy shake down ride.

I have been working the warehouse job full time and squeezing in any flying the company are offering, so I have been pretty bushed each day for the last 2-3 months. In anticipation of a big night I took the day off (and spent all morning running around taking care of last minute race prep) but was still a bit rushed getting to the start at Esk on the Friday evening. I was there an hour before the start but a pre race hamburger took 25 minutes from the local cafe and before I knew it I was trying to find the race starting line in the dark. I told myself to just chill as what would it matter if I started 15 minutes late? After all, the race went for 24 hours.....

I ended up being ready to race at about 1845 so had 15 minutes to spare. I don't bother with the pre race gathering (nerves sessions) anymore and find it much more calming to just rock up very close to the start time anyway. You can always chat to people as you ride along after the start.

Now, the start actually came at 1858 (2 minutes early) and I was still right at the back of the 49 starters. I actually wanted to be a bit closer to the front because I figured those at the back would be chewing dust for the first few kilometres as it is SO dry here in Oz at the moment. 

So, after the start I just pedalled slowly and let the group get away from me. There was a bit of a breeze which blew the dust aside but when the trail turned into wind or downwind the dust was blinding and choking - so I just slowed even more. These races are finished by saving your legs for later.

I caught a few riders as they stopped by the trail side to adjust their gear. I caught one guy at Mt Hallen and said "g'day". Nothing. "Hows it going?" Nothing. Maybe he had ear phones in or maybe he was just rude. I couldn't tell in the dark. Anyway, about 500m further just as we crested a hill and we picking up speed I heard "ptsssshhh-shh-shhh-shhhh" as he got a punture in his front tyre. I asked if he was ok but got no response again - so I rode on. Gotta be a big boy and look after yourself on rides like this.

Shortly after I caught Troy, who was riding as a roving marshal/mechanic in the ride. Troy is normally in full on Iditarod training by now but with international travel on hold and no clear path in sight he was taking a breather from training (relatively - this WAS still a 322km ride!)

I dropped Troy after a while (or he backed of to enjoy the solitude) and leaving Lowood I caught Chevonne, who I rode with a bit last year in the Brisbane 500 ride. We chatted for a while before she dropped me on some gentle climbs. I was determined not to go too hard, too early but I also suk on climbs at the moment.

Coming into the Ipswich area the lead riders were coming back the other way. That put them about 15km in front of me so far (over about 60km ridden so far)! Far out!

I caught Chevonne again just before the Wulkuraka turn around point and she rolled into the station just a minute or two behind me. I ate some lollies, had a drink and took a photo before headeing back North. It was a warm night and I was sweating. I had not needed to pick up water yet and as usual this meant I was carrying too much. I had eaten almost nothing for the first 67km either....

Heading North I passed many, many riders rolling into the Wulkuraka turn around point and was a bit perlexed as to where they came from. I didn't recall passing so many others.

I settled into an even gentler pace, especially on the climbs as my legs were starting to hurt by now. I had taken the risky move of having a remedial massage on  my legs early Friday morning as they were quite tight/tired from a year of riding every day. The risk was that there would be no recovery day for my poor legs and right now it was hurting quite badly along my quads where the masseues had knuckled into them. Hmmmmm... not good.

The organisers of this ride had arranged for us to have our pre prepared drop bags delivered to Fernvale, Moore and Yarraman. As I rolled into Fernvale I only wanted the cheese and bacon roll and the can of iced coffee out of my Fernavale bag. Scoffing these down, I topped up my water bottle and filled it with my chosen electrolyte (Synabol Extreme) while chatting with the checkpoint volunteers. They were super cheery, which is always a great thing to pep riders up who may not be seeing the entire joys of the ride.

New Lockyer Creek bridge deck! Here is the old bridge deck in 2014.

I put my head down and just chugged along thinking I would reassess my plans once I got back to Esk. I had plans to change my knicks, eat and resupply before setting off again. I rode alone and saw no other riders for this section which was nice but being alone in one's own thoughts exacerbates all the aches and pains.....

