The 2019 edition of this ride was heavily subscribed. I’d like to think it’s a just recognition for the efforts of Simon and Vaughan who put on a good ride and take exceptional care of the riders. In any case, cooler weather than last year greeted those assembled at the Nundahdome at the sensible hour of 6am. This facilitated a little more time in the cool of the day, and the wise decision to launch up and over the gateway first up. Last year the gateway ascent proved a significant challenge in 40 degree heat.
I had elected to take my 80’s steel bike Bling out for the day. Surprisingly I was almost first to the top of the gateway bridge and remained more or less at the pointy-ish part of the field for much of the rest of the day, something of a new experience for me.
The first 30 or so km passed uneventfully and I arrived at the checkpoint to be greeted by all manner of wonderful things including the world famous pineapple slice which is almost sufficient reason alone to take on this ride – it’s that good. Brevet card endorsed, I didn’t hang about for too long and ventured back out towards the western part of the course. Not being a river looper I was guided through this part of the course to Oxley at which point I lost contact with the group I had been riding with.
As usual when the road goes up, I go backwards and I definitely took a wrong turn. I ended up back on track at Indooroopilly and continued to the second rest stop. Fortified with a sanger (ham and tomato, no mayo), Coke, a bag of lollies and one for the road I set out on the final leg. I had plenty of time and with that in mind I took it nice and easy.
From the check point, a gentle ride up Gladstone Road and down Highgate Hill, across the Go Between bridge and from there across the Goodwill and Story Bridges. There was a breeze along the river and I was fully in cruise mode from the Goodwill bridge all the way to the Brekky Creek hotel. It was a glorious day, the scenery wonderful, that nice breeze – just a fantastic time out on the bike on the paths beside the river. It rarely gets better than this.
The final part of the route includes a decent climb behind the Brekky Creek hotel. I had thought it about 9% from memory but upon checking its about 15% in places. Last year, vaporized in the heat I struggled just to walk up the last part. This year, I had planned to ride up Cooksley Street and then walk up Queens Road. I had more suitable gearing this time around and while it may have been possible to ride to the top I stuck to the plan anyway, dismounted at the corner of Queens Road and walked up the rest of the way.
The remainder of the ride was uneventful and I arrived at the final checkpoint intact and in very good spirits. By this time the post ride soiree was in full swing, Simon’s legendary hospitality fully on display.
Post ride synopsis: excellent course, good weather, the RO’s did a fantastic job – an epic ride by any measure. Add it to your list for next year.