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, January 30, 2008

Alpine Classic

The climb to Falls Creek

Some might have considered it foolishness to ride the Alpine Classic after 94km the day before in 37 degree (Celsius) heat. Still, the company I'd had on that ride convinced me that I could do it, as I wouldn't be the only one attempting this foolishness. As it was, I had a 6.40am start, in which the temperature was considerably cooler, so things were starting to look up.

Tawonga Gap

It didn't take long for me to raise the temperature just a little. I'd sat back a little from the main group in the early start out of Bright because I didn't want to burn myself out early, but I found form on the first climb of Tawonga Gap, and decided to just go with it and see what happened. That pass was pushed aside easily, and I started to feel confident about the ride.

Bound for Falls Creek

After that descent, the next act was the long climb to Falls Creek. It was basically a 30km climb with a few false flats and false descents thrown in to mix things up a little. After about 700 metres, however, it became a long grind with a steep pinch toward the summit. The scenery here is stunning at times, and I was torn between getting on with the climb or taking a heap of pictures. I probably compromised those two aims somewhat, but still pushed on toward the summit soon enough to feel as though completing this ride would pose little difficulty.

Snow gums at Falls Creek

On the way to Falls Creek I'd actually passed over a food stop, figuring I'd make the one at the summit of the climb and save some time. I'm still wondering whether I ended up paying for that decision later on, because after descending Falls Creek, the temperature rose above 30 degrees C for the first time that day, and I started burning energy a little faster than I would have liked. On the descent I also spotted another rider being treated by an ambulance after what appeared to be a crash into a metal barrier. I took noticeably fewer risks after that.

The second climb over Tawonga Gap started promisingly enough, but soon turned into a long, slow, drawn-out climb. I could sense the heat was starting to pose problems, so I just worked on technique and not extending myself too much as I headed for the summit. This would be a sign of things to come later on. As it was, I struggled over the Tawonga summit, before a lightning descent. I had actually ridden this descent on a tour three years earlier, so I felt comfortable enough to take a few liberties here.

I believe I've been here before -- Tawonga Gap, again

Returning to Bright provided the first sight of the locals by the side of the road, sitting in whatever shade they could find, cheering the riders on. Negotiating the way to the lunch stop was a little more confusing. There was an option here to call it a day and simply leave the distance at 130km and not worry about the climb of Mt Buffalo, but I figured that I had time in the bank, and wouldn't have to much trouble grinding out the last 70km.

Mt Buffalo is next

I was cheered on by more of the locals as I started the long ascent of Mt Buffalo. There would be 20km of this, and it would take a long time. I kept track of things on my altimeter, and decided to pause half way up the mountain to for a muesli bar before going on and finishing the climb. The pause took a little longer than I'd anticipated as the heat had totally destroyed my appetite for virtually anything.

Eurobin Falls, Mt Buffalo

10 more long kilometres of steady climbing saw me eventually reach the summit. I made a point of raising a fist into the air when I got there, more to provide motivation than to celebrate anything. By this stage my legs had severely cramped, so I was reduced to walking around while I ate to try to loosen then a little. It didn't even register with me that the ride was virtually complete, and all I had in front of me was a 20km descent followed by a rolling final 10km with a tailwind into Bright.

Victorian Alpine Country, Mt Buffalo

Sometime on the descent my appetite came back with a vengeance, a bit late for that now. I descended quickly, not so much to make up time, but just to try to keep my legs moving. Once the descent was over, it finally dawned on me that I was likely to finish this with an hour to spare. Not even a flat tyre now could stop me (that's something I need to factor into most rides). Even my old enemy, the heat, had been vanquished on this ride.

Somewhere on the descent of Mt Buffalo, but I'm not keeping count anymore

The sight of the old couple sitting under the tree next to their esky cheering accompanied me into Bright, and the finish. Now I was just riding on instinct, almost totally spent, but somehow adrenalised, knowing it was over. This ride had stopped being "fun" 100km ago, now "survival" was no longer appropriate. The post ride dinner had already started -- even if the last of the riders were still to finish. I probably wasn't at my conversational best that evening -- and spent most of the time trying to drink enough water to sink a battleship.

For all the challenges it posed, however, the ride was a memorable one. The scenery was magnificent, and the support from the volunteers, the other riders and the locals was something to savour. I may even consider returning next year -- assuming the calendar is kind enough to give me another long weekend to play with.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Final Countdown

Twin Falls, Springbrook

There are now just days remaining until my first major cycling event of the year. If any of the Victorians who read this page want to get in touch while I'm in town for the Alpine Classic, they should email me at the_chris_man_50 at yahoo dot com. On Sunday I decided to spend a day at Springbrook, the ride up the mountain would provide a decent hit out a week before the Alpine, the plan then being to walk the 17km Warrie Circuit before riding home.

