I set out on the bike this morning with very modest ambitions given the way I was feeling after yesterday's climbing, then they became even more modest when I felt the headwind coming from the South, but it was either that or miss out on a beautiful morning, so I just rode slowly down the coast, up and over Bilambil, and back to good old dependable Urliup. Here was where things started to turn around, I was riding through beautiful rainforest (and taking one or two pictures along the way), the temperature had dropped to 16 degrees C, and the nature of the road (narrow, winding and dirt) was forcing me to take it easy.
Crested the top of the gentle northern approach to the ridge, and a decent into the valley toward Murwillumbah, now I was starting to feel better. A change of approach to Reserve Creek Road, somewhere I've only been once before. Another climb, another chance to take it easy and just enjoy the rolling hills and the winding road, more great shots of the surrounding mountains shrouded in mist, and still a gorgeous morning!
The following descent, then a small climb on the next ridge, the road turns to dirt and heads south toward Pottsville. The surface is rough, loose and requires concentration, I cursed it at the time, but in hindsight it was just what I needed. Something else to distract the mind. Meanwhile I was plodding along, against the wind again, but handling it better this time (or perhaps it was just the road surface?). Eventually I reach Cudgera Creek, now a chance to head west, toward the village of Burringbar, over the range (on dirt again) with the same name, again I'm not pushing it. Winding gradually over the range, and strangely, my legs are now warming to the task, and I'm feeling better the further I go.
The descent here is another which requires real concentration, eventually into Burringbar, I head for the general store for one of those vile-tasting sports drinks, and a locally produced muesli bar. Now I'm back on the bike and heading north this time, now the wind is behind me! Pedalling gingerly at first, and worried about the next climb (which is also the Burringbar Range). Again I pedal gently, and again my legs start to respond. The climb feels easier the further I go, and before I know it I'm descending again. Another route variation -- at the bottom of the descent. This time it's Stokers Siding, then Bakers Road. For some reason I just don't feel like taking the old Pacific Highway into Murwillumbah this time.
Through the town, and onto The Pilgrims' Road (that's the name I gave it). Am I feeling stronger or is the tailwind doing all the work? Who cares at this point, I decide on one more dirt road, McAuley's road, an alternative route to Terranora (I want to avoid suburbia for as long as possible). I'm a little disappointed to note that most of it has been paved since I was here last. Now the climb of Terranora, the last serious one of the day, a variable gradient early, then a sustained grind to finish. Again, easy... easy... cresting the summit, I never thought I'd get here this quickly! I wind across the top of the ridge with expansive views of... well, Ok, it's only suburbia.
A fast descent, and a surprisingly good run with the lights through Tweed Heads and the Southern end of the Gold Coast. I check the computer purely out of curiosity at Burleigh Heads, Geez, I've ridden a century, and in under 7 hours riding time. Considering the dirt roads, I wouldn't have expected that on a good day! Nevermind when I'm supposed to be struggling. All I really did was just ride generically, freshen the route, and pedal easy. The scary part is, I feel like I could go again (no, I'm not about to try it, I just seem to have pulled up pretty well). The streak is still alive.A little statistical curiosity (if anybody cares) -- exactly 85km yesterday, and exactly 170km today.
P.S. What happened to the counter at the bottom of this page?