Monday, November 22, 2010

Training for Bright took me to O'Reilly's...

Bernard O'Reilly

I am glad I finally got to climb the Green Mountains, or O'Reilly's as the 23 million years old plateau is known today. It was, without a doubt, one of the most impressive rides I have ever done. It wasn't just the fact that I could use the big ring for most of the steady climb - I love that - but the diversity of the scenery, the sounds of the wildlife and the solitude . It was an overwhelming experience, really. In fact, I could only compare it to the King's Canyon climb I did in May last year.

The training week started with a ride Wednesday afternoon, from somewhere near Currumbin Beach, through the valley of the same name, up Tomewin-Currumbin Creek Rd to the QLD-NSW border and back. A very scenic ride with 500 m of climbing to get the legs ready for the next morning.

I felt good on the bike again after the rest day and happy to be riding somewhere different once more. I can't even remember when I last rode on these roads...

Overnight rain meant I was on my own for the highly anticipated ride to O'Reilly's. Not a bad thing in a way, I got to choose the route (I was given a few choices by members of Brisbane's RoadGrime) and had plenty of time to enjoy a good coffee before I started.

Also in this forum, I learnt of a Henry Robert Drive, described as one of the toughest climbs in SE QLD. I wasn't sure if I was going to have a go at it but when I saw the sign, again I thought it would be a good idea to test myself.

Perhaps not. Later I decided to call the experience a nut-cracker. It did crack me because I didn't make all the way without a stop and lots of cursing at the time. Mostly for indulging on a large and delicious Margarita Pizza the night before. But... I will go back and have a go at it again.

Time: 37'30"
Distance: 8.1 km
Elevation: 495 m

Naturaly, it was much easier and faster on the way down. Next, it was a short ride to the small village of Canungra, where the route to O'Reilly's starts. From Canungra (elev. 98 m) to the the National Park sign (elev. 910 m), it was a steady 38 km climb averaging around 4%, through a very charming hilly country decorated with beautiful trees and steep slopes as a backdrop.

The landscape changed a fair bit as I climbed but nothing had me prepared for the transformation I experienced when I reached the entrance to the rain forest. It was dark, moist and still in what looked like a prehistorical jungle. It did add a different dimension to the ride, to say the least.

I could have spent a couple of hours exploring the National Park but I still had a bit of riding ahead. A heavy downpour made me seek refuge at the Alpaca Farm on my way down. It was a handy little stop for a soy-hot-chocolate and a good chat with the folks who run the business, they are both cyclists and responsible for carefully placing planks on the cattle-grids. Those planks were great help but had to be negotiated with lots of caution in the rain.

The descent was very nice, I just wished it hadn't rained, I could have done it without cramping fingers and toes. But it did get dry as I neared Conungra once again, and in time for the long ride on the busy road back to the car and the drive home.

Time: 4h 55min
Dist.: 145 km
Elev.: 3,116 m

The rest of the training week was filled with a TT session at Nundah and a ride to Jolly's Lookout (Mt Nebo Road) after morning shifts and a great Sunday ride with Sandra.

Not much to write about a TT session at Nundah, or 25 laps on a closed circuit, just mentally hard I suppose. But always good catching up with a few people.

The ride to Jolly's was interesting. I pushed hard but I was more than 50 sec off my best time to McAfee's (at 6.5 km). I followed it with a more conservative ride for the next 9.8 km because of the rain and got to Jolly's with a new PB (41'35"). That is if I haven't made a mathematical mistake. But it might mean good news, also...

On Sunday, to finish the week, Sandra guided me on an easy new ride - Gap Creek Road and Fig Tree Pocket Loop, I called it . She had been taken on this ride by a friend a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I can see why now and I can also see its potential on becoming one of our favourite training rides.

Week Forty Six: Build
Time: 15 h 40 min
Dist: 397.5 km

Not long for Bright now, a bit of intensity this week and a lot of rest in the next. That's the plan!



Groover said...

Wow, it looks like a magic place. You have to take me there sometime!

Love the post and the photography!

Will said...

That looks like a great ride, nice pics. As it snow's here, I guess it's getting warmer there ! ;)

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