My favourite loop: Clear Mountain, Samford, Bunya and Mailman’s Track

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

Or

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.

View from the top of Clear Mountain looking south towards Brisbane

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.

Looking at this photo now I’m not exactly sure how I managed to stay dry

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
223.7 TSS

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8 Responses to My favourite loop: Clear Mountain, Samford, Bunya and Mailman’s Track

  1. Lisa says:

    I wish I had a 'favorite loop' – right now I'm struggling trying to get through 1 hour at a time on my bike. My fitness just seems to be gone… 😦

  2. Lucky you, we had rain until this morning… what a weekend.

  3. …speaking of loops – remember that drive we took out around the tight, twisty 'tiburon' peninsula ???…i did that loop, which from my place is about 56 k's, on wednesday last (in serious wind, wearing armwarmers) & again today, monday, in pleasantly warm conditions……slow, yes, but for me it's about spinning smoothly & consistently as those two loops represent the longest rides i've done since my accident early last september……it's proving to be a long road back to health & fitness but it's a road i'm glad to be able to travel…especially by bicycle……the alternative could have been all too real…just sayin'…

  4. AMR says:

    Hi bgw, good to hear you are spinning your legs around. Heard lots of good things about riding your way.Groover, 223 TSS in 68 km? That's a hard, hard ride…Well done!!

  5. …hey there, 'berto…hopefully by the time you two get up here to ride, i'll be strong enough to lead you over not only the tiburon loop which is just kinda fun because of it's twisty nature but also the mt tamalpais loop which has some hard-ass but delightfully scenic climbing……despite marin having a fair amount of traffic, there are less problems than elsewhere in the 'bay area' & while i've been doing these loops for 40 years & they're still very enjoyable……glad to show n' share…

  6. …ummm, if i could get an "&" back & offer you a comma(,) in substitution, that middle comment would make better sense…

  7. AMR says:

    Never mind… we can see a beautiful picture!

  8. Groover says:

    Lisa – One hour is not a bad start. That would be enough time for a little loop :-)Anke – Hope the weather this weekend was as glorious as ours (albeit chilly) and you got some riding in.bgw – You bet, I remember. And I'm glad to hear you are riding it again. Awesome news!AMR – And once again Friel was right, I needed two days of receovery after that 228TSS ride.bgw and AMR – Glad you two sorted out your grammar! LOL

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