Leading up to this ride the weather had been highly variable, either insanely hot, bucketing down or somewhere in between. Driving to Lowood there was no rain, mist on the hills and in the valleys, the temperature cool and pleasant. Perfect conditions it seemed.
At the appointed hour those assembled headed west along the BVRT which was a little soft in places from the recent rain but not an issue. Turns out the trail was in great shape following all the rain.
I managed a comfortable pace and paused at the first bridge across Laidley Creek to observe a photo op as riders crossed. This is the only bridge that’s been saved, all of the others being far to decrepit to repurpose or completely destroyed over time. It towers impressively over the steep banks of the creek far below and removes the need to scramble up and down over the creek to make the crossing which was the only option in the past. It’s a long way down.
From there I proceeded at a relaxed pace past the remaining creek crossings, pausing to contemplate my surroundings – the remains of bridges over 100 years old, a creek gently tinkling in the bottom of a gully and the ferocious amounts of water that evidently came through here from time to time.
The trail rises gently for many kilometres until Mt Hallen at which point is tips the other way to Esk. At Esk I pause at the bubbler at the station to refill bottles, take in a muesli bar and head straight back at a more brisk pace.
By now its starting to warm up and I’m contemplating the need to top up a water bottle. I pause at Coominya to see if I can find any in the park (nope) and figure its not far to go I’ll just keep going. Before I head off though I reflect on the quiet at the station buildings which in the day had a sawmill, goods and stockyard and was where the locals came to head to the big smoke or send produce to the markets. Quite remarkably the cream shed is still intact and is one of the few places you can still see one.Turns out the family had a farm at Coominya decades ago and my father mentioned that he used to take the rail motor to Coominya and load grapes onto the train when he were lad.
With only a few km remaining, the track smooth and slightly down hill and even a tailwind it seemed the gods of cycling were smiling favourably upon me as I cruise at a steady 30km/h thereabouts on this wonderful piece of the BVRT. But I’m now out in the open, there is zero shade and the temperature is 37 degrees. And a thunderstorm is brewing over my right shoulder grumbling ominously from time to time.
And then with about three kilometres to go, the legs started to fail and with 2 and a half km to go they stopped altogether. This is a problem I have with heat following an injury a while back so its not unusual and I would normally wait until I cool down and continue. But with the thunderstorm gathering steam and no idea how long it would take to recover I considered my options and called Peter who kindly drove quite literally around the corner to pick me up. With both our bikes on his carrier I used the brevet card as a buffer to prevent the bikes rubbing against each other. Now my brevet card is somewhere beside the road just outside Lowood having failed to stay put. And thus ingloriously ended what had been up until then a splendid day.
Would I do this again? Of course it’s a great ride. Many thanks for Peter for organising it and especially for rescuing a hapless rider so close to the end of the ride.
A postscript, the storm rolled through into Brisbane and lightning struck a golfer at the Wantima course at Albany Creek. I made the right call.