Tuesday, 1 September 2015

CQ15 - so what's new?

With only four sleeps until my fifth Cycle Qld, I wasn't sure whether I'd be writing a blog this year. After all, it is my fifth and I really think I've probably said all I could say about how much I love this event this year.  

But as I took my dog for a walk tonight I began to think of different angles that I could take to make this year's blog fresh and not the same tired story.

So here goes my pre-ride attempt.  Today, I'm going to look at what's new for CQ.

2015 sees a more relaxed view of CQ.  I had already saved the entry fee, and registered on the day entry opened. My rider number testifies how early - I am rider 19 - the lowest number I've had.

I am so much more relaxed that I still haven't finished packing. Normally my bags are packed and sitting on the floor in August ready to ship out in the first week of September.  This year, I am still packing, and really thinking about what I am taking along for the ride.  After all, I have to lug my bags around the campsite, so the lighter they are, the better.

I have a new tent this year too.  When Hayden and I did CQ together the second time, we had a huge 4 man tent that was roomy and quite a luxury.  I took that same tent with me last year which felt positively decadent as a single rider.  But I have got to say it was nice to have my bike sleeping next to me at night!  

However with a luggage limit of 22kg, spending 8kg on a tent is just not good sense.  My Flybuys points bought me a 3 man pop up tent that I can have set up in 30 seconds and pull down in 2 minutes (and hopefully remember how to fold it down so it fits in the bag!). It will be interesting to see if the same tent makes it to CQ16 - watch this space!

New interior furnishings for the tent are also in order. Gone are the days of a self-inflating mattress.  This year I invested far too much money on a hiker's mattress.  I spent hours on the net researching, reading reviews, cross referencing and finally settled on a Neo-Air Therm-a-rest.  I've slept on it already and apart from my normal mattress, it is the most comfortable thing I've ever slept on.  Couple that with the fact that I've already remembered to pack my pillow (which I forgot to pack for CQ2012) and I'm looking forward to a good night's rest on Friday night. Oh and did I mention my brand new thermal sleeping bag? The temperature overnight in Toowoomba was 3 degrees.  That bad boy is going to be absolutely amazing when the frosts roll in lower on the Downs.

Each year that I've done CQ I've had company on the ride.  My biking buddy Stef Black rode in 2011 and 2014, and my boy, Hayden shared the tandem bike with me in 2012 and 2013.  This year Stef had other commitments and Hayden couldn't be convinced to take the time off school. So I registered knowing that I was going to have to make friends along the way.  Not my strongest suit, but we will see how it goes.  I do have one saving grace - the fabulous Jenny Moore has registered to ride now too, so I will have a camping neighbour and someone who makes lots of friends as she goes - so let's hope that I will be writing about lots of new friends over the week.

But probably the most important "new" thing about CQ15 is the same thing that is new every year.  Every year is a chance to discover new pieces of our beautiful state.  This year's ride is around the Darling Downs, starting with a Toowoomba loop on Day 1, and then onto Allora, Warwick, Leyburn, Millmerran, Dalby, Goombungee and back into Toowoomba on Day 9.

As I'm writing I'm beginning to get really excited. It's been a busy year since the last ride.  I've been working on a project that has seen me travelling across the state, I've completed a half marathon, a half ironman and am now working on another statewide project.  I'm ready for a much needed recreation time out.  I'm ready to get on my bike and get "lost" in the fun of just riding a bike again.  

So stay tuned - there are going to be some adventures ahead.