We woke to a crisp, clear morning in Agnes Waters and began the only part of CQ that I don't really love - pack up. Trying to get our gear into two bags that weigh no more than 14kg individually and 22kg in total is always fun, especially on those dewy mornings where dirt, sand and grass sticks to everything.
After a breakfast of beans, hash browns and cornflakes (in separate bowls!) it was back on the road to Rosedale.
Today Stef and I decided to take the long ride option. On most of the days of the tour there is the option to do a few extra k's, however they are usually pretty challenging with good climbs. This year's long options give riders an opportunity to head toward the beach before moving further inland. Our extra forty km got us to Rules Beach, with views out to the Coral Sea. Well worth the extra soreness in the legs at the end of the day.
But before the lunch break, we had the morning tea stop at Fingerboard roadhouse. The best part of this break was finding out that Hayden's AFL team had won the premiership just minutes before, and he had kicked there goals to help them along the way. I've done the last two CQs with Hayden on a tandem bike and have missed having him here for this ride, but am so glad he had the opportunity to play in the final and celebrate with his team. It may be a little hard to convince him to come along again after the taste of victory!
The beauty of CQ, as I've said before, is that it takes all kinds to make up the ride cohort. Even as we were finishing our extra distance, riders were still coming into the lunch stop from the regular loop. Baffle Creek was the rest point, a picturesque tourist rest stop set on the banks of Baffle Creek. With only 29km from the lunch break to Rosedale, it was a nice 89km day for the regular riders and a 120km day for those of us who ventured on the long option.
Of course we are at the mercy of the weather gods on these events, and today had the added challenge of head winds for most of the ride and showers for the last hour. Nothing fun about collecting your bags in the rain and trying to put your tent up while getting wet. But if it wasn't for the bad days we wouldn't appreciate the good days half as much as we do. So after a walk into town, we drowned our sorrows with a refreshing ale (there seems to be a theme here!), had dinner, listened to the ride briefing and finished the long day off with a massage.
Did I neglect to mention the great services on offer on CQ? Post ride massages, physio and medical services all on site, along with a charging bar for electronic devices, bike shop and mechanic, ride reception to answer all those silly questions and sell those bits and pieces that you've forgotten and can't do without.
Did I mention camp cafe and bar as well? Yep, we've got it pretty good on Cycle Qld, but don't take my word for it. Join me here again over the next few days and maybe you'll find yourself checking out the itinerary for CQ15.