Rudolph’s Revenge – 6 December 2020

It was on for young and old….  our FNQ Audax Christmas ride headed off from Tolga Pub (our almost local watering hole) with 33 roadies and 118 MTB riders tackling the lumps and scenery of a December morning on the Tablelands.

There was festivity in the air, with tinsel on bikes, and antlers everywhere.  Rudolph had certainly come to town.  With our shiny new COVID safe procedures firmly in place, riders bumped elbows, picked up contactless brevets and were scanned into the starting area.

The increasingly-brief ride briefings were delivered (times three starting waves) with the RO making encouraging noises about taking the time to make Rudolph’s a “navigational exercise”, while attempting to ignore the chuckles and puzzled looks from the crowd.

And from there, Leanne picks up the story with a great ride report.

Well after a very challenging and at times strange year for FNQ Audax, it ended with a bang and lots of good cheer!

With the now come to be expected great roll up (around 150 riders) turning out in Santa hats, tinsel on the handlebars and reindeer antlers it was yet another huge show of support for and recognition of the tireless energy and resilience shown by Gayle, Kim and all the wonderful volunteer crew to keep the show on the road.

The mountain bike option again proved a winner with the majority of entries, and the course took us to some interesting new tracks, along the rail trail,

beside a fence line on a shady pleasant horse trail,

along the smooth scenic channel roads where just the sight of that water kept us cool,

and up the heights of Bone Knob.

An added interest was the continual sighting of the road riders as they persisted in hurtling towards us on their skinny tyres completing the many out and backs.

Surprisingly, most of the ride was cool and breezy with overcast skies – we felt pretty grateful when we thought of the poor southerners baking in the relentless heatwave. Here we are in North Queensland in December enjoying a long ride and not collapsing from overheating!!

Then it was back to the Tolga pub – a popular Audax spot where the volunteers were on hand to cook us gourmet sausages on ciabatta bread – what a treat!!

So, thanks to all the hardworking people who were out on the course showing us the way, handing out slices of welcome watermelon and forever smiling and encouraging each and every rider.

And to top it all off – a chock full Audax Calendar was handed out and plans for 20/21 rides started forming…..      (Leanne)

And while we were all enjoying our snags at the pub, Sue and Lorraine took time out do a spot of wildlife caring along the way.

From Sue – “Here is the photo of the wildlife carers taking the bats off the barb wire fence on Northey Road.  They came from the Tolga Bat Hospital in 20 mins and were very professional.  One carer covered the bat next door so that it didn’t get upset, while the others removed two bats.  4 out of the 5 caught bats were saved.  They had juice in syringes to rehydrate them as quickly as possible.  They said that there is someone who travels that road on weekday mornings who gives them regular calls for bat help.  However, there is no one on a weekend, so they were really pleased that the cyclists saw them and got in contact.

Thanks for the excellent Audax event.  They are always an adventure.

And of course – Jimmy was on the job – communing with nature and taking yet another great video of the ride.

Our next ride is on Sunday 10 January 2021 from Ravenshoe.  Registrations are now open for the Colt 2021 with a 48km dirt option or a 70km road option.  Plenty of great views, good company and a new course to start the New Year.

Finishers Times

(15 December 2020)

"No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle" Winston Churchill