Archive for July, 2008

100 miles on the Cervelo

OK so you can choose between a genuine Century at 100 miles (160 ks) or you can go metric and ride the 100k option. Either way the Century: Brisbane to Noosa is a first class ride taking in all the best the southeast has to offer.

Brent: Sounds like a challenge to me – I’ll take the 160k option please! The main worry was not the distance – it was making the cutoffs, which required an average speed of 25kph to be maintained all day. 5 of us enter – me, Danny, Adam, Ernie and Rob. Ria, the legend, gets a vehicle from Thiess so she can support us e with spare tubes, food etc.

Adam: Woke up at 5am on ride day to discover that it felt like someone has thrown razorblades down my throat. “Great start! – good to know that your body is in tip-top condition before you attempt the longest ride of your life…”

Jump on the Cervelo, already stocked with filled water bottles and ride into the start line in the dark (I still don’t have lights on the bike). I manage to trail a particularly foul rubbish truck half of the way in which, combined with my sore throat nearly causes me to throw up before I have even started exerting myself.

Don’t be bothered by the cold at the 6.30 am start from Brisbane City Botanic Gardens in the big smoke. You’ll be bound to warm up by the time you hit Gympie Road cruising through Lutwyche headed north. By this time, the groups will have formed with the legends touching the better side of 40ks an hour. The ‘not as fit as I thought I was’ group will be plugging away at about 25 and the rest of the pack will settle in to something in between.

Brent: That’s fine, but you didn’t take into account the effect of 1200 riders and operating traffic lights – 30 minutes to get out of the city! Being in the middle of the pack didn’t help. Once we got moving we were sitting between 35 and 40 – but the legends were long gone. The weather was clear and crisp and I was feeling good.

Adam: Mistaking the sore throat for thirst, I proceed to polish off a bottle of water before we even start the ride and have to take a leak in the bushes. Luckily there was plenty of those at the botanic gardens.

Once we finally cleared the city, the legs started to warm and the day chilled a little just before dawn. The blood started to pump through the system and it was smiles all round – great to be alive.

Brisbane at this time of day isn’t such a bad place after all with almost no traffic and a fresh morning chill to let you know you’re alive. Progress will be smooth with the usual nervous chitchat of a bunch settling into serious one on ones by the time the Caltex at Castledine becomes a memory. NO HILLS YET

Brent: At this point we were in a bunch of about 50 cruising at just under 40kph, when I heard a car smash…but it wasn’t a car. A rider 2 or 3 back from me hit a discarded water bottle, his front tyre stopped dead and he went straight over the handlebars taking a few others down with him. Big reality check. At the next traffic lights, as we heard the ambulance siren in the background, we found out from the guy who had been riding beside him that the injured rider was up from Melbourne for the weekend. Hard luck buddy.

Adam: I didn’t hear the ‘car crash’ as I was a bit further forward in the group but I did see the fallen water bottle and managed to swerve around it.

From here it’s onto the Old Gympie Road through Strathpine before a right at the Anzac Avenue round-a-bout takes you towards the Bruce Highway until a left onto Narangba Road. From here, the bush gets bushier and the city is just a memory. You’ve covered about 25ks so far. From here, the roads narrow considerably. Single file is a necessity in some areas as the four-wheel traffic imposes the ‘right of weight’ at every opportunity.

Brent: This was nice and cruisey…but about this time clouds started to appear on the horizon. I had also hydrated very well prior to the ride and was busting for a pee. In fact so was everyone, it was the main topic of discussion…do we stop or wait until the first checkpoint at 55k??!!

Adam: At this point I was riding at the front of a pack with Danny and Brent a little further back. I took a closer look at the guy riding next to me and saw that he was about 16 and not much of a conversationalist so I go back to enjoying the scenery and trying not to think about the pressure on my bladder.

In the next 20 ks you will flick up through Burpengary, Morayfield and Caboolture headed towards Beerburrum via Dances Road. At Cotrill Road, the gathering in the distance is no doubt the hundreds of cyclists waiting to start the 100k ride. Remember they are fresh so choose your breaks carefully if you want to make them stick. NO HILLS YET

Brent: First checkpoint. Danny and I were at the front of a big bunch leading them in and thinking about (1) toilet and (2) food when the unthinkable happened…I got a puncture 400m from the checkpoint. Dismounted and ran the bike up to the stop so I could get some help changing. Ria had heaps of food for us, but I think we rooted around for too long – left 15 minutes before the cutoff…just as it started to rain.

Adam: We cruise all the way through the town before finally getting to the checkpoint on the other side, past what looks like a rodeo. Jump off the bike, and sprint off in search of the toilets.

I get back to my bike as Danny and Brent turn up and start pulling out tubes and hand pumps to fix Brent’s puncture. I head over to fill up everyone’s water bottles and throw down a Vegemite sandwich, courtesy of Ria before riding out with the group together again and the heavens threatening to open.

