Once again I’m ten minutes late for the start time I nominated for my brevet permanent. No traffic today; I slept past my 3:15am alarm. But it’s a good confidence boost to know I can stay calm and ride in conditions that used to cause stress.
Like the Nundah Flat Fifty, this ride starts at the Nundah Criterium Track. Street lamps light the car park as the bright headlights of cyclist shoot around the criterium track at speeds I can only envy. I turn on my own bike lights, slip my arms through the sleeves of my high visibility vest and set off.
Darkness envelops me as soon as I leave the carpark. I’m entering a world I remember from my previous Audax days. In fact, this darkness is why I chose a 4.30am start time. The horizon is orange from the bright lights of the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane Airport. But that light doesn’t make a dent in the blackness.
The route takes me along the Jim Soorley Bikeway and Boondall Wetlands cycle path to Sandgate. I can smell the swamp but can’t see it as I ride. I do, however, see a tawny frog mouth on a banch above the track. It almost scares me with its sudden appearance above my head. Inquisitive eyes peering at me.
At Sandgate I get my first glimpse of the water. I stay with it until after the Ted Smout Bridge where I turn left onto Elizabeth Ave and cruise along. A kilometer or two later I am riding the roads of my commute. Back streets where cars and bikes try to avoid Anzac Avenue’s slow never-ending road works are quiet this morning. These same back streets take me to the pretty and under rated Deception Bay waterfront.
Leaving the water behind I find myself in Burengary then on to the checkpoint at the Deception Bay Shell servo. I’m well ahead of the cut off. From here the route takes me back to Nundah via the Scarborough, Redcliffe, Sandgate and Shorncliffe waterfronts. I pass within 300m of my house not far from the checkpoint and follow my commute route past work. I ride strongly until the 95km mark where I feel a familiar hollowness in my legs. This is why I’m starting with shorter brevets: to work out what my body needs.
I finish comfortably within the time limit without having felt pressed for time.