Before Alberto and I decided to move away from Cairns four years ago we undertook a few scouting trips to Brisbane to check out the claim of being Australia’s most livable city. On one of those occasions I took my parents to Brisbane and the Gold Coast during their visit in late 2004, early 2005.
Mt Coot-tha was on our sightseeing list as it was highly recommended in my German travel guide book. I remember quite vividly my excited phone call to Alberto that night “Darling, I’m happy to move to Brisbane now. I found us a nice training climb close to the city.” We moved less than a month later.
Dad and I at Mt Coot-tha lookout, January 2005
Mt Coot-tha, derived from the indigenous Place for Honey. Local Aboriginal tribes knew this mountain for its honey (‘ku-ta’) producing stingless bees and they used to come here to collect the honey. I’m sure there is no other Mt Coot-tha, at least not in Europe or America.
After my initial excitement, Mt Coot-tha never made it on my Top Three List of climbs in Brisbane and I only really rode there a handful of times in almost four years. It’s not the climb as such that put me off. It’s rather the unpleasant ride along high traffic roads to get there that prevented me from visiting Mt Coot-tha more often.
And then there was this terrible accident about a year ago where a cyclist collided with a car while descending and didn’t survive. This incident didn’t help putting Coot-tha on my favourites list either.
This is all going to change now. Tuesday morning I met with Shane for some hill repeats. Remember? Build phase = higher intensity. Well, I did the repeats. Shane only kept me company for the first time up the 2.29 km climb that features a steady 6-7% gradient for the first kilometer and then kicks up to 8-9% for a further kilometer. I was amazed how many cyclists were training there on a Tuesday morning. So that’s where they are all getting their strength from! The next six weeks I will be joining them every Tuesday and Thursday in the hope of fulfilling my friend Shane’s prophecy: ” You may see climbing as a weakness, but keep in mind you will need to choose a different “limiter” in a couple of months, as this will be your strength!”