Whilst the road surface deteriorates a bit through the next section, the scenery improves dramatically and the traffic drops off to almost nothing. For the next 30 ks or so you wind through pine forests and farming communities headed north towards Landsborough. NO HILLS YET.

Brent: It was at this point that it started hammering down. Due to our mucking around at the checkpoint we were no longer in a big group and had to do a lot of hard work. Legs are protesting. Feet feel like blocks of wood. Because I got dirt in my cleats when I ran the bike to the checkpoint, my feet keep coming out of the pedals. Struggling to laugh at jokes.

Adam: We make it a couple of kilometres up the road and the rain sets in. Danny, Brent and I have been riding together and have dropped Ernie and Rob so we stop to rearrange our gear. I stow my mobile away and Danny has a wardrobe malfunction so we leave him with promises that he will catch up. Ernie and Rob have gone past in the meantime.

Full of confidence after skipping through Landsborough a left turn to Tunnel Ridge Road gives nothing away in the next kilometre. Then………the reality of 85 kms in the legs hits home with the first of the HILLS. Not that long but with a couple of kicks at around 12% its enough to sort the crew into smaller bunches which is probably a good thing as the roads narrow a bit more as they wind through stunning undulating forested country.

Brent: At this point I was by myself, with Danny and Adam at the front somewhere and Ernie and Rob left behind. Come around a corner and see a heap of people walking up a hill. Decide I’m not going to do that and get up in the saddle in the lowest gear to give it everything I have. Legs are in agony, sucking in the big ones, back tyre slipping on the wet road…but I get up the hill. Take THAT!

Adam: Danny finally caught up and the 3 of us slipped in behind a couple of girls who dragged us along for a while before we started to feel bad and offered to do some work at the front. In our enthusiasm we surged ahead and inadvertently dropped them off the back.

We transitioned through a number of small bunches but didn’t manage to come across a large peleton as I think all the ‘heros’ had well and truly left us behind. We had been poking along in a group of about 4, chatting and even managing a laugh when we look up to see a hill that comes out of nowhere. The smiles quickly disappear, replaced by very serious grimaces but I manage to keep the bike upright and moving.

At the top of the hill there are road works going on with large earth moving trucks blocking the way. This added to the driving rain, muddy road and gravel makes this the nastiest section of the ride so far.

Tunnel Ridge Road ends with a steep drop at 17% headed towards a T-intersection. No heroes allowed here. This is slow, slow, slow before a left towards the beautiful little town of Mooloolah for a lunch stop.

Brent: Scary, scary descent in the rain. Full brakes the whole way trying not to come off. Make it to the 2nd checkpoint a few minutes after Adam and Danny. Ernie and Rob come in about 6 or 7 minutes later, but we leave without them with only 10 minutes to go to the cutoff.

Adam: Hanging on for dear life at this point with very slippery brakes and visibility reduced to near zero with all the spray collecting on my sunglasses. I finally round the sharp T intersection and pedal the couple of hundred metres into Mooloolah for a much needed break.

After a bit of re-fuelling with renewed freshness in the legs its off towards the Eudlo Valley via a decent hill within the first 2 ks of lunch. This climb isn’t heart breaking but its honest followed by an awesome down hill run if it’s dry. The speeds through the next section are high with hard bitumen and flowing roads keeping you itching to set decent averages. A left into Chevallum Road followed by a right in the township of Palmwoods has you starting to feel the bite of 105 ks of good hard riding. Hopefully lunch will be settled by now as you cross the Nambour Connection Road just up the hill from the famous Big Pineapple and march on towards Keil Mountain.

Brent: Now we’re getting serious. My legs have 100k in them already and are generally not happy with the situation. While the rain has stopped, the roads are still slippery. Adam has disappeared but Danny and I stick together at a reasonable pace. Our few training rides up Mt Cootha are paying off, as the hills are hard but not ridiculously so.

Adam: Back together now with Brent and Danny after the Mooloolah stop where we threw down a banana, sweet bun and some chocolaty energy gook that I found in Ria’s stash. We know the serious hills are in this next section so the conversation has dwindled.

The road starts to slope upwards with the first of the hills. Good honest work but not too bad. Brent and Danny have dropped back a bit at this stage and I mistakenly congratulate myself thinking that I have just conquered to infamous Restaurant Hill…

Flying down Keil Mountain road across the Bruce Highway overpass gives no hint you are but seconds away from ‘RESTAURANT HILL’ (so named as the lunch time menu is likely to be deposited all over the side of the road). This little baby hurts like no tomorrow. Its not vertical but might as well be. After 107ks, the legs scream for mercy for the three minutes of hard climbing at what feels like at least an 85% gradient!!!

Brent: Oh shit. This hill goes straight up and everyone is walking it. I test my legs and decide I don’t want to fall off, so I dismount and start pushing my bike up. Danny comes past and says “harden the f**k up!”…and then 20 metres later he’s off and walking as well. Only 1guy rides past me in the 5 or 6 minutes it takes to walk up. Well done mate.