Rolling into Esk I was right by my car (I had parked under a street light right by the trail so I could organise myself easily). I was a bit disappointed and surprised to see that it was just after 1am. Six hours for 134km?!! It was all dirt and I was on mountainbike tyres and not super fit, so it was ok I guess.

I put some fresh knicks on, slathering the chamois cream on very thickly ;), ate some stuff, drank some coffee milk and put my spray vest on as it was getting quite cold. In fact, riding out of Esk was bloody freezing! It didn't help that the first 7-8km of trail consisted of quite a lot of railway ballast and on my fully rigid bike it shook the heck out of a very cold me.

It was 18km to Toogoolawah, which was mostly billiard table smooth after the initial crappy section out of Esk. The next section to Harlin seemed to take forever and it didn't help that one of the roving marshals passed me like I was standing still (he was on an e-bike) while I was trying to eat a cheese and crackers pack as I bounced along, swerving all over the trail! 

Somewhere around here most of my aches and pains subsided! My legs stopped hurting! My arms stopped being sore from crouching in the aero bars and even my butt seemed to stop hurting! I think the genius of this ride is starting at 7pm and putting in the hard yards in the cool cold of the night.

I rolled into Moore looking for my drop bag and a coffee hit from it's contents. Apart from the cheese and bacon roll there was nothing else I really wanted or needed. 

I was slightly bemused to see my Moore AND my Yarraman drop bags lying side by side. Too bad if I needed it at Yarraman!

On the plus side, I would have a canned coffee and cheese and bacon roll on the way back South! I left everything else as I was still carrying heaps of stuff from my Fernvale bag, 90km earlier! (I was too cheap to leave it behind, so carried the weight penalty)

The next section to Linville is only 7km, then it is the climb for 22ish km up to Blackbutt - my favourite section of the entire ride. There were a heap of caravans free camping at the old Linville station. Awesome to see! Climbing the trail toward Blackbutt I started to catch another rider. After 5-10 minutes I finally caught him...or her. It was Chevonne again! We chatted for a bit then I slowly climbed away from here. There are a few big dips into creeks along here where the old rail bridge has been removed and I absolutely bombed down these. This is where I got away from Chevonne as I had noticed earlier in the night she is very careful on the technical sections.

Around here I was passed by the race leader, Joris, who was powering back down the hill toward the finish in Esk. This put him ~ 50-60km ahead of me!! These guys are animals!!

First light was breaking as Wayne Thompson, another RATS member caught me, about half way to Blackbutt. We chatted for quite a while as we hadn't seen each other all year. Wayne was rocking a single speed bike which indicated how strong a rider he is. I dips me lid to him!

I stopped in Blackbutt briefly to fill my water bottle, my first refill since Esk (I was running a litre or so in my Camelbak) so lost Wayne here. Chevonne also caught me and we too'd and fro'd, catching the first of the sun's rays, all the way to the northern terminus of the ride at Yarraman. 

As I rolled into the Yarraman station I was attacked by a viscious little magpie, my first of the ride (because it was night prior to this). Another few riders rolled in and were similarly greeted by the little bastard! A few of us chilled for 5 minutes but as I had no drop bag (remember, it was back in Moore) I decided to get rolling and hit the Blackbutt bakery for some breakfast. Before rolling out I attached a couple of lengths of silver strip to the back of my helmet. This is apparently the best magpie pecking deterent going around. It won't stop them swooping but it scares them off from making contact, which can be bloody painful!

Most of the ride back to Blackbutt slopes downhill, which was much appreciated. I rode into Blackbutt with Chevonne again but bid her farewell as I had the bakery on my mind. I was looking forward to a bacon and egg roll and a coffee but they didn't do rolls so it was a delicious curry beef pie, washed down with a chocolate milk and chased by a bit of caramael slice. 

