Team: Vote1ForBikes (chosen in lieu of the Federal election 18 May 2019)
Chris H (Flying Fish Point), Nick W (Upper Goldsborough via Gordonvale), Chris U (Cairns), Vaughan K (Brisbane). A combined youth of 250+ years!
Saturday 18 May to Sunday 19 May 2019
0 km 07:01hrs Crystal Creek van park (near Frosty Mango)
43 km 08:25 Ingham coffee at JK’s Deli
Cardwell Range lookout for a breather
96 km 11:00 Cardwell Vivia Café for a second breakfast
149 km 13:32 Tully
200 km 16:30 Flying Fish Pt, yummy meal at Cheryl & Chris H’s place
274 km 22:15 Gordonvale 24hr servo and Macca’s
320 km 23:40 Palm Cove, sleep time at an AirBnB
364 km 06:31 Port Douglas
Team Vote1ForBikes first met as one group at the Rollingstone Hotel just north of Townsville, at about 8pm on Friday night before the Fleche Oppy 2019! Yes, the first time face-to-face as an awesome foursome! Plus our two, essential, backup crew of Lauren E and Cheryl B.
There had been a fair bit of correspondence via email and texting in the three weeks leading up to the event. Some of the north Qld riders had ridden together in a split moment, when Nick passed Chris H on an Audax gravel ride headed for the Kairi Pub (like a horse headed for home)!
Saturday morning sparked joy as the four riders headed out the electronic gate at the van park, and headed north for Ingham. Overcast weather and a tailwind made the ride a better one than otherwise possible.
The next stop was the Cardwell Range Lookout for a piccie and a breather – this was our biggest uppy bit. My advice to the group was to make your own pace up to the lookout, and re-group there. Vaughan took this the wrong way, and dawdled to the top while the other three steadily climbed with absolutely no hint of competitiveness (not!). The gong went to machine-like lightweight climber Chris U, who doesn’t appear to have an ‘off’ button! We zoomed down the other side, and into our first bit of light but steady rain. Fortunately the rain was patchy, just like the Bruce Highway!
As we entered Cardwell, Chris H insisted on a diversion, and we detoured via Cardwell’s shoreline million-dollar path/cycleway. Many thanks to you, the tax-payer, who contributed to Cardwell’s post-cyclone Yasi shoreline re-construction. The café Vivia was our shelter and sustenance provider; a second breakfast for some, and Brevet Cards signed by bemused patrons at a table next to ours.
Back on the road, heading north. A few more light showers and a brief stop at the Bilyana Rest Area before crossing the mighty Tully River. We had an obligatory photo in front of the Golden Gumboot in Tully. Our Brevet Cards were signed by two young Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Gumboot rest area. No sign of the ‘Tame the Tully’ international white water rafting championships – just a very crowded, and presumably muddy tent city at the show grounds.
The next stop was the pop-up café at Digger’s Creek, El Arish. Some more light showers here. Just south of Innisfail we had two chains jump off as we bumped over a killer, bumpy tram-way crossing. Next was a toilet stop at the 24-hour servo just south of Innisfail. We arrived at Flying Fish Point at 4:30pm for a hot sit-down meal, thanks to Cheryl.
After a one-hour stop, it was back on the bikes and heading north with more light rain. At this stage all of us northerners had an extra layer in some form of jacket or vest, but Vaughan was in just a single layer. Into the darkness we rode.
Just south of Mirriwinni, Nick pulled up with a flat tyre. It took us 20 casual minutes, in the dark, on the side of the road, to remove the tube, check the tyre, re-install a new tube, and re-inflate the tyre – all hands busy with holding lights, tubes, pumps etc. (Thanks for the help fellas! I was feeling the distance by this stage – Nick.) Vaughan’s choice of wider, gnarlier tyres was proving a wise choice at this wet stage.
Further north, all with a strong tailwind. This was well organised, and much appreciated, so thanks to Gayle for the date change, perfect!
During a battery change, Vaughan managed to break a light-mounting – Chris H pulled out a spare; so on we rode.
Next stop was Macca’s at Gordonvale. Time for a hot chocolate and a snack. An indifferent Macca customer was recruited to sign our Brevet Cards. He was OK to sign our cards when asked but was one of the few people not interested in details of our bicycle ride!
Back on the bikes, and into a headwind. Fortunately it lasted only for the 100 meters, heading out of Maccas before we turned north back onto the Bruce Highway for a tailwind.
On through Cairns CBD, and north onto the Captain Cook Highway, happily taking up the lane in the dark, as we went through the roundabouts north of Cairns.
At 11:40 pm (320 km) we pulled into the AirBnB at Palm Cove; a massive three bedroom ‘flat’. We had some snacks, a drink and a hot shower before crashing out for at least three hours. Luxury!
Up at 3:45 am – thanks Nick (who wakes up with the birds at home!). We all had something to eat. Some even had time for a coffee – thanks Chris U!
Back on the bikes at 4:31 am, a mere 44 km to ride. And still the south easterly wind blew! Wooo hooo!
We stopped at the lookout at Rex Range, and had a spectator from support team Circque de sore legs take our photo. Unfortunately, only our reflective gear was captured in the photo.
PS: Chris H defied the odds and cycled the whole way on his 20 inch folding bike.
Thanks to: Gayle & Kim (for organizing this great event!); Lauren; Cheryl; Vaughan; Chris U, Nick.
And thanks to all you others, sisters and brothers of the spokes.
We hope to see you again next year!
(26 May 2019)