Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

More cycling blogs

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A mess

Things didn't go quite as planned on the 600km ride at the weekend. First of all, my train from Fortitude Valley to the start at Westlake (both suburbs of Brisbane) didn't show. This meant that a) I had to ride 25km to the start; and b) I got there 20 minutes late. Still, I arrived confident that I could make up the time -- after all, I've been through enough crap to get there. I set off from Westlake, and just pootled around the outer suburbs of Brisbane, focusing mainly on finding my way through the convoluted route than trying to make up serious time. It was at this point that I started to enjoy things again, all the crap that went on last week finally disappeared under the joy of just riding largely unfettered.

25km or so in, I passed one of the riders doing the 300k -- he told me he was basically abandoning there and then, and that he didn't feel as though he'd make it. I couldn't really think of any consoling words -- how do you lift the spirits of someone who's quit after 25km (and who you've already caught after a 20 minute delay)? I rode on, through Ipswich, and out to Laidley and the first checkpoint. Here I caught one of the earlier starters, Dave, who had been delayed acting as a witness in a car crash. We set off together after that, over the climb of the Great Dividing Range via Ma Ma Creek. This was probably the most scenic part of the ride.

I managed to stay with Dave until Clifton, but I had a dilemma. He was setting off quickly to try to catch the other riders (of whom there were now just two). I hung back to eat some serious food -- this was probably my fatal mistake. I had enough muesli bars to hang on until Pittsworth, but just didn't do it. Darkness fell on the way to Pittsworth, and the wind and rain intensified. I was struggling, but I hung on through this section. On making it to Pittsworth I realised that I wasn't losing any ground on the other riders, but again, arrived at the checkpoint just as they were leaving. The 20 minute delay at the start still haunted me! Again, I opted for more food, and again I was riding alone.

Pushing into the wind and probably the first decent downpour this area has seen for several months, I began to get disheartened. There was no reason for this, as I wasn't really losing any time, but the distance just seemed daunting. At one stage I literally ran off the road through tiredness, but managed to recover enough to avoid a nasty crash. I made it to Oakey and decided I'd had enough after 280km. I abandoned and got a ride out to Dalby, the 600k was effectively over. This was another mistake, as I had, in fact, negotiated the hardest part of the ride to get here. Had I just continued -- even if I'd had a break for 10 minutes to get my thoughts together, I have no doubt I could have made it to Dalby.

As it was I got back on the bike at Goombungee the next day and rode the final 170-odd km to "finish". For most of this I felt surprisingly good, apart from a little fatigue in Toowoomba (which didn't last long). That disappeared on the descent of the Toowoomba range where I passed four trucks. I shared the ride home with Lisa, who had traveled up from Inverell for this event, and was still a chance to finish. Clearly, she knew what she was doing better than me, having already done 300k and 400k events (I was jumping in without ever completing either of those). We passed the time with some idle chatter, and I learned that when I hit a flat spot, I just need to persevere and ride through it. Had I done this the previous night, I could have completed the thing. I suppose lessons are never too late for learning.

We had one interesting moment where the route slip... er.. gave us the slip. We ended up taking a stretch on the Ipswich Motorway. The signs didn't seem to list "bicycles" among the prohibited items on that road, so we may have even been doing this legally! Even so, I think the dangers of riding on these roads is grossly overstated. I didn't actually take any pictures on the second days' ride. There were probably one or two opportunities, but I just didn't really think of it.
As for what I'll do differently next time, I'll definitely be doing the full series next year. I've done enough 200km rides to sink a battleship, but the 300 and 400 would have been useful preparation, as well as being decent achievements in and of themselves. I will also (hopefully) eradicate the late start and the pre-ride mechanical problems that basically destroyed my final preparation this year. Overall, considering the preparation and how naive I was about this, I probably did reasonably well to finish with 458km. Physically I know I'm up to this, it's just the mental barriers that need to be knocked down.

Incidentally, Saturday's 280km was the fifth time I've been at or above 280 without managing to break 300km. This is becoming a habit, and one that I want to eliminate as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Maybe an extended ride taking in Byron Bay, Ballina and back through Mullumbimby in the near future might be the tonic.


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