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..

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Some mornings you can just tell that something special is unfolding. A quick look at my stats for the month of May over at would reveal that it hasn't been one of the greatest periods of my cycling life. First of all there was the abandonment of the 600k randonee in unseasonal heat. Then I had to cancel a planned weekend on the Sunshine Coast with Dave Mac because a family member needed my urgent assistance with something else. Then I picked up a chest infection and was unwell, which kept me off the bike for a little while.

Last weekend I managed a very pleasant ride to Binna Burra, even if I was nowhere near 100%. While I was exhausted on my return from that ride, I really did feel a sense of accomplishment, as if toughing that one out was a turning point. This morning confirmed it. It was a dark and misty morning, it was just 47km to and from Little Nerang Dam. There was almost a fall when climbing over the gate then suddenly realising it wasn't locked after all.

There was also the freshness of the morning mist, the silhouette in the starlight of the pockets of mist hanging around the surrounding mountains. There was the sight of the rising sun lighting up all the mist, mixing and contrasting with the colours of the landscape. There was a slight irritation that I'd left my camera at home, but I can live with that. More than anything else, there was a feeling that the old swagger is coming back into my riding, and that I might just set up a date with Mt Jerusalem this weekend to confirm it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


It's very rare that I comment on pro-cycling these days -- having virtually lost all interest in the racing scene in recent years for a variety of reasons. I'll probably watch the Tour de France this year, but I doubt I'll get as excited about it as I have in previous years. Personally I'd much rather be riding my own bike. However, since I'm confined to my office at this moment, and forced to put up with looking out my window at the rainbow over Surfers Paradise rather than riding in it, I'll take a minute to post this rant.

It seems that over the last decade or so, the sport of cycling has been unable to escape the stigma of doping. The latest was this story in which 1996 TdF winner Bjarne Riis admits to having used EPO. This will, of course, come as a surprise to nobody who has ever taken notice of professional sport and taken the rose-coloured glasses off for long enough to see the reality of it. Yet for some reason there are still people around who find it surprising. Perhaps the most surprising thing about all this is that in the last decade, the UCI hasn't learned how to sweep this all under the carpet the way so many other sports have.

At around the time of the "Festina affair" in 1998, there were revelations in another part of Europe concerning another major sport. Then AS Roma (an Italian football club, or "soccer" team to the less cultured among us) coach Zdenek Zeman made a comment basically stating that the vast majority of players in the Serie A league were using performance-enhancing drugs. That same year, the National Rugby League had a heap of players test positive to steroids -- most of the Newcastle Knights team who won the premiership the previous year I believe. Yet how much hype do we hear over the use of performance-enhancing drugs in these sports today? Virtually none as far as I can see.

In fact, I remember doing my final year of schooling at a school that had a lot of rugby league players trying to get contracts with NRL clubs. These people would literally take steroids in class (disguised to look like headache tablets), with nothing being done about it. I would have assumed a coach somewhere would have been aware of it, but nobody ever said anything. As far as I know, it's probably still happening now.

Of course, right now we're hearing stories about drug problems in the Australian Football League in the southern states -- I'd be surprised if officials hadn't known about that for years. There are all sorts of rumours and innuendo about countless other athletes who, in the mean time, are able to continue competing regardless. It was these rumours and innuendo that led to half of last year's Tour de France riders being suspended if I recall correctly.

The point of all this is that cycling is by no means the only professional sport in the world with a problem here -- yet for some reason the UCI have this desire to air their dirty laundry in a place where nobody can escape it. Incidentally, doesn't Riis now look like a dickhead after earlier sacking Ivan Basso over a drugs issue.

Let's face it, drugs are simply a fact of professional sport, and of life generally, and the fans who turn up and demand that the athletes go faster every race are as much to blame as the administrators and the athletes themselves. After all, many of the same fans probably go home and take a stack of pills every Monday morning when they wake up with a hangover that might keep them off work for the day, or feed their kids a heap of pills because they made too much noise during the night. Yet these people can suddenly find a reason to get very sanctimonious every time they hear of an athlete doing the same thing that they themselves do.

