2020 is certainly evolvinginto an interesting year. The travel restrictions and workplace arrangements have certainly had an impact on my ability to ride this year with my statistics jumping to an all time low. I will explain how this has evolved…. Firstly, work evolved into a greedy time consuming monster over the early months of the year, then as our restrictions commenced working from home started with the downside that every-one expected that you were available 10 hours a day and you could participate in back to back meetings all day as well which only left the evenings for getting work done. At times, I would head out for some exercise on the bike in line with our regional restrictions but that was few and far between. Some weekends I went riding with my grandson (including on a new bike I got him) where we would cover up to 15km but mostly it was him playing in his favourite riding spots.
Looking on Strava, My last Audax ride was mid March on a training BP preparing for the Queensland Oppy the following weekend that didn’t happen. The rides have been somewhat sporadic with 6 rides with the Grandson and 5 by myself up to the time that Audax rides re-commenced. One of my rides was another treasurehunt which went to the sandgate foreshore – coincidentally onteh day that stage one restrictions eased – Sandgate was exceptionally crowded (and looking socailly distanced) and cars were everywhere – I decided to err on the side of personal safety and headed back home (finishing another treasure hunt).
My grandson and I had been discussing the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and my first dirt ride (the Goldilocks Ride) and he was interested in coming out with me on the rail trail, moreso once he got his new (secondhand) bike. In a poorly planned excursion, we needed to get ice and a replacement camelback for him (his last one split) and soon we were on our way. We had discussed a Fernvale to Lowood and return trip (about 17km, pie shops each end) but he wanted to push a little harder so we picked Lowood to Coominya (22km). Whilst it was a long way for him, it wouldn’t be his longest ride and I did get many questions of ‘how long til we get there’- and that was in the car on the way to Lowood.
When we arrived it was about noon and had a quick bite to eat before heading out towards Coominya, taking our time, letting him beat me in the ‘races’ but waiting for him on the climbs while he worked out how to ride his new bike more effectively. I was surprised at the number of riders on the rail trail (more than on my last trip out) and I quite liked the slower pace while we rode. In keeping with the unplanned nature of this ride, we got as far as Clarendon Station road (about 6km) and he shinned himself really wekk after hitting a rock just after the cattle grid. All my best grandfather encouragement couldn’t convince him that we could rest a bit then continue because we were over halfway to Coominya. It was a good thing in a way – he had a bite to eat then we started back towards Lowood. About 1.5km into our 6km return journey he stopped and said his pedal was loose. When I checked, the left crank arm bolt had come loose resulting in the arm moving. I emptied the rool bottle and then realised that I should probably have kept the multitool with us as I didn’t have an 8mm hex key and attempted to tighted the bolt using two allen keys together which did work in a fashion until another 1.5km further towards Lowood when the bolt came out completely and the crank arm came off. Fortunately we didn’t lose any bits and he hadn’t injured himself. Attempt #2 was circumvented when another rider came by with the correct tool and we were soon on our way back. As we neared Lowood, he wanted to visit the skate park he saw when we arrived which I thought would be ok and after we had gotten a bite to eat from the bakery (Queensland Randonneur in training). After half an hour of playing he wanted to try the rail trail towards Fernvale so we headed as far as the the remaining rail line (that he rode on) but unfortunately the bolt started working loose again so we called it a day and packed his bike in the car so we didn’t lose bits and mine on the rack. I subsequently found out a few things about the crank arm like once they get movement in them they flog out ont he spline and will always work loose when tensioned normally. This proved to be true as it was loose a week later. I cleverly used some medium strength threadlocker but this worked loose in a week too. I took it to the LBS and had a discussion with them about it and they had a look, told me that the crank arm would be a rare replacement but they could have a search but recommended a high strength threadlocker first which they put on. As a trade, I taught them how to work with pedals and the like using a bench to hold the crank arm in place. I have yet to hear if there is any movement but the LBS has assured me they can replace the crankset (for a fee.) He is still keen to come out again ad when I mentioned my next ride as the 100km he was wondering if he could come out on that one too.
The Queensland Audax season restarted with a 218km BRM that left to the fit riders and elected to ride the Horizontal Hundred the following weekend – this had two starting groups and was bisected by a flat 50. I headed off in the last group and took my time as once again the bike paths were quite busy near the start. This ride is one of my favourite 100’s mainly due to it being a quite easy ride and in roung christmas I normally arrange a permanent in the evening to beat the hot days and the lighting installed by the council are really amazing at Redcliffe. Whilst a pretty unremarkable ride except for the lack of wind and seeing Keith at Deagon, I recorded the time on the Brevet at the control but rode on, stopping at facilities another 10km along the route for a bite to eat and a refresh break. Once again, Sandgate was really busy so I rode carefully and made my way safely back to the start. This ride was a bit tougher than I had expected overall, but mainly due to the lack of riding and a headwind in the last few km.
Very calm waters off Deception Bay – Horizontal Hundred and a view that only cyclists see – from the Go-Between Bridge onthe Riverloop May.
My next foray was whislt ROing two different rides starting at the same location to the confusion of a couple of riders as one route normally starts elsewhere. I wasn’t riding the Inland Indulgence mainly due to the lumpy bits in the first 30km which I would not have enjoyed so I rode the Riverloop (modified start) so I could also be back for all the returning 100km riders. Once again, nothing remarkable about this ride other than the changed start location and a different type of climbing at the start. In contrast to most rides, I only took a small bidon with me which I discovered had a strong aftertaste of dishwasher and needed to stop and rinse and refresh it at Long Pocket. I have to admit though, I did like the downhill bit at the end.
In a superb effort of planning, the follwoing weekend I was RO for a 50 and 100km ride (there were tough BRMs on both the saturday and sunday of the same weekend as well) and found myself to be the only 50km rider. I selected this because the 100 had more climbing than I would enjoy and I would have time for coffee and book reading whilst the 100km riders returned (or so I thought). This ride used the Peach-Mee 50km route which interestingly enough went no-where near either of those destinations. In a final insult to planning, I chose to not bring a bidon but use my camelback instead – which I left at home. I was offerred a loaner at the start but with the bike being a small frame can only accommodate a small bidon. Fortunately the train station that we started at had a vending machine and bought a bottle of water. I did have a no-show at the start and waited for a bit before heading slowly off towards Samford. I did discover some interesting things – it is awkward using a standard drink bottle – it required stopping at planned locations (top of climbs) not only because of the screw cap but also getting it out of the wind jacket pocket. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of traffic, but surprisingly only one really bad driver that not only came close but also ran off the road about 100m further up Winn road (he did recover without further incident that I saw).
I have bad recollections of my first ride on part of Winn road on a stinking hot summer day where the GPS reported a road temperature of 59 degrees in one spot (a longer climb in the open). I found this day to be significantly easier and improved the hot section by 40 minutes (because I didn’t stop to recover in the heat in that summer). A new feature on this ride is a lego block speed bump near the bottom of a hill in Ferny Hills that requires everyone to go over it and having seen it on my way to the ride I let all the cars go first so I could slowly ride over it then enjoy the last climb of the day. I am amazed at the impatience of some drivers – when I got to the traffic calming near the top of Tarnook drive the motorist behind me elected to pass on the other side of the divide rather than wait. Lucky no-one came down the hill at the same time. Just like the week before, this ride finishes with an excellent downhill as a treat to the weary randonneur. I did find this ride to be better than the 100 or 200 I have ridden in the past.
As a restart to the season for me, I have enjoyed the rides and next up is the BVRT Long Haul which I am sure I will have a bit of noise coming from above the saddle in places but should be an enjoyable ride.