A gorgeous, crisp morning again, but no frost in sight. Ham and cheese croissants for breakfast to fortify us for the day ahead.
Picked up my bike from the Epic Cycles mechanics as it needed a wheel to be re-trued. I had noticed a slight rattle in the rear wheel earlier in the ride and ignored it until I could ignore it no longer.
So out of Millmerran and we head to our first rest stop - Ned's Corner home of the biggest camp oven you might find this side of the Downs! Lots of cute signs and stories written around the property in honour of the humble camp oven and to top it off, Ned even cooked up a damper big enough to feed 500 of us. You might think he made a number of dampers, but no, just the one huge damper in the shape of Queensland, cooked perfectly through, all on a camp oven. Billy tea was also on the menu along with a variety of slices, scones, pikelets, biscuits and cakes. Country cooking really is the best.
Now on the way, at about the 5k mark I was watching out for that damn magpie when Geoff and Vince passed me at a great rate of knots. I thought "What the hell?" and jumped onto the back of the pace line, along with Jane, a fellow solo cyclist, and enjoyed just over 15k of being dragged at 30kph to the rest stop. I even took the lead into the head winds for a spell to pay my dues.
About those headwinds. They just seem unrelenting. We are going out earlier in the hope that they kick in late, but it's like their alarm is set 10 minutes earlier and they are there to meet us on the first bend! Not to worry, I just drop into an easier gear, adjust my cadence and get on with riding. So much so that when I pulled into the afternoon rest stop I had a lovely fellow catch up to me in the food line and compliment me on my cadence and his inability to catch me over the previous 10k. He even asked (jokingly of course) if I would let him know when I was leaving so he could keep chasing me down! Was more than a little flattered by that one.
Of course there are also those moments where you catch yourself not following your best knowledge. Today after the rest stop I had a four person pace line pass me and then drop their speed by about 4kph, forcing me to adjust mine. Instead of going back around, I dropped onto their back wheel for the better part of 3k and proceeded to do 21kph. Took me a bit to realise what I'd done before putting the foot back down and zipping around them to sit on a more challenging 27kph out front into the wind by myself.
Riding flats can be fun, but they are just as mentally challenging as riding into the wind. You really need to concentrate, ensuring you don't ease off to an amble, maintain a good line on the road and stay aware of what is going on around you. And flats give your body no rest. While a hill will make you work up it, a downhill gives the legs some small reprieve and recovery time. With flat rides, there really is nowhere to hide. The legs just keep working and there is no let up until the lunch break or rest stop.
So I ask, what do you prefer? I like a combination, some good climbs, interspersed with flats for speed work. Almost like a bit of interval training.
But enough of the technical - we rode into Dalby, set up camp and jumped on the shuttle into the town centre. Did a spot of shopping (presents for the vollies) and as I walk into the bakery I spot Brendon's cousin's wife, Nicole. Well actually she spotted me first, but it was such a surprise to see a familiar face! She promptly took me around to see Bren's Uncle Greg and dropped me back at the Showgrounds. Talk about a small world we live in!
I did a spot of meditation this afternoon to get back into my own head (the wind had taken up residence for a bit) and thoroughly enjoyed our lamb curry and rice for dinner.
Can't believe it is day 7 already and there are only two days to go. Oh, two uphill days. Thought I'd just put that out there so you can expect a bit of whinging in tomorrow night's instalment.
Oh and the absolute best thing that happened today? Spoke to my kids who I miss, and my son tells me he wants to do CQ next year. We will see how that pans out, but it would make me so happy to have him along for the ride.
So enough for tonight - see you in Goombungee tomorrow.