Sometimes a gamble pays off. Well, maybe I missed out on an even better ride, I will never know. But I do know that what I got was pretty good.
The choice? A 120 km ride to Mt Crosby where I had never been and with the QSM bunch – I love riding with these guys – but in the rain and cold and dark
A sleep-in and possibly a dry ride later in the day – alone!
As mentioned in my previous post, I don’t mind riding in the cold or dark but I draw the line at cold, dark and wet. So I stayed in bed.
The gamble? Sometimes the rain only gets heavier.
I checked the skies and the weather radar at eight, nine, ten and by 11am, while the sky looked still grey and threatening, the rain had stopped and the radar looked clear north of Brisbane with just a few remaining rain pockets here and there. I decided to take the risk.
I headed for Clear Mountain with the hope to do my favourite loop without getting wet but I was prepared to play it by ear and change directions if the sky was bluer on the other side.
The five kilometer stretch from Eaton’s Crossing to the two steep sections that lead to the top of Clear Mountain are one of the most scenic in Brisbane I think. Sure it’s rough cheese grater road and as dead as it can be but there are hardly ever any cars and now and then you can catch glimpses of the Glasshouse Mountains in the distance amongst the trees.
The first time Alberto took me there a few years ago, I had to zigzag my way up and didn’t even make it to the top. For years I attempted to get further than the very first driveway on the very first steep part and I had this huge respect, almost fear of Clear Mountain.
With the roads wet, climbing the short 500m long and 15% gradient sections out of the saddle was impossible. The rear wheel was slipping even when seated and my quads were burning when I arrived at the top but I realised that I’m no longer scared of Clear Mountain.
Now that I actually make it to the top of Clear Mountain, I could go on and over and return via Winn Road but I still prefer to turn around and continue on Eaton’s Crossing because there is Nemesis. That innocent looking climb on Eaton’s Crossing, just before the Bunya Road turn-off, actually stopped to be my Nemesis long time ago but the name somehow stuck and whenever I refer to that climb as Nemesis, people knows what climb I’m talking about. I even heard other people using the name, too, so I suspect I’m not the only one who once detested getting up there. It’s just under a kilometer long but has a consistent 9-10% gradient and takes me about three and a half minutes to climb. Nowadays it’s a great test climb for me to see where I am with my fitness and strength.
I planned to turn straight into Bunya Road for home when I realised that I would run out of road before three hours were over. Even though heavy dark clouds were hanging thick and low against the hills on the other side of the valley, I decided to drop down into Samford to add a few extra kilometers. I promised myself that I wouldn’t have to also climb up Mailman’s Track if I did a Samford Valley loop.
Colourful Samford Village was bustling with people and a wiff of coffee came across from the bakery. Before long I was climbing out of the valley, up towards Bunya Road, which is equally scenic as painful with tired legs. To my great surprise my legs were doing a great job and carrying me up the rollers with more ease than they had in the past few months. Without even thinking, I turned into Mailman’s Track, happily breaking the promise I had given myself an hour earlier. It took 10:30min up and 4:30min down, adding exactly 15 minutes to my ride to make it a round three hours.
After the ride I pulled out my compression thighs that have been burried in the bottom of my drawer for months unused. I think I will also take it a bit easier for the next few days. I can’t call it rest week since I’m not exactly training, even though some of you may get this impression. 😉
Riding time: 3hrs 3min
Distance: 68 km
Elevation gain: 1053m