I rode this route in 2011 and it hurt. A lot. I walked four sections of the ride that year, but I got through. I started the ride today with no real expectations. I didn't know if I'd make it past lunch. I didn't know if I would walk up those same sections.
I got up, got dressed, packed up and rode out of Texas with just one notion. I would give it my everything and see how far it got me.
Section one was the most difficult of the day, with three pinch points where you climbed for about 2km only to be hit by a pinching gradient that took a lot out of the legs and the lungs. I walked three of those sections last time. Today I rode them all. I used my fifty count so many times today that I think I will be counting in my sleep.
At morning tea I shared a patch of grass with Lynell, a fellow CWRB member and while we didn't ride together (she is too fast!), I did manage to catch her at each rest stop after that, which was a great chance to debrief, complain, compare maladies and prop each other up for the rest of the ride.
Section two was a little less punishing and once again, the section I walked last time was conquered this time on the bike. Honestly though, this was probably the second toughest day I've done on CQ, the toughest being the climb up the Palmerstone Range in far NQ.
By the final rest stop I was in agony. I struggled to find comfort on my saddle, mainly because with few training hours on the bike, my butt was not primed to long hours on a minimalist saddle. The hardened skin is just starting to form now. I figure it will just about right for the final two days of the ride. In the meantime, Calmoseptine and Aussie butt cream are my two best friends!
Not only was my butt painful, but my legs were not happy with the workload either. My left leg was weakened from a knee injury and as a result the right has taken the slack. With over 100km today, mainly climbing, poor old rightie was sending out signals that, had it been Star Trek, Scottie would be screaming, "she canna take anymore Cap'n"
To say I limped in the last 14k would be an understatement. I was lucky to meet some nice folk at the last rest stop who, while I couldn't take a wheel, I was able to keep in sight and that buoyed me home. That and the fact that I rode the entire way - no walking for Sue today!
Tent set up was comical as nothing wanted to bend and when it finally did, it didn't want to extend. A hot shower helped refresh my outlook, and a massage went down a treat after dinner (handmade cannoli for dessert was a thing of utter deliciousness).
And now for a day of rest before the final four days of the tour. I'm off hiking in Girraween National Park. Until next time, look after your butts - you don't realise how much you spend on them until they are covered in saddle sores!