Welcome to the mid May edition of the Queensland Newsletter. Pickings are a little slim this edition as our Brevet Secretary who provides me with ride data makes his way northwards to take part in this years TrOppy in far north Queensland and most riders are trying to get accustomed to the end of summer. I do have a few interesting items to tweak your interest as I continue my journey with bike and gear maintenance with ‘on the road’ repairs in the dark (again!)
For our Far Northern riders, I hope you have good weather and safe riding for the TrOppy.
Our feature photo this edition was taken by Tara (who always seems to have time to take photos) on a downhill section near the top of Mt Nebo. This was not the worst of the dross on the road from the strong winds the night before – there were about six lesser and greater obstructions on the road. Halfway up Mt Nebo the debris covered a lot of the uphill lane in areas which made the descents a bit tricky. Speeds on some of the downhill sections can exceed 60kmh and with debris as large as 50mm diameter you really need your wits about you. Fortunately as the debris field increased so did the courtesy of a lot of drivers. I also noticed that in the bushland further on were some downed power lines with the repair team assessing the damage and trying to figure out how they could repair it on the hilly slopes.
This year’s Bedrock finally saw me successfully complete the ride for the first time (of 3 attempts). I did get maximum value for my ride fee finishing with 8 minutes to spare. All up we had riders for each distance and I believe Scott may have been our first 150km entry.
Gayle has finished her write-up of the Atherton 400. Gayle had six riders completing in times ranging from just over 19 hours to 20 1/2 hours. Excellent effort by all.
Ready Gayle’s report here
There are a lot of rider – bike interface issues that each of us face from time to time. A very frank discussion with some riders recently showed us that when the people in the bike shop say that they understand the problem and that ‘you can talk about it’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are prepared for the minute detail that you need to go into to express your discomfort whilst trying to get their assistance for a solution. Apparently the look of shock and embarrassment was priceless (at least when we were chatting). Names have been withheld to protect the embarrassed.
I think that those of us in the Audax community who spend long days on the road can have a different set of issues not normally experienced by other styles of riding. I believe that gaining assistance with some of the more delicate issues we face may take a little more time and diplomacy to obtain quality assistance in the bike shop.
On a serious note, saddle and knick choice seem to be a combination rather than individual items to be selected, and I have found the choice of saddle to be somewhat dependent upon the vertical angle of the body, shapes of various body parts. I find that with my chunky thighs, I need a rounded saddle, settling on the Selle SMP hybrid for curly, and a TRK for my more upright riding. This has cured the interface issues I had when I first started riding Audax. I have seen that a lot of other riders are quite comfortable with a flatter saddle. The choice is so individual.
We all take a common set of spares on on our rides such as tubes, levers etc and some of us take less commonly used items such as chain breakers, multitools, a specialised cassette lock ring tightening tool (used the chain stay as part of it apparently) and after breaking a spoke on my first 300km ride I carry an emergency flexible spoke (cost $20 so I bought two)
When I rode Yeronga Medley 2 this year, I broke the left shoe lace on my riding shoe. These are a pull cord lace similar to the Boas used on most newer model road shoes that use a ratchet. Fortunately I could tie it and complete the ride with no difficulty. The manufacturer doesn’t sell a replacement without a pair of shoes so I became crafty and found an almost identical item at spotlight. It isn’t as strong but is similar in dimensions. I replaced the lace and made up a couple of spares that I neglected to include in my tool kit so when I went to ride the Every Which Way permanent this month (starting at 6am) I broke the other lace when putting on my shoes. Unfortunately when I tried to tie it conventionally, the lace kept breaking so I was flummoxed as to what I could use. A search of the tool bottle and bags revealed no spare laces and I was about to try a really bad temporary fix when I remembered the flexible spokes. It took a bit to thread the laces but the fix allowed me to start the ride less than 5 minutes late. They make a bit of a fashion statement – maybe.
Peter Watson mentioned afterwards that some cable ties would have worked as well. A good idea except I wasn’t carrying any and I do massage my feet occasionally.
Rides and ride organisers (wanted)
One thing we all like doing is taking part in the audax rides. I get a lot of thanks from riders who participate in rides that I RO and it is a satisfying contribution. Whilst being a ride organiser is not every-one’s cup of tea, we do appreciate every person that puts their hand up to be a RO whether it be some-one establishing their own ride or rides, or some-one that can fill in when a RO is unavailable for a ride. There is a bit of preparation work to plan a new ride, some administrative items in regards to the calendar, some preparation before the ride and a little more afterwards, mostly made very simple as everything is now on-line. Permanent Rides are another ride option that you can RO. Occasionally, an extra set of hands are needed for a supported ride as well. Planning in supported rides is a little more involved but well worthwhile too.
Have a chat to any of the RO’s on your rides and see what it is all about. One thing to remember – in the last two years we have had a few people retire from RO duties and fortunately a few step up.
A bit later this year will be the Ride Calendar co-ordination meeting where all rides are discussed and scheduled for the following Audax season. Even if you don’t intend to be a RO, you can come along and see what it is all about.
This artistic display is located in the Waverley region south of Mt Isa. I first saw this on a working trip to Boulia but we were not in a position to stop and take photo at the time. One of my work colleagues was recently in the area and was kind enough to take a few photos for the newsletter. I have tried to find out the history behind this artistic display to no avail but I have noticed during my research that the number of bikes seems to fluctuate over time.
As always, I welcome articles and ride reports to include in the newsletter Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.