Wednesday, 11 September 2013

CQ2013 Day 4 - Hills, Helping and Heat

Welcome to Day 4 - aptly subtitled, "I woke up this morning so the world is good."

After yesterday's gruelling adventure, I forgot to mention a few things, so wanted to start with them.

Firstly, when we got back to camp we took our bike up to the mechanics for a once over, as it was making some weird noises.  Turns out that when I change our rear tyre I didn't put the brakes together properly and one side was rubbing the whole time! Talk about making life difficult for yourself, Sue!

Secondly, we met a lovely woman who shared some cycling wisdom with us early in the day that is probably the best advice I've heard for hill climbing.  As we hit the hill, we start to count to fifty - eyes pointed to just in front of the bike.  When we reach fifty, we start counting again.  The brain engages on the counting and forgets to think about the climb.  Works a treat and got me over many hills both yesterday and today.

Speaking of today, how do I describe today.  More hills, a couple of challenging climbs and some of the most spectacular scenery you could ever be lucky enough to see.  We left Millaa Millaa at 7.30am and had our first stop shortly after - walking down to the falls just outside of town.  We could ride our bikes down but when one of the guys told me it was an 18% gradient, we thought the walk would be nice.  So did most of the rest of the riders!  

The first of the spectacular sights for the day.  Trundled a bit further up the road to be rewarded with views across the Tablelands.  Breath-taking, humbling and exhilarating all at the same time - rolling green hills, lush valleys and blue sky as far as the eye can see.  Worth every pedal stroke to see that at the top of the climbs. (Incidentally, we dropped approx 550m today, but reclimbed about 464m, so an up and down kinda day).

Hardest part of the day is backing up after a shocker yesterday, but it had to be down. The legs are tired but recovered without soreness, the mind is still a little broken from yesterday's meltdown.

Only an hour into our journey we threw a chain after a quick change on a hard climb.  Averted the disaster of a fall only to find the chain firmly wedged between the chain set and the wheel.  Thankfully three friendly helpers appeared and wrestled the chain back into position and we were on our way again.

It was another hot day today. Bloody hot! 32 degrees according to the bureau, and hot enough to give us both some pretty nasty sunburn - even after reapplying it copiously at our rest stops.  We took plenty of regular breaks in the shade, especially through the middle of the day when the sun was absolutely relentless, but it was still very draining.  

Our rest stop was at Mallanda, and we bought a couple of pies to pop in the panniers for later on.  Lovely little town that I'd love to go back and visit when I have more time to appreciate it more.

Then more hills and climbs past the Nerada Tea Centre and around the rim of the volcanic craters to Lake Eacham for a lunch break.

Pristine, emerald waters so clear you can see right to the bottom, even in some of the deepest points. Oh, and cold.  Gorgeously brisk and refreshing as it washed away the dirt of the road and eased tired muscles.  Hayden couldn't get in fast enough and after I stripped down to my bra and riding shorts I was far behind.  

It would not be an exaggeration to say that that has been our favourite part of the trip.  This is a gorgeous lake that just must be seen to be believed.  I will be back to NQ to share these sights with the rest of the family.

So after a quick lunch, we checked out the saw-shelled turtles and Hayden had another quick dip before heading back onto the Road for the final 10k to camp.

More beautiful scenery and then a welcome sight - lakeside campsite at Lake Tinaroo.  Pelicans, ducks, fish and a gorgeous lake.  Rest day tomorrow and we aren't sure what we are doing yet.  Leaning toward a ride into town for a pub lunch, exploring the heritage trails and an animal walk to spot platypus and tree kangaroos.  But I guess you'll know soon enough! See you tomorrow.

So that's all for today folks.  Feeling just a bit more refreshed now we know there is no riding tomorrow unless we want to.