Adam: I hook up with a pair of Triathletes who are making good time and tack onto their back wheel. Making general conversation and general feeling pretty good considering we’ve got over a hundred kilometres under the belt when we come up on the ‘real’ restaurant hill.

My wind breaks take off up the hill, so not to be outdone I follow them with everything I’ve got. The slope is what kills you on this one and there is no letup until you get to the top which is a long way from the bottom. Suddenly the 100kms that was feeling ok before feels a lot further but I manage to hold it together and crest the beast then charge off in pursuit of my triathlete company who seemed to do it with ease.

Great news……from here on in the road undulates before turning right to Petrie Creek Road then right again at the Bli Bli Castle headed towards Mudjimba. The bunches will form up again along the David Low Way as it heads north towards Perigian and Noosa. The views become increasingly spectacular with the best of the Sunshine Coast beaches easily visible from the saddle.

Brent: Great run down to the final checkpoint at the 130k mark, however time is becoming an issue. In the end we get there with less than 5 minutes to spare. Feeling absolutely rooted, but I know there’s only 30k to go. Adam has been and gone. Danny and I have a quick drink and energy gel, and then we’re off. Hoping that Ernie and Rob make it.

Adam: Nice and flat through here and I am safely tucked in behind my pace setters again, making good time. Pass quite a few riders here and the traffic picks up as we get back onto the coast road. There is a shout and I look up to see a couple of friends (Scott & Rika) waving at me from the side of the road. It takes a while to register as all the blood is in my legs. Making good progress along the flat road by the ocean but none of those bunches to be seem anywhere, just singles and pairs making their way to the final rest stop for some lollies and another energy goo.

As you enter Noosa Junction at the 150k mark the impending relief from 5 or 6 hours of sitting pretty on your bike is tangible. A quick whip along Eenie Creek Road will no doubt see the pace pick up again before you snap left onto Mary Street headed towards the Esplanade for a flying finish after 160ks of honest effort.

Brent: 5k out of the checkpoint I get another puncture. Danny helps me change it but it doesn’t feel right. Sure enough, 2 minutes later, my rear tyre practically explodes. I’m doing 30 or so on a slightly descending wet road and fishtail my way to the side, almost taking out a couple of riders on the way. Ring Ria for a spare tube – this ride is starting to cost me. Ernie rides past and we tell him to keep going – turns out he didn’t stop at the last checkpoint in case they told him he had missed the cutoff!

Once I get going again Danny and I share a bit of work, and then with Danny in front my chain comes off. By the time I stop and put it on Danny has gone. It comes off another 2 times, obviously all the dirt and grime is causing it to derail, so I stop changing gears at the front. I’m down to 5 speeds but I catch Ernie. I slow down so we can ride in together, and we then come across Danny who has stopped to wait for us. The 3 of us cross the line together just after 1.45pm. Adam is already there – turns out Rob’s plan was to go to
Maroochy. Hand shakes all round, pose for a few photos and 30 minutes later I’m in KFC!

Adam: After maybe 15 minutes at the final rest stop waiting to see if Danny, Brent and Ernie will arrive, my riding companions make a move to saddle up so I hastily grab the bike so as not to be left behind. you can feel that the end is near now and the sugar influx has put everyone in good spirits despite the 130km gone by.

Around about 5km south of Sunshine beach I offer to do some work and take the lead. I concentrate on keeping up a decent pace as we get close to Noosa. Feeling pretty stuffed now so I sit up and rip open another goo to discover that I have lost my Triathlete companions altogether. Someone else has been following my wheel and he slips past to do some work so I try to hang on to him. My left qaud is getting pretty sore down near the knee at this point as we swing left around the north of Noosa junction and the head wind smacks us in the face.

I glance down at my bike computer to discover that the elements have taken their toll and it has stopped working at the 152km mark. Even though I know roughly how far we have to go, it is a bit disconcerting. I guess there is something comforting in seeing the distance tick over.  We wind around the back of Noosaville and around the final round-a-bout into the finish, 5 and a half hours of riding later and not a moment too soon.

Monday morning will see the legs tired and sore. The ‘so what did you do on the week-end’ stories at work will come to a sudden halt as you casually say ‘rode a century from Brisbane to Noosa’ and the beer gutted colleague quietly slinks off to the smoko room to contemplate what might have been.

Brent: Sore legs on Monday, sore head from a few celebratory beers, but otherwise not too bad. Bike is a mess, needs a clean, a service and probably a new chain. I also owe Danny some cash for using his spare tubes!

Adam: Monday morning saw me boarding an early flight to Tokyo for a 2 week business trip – not the ideal recovery. 3 litres of water on the plane and arrived in Tokyo tired but feeling ok. Oh and the cold did eventually set in but 160km didn’t seem to do it any harm…

Congratulations ………what a ride!!!

Brent: Thanks dude. Couldn’t have done it without the group and especially Ria supporting us the whole way. Might give the river loop on Friday a miss though…

Adam: Awesome indeed. Sign me up for next year!!

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