I know for a fact that when I was at University there were a heap of students who took drugs to try to make themselves "more alert" for the exams, and let's not forget that "doctor" on the Gold Coast last year who was selling various drugs to wealthy old men who had married younger women that they could no longer physically keep up with. With all this going on, one has to ask just why everyone suddenly tries to put athletes up on some kind of pedestal and suddenly expect them to rise above all this as if they have super-human morals.

I am by no means saying that taking drugs is "right" or "proper". What I am saying is that it is simply unrealistic to expect professional cyclists (or any other athletes for that matter) to refuse to take drugs to "get ahead" when the rest of society has no problem in doing just that. Fix the problem of drugs in society, and you might fix the problem of drugs in sport. However, simply pointing the finger at a group of athletes and ridiculing them as if they're the only ones is not going to make it magically go away.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Revisiting an old friend

On reflection it's hard to believe that today was the first time I've ridden this particular route this year, but until today, the only time I've ridden to Binna Burra, at the summit of Mt Roberts on the Beechmont Range, this year was a night ride back in March. After withdrawing from a 400k audax event because of the illness I've had all week (which is still lingering, albeit severely diminished), I effectively had a free day. This has long been a favourite ride of mine, but has perhaps been forgotten a little in recent times as I've looked for longer distances.

The choice of ride was motivated by wanting a ride that would present a decent challenge, lovely scenery, but one which would not over-extend me in view of the last week. Also, because this ride is virtually all uphill on the way out, and virtually all downhill (one or two pinches on the Beechmont Range excepted) on the way back, I could get out of trouble quite easily should I find myself not up to the level I thought I was.

The morning was a beautiful one as I took the hillier way out through Gilston, before settling into the long climb up the range. At first I didn't feel as though I had the strength to make it, but these rides always revolve around form and technique rather than power. I could still make it with diminished power, just not as quickly.

This was how it proved, indeed, one of the locals at Lower Beechmont remarked about my "good cadence". I think he's a former cyclist from way back -- I've seen him shouting encouragement up there before. I wanted to reply with "not bad for a bloke who's been sick all week", but wasn't sure I had the breath. I just gave the thumbs-up and said "thanks". Once on the range everything else seemed to take care of itself. Flat tyre number 13 was an annoyance, but didn't really worry me unduly. I'm getting proficient at changing these things now.

The final ascent of Mt Roberts is always tough, I almost lost my rhythm here as the gradient hovered around the 8% mark, kicking up to 13% at one point. I made it up there reasonably comfortably (against the expectations of one particular know-it-all that I passed) after I managed to settle down the initial panic. That climb did, however, take a bit out of me, as I would discover on the way back.

There are three noteworthy hills to climb on the way back, despite the general downward trend, and I could sense each sapping what was suddenly a rather limited supply of energy. Evidently I expended a little more than expected fighting the illness. For all that, however, I made it back to the coastal strip, despite the best efforts of one idiot in a cement truck on the long, winding descent (I console myself with the fact that anyone who drives like that probably won't be around to bother me for much longer).

The hardest part of the ride home was being confronted with a headwind on the way home. By now the energy levels were just about sapped, although I still had another muesli bar if I got into any real trouble. I spent most of the last 15km or so just pacing along at 22-23km/h. I barely had enough energy to do any stretches when I got home, but I did feel a lot better after completing the ride.

All in all it was quite a satisfactory result under the circumstances. The route selection worked a treat, the Beechmont Range was pretty as always and the weather was near perfect. With a bit of luck I'll get another decent ride in tomorrow, and then can start looking to get back into the conditioning I had a month or so back.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So this is how my season has gone

This was supposed to be the year I got serious about this whole randonneuring thing. I was planning to complete a super-series this year. To say things haven't worked out as I had hoped is a bit of an understatement, here's how it unfolded:

1. By some scheduling quirk, the season in Australia actually starts on December 1, meaning the opening 200 was the ASH Dash in Hobart on the first weekend. The simple ride from Hobart airport to the accommodation in Battery Point leads to the rear-derailleur decided to spontaneously fall to pieces in the Queen's Domain. Fortunately, the ride was scheduled on the Sunday, and I found a bike shop on the Saturday to help me out with it. I then managed to complete the ride despite an error in the route slip sending me off course and making me actually ride 230-odd km, with over 12,000 feet of climbing.

