Cycle Qld is a little bit like childbirth. Ladies will understand this more than the fellas. If you've had more than one child, you'll remember that moment when you go into labour the second time and suddenly think "oh shit, I remember what this is like now, what the hell was I thinking?"
Today felt a little like that for me, as we took off on another hill climbing day after yesterday's long haul. But today, walking was not an option. Hayden absolutely, positively forbade me from getting off the bike until our rest stops. And he was a great motivator. Even on the longest climb today, we never looked like stopping. Climbed a couple of 11% grades, and had a hair-raising 15% descent that wound down around the back of the range. Struggled to hold the girl back to a reasonable speed that would not see us plummeting to our deaths over the side of the mountain!
But we are now safely in camp at Cooroy, with only a short pedal tomorrow to Noosa. Tonight is the CQ last night party, with costumes to start with a C or a Q. Hayden is presenting as a caveman, while I am a Quidditch player for Gryffindor. Can't wait to see what everyone else is dressed as too. Lots of photos tonight I think!
So what are some of the negatives of the ride? Not much really. You could say the climb, but that's all part of the fun. If you don't want to work hard on a ride, this is not the best place for you to come. Snoring is an issue - I swear they are all drawn to my camping area, and without my ear plugs I might have struggled last year. This year I ditched the plugs and decided to grin and bear it. It's a bit like having kids really - you learn to block them out!
Mad cyclists are a problem - the ones who give you no warning they are zooming up beside you and scare the bejesus out of you. I could do without them, but as they say it takes all kinds.
The pluses far outweigh those few minuses. The food has once again been spectacular, with great variety, wonderful flavour and pleases most palates. The company is lovely, and most people are happy to have a chat and tell you about their adventures. The volunteers are extraordinary, putting in long hours at thankless tasks to ensure our safety and comfort both on site and on the road.
The exercise is fabulous, and one of the big positives today was the reward of a long hard climb that resulted in views east to west of gorgeous dairy cattle country, with green valleys, lush creeks and rolling mountain backdrops. It was like being privy to a glimpse of heaven as we sucked in the fresh mountain air.
The bonding experience that I have had with my son has been an absolute highlight of my week. He delights me with the little things he finds to point out to me along the way, makes me smile with his singing to his favourite tunes as he rides along, amazes me with his strength, stamina and endurance and surprises me with random "I love yous".
There is not a single thing I would change about this week. We are having a ball. But tomorrow the fun ends for another year and we will be counting down to the next big adventure. Can't wait to find out tonight where next year's tour will take us. Stay tuned - maybe you will join us!