For once I get to ride a brevet that is not a permanent. Working weekends usually precludes me from joining the social side of randonneuring. But today I have a small window and the time limit for this 100km Brevet Australia ends before my work shift commences.
We are a large field of about 15 riders. Some I know from my previous rando days back in 2014, some I know from the local cycling club I recently joined and others are unfamiliar. It’s lovely to be setting off on a ride in a group instead of all alone. Not that I stay in a group for long; I will ride most of my brevet alone.
We roll out of Kallangur and, as if by magic, are transported to rural roads within a few turns. It’s all easy riding until we reach Dayboro Road with it’s long steady rollers. The group splits here as the speedy riders zoom ahead and the rest of the field stretches out. The black road cuts a ribbon through yellow paddocks. Vaughan is riding in front of me. As I start the ride up each roller, his silhouette cuts a striking image at the top far ahead of me. It creates a romantic image of long distance cycling when I see cyclists’ silhouettes on rolling country roads.
While the speedsters drink coffee and eat at the Dayboro Bakery checkpoint, I fill my drink bottles and roll on. With a long climb ahead, time will not be on my side today so I cannot afford to delay. Besides, this is my third attempt to climb Mt Mee in as many weeks. The first attempt ended with my lunch on the side of the road and on the second attempt my rear derailleur fully snapped off my bike. So when I crest the summit today I feel quite chuffed. That’s not to say that I made it easily. The climb was challenging to me and I had to channel the Little Engine that Could to make it. Ever since my adolescence, “I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” has been my mantra when attempting anything physically daunting. And today was no different. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the epic views; Mt Mee is an amazing road to climb.
I was excited about the descent down Campbell’s Pocket Road, forgetting that this type of narrow twisting road takes it out of my wrists as I am heavy on the brakes. And then there are the nasty little climbs that appear from nowhere on the descent. How rude! It’s a good thing this road has some of the best views of the Glasshouse Mountains.
I reach the Wamuran checkpoint with 36 minutes to spare. A group of riders is just setting off as I arrive. Brian and Andrew’s encouraging words spur me on. I buy a chicken and salad wrap before heading off onto the final 40km of today’s ride. This is where the rollercoaster name really comes into play. The Wamuran Basin is simply stunning but utterly unforgiving. I admit I walked a few of the Moorina Road hills. Not that it bothered me: it was a great opportunity to enjoy the landscape.
And then the rural roads end and I reenter suburbia. A few more turns later and I’m arriving back in Kallangur where the group in front of me are relaxing with some beers that the RO provided. I don’t drink alcohol but I can appreciate the others’ pleasure. I had 56 minutes up my sleeve despite the challenging course. I’m quite pleased with that. But it is now time to get a bit more serious and actually do some riding between brevets. This ride is the kick off for my training and hopefully I manage to ride all the Moorina Road hills next month when I ride it as a permanent.
Farmland at the top of Mt Mee