This week entries opened for this year's Cycle Qld event. An exciting journey that commences at Mission Beach north of Townsville, winds over the range to the Atherton Tablelands and finishes in Port Douglas, north of Cairns.
Once again, I'm counting down the days for my week-long cycling adventure. I opened the question to Hayden to see if his passion for cycle touring was still as strong as it was at the end of last year's event. He had a good think about it, and for my birthday, gave me the best present he could have given me - his confirmation that he wanted to do the ride again in 2013.
Our flights are booked, Hayden's entry is paid and it will not be long until my entry is confirmed as well. The adventure continues!
Last year, you'll remember that Hayden was too young to pilot his own bike. We bought a tandem bike and spent a week pedalling from Gayndah to Noosa via Hervey Bay. It was a great experience, but one I thought (and hoped!) we would not be duplicating again, as he is now old enough to ride his own bike.
When I asked him if he'd like to ride his dad's Avanti mountain bike in this year's ride, he responded that once again he wanted to ride tandem. No matter how much I tried to convince him otherwise, he was adamant that we were riding tandem.
So, on Saturday, we dragged out the tandem, pumped the tyres, lubed the chain and set off on our first training ride, a 35km trip to Wellington Point.
It took only about four cranks of the pedal for it all to come rushing back! The extra weight of the bike, the strength required to get momentum started and the chatty little bloke on the back of the bike. Muscle memory is an amazing thing and as we got a few kilometres under our belts, it was like we had never had a five month break from riding our "long load."
What I had forgotten was how much extra strength I had found in my legs after riding the tandem. I can't wait to get that strength back as we begin training for this year's ride.
We have planned our new ride jersey for Hayden (a "P" plate and MR markings to show he has graduated from a Learner rider, and are controlling a long load). We are tent shopping for a double to save on weight and packing requirements. We are saving all of our gold coins for the daily stalls at the rest stops so we can support local communities while nourishing our bodies. But most of all I am looking forward to the adventure of discovering new towns and exploring the Queensland countryside with my boy by my side.
And so it begins. One training ride at a time.