Ride Start Date: 2021-05-14
Author: Brett Fyfield
After a pretty big December by my standards, January was fairly light on. I had spent only a few hours on the bike in the two weeks leading up to this permanent. Normally I would have locked the big ride away early in the month, but the circumstances weren’t right. So I woke early on Monday the 27th of January, the Australia Day holiday, feeling a little underdone and certainly unprepared for what was to come. The plan was to ride to the start early and then drop back in at home after doing the Mt Coot-tha section to collect bidons and a musette. I arrived at the start 20 minutes late, and then got moving right away.
The view at Coot-tha was stunning, but also a distraction from the task at hand. When I got back home to collect a fresh bidon and fuel up, I probably spent a little bit too much time chatting and got back on the road feeling under the pump. With roughly 45 minutes to ride from The Gap to Samford via Camp Mountain it was a little bit stressful, and I had to push a little harder than I’d like to in the first quarter of a 220km ride. I arrived at the first control with a minute in hand, fumbled round in my jersey pocket for the brevet card, for a moment I feared I’d dropped it, and then away again for the next control at the top of Mt Glorious with an hour up my sleeve.
I was able to put a fifteen minute buffer into the schedule on the leg up to Glorious, but when I arrived there were a few shops shut. The Glorious Cafe was packed and I didn’t really want to stop. The Elm House was the next option, but as I arrived at the gate I was met by a guy with a thick German accent who told me the cafe was closed. He signed my card, albeit a little reluctantly and I was on my way. The next cafe was open, but I probably shouldn’t have stopped as it took close to 20 minutes to get a coffee, and the rain was starting to fall. It was quite cool as I began the descent into Wivenhoe, and treacherous with mossy edges and leaves strewn all over the road. I took it easy, and stopped for photos at Wivenhoe outlook, with plenty of time to spare until the next control in Fernvale.
On the approach into Fernvale I encountered the first of several gravel sections, I probably should have studied the route a little more, as I was running 25s and had to ease up a little more than I normally would. The inevitably puncture came on a short picturesque descent a few kilometres from the Brisbane Valley highway. At Fernvale, the halfway mark I asked a motorcyclist to sign my card, and sat down to cool off in the shade. I was glad to have brought a couple of burritos in my feed bag as the bakery was packed. After a short rest and a reapplication of sunscreen I set off for the second half of the ride.
I haven’t done much riding on the other side of Fernvale so I was pleasantly surprised, it was a little exposed to the elements, and the wind provided a little resistance on the way out to Coominya, but on the way back it alternated between cross-tail and tail wind to I felt good about that. I knew that I would need to go fairly slowly to survive the tail end of the ride, and with a good combination of gravel and hills in the final 100km this would prove to be absolutely right.
The gravel was challenging, some off-camber corners, some short sharp climbs, and shady eucalyptus woodlands for variety all interspersed with quite county roads until the return to North Ipswich and the beginning of the Mt Crosby leg. I stopped at Colleges Crossing to freshen up, as once I got moving over those hills I didn’t want to stop for fear of cramping up. I cramped a few times on the entry into Pullenvale, but managed to keep them at bay with a few on-bike stretches and a change in position. The running creeks and green paddocks in Pullenvale proved to be a welcome distraction.
My Garmin died just as I pulled out on to Moggill Road, but know the way home through Kenmore to Toowong I wasn’t too concerned. I got to Toowong at about 6:20 and kept rolling home to The Gap happily spent. I was glad I did it on the road bike, but probably would have felt more confident with 28s. I’m looking forward to more gravel adventures out on the BVRT, on the gravel bike.
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