Final day today and it's that day that you feel torn. Sad that it's the last day spent with friends old and new but glad that it's almost over and you'll be sleeping in a comfy bed, seeing those loved ones you missed and eating food that isn't mass-produced each meal.
46km on the map today from Cooroy through parts of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland until we are greeted by the sparkling Pacific Ocean on one final rise. Still enough short hills to challenge tired legs after 9 days in the saddle but not too many boring stretches of road with nothing to look at. My favourite section was probably the most boring section. A long relatively flat section of motorway-type road with the smoothest surface. Easy to get the bike up to some more impressive speeds and cruise without feeling too fatigued. Of course that is also the section that I lost my water bottle as I was so busy concentrating on pedalling that at the moment I went to put it back in it's cradle I misjudged, hit the frame and knocked it out of my own hand. Oh well, just a cheap one that are a dime a dozen at the Gatorade tri series so not too worried. Just glad it didn't go under my wheel!
After a cruise along the David Low Way through Peregian Beach, we finished the ride in the Lions Park at beautiful Coolum Beach. Always a bit of a let down as you cross under the inflatable arch and realise that it's over for another year. The beauty of a faster ride today meant I could watch so many other riders come through for their finishes. There were assorted looks of triumph, relief, sadness and happiness, so many mixed emotions from so many diverse riders.
The real work then begins. The transport trucks had just arrived so it was a case of mucking in and lugging luggage into the park area ready for collection. I love that most people get in and assist, although you'll always find the ones who find their own gear and take off, leaving it to everyone else to finish the unloading.
The park was filled with bike boxes. So many people have travelled from far and wide for CQ and the fun of pulling down your bike, packing it into a box and getting it onto the baggage truck is only eclipsed by the rush of finding the correct shuttle bus to get to the airport/train station on time. It really is a hive of activity.
After locating my luggage and packing it safely in the car (which hubby, Brendon, conveniently parked at the finish the day before) it was time for one final chocolate frappe, a tradition started at the end of the CQ13 ride by Hayden, who insisted it was the best way to celebrate! He was, of course, completely right and I continued his tradition even though he wasn't there to enjoy one with me.
Had the chance to say goodbye to some friends who had come through the finish chute, and then started the trek back to Mooloolaba to watch Brendon finish his Sunshine Coast half Ironman event.
Can't wait to sleep on a real mattress tonight, but at the same time also counting down the days until CQ15, which is a Toowoomba loop ride. Only 357ish days to go.
Final wrap blog will be up tomorrow after I've had a chance to unpack, unwind and collect my thoughts on another fun week's riding.