2. The first ride back in Queensland was a night ride in early January. Two flat tyres that night slowed me down, but it was completed without too many problems, and after riding to and from the start of the ride, I even managed to set a new personal distance record.

3. I then rode 2x300km rides without any problems -- even setting yet another personal distance record getting to and from one of the rides.

4. A plan was hatched to ride a 400k up in Toowoomba. A crash on wet cobblestones that severed a wire in my primary headlight just before the big ride put paid to that one.

5. I lined up for a 600k anyway, but got fatally owned in the unseasonal heat. May is supposed to be one of our cooler months, yet it managed to hit 34 degrees C (a May record), and I wasn't prepared for it at all. I abandoned at 200km after spending time sitting by the side of the road in whatever scarce shade I could find (I'd rather ride through a hail storm than a heatwave).

6. I'm supposed to be doing a 400k this weekend, but right now I'm sitting here nursing a chest infection that, presumably, came from assisting a family member who had been sick to move house last weekend. Just walking to the shops seems like hard work today, and while I'll probably be recovered by Saturday, I'm not sure I'll have the strength to do a 400k. I'm thinking I'll scale my ambitions for this weekend down to a couple of more modest local rides.

I think it's fair to just write this off for the year and focus on my touring plans now. Six weeks until I fly out for a tour of Scotland. Hopefully I've used up all the bad luck and things will start to improve. At least it was a nice sunrise here this morning.

Quote of the day: "Debt is people spending money they didn't earn to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Commuting salvation

Let it be known that last weekend wasn't the greatest I've ever had. Due to other commitments outlined in my previous post, I managed to end up with aches in just about every muscle possible without riding a single kilometre. On top of that, I've also managed to pick up what looks to be developing into a chest infection, which threatens the 400k Audax ride I was planning for this weekend.

Suffice to say, I was not best pleased. Yet this morning I found myself riding to work as usual. I've said here in the past that my commute does not rank among my more enjoyable rides. It's not so much that I dislike it, but more that a flat suburban ride of 8.5km one way doesn't quite match riding to Milford Sound or Springbrook. In the past I've made no bones about the fact that I commute by bicycle for purely practical reasons (i.e. time, money, convenience etc).

Yet this morning there was something else. There was a sense of exhilaration -- something not normally associated with riding in Bundall. I cannot be sure whether it was just the fact that I was finally outside for a while, or the adrenalin rush that comes with negotiating oddly-positioned traffic at high speed, but it was GOOD. The hard part is yet to come, however. It's becoming clear that I'm going to need rest if I'm going to be ready for the weekend, and it's not as if I've had a lot of sick days over the last 12 months (only two that I can recall). Just how do I persuade myself to rest?

Incidentally, can someone explain to me just how someone doing an search for "Melbourne granny killers" should end up on a blog predominantly about cycling on the Gold Coast? Anyone?

Friday, May 18, 2007


So I issued the challenge when I was still on 11, I'm waiting for someone to see if they can get as many flat tyres as I can in 2007. Surprisingly, someone over at claims to have had 14. Well, as of this morning I'm up to 12. It was also only the second time I've ever had a flat tyre in the wet (assuming, of course, that the "rain" actually reached the ground before evaporating). It's disappointing, but I can handle it.

In other news, it's unlikely I'm going to get much riding in during the weekend either. I'll be assisting my mother to move house, so about the only chance looks like riding home from Brisbane on Sunday evening. I suppose moving all that furniture can be called "cross-training" -- although whether I need it the weekend before the 400k randonee is another matter entirely. On the other hand, I'm not sure I needed another 250km "training ride" either. I'll play that one by ear.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Who wants a contest?

Does anyone out there think they can ride through more flat tyres than me this year? As of last night I'm up to 11 since January 1, and five since Easter. Since this isn't likely to change anytime soon (i.e we still have the same number of drunken f*ckwits in this city with nothing better to do than smash glass bottles), I'm going to try to make something positive about it and turn it into a contest. Who wants to take me on?

It's interesting the amount of paranoia that immediately follows fixing a flat tyre. There's always the thought that somehow it's about to go flat again, or that it's losing air -- no matter how many times you check it. Last night I still had another 32 km of errands to run after I got home from work (where I discovered the problem), so I really had to snap out of that quickly. Cue the night air. It's been unseasonally warm in these parts recently, consequently I'm still wearing short sleeves on evening rides in May. I soon forgot about all that and enjoyed one of the most relaxing rides of the year.

