Some showers early morning meant packing up a wet tent in Gympie and starting the monotonous trek to Rainbow Beach. We had been warned that it was a boring ride, with not much in the way of different things to see and to an extent they were right. Following breakfast (savoury scrambled eggs), we loaded up the trucks and were on our way.
The section to morning tea at Goombooria was through some beautiful country, with lots of gentle, gradual rises and not too many of the brutal short sharp hills of days 1-3. Morning tea was a plethora of all things delicious, hosted by the local ladies auxiliary. Just about every sweet and savoury treat you could imagine was on offer and at prices that could not be refused. A Gatorade, caramel slice, cheesecake slice and a yo-yo cost a measly $4 - I doubled it, because it was good tucker!
Lunch (chicken Caesar wrap, cheese and crackers, sultanas and lemonade) was at the Cooloola Cemetery Reserve, but not before some of the promised monotony. Long flat stretches of road with bumpy bitumen, brutal headwinds and not much to take the mind of tired legs meant a real mental struggle once again. Pretty much 28km of pine forests, row after row, and did I mention the roads? Long stretches of audible lines (you know the ones that make a helluva noise when you roll over them in your car) that had been poorly marked, so the corrigations were not aligned under the white line, but rather half a foot to the left, leaving you to either ride on a small strip of verge or on the right of the line in the traffic lane.
Not a constant stream of traffic but enough to remind you that this was no quiet country road, and enough yobbos to remind you to keep your wits about you. Imagine watching someone (driving toward you) overtake the car in front of him driving in the wrong lane straight toward you, then realising there was a car behind you at the same time. Makes for very interesting riding!
Post lunch, and the bumpy road did not improve, but the monotony of flat was replaced with some longer, steeper climbs and some fast descents. Still a headwind, but at least the scenery was changing too, as it took on more of a coastal feel.
Once again, knowing Andrew paid off, as he gave us the tip at lunch to stop at Seary's Creek to check out the little swimming hole. With only 8km to camp, I was feeling in desperate need of something to pick me up, so stopped to walk down to the creek and paddle my feet in the water. Long story short, and after little encouragement, I went in fully clothed and enjoyed a refreshing freshwater swim in brisk cold water - like having an ice bath, and my muscles were happy for it. I don't know if Andrew will ever know how much I appreciated that tip, as I think it was the only thing that got me through the next 8km of hard hills.
Every rise was a challenge, every downhill a strategic crack at getting the most out of it for the next uphill. And don't even get me started on the last hill into town - that was a doozy!
Into town we limped. Camp was delayed opening and we set off to explore town. I found my way to the beach, got the obligatory photo, had a gelato, visited a few tourist shops and stocked up on sand pegs for the tent before heading back to camp.
Tent set up, shower had, washing done and bike taken to Epic Cycles to investigate a clicking sound that it had picked up on the last set of hills. Chilling in my tent when I get the worst possible call from your bike mechanic - "Can you come and see us about your bike, it isn't good." So back to the Epic tent to find I had cracked the spindle on my crank shaft, and that this was not a part they carried with them on the ride. My ride may well have ended there and then if John from Epic hadn't offered to swap out a crankset for another bike he had in the truck for me. Tragedy averted and all going to plan I'll be back on the bike for the ride out on Friday.
Dinner tonight was the best yet, with a hearty lamb curry and rice (banana cake and yoghurt for dessert), followed by our halfway party - meant to be ABBA ReBjorn, but due to last minute issues, instead was the UKBeeGees - a cool tribute band who were great and sounded pretty true to the original, hence the late delivery of tonight's blog as I was dancing the night away in the big tent.
Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow and doing some touristy things before preparing for out longest day as we roll out on Friday.
Until then, stay safe and trust your gut when your bike tells you there's something wrong.