It was with trepidation that I approached this day. It would be the litmus test. Was I up to the ride? I did not know. While this was not the longest day in distance, it was easily the hilliest day. I thought that there was a 50% chance I would end up in the sag wagon. As a result I decided to be up for the start of breakfast at 6AM. As I prepared, I could hear the noises coming from other tents as others also prepared to start. I was up as the first pre-dawn lights hit the sky. There was a thin wisp of fog.
The breakfast queue was the longest I would see on the trip. Maybe 30 people. But the processing once breakfast was open was very very fast. I grabbed breakfast, washed the dishes, packed the tent and was on my way just after the official start at 7AM. This I expected would give me the maximum time to make it through to the end.
Heading out though the gate, there was a right turn, a gentle up hill, then another right turn followed by a steeper up hill. As I rode, pretty much everyone else on the road at that time passed me. Things were not looking good. Then came the first sweeping down hill. I passed many as the pattern for the day, and even for the ride, set in. On the way up I would be passed. On the way down, I would do the passing. However, more passed me on the way up than I passed on the way down. On some of the up hills I was down to my granny gear by the top. I was struggling to manage 12 kmh at the best of times and at the worst I was down to 5 or 6 kmh.
I spent the morning riding alone. This would normally happen over the whole trip, though later I would get fit enough to ride with some others as I was beginning to be able to keep up. The first rest stop was at Haden. This is a little town and the hall was well maintained. I grabbed a bite to eat and a coffee and probably only spent 10 minutes there. On the way out I filled up my water bottles and headed off. I did not want to waste any time in my quest to get to the end.
After Haden Hall, the long option riders left our group and headed off on an extra 12 km. Now that I know more this does not seem like much, given some of the riders and their fitness levels. Though the organisers seemed to think that the optional rides stretched their resources a bit too much. Just after Haden Hall we reached the highpoint of the ride, both for the day, and for the whole ride, at just under 700 meters. We were greeted with some great views from the lookout towards the coast, though the weather was murky.
From here on in it would be more down hill than up, though there were still some long climbs to be negotiated. The day was warming up. I was finding that on the downhills I was getting up to speeds of 60 kmh. But I still was having my steering problem with the trike and and small dimple in the road would send me off in that direction. It took a lot of concentration and correcting to keep on the road at times. I also still could not pedal at over 40 kmh and go in a straight line.
On the long section down hill here, I passed Geoff at the top of the hill. He was looking in the grass. I did not realise it was him until I was nearly past. It turned out his garmin had bounced off the bike. He was unable find it. The longest down hill was really good and I got up to average speeds of over 30 kmh and passed quite a few riders.
The second rest stop was at the Peranga Hall. This is next to the bowling club. There were many riders there by the time I arrived. I posed a few times for a local photographer. There was only one rider silly enough to complain about having his photo being taken. There were a few local kids also enjoying the unusual action in their town. Again, I had a break with cakes and coffee.
I did not check the time on my rides. I only had the speedometer set to show the day’s distance. This let me know how far it was to the next rest stop. But by the photos time stamps, I was in Maclagan by 11:08. I had made good time.
Lunch was at the Maclagan Museum. The day was starting to get hot and I really needed the break. On the way into the town was the good times team. They would be located at a point along the route, every day, just before one of the rest stops. Lunch was a roll, a piece of fruit, in this case a pear, a small packet of biscuits and cheese and a cup of juice. I think that this was the worst lunch stop of the trip, the reason? It was hot, sunny and there was no shade. I shared a bit of shade from an old building with 6 other riders before heading out to reach the end of the day’s ride.
In the afternoon I started to find what I’d call my riding legs. It only occurred on a few occasion, such as just after the long down hill. I was beginning to stretch out, I was starting to get into the rhythm of the trike for the first time ever and hence I was beginning to really enjoy the riding.
The ride in the after lunch was a long up hill followed by some lumps and bumps that others would call rolling hills. Then a down hill into Kiamkillenbun. I was feeling good and quite chuffed that I had made it. In the last section, one of the motorcycle riders who patrolled up and down the ride to look for riders in trouble rode along side and checked that I was going ok, which I was. The night before they had said that Kiamkillenbun had had 37 mm of rain on Friday and that the camp ground was on the evil black soils. So I was expecting a quagmire. Instead I found a great, dry and well maintained sports ground. The only down side was that it was covered in bindies. But that would be a recurring problem at most camp sites. Grabing my bags, I noted that not only had I made it, but I was ahead of most other people.
In the town there was a pub that was in a movie, of course, I can’t remember it’s name, but it had Nichole Kiddman in it and the train in Normanton. Over on the railway line a local company had set up a display of farm equipment and some of the seed they used to plant using the equipment. I watched as the sag wagon came into town. Later I learned that the other greenspeed, rob on the Anura, had been picked up by the sag wagon before the first rest stop. They were annoyed as once you are on the sag wagon, they do not let you off. I think they made a special effort not to be on the sag wagon again. Apparently they started really late.
After dinner there was the band, which I did not enjoy so much. In the hall was a singer provided by the local town playing pop songs. He was having a great time as people were up dancing and I think he kept on playing, over his time, for several songs. I then headed off to sleep. I was a little sun burned. I had not put any sun screen on my face. A mistake I would not repeat. I also had only put on one application of sun screen. After that I always put more on a the lunch break.
Distance: 78.08 km
Average: 16.19 kmh
Time: 4:49:20 hours
Max: 60 kmh
Original Post: Second day. An early start. Had breakfast and packed the tent to be out the gate by just after 7am. There were many long hills rode up at between 5 an 12 kmh. Afternoon was easier and I made very good time. Found my riding legs on occasion. Pleased toake it in by 1:30 and not need the sag wagon. Got a bit sunburned.