In September, my girlfriend Stef and I are heading off on our first multi-day bike ride. Now some of you might think that we would start out slow and perhaps do a weekender. But for those of you who know either of us, you'd know that we're not the type to start slowly and work up to something, so we found ourselves signing up for the annual Cycle Queensland event.
Cycle Queensland this year is starting at Goondiwindi and will see us travel to Texas, Yelarbon, Stanthorpe, Killarney, Woodenbong, Boonah and Rosewood before heading into Brisbane. We will travel 570km in the nine days we are on the road, with a rest day at day four after we have climbed into Stanthorpe. Each night is spent camping under the stars in our own little tents as part of a 1500 strong event village. Funnily enough, we are probably more excited to be enjoying a fully catered week where we won't have to cook or pick up after anyone buy ourselves than by the actual ride.
Today I packed my bags ready for our trip. Ok, I know it's well over 6 weeks before we are off, but there are strict baggage limits and as we'll be setting up our own camp, I was keen to see how long it would take. I also want to be familiar with how to erect my tent. I do not want to be one of those people looking helplessly at the array of pegs, poles and ropes that is supposed to be my accommodation for the night. I certainly don't want to be that person if the weather is not so good.
So after packing my bags, I unpacked them and set up my tent. It's a cute little 3-man tent that takes only 10 minutes to put together. Add in a very comfy camp stretcher and a self-inflating mattress, my sleeping bag and a pillow along with my two bags and my bike kit and I have a gorgeous little home away from home.
Had a lovely little rest on my stretcher (was almost asleep in fact), when Brendon came downstairs to let me know he'd organised our ride for the afternoon. Again, as part of being prepared, I pulled down my tent and repacked my bags ready for my next trial run.
Now to prepare my bike. Before the ride, I will book my bike in for a service (mental note, call 99 Bikes tomorrow to book the bike in for a service). Before my training rides, I just need to check my lights, my tyre pressure and the general functions of the bike (brakes and gears) to make sure there are no mishaps along the way. Check!
After picking up our biking buds, the four of us headed towards the Gateway Bridge. Stef and I had already done the climb once this week, but Bren and Pete hadn't done it for a while. Needless to say, they aced it and made the two of us girls look like rank amateurs (as they always do!). I had asked Brendon to plan this ride, as he has recently done the ride to Redcliffe and back, and had found some shorter routes from Eagle Farm to Nudgee Beach. They cut about 15 minutes off our previous time, so definitely in the memory banks for our next ride north.
Anyways, the ride was a good one. Not too hard, but certainly not easy. Some very challenging hills (read Gateway Bridge twice) and a couple of 40 something fellas who always put us through our paces. Stef and I have already agreed that we will not killing ourselves on our adventure - it's all about enjoying the ride, seeing the sights, soaking up the atmosphere and meeting some new people who are sharing our adventure with us. Bring it on...