The challenge still stands, however.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wildflower season

It's amazing the things one can miss when they have so many other things going on in their life. Wildflower season has returned to this part of the world. Somehow it's come before summer has actually finished (30 degrees C today, following on from 34 last weekend), but on Tomewin today it appeared to have arrived regardless. Today was one of only two Audax rides held on the Gold Coast each year, the 100k (there will be a 200k in August). I've thought about organising some myself, but I have other thoughts about that, which can wait for another post.

Today's ride involved a climb of Tomewin (complete with 15% grades), a loop through Murwillumbah, Stokers Siding and Uki, followed by a return via the John Hogan rainforest. Add a few extra kilometres for riding to and from the start, and I actually ended up with 130km. It wasn't what I'd call an epic these days, but it was nice to find some form after last weekend's disaster.

The overriding impression from today's ride, however, is that I really need to spend some more time on the immediate local rides. The wildflower display on Tomewin really rammed that point home. I've been putting in a lot of big ones over the last couple of months -- "training rides" of 250-300km on a regular basis, but doing so has caused me to neglect some of the local charms. The good news is that I'll have the entire month of June to do just that as I prepare for the July tour of Scotland.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The new toy

It was perhaps the worst-kept secret in the world. I was looking for another cycle computer, and asking the question on and didn't do a lot to conceal the fact. I ended up opting for the Ciclo altimeter rather than the VDO one that I had originally been looking at. The $100 discount offered by Johns Cycles at the time of purchase counted for a lot, and this model probably has a few more functions (34 in total, including a number that I probably don't need).

The early test rides have been interesting, although it doesn't have a light, meaning that the later sunrise times mean that I can't see the gradients being displayed in the pre-dawn darkness. While it stores the maximum, minimum and average values for just about everything, this is an issue that I'll need to address on the longer Audax rides in the future. I've been considering a helmet light for some time, so this might just be the spur to motivate me to actually do something about it. That said, I'm trying to avoid spending too much money before the Scotland trip in July.

The DNF last weekend has effectively killed my chances of completing a Super Series this year -- curse these year-long summers! I am still planning on riding the 400k at the end of the month, and trying to salvage something from that. Of course, finding time to get a decent ride in between now and then is proving a little more problematic, as I have other menial but time-consuming business to attend to this weekend. I'll probably look to the likes of Springbrook and Binna Burra to provide quick, intense climbing without having to be away all day.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Snappy answers to stupid interview questions part 1

Inspired by a thread over on FFC, and the following discussion on some of the stupid questions people get at job interviews. No doubt we've all heard them, things that are totally irrelevant to one's ability to actually do the job in question, things like "do you think you could sell this paper clip to me?" when you're applying for a job as a secretary.

I present the following contribution made by an unregistered poster simply known as "answers". If you ever get a stupid question at a job interview again, here are some things you can use. This is part 1, because I expect it will be an ongoing series. If anyone actually reads this and has some contributions of their own, feel free to add them -- you might even get to see your name up in lights (or HTML).

“Why are manhole covers round?”
Because your 'manhole' is round big boy!

“How many gas stations are there in the United States?”

“How are M&M’s made?”
You take an M an ampersand an another M and stick them together.

“You have been assigned to design Bill Gates bathroom. Naturally, cost is not a consideration. You may not speak to Bill. What would you do?”
Boobie trap the f*cker, no more bill.

“How would you explain how to use Microsoft Excel to your grandma?”

“Explain a scenario for testing a salt shaker.”
1) Shake the bitch
2) is salt coming out?

“How would you design a coffee-machine for an automobile.”
If you don't have time to stop for coffee, realign your priorities man.

“How would you go about building a keyboard for 1-handed users?”
You can type just fine on a regular keyboard with only one hand. Haven't you ever cybered?Would you like to?

“How would you build an alarm clock for deaf people?”
I'd make it really really really really loud.

