Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Homing Pigeon


About a week (or was it two?) after my bike trip south to Sydney I flew back down to pick 'er up for the trip home. I had a few ideas for the route home and it looked like the weather was going to cooperate.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Turning Pedals Instead Of Twisting Throttles For A Change


Things haven't been all about motorcycles here this year. I have been keeping up a slightly irregular cycling program - nowhere near as intense as last year's effort - but still reasonably consistent. Well, maybe not that consistent as I felt the need to test out the legs on a couple of longer rides recently.

These were an Audax ride called the Dirty Marburg and the Brisbane To The Bay charity ride.

What is an Audax ride I hear you ask? Well, follow that link and it will explain all but essentially it is a long distance, non competitive ride with a pre defined time limit. This particular ride, being on gravel roads and in the Lockyer Valley appealed to me as it is pretty country AND it is pretty flat. My fitness (and weight) isn't what it used to be so this 100km gravel ride would be a nice test of the legs.

An early start was required to make the ride start time in the little hamlet of Marburg, west of Brisbane. I arrived with plenty of time to spare and found myself ready early so was able to watch all the other riders roll in. Most seemed to know each other and I didn't speak to anyone apart from the ride organiser, Peter Watson. Coming from a mountain biking background where most people are friendly and chatty, I find this a bit strange with road riders. If you aren't in their "group" then they tend not to even say g'day. 🧐

After a few words from Peter we were off.

It was a fine, clear, cool morning and the group quickly spread out. We were soon on gravel roads and I was near the front but after a couple of steepish climbs I was getting dropped like a stone by some of the lighter riders. 

The road soon crested though and there were some steeeep, fast gravel descents. I like going stupidly fast on gravel descents. (Most road riding types don't.) Well, stupidly fast on 38mm wide tyres that is. I did clean up all of those who had passed me on the climb here and I was pretty sure there were only two riders out in front now.

 Of course, I didn't stop on the fast downhills but I did get this shot looking south west over the Lockyer Valley before another steep sealed descent.

The next couple of hours consisted of gravel roads that alternated between silky smooth and "patchy", with some sealed stuff thrown in. It was pretty lonely going here as I was alone for about 40km.

The southern end of the route turned left here at the Mt Mort rural fire brigade shed. This was almost the 50km mark and the first time I stepped off the bike for the morning.

There were a few small hills as I headed east. I was joined briefly by another rider for a few kilometres. We got to the half way point of the ride and signed each other's time cards. I don't think this was strictly necessary but he seemed to know the protocol for these types of rides and who was I to argue?

He stopped for a break and being what I thought was a stronger rider said " I'll see you when you catch me again". This was the last time I saw him for the morning.

I soon turned left again at this intersection and was heading north, back towards the start. This section went up and down some pinchy climbs that had me grovelling, then hollering down the back side.

The ride became a bit tedious, especially as it got back onto some relatively busy sealed sections. I was glad I had my bright orange Masaka cycling jersey on. It is almost fluro orange, so stands out quite well.

The ride organiser had mentioned some muddy track near the end and I would have to say this was the most fun section for me. I like a challenge and this hilly, narrow, slippery section helped the time to fly by. Of course, I didn't stop for photos here. I just wanted to finish and get home by this stage.

Which I did! Not that this was a race but I am pretty sure I was 3rd rider back in 4 hours 35 minutes total time for the 101km.

Not bad for a fat, unfit middle-aged bloke who hasn't ridden much this year!
Here is the Strava proof.

They even give the finishers a cool little badge.

The next challenge was to fill in for a mates wife......no, not like that! 😳 ...... in the Brisbane To The Bay ride. She hadn't done any riding at all this year so 100km on no training is a big ask. Naturally, I was to be the stunt double.

A couple of other mates were roped in at the last minute as well (it helps when you know the ride organiser) so there were four of us to share the suffering.

A cool, early start from Southbank in Brisbane was the order of the day and it was busy!! About 7500 riders were registered for this thing and honestly, the riders didn't ever really thin out around the 100km course!

It was all Dan's fault so here he is possibly indicating the temperature at the start.

And me being his "wife" for the day. 

We were soon off and enjoying the softer ride that the fat tyres of our cyclocross bikes gave us.

 Us and a few mates....

Shane and Will.

A quick comfort stop at the ~30km mark had us then turn south and parallel the coast. This IS winter in Brisbane. Glorious!!

I became detached from the group somewhere around the 80km mark and decided to phone the others at about the 90km mark. They had suffered a flat on Will's bike and were quite a way back. I decided to keep going to the finish, then circle back and meet them for the last five or six kilometres to the finish. 

This made for 116 kilometres for the day for me and I actually didn't feel too bad. I am finding I am not so much into these mass participation events these days but it was fun doing the ride with a couple of mates, ignoring the odd dickhead who cropped up along the way. 🤭

Strava stats for the day are below.