Sunday 12 August 2018 was a perfect day for two great Audax FNQ rides – the 100km “Boulders and the Beautiful” – and the 200km “Oh No, We’ve Got To Go Round It”.
In fact, I deemed it to be a super, spectacular, amazing and awesome day to be an FNQ Audax Ride Organiser – especially as Sean and Mary had the whole deal well under control. To Clarify – I didn’t do anything !!!!!! Nope…. nothing. As a non-organising 100km rider, I neglected to load the course on my Garmin, get an early night, pack my munchies or remember my sunscreen.
I have even happily failed to write a ride report – given that this task has been taken well in hand by Lloyd, (whose 100km report appears below) and Lauren and Chris (who provided the great photo collection from the 200km ride), and David (who added his video of the opening stages of the 100km). But in the end, I couldn’t resist adding my own photo montage of the ride – look out for one particularly amazing bike.
Lloyd’s 100km Ride Report
The day began very early for Lloyd and KFC Mike who left Atherton at 4.00AM to drive to Innisfail to meet up with Bob the Builder, Joe, and Unit Mal who had stayed the night in Innisfail. Upon arriving at their motel room, the first impression was that odour of testosterone that oozes from elite athletes ready to do battle, probably like the Broncos change room. There stood Mal, in his Bananas-in-Pyjamas trousers, and Joe in his glo in the dark, “Tour Down Under” Y fronts. When Bob appeared in his skin coloured thong, and Mal offered us to try some of his nuts, Lloyd and Mike decided to wait outside.
Peter K joined the rest at the pre-ride meeting. He stood out in his Hawaii 5-O combination. He even brought along his own German podium girl. But with plenty of smart cycling outfits on display, three Tableland riders excelled themselves.
Finally the ride began. The Unit and Joe left in the second group and were seen rarely after that. Peter, Mike, Bob and Lloyd were off at a blistering pace, and Peter and Mike led a group of 15 riders to the Bruce Highway. Others in the group were relieved when a cane train crossed the Highway and caused a momentary halt, but one could see the frustration in Peter’s eyes at the delay. Finally the flashing red light stopped, and Peter was off again, with Pirelli rubber smeared on the highway.
It took no time for the Peter- and Mike-led peloton to be reduced to seven, as the riders streaked through the flat lands towards the Babinda Boulders. The seven passed the 200km riders, who attached themselves to the faster seven, making a professional looking group of cyclists for the car traffic to admire.
There was confusion at the first checkpoint where the 200 km riders were required to be stamped, but the 100 km were to go to the Boulders first, and then stamped on the return. Lloyd, Mike and Bob stopped at the checkpoint; whereas Peter and the remains of the seven (David the Townsville Tank, Louise and Wanita) sped off, trying to gain an unfair advantage. But due to great rotational riding (Lloyd on the flat, Bob on the hills and Mike everywhere), the breakaway was caught as the road climbed it’s dizzyingly 50 metres to the day’s high point, and all were together again for a photo shoot at the Boulders.
The Unit and Joe were sighted on the return from the Boulders (Joe was drafting), but they looked in good form. A quick break at Babinda for the leading group, and then on to Bramston Beach. The road undulated through farmland, tropical forest, and over creeks where a crocodile was spotted. The seven worked well as a team, but it became noticeable that the Townsville Tank was pulling the other six. The coffee shop at Bramston was a welcome pause, especially when the German podium girl turned up again.
Legs were starting to get tired, as the return to Innisfail was under way. A welcome relief came as Wanita had a flat: for the other six waited and Peter helped with the repair (as distinct from the Boulders breakaway….). Bob took the opportunity to discreetly pass some gas.
Meanwhile, Joe and the Unit were delayed at the Bramston feed stop. Joe ordered a double, full fat, non-homogenized, extra cold, malted Milo frappe with extra cream and chocolate sprinkles. It took an hour to make.
The Audax lead group of seven was approaching Innisfail. Peter had been in front for kilometers. The excitement was building. But upon approaching the last hill, he could give no more. As the others went by, there appeared a tear in his fatigued eyes. Bob raced to the lead with a cadence of 200, but died as the crest was within touching distance and he shot to the back like a prune seed. Mike and the Tank crested together and sped down the hill to Audax stand. A photo finish would have been in order if there were not concerns for the people manning the Audax booth being taken out in the sprint. At the end, all were given the same time.
The German podium girl was there at the finish, but strangely the 7th rider to finish was the only one to get a kiss. Joe and the Unit completed manfully a little later and with much more dignity. The delay was blamed on a missed turn (an excuse normally reserved for Bob). Joe ignored his injury for a heroic completion.
We all agreed that the riding, route, fellow riders and the podium girl made the outing a great day. Many thanks to Sean and Mary for organizing the ride, and for all the amazing volunteers who helped out along the way. A wonderful Audax outing!
(29 September 2018 – finally…..)