Ride Start Date: 2020-12-24
Author: Brett Fyfield
This is the second time I’ve done the Goat Track Gambol, the first being on a Brevet Randonneur Mondial way back in Sept 2019. It feels like much longer than that, and I’m not sure that my legs appreciate the sudden leap forward in volume that this time of year brings. Normally I’m better prepared, but with work demanding more of me due to covid-19 and fewer opportunities to ride, like many of you my total kilometres are down this year.
This time I’m going solo in search of some solid kilometres with a taste of gravel in the first ride of the Rapha #festive500. I always try to get a few big rides in early, because you never know how the weather is going to pan out, and sometimes life just gets in the way of riding 😉 So this time I step out the door on one of the coolest December days in living memory, with slight hint of rain in the air, and a subtle breeze pushing me towards Samford and the Goat Track.
The first part of the ride is very direct, and heads straight over the Settlement Road hill, left on to Samford Road and over the range without deviation. I’m grateful for this, as I normally take the slightly hillier Lochinvar route, or the sedate Lanita rail link to Samford. I arrive in good time to the base of the Goat Track and spend a little time talking to the camera, fuelling and preparing myself for the effort over Mt Glorious. The Goat Track itself is the easy part, the road to glorious is at the point where after a few days of good rain the moss is making the road slippery and out of the saddle efforts are ill-advised. The cafe is packed, so I stop for a takeaway coffe, get the brevet signed and chat for a while with a young couple who have ridden up on from Nebo the road bikes, him for the first time. I take a few photos capture some footage for the vlog and move on up to the Western Window to prepare for the descent.
I’m on the aluminium Felt f65x cyclocross bike this time, and although the disk brakes are predicably reliable, the ride sensation on the rough surface is jarring and I have to ease off the saddle gently to tame the descent. I’m not after any PR’s just enjoying the flow, and before I know it I’m at the Wivenhoe-Somerset T-intersection and settle into a good rythym for the next half hour or so into Fernvale where I stop for water and provide a status report to camera. This is where the hardest part of the ride starts, if you felt good over the climbs you may be lulled into a false sense of security. I’ve reached the 100km mark within about 4 hours, and push on to Marburg for the next checkpoint.
Marburg is a quaint town. I’m glad the sun isn’t beating down, and I pause to take photos and refuel. I’m enjoying the slightly “pop” photos coming from my 10yo Sony Cybershot point and shoot. I don’t want to stay too long though as have built up some momentum, and have the good sensations I’ll need for the last part of the ride and the gravel at Mutdapilly.
The roads out here are heavy, and every pedalstroke counts to keep the momentum high, there is very little freewheeling out here. I enjoy the change of scenery that the hills before Rosewood bring, and then get smacked in the face by a massive moth that decides to hang onto my nose for the rapid descent. All I can think is, lucky I had my sunglasses on and my mouth closed because things might have ended very differently. I’m still on high alert through town, and just as well as the country drivers seem unable to judge the speed of smaller objects approaching on the road.
Peaks Crossing seems to be the psychological turning point for me on this ride, and all roads from here lead back home via the Western Freeway. It’s a good thing that I’ve done this ride before because somewhere near Bundamba my Garmin dies, and I take a moment to switch to the backup Garmin Fenix 5, which might as well me an analogoue watch for navigation. I’m not one to continue looking at my wrist while entering turns, or deciding which roundabout exit to take.
It’s about this time, lying on my back in the grass, staring into the slight patches of blue sneaking out from behind the grey patchwork of clouds that I might struggle on the way back. Despite my best pacing efforts earlier, I have reached the precipice of bonking, brought on by an underdone preparation for the first 200km ride since March. So grovel I do, through Riverview, Goodna, Wacol and onto the Western Freeway. Still making it home in a respectable 10h20m.
The full video is up on YouTube.
Check the ride on Strava.
Check out the last time I rode it.
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