No seats outside due to Covid restrictions.

Caramel slice.....YUM!

As I rolled down the trail to Linville I began passing other riders with a small white number plate. "What the hell were they doing" I asked myself? Two events on the trail in the one day? This trail is popular! Passing a rider a bit more slowly I noticed that the number plates stated "150km". Ahhh, yes, there was a 150km ride that started at 6am. I also noted with some slight bemusement a few 322km riders still struggling up the hill with them. These guys would have a long, hot day in the saddle before they got back to Esk!

(Turns out that a bushfire closed the trail shortly after I passed through and all these riders were shuttled by bus from Blackbutt to Linville on the return leg to avoid the hazard. I would have been bummed out to have missed the opportunity to do the full 322km under my own steam)

At Linville I ducked into the loo. When I came out a woman walking past began chatting, asking about the magpies (they are THE talking point on the rail trail such are their numbers and relentlessness) and we got onto fitness and being fit-for-life in general and it was refreshing to speak to somebody else who "got it" with what we were doing with this ride.

The 7km to Moore was mostly uneventful, until the outskirts of Moore where I was visciously attacked by several magpies. These things aren't just protecting their young. They get some sort of enjoyment out of "going" cyclists for sure! The silver tape seemed to keep them from making contact but I did wave my arm at them a lot just to be sure.

At Moore I raided both my drop bags and again, being a tight arse, I loaded up my bike with all of the bars, nuts and lollies that I could fit. I had waaaaayyy over catered for this ride and was eating nowhere near what I thought I might.

Heading out of Moore I was mercilessly swooped by the black and white terrorists for quite a while. Then, once they left me alone I began to notice that it was warming up quite a bit. The rail trail has no tree cover so there is nowhere to hide. Considering that it was about 9am and I had been riding for about 14 hours straight, I was feeling pretty good. Not tired despite being awake all night and no major aches or pains to this point!

I stopped at the service station in Harlin to get a cold Ginger Beer and a bottle of water to top up my supply. While stopped some guy in a car told me to be careful in the creek crossing as the ambulance had just carried another rider away with some serious head/facial injuries. "Yep, I sure would" I told him and wondered to myself if the lack of sleep had caused the crash. (Turns out he rolled his front tyre off the rim at the bottom as all the bridge-less crossings have a stupidly designed dogleg at the bottom, just as you hit maximum velocity for the climb out the other side. I bet these were NOT designed by cyclists!)

There are a few climbs out of Harlin toward Toogoolawah which are tough with around 280km already in the legs. I walked the steepest climb just to give some different muscles some use. The scenery was nice, if dry looking.

The rail tunnel was pretty cool, both literally and figuratively speaking!

After the tunnel is the section of trail that the E-Bike marshal passed me on last night. It seems to go on forever and ever. This morning was taking even longer as I watched the GPS tick up to the 300km mark. Eventually, it got there!!

Woo Hoo!!

Just out of Toogoolawah a family who were cycling the trail started hollering and hooting "only 18km to go!!"

Wow, only 18km more? I could do this!

In fact, I caught two more riders about 10km prior to Esk and dropped them like they were standing still. I must admit, that made me feel good as they were on cyclocross bikes and I was dragging my 2.2 mtb tyres along all this way.

Riding into the finish at the old Esk railway station I got a small cheer from the volunteers and from the racers who had just finished in front of me. Chevonne and Wayne were there, finishing about 40 minutes before me. My time was 17 hours and 10 minutes which I was happy with as I honestly didn't know if I could finish this thing. Even at peak fitness in the Tour Divide Race my biggest day was "only" 275km, so 322km in that time was great. Despite being up all night, I honestly felt like I could have kept going and if I had someone to pick me up at the southern end, I might have!!

Here is my Strava log of the ride/race.

Crazy stuff but you know what? I really, really enjoyed this ride. I gave myself almost no chance but I invoked my Number 1 rule - Never.Give.Up!!