Monday, May 07, 2007


There were thirty-four good reasons I retired 200km into the weekend's 600km ride -- all of them degrees celcuis! Just how it managed to get so hot in May is totally beyond me, and the lack of shade on the route didn't help. I had coped well on the first 150km or so, but toward the end of that stretch I had a nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach, and after eating something at that checkpoint, I was almost vomiting.

On reflection I probably should have just taken a few more minutes at the checkpoint and tried to wait the feeling out, but I honestly thought the next 50km or so would allow it to clear up, and the temperature would drop a little. Instead I spent time laying in a heap on the side of the road in whatever shade I could find (which wasn't much), trying to cool down. I think I need to either learn to handle the heat, or move to Tasmania.

Everything had looked promising up to that point. The ride to the pub at Lowood from Ipswich the previous night went without incident, and the night air was a beautiful temperature. Indeed, staying at the Lowood pub was quiet enough that I was able to sleep reasonably well (even if my train didn't get me to Ipswich as early as I would have liked). The shower seemed to be on Perth time -- given that everytime I went to adjust the water temperature, it took several minutes to respond.

Most of the ride was reasonably scenic without being stunningly beautiful. It was also frighteningly dry. Here one can see the full extent of the six-year drought currently gripping south east Queensland. Lake Atkinson itself was nothing more than a crater filled with brown grass, and the water levels in the other lakes were alarmingly low. For all that I was able to get into an easy early rhythm, and everything seemed to be progressing well.

It was en route to the second checkpoint at Laidley that things started to happen. I actually had to give some water to another rider who was seriously struggling with the heat on the hilly stretch between Esk and Gatton. She, in turn, showed me a farm house where we could refill enough to get through to Laidley. We got through that, but the signs were already there. On reflection, the jersey probably wasn't the best choice in the heat.

After the Laidley checkpoint I set off without stopping as long as I probably could have, but in the hilly first 10km through Plainland, it didn't seem to be bothering me that much. It was on the flat stretch, grinding into a headwind that I had problems. During the next 40km I made at least three roadside stops to try to recuperate in the shade. I made another stop at a store to drink a litre of sports drinks (anything cold would have sufficed at this point, because even the water in the camelbak was hot). I knew then that this ride was slipping away.

I'm going to take a quick ride early tomorrow morning to reassess my goals for the remainder of this season. What disappoints me is that I had been so much stronger on the "training rides" of the previous weekends than on the actual day of the event. Perhaps there's a lesson there somewhere, and it's something I need to think about. On reflection I'll probably go ahead with the 400k at the end of this month -- even if only to prove something to myself. I know within myself that I'm still capable of doing these longer rides, I just need the ingredients to be there to nail one, and I'll have the confidence to finish them off.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Seen on a "for sale" sign on my ride home from work yesterday: "Farr... Joe Farr -- (07) 55 007 007. 'Licenced to sell'. I am not making this up.

In other news, I see we now have a "do not call" list to supposedly get rid of telemarketers in Australia. Typically for an Australian Government "initiative", the website was down when I went to check it out. Then I saw the list of "exceptions" which includes religious organisations and political parties. Given that most private companies are set up overseas now anyway, and can easily register an overseas-based shelf company to do their marketing work for them (which would consequently not be subject to Australian laws), the whole thing just looks like a complete waste of time. Still, as they say, the political imperative in a "democracy" is to "be seen to be doing something about it".

Sure, one can argue that telemarketers don't want to call people who are only going to reject them anyway, but having worked in that field, the fact is, they aren't the ones calling the shots. It's the people upstairs who have read too many "mission statements" and think that nobody could ever possibly reject their product who need to be convinced, and this won't do it. I think I'll stick to my tactic of only bothering to answer the phone when it suits me, and letting message bank take care of everything else.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I never do it the easy way

Why can nothing ever be simple? The decision to move the start of the 600k ride to Lake Atkinson was always going to be an inconvenience, but I didn't expect accommodation in that part of the world to be so difficult to find. First of all there is nothing available at Lake Atkinson itself. I called them two days ago to hear they are fully booked out for the entire weekend. I also chased the Lowood Caravan Park -- only to hear they apparently don't offer overnight accommodation (?). The motel in Fernvale was booked out, so I'm now staying in the Lowood pub on the Friday evening.

It's probably not as bad as it seems. The rates are reasonable and country pubs usually close a little earlier than their city counterparts. They also told me I could bring my bike into the room with me, so there won't be any security issues there. I just hope the drunks there can sort out any differences they may have by 10pm.

I haven't yet sorted out what to do after the ride either. So far my options are bum a ride back to Ipswich with someone, stay in the Lowood pub on Sunday night (which mightn't be such a bad option, except that I'd be up for another $60, and there may not be anything available there either) or finish the 600k in time to ride another 60km or so back to Ipswich before the last train. The last option is the one I'd like to do, but it may not be realistic. I'll check the train timetable.

In other news, I'll have a new toy early next week. Technically it will probably arrive at my LBS on Friday, but I just won't have time to get there and attach it to my bike. I won't give away too many details yet, except to say that it will be nice to find out for sure the gradient of Bilambil and one or two other climbs in the area, and put some of that speculation to rest.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Back to back centuries

With this you will have to be content, because I do not have time to write two separate ride reports from the weekend. Saturday morning I decided to head north, initially through the flat country around Jacob's Well, and then over Mt Tamborine. I might have managed a decent pace on this ride, had it not been for the sheer volume of roadwork I encountered early on. It seems GCCC haven't figured out that if you try to do everything at once while remaining understaffed, it just won't get done.

I negotiated those early problems, then followed the coast through the mangroves. This is a prettier area than I remember, possibly because I hadn't been here for three years. It's interesting to note the number of islands in Moreton Bay -- apparently there are 365 of them. I'm not sure if there's a way to ride the full length of the bay (which finishes north of Brisbane), but it's an interesting project for the future one day.

The next challenge (apart from finding somewhere that had water I could actually drink) was the climb of Mt Tamborine. I've long realised the key to this is to be methodical. The first 3km are by far the steepest, but there is a kick over the last kilometre that can nail anyone who burned up too much energy early. After that, it was just a matter of a screaming 75km/h descent (some of which was wet), the final 12% climb of Wongawallan, and the ride home.

For once I held a bit in reserve over Wongawallan, which goes against conventional "wisdom" that it must be attacked at all times. Today I had a reason. I was taking a slightly different route home to avoid the aforementioned roadwork, which made the finish considerably hillier. It got even worse when I realised I had to detour through Clagiraba in search of more kilometers. It did, however, let me ride through the suburbia at the end with a tailwind, so there's nothing to really complain about.

Sunday was an old, familiar century taking in Springbrook, Numinbah Valley, Tyalgum and a return through Urliup. It was notable for a couple of reasons, the first being the sudden belief I gained on the climb of Springbrook. After taking that apart the day after a century, I'm suddenly more confident going into the 600k, just what I needed. Numinbah Valley also gave me some food for thought, I could use this as the focus for a short weekend tour later in the year. I hadn't been down here this year so far, and forgot just how pretty it really is.

The detour out through Tyalgum seemed to be a game of figuring out what the wind was doing while I continued to accumulate climbing over the two big climbs after Chillingham. I also kept a close eye on my distance to ensure that I'd get the century I was after. Sure enough, I was forced into two detours around Murwillumbah.

It was at Urliup that the problems started. I noticed a slow leaking flat on the rear tyre (my 9th this year incidentally). I had planned to ride on with it for a while, then decided if I'd have to change it later anyway, Urliup is so much nicer than some non-descript bit of suburbia. The problem was that my pump gave up (despite successfully fixing a flat three days earlier). In the end I was able to get about 7 psi in the tyre, and had to be content with that. If I could limp back to Bilambil and get to a service station, I could still complete the ride.

My main concern was what I'd do if the service station was actually closed (a very real possibility around here on a Sunday). I'd then have to negotiate the big Bilambil climb on 7 psi in the rear -- a situation in which even the most basic rollers felt like granny-gear killers. I needn't have worried. I found a farm house and borrowed a pump to inflate the tyre enough to get over the climb, found a service station in West Tweed Heads, did the job properly, then got on with riding home.

A late gust of headwind tried to stop me, but after what I'd already dealt with, it all seemed a bit pointless. I took it apart in a cold and calculated fashion, and did what I had to do. All in all I didn't find the weekend's riding too bad, and with the 600 likely to be considerably less hilly than these rides were, I'm looking forward to nailing it too.