Things didn't quite go as planned. The ride up the mountain was pleasant enough, if a little tiring after the previous day. Unfortunately, much of the Warrie Circuit was closed due to landslides after the torrential rain that fell a couple of weeks ago. I did, however, manage the 5km Twin Falls circuit, which provided stunning scenery in and of itself.

Rainbow Falls


Blackfellow falls -- who'd imagine they'd get away with that name today?

Time for a closer look at Twin falls

A really close look

In view of my shortened walk at the top of the mountain, I opted to instead take the walk around Purlingbrook Falls on the slighty lower slopes. That too, was closed due to landslides. Maybe that was a sign that I should have been home resting up, but I did manage to get a look at the falls. It's the most water I can ever remember coming over the falls.

Purlingbrook Falls

I'm considering a cycle tour in Japan in 2009. If Karma exists at all, I should have no trouble finding photographers to take pictures of me in front of spectacular scenery. After all, I've certainly fulfilled my end of the bargain in recent years, and did so again on Sunday morning. Despite my general cynicism and wariness of the population in these parts, I've always found the Japanese tourists to be extremely pleasant people, and I'm happy to oblige.

I'm still undecided about whether I should go and slaughter Mt Nimmel tomorrow evening, or take a slightly easier ride. I'll just go with the way I feel at the time, and take it as it comes. I'll probably adopt a similar strategy on Sunday. Evidently the weather forecast is promising thunderstorms and 32 degrees C at this point. I should feel right at home.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Saturday morning offered a great ride, and the chance to catch up with some friends after it for a bushwalk. The plan was to ride a quick 100km through Tallebudgera and Currumbin Valleys, then take a quick bushwalk with a group to Cougals Cascades. I could have opted for the climb of Mt Cougal, but a week out from the Alpine Classic, I thought better of taking on a muddy rock scramble.

It was astonishing just how quickly things had been rebuilt in Tallebudgera Valley after the flood damage that engulfed the place a fortnight earlier. I guess it goes to show that the council can move on things when they really want to. Either way, the light showers that swept across made things a little more pleasant than they might have been en route to Currumbin Rock pool. I actually had my wires crossed about the start time, and ended up doing the walk twice to fill in the extra 90 minutes that I had.

It was amusing to watch people sliding down the waterfall at one point. I'm not sure I'd try it myself, but it's their spine. All in all it was a pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning, and to get out of suburbia for a while.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Future directions

View of Mt Warning, 2003

I don't like the word "goal". I think it can be (and often is) overused to the point of becoming meaningless. That said, it's probably time I gave myself some targets and put some plans in place to take something from 2008.

The first thing on the agenda will be the Alpine Classic in a little over a week. If I'm not fit enough now I probably never will be, but I've done enough 200km rides that this one shouldn't bother me too much. The real challenge seems to have been finding accommodation in Bright -- given that some of the local businesses seem content to accept a booking, and then cancel it as soon as they get a better offer. I lost patience with their games a few weeks back, and will be bringing a tent. I'll need to give it a clean this weekend.

I'm also planning some more weekends away on the bike this year, in order to spend more time sleeping under that tent. A trip to Minyon Falls (now that there might actually be some water coming over it) will be a priority, as is spending some time exploring the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, and other areas in that vicinity.

There will, of course, be a major tour later in the year. I need to get some finances in order after overspending last year, so I'll probably "limit" myself to a few weeks in New Zealand aroud October or November. This time I'll be riding the North Island, having toured and thoroughly enjoyed the South last time around. Hopefully I can tie this in around the Great Southern Randonee later in the year and ride the Great Ocean Road along with it.

Locally, the Koonyum Range around Mullumbimby is somewhere I need to explore, as are some of the fire trails behind Numinbah Valley -- the ones that I plan to finally get to this year. All in all it promises to be a memorable year if I can manage fewer flat tyres than last year's tally of 28 (I'm on three so far). Bring it on!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The first tumble

Views from Tomewin

A new year, a new camera and a new fall. Yesterday I managed my first crash of the year at Tomewin, while riding across the top of the Macpherson Range on Glengarrie Road. It's the sort of thing that happens when you attempt to climb steep graidents on rocky dirt roads covered with a slick coating of mud. Very little damage was done, although my left hip is a little stiff today, and the surroundings in the Garden of Eden provided more than enough compensation.

Urliup in bloom

Evidently Martin and I hadn't had enough flooded creek crossings from the day before, as we first headed toward Urliup. Much to my surprise (especially as the lost bet cost me an inner tube), only one causeway was under. Another surprise in the early stages was just how quickly the wildflowers have taken over Urliup after the flood. It's not an area known for them, but the freakish downpour may have created just the right conditions.

Rainforest in the Garden of Eden

A punishing climb to the summit of Tomewin followed -- the punishing nature of the climb owing as much to the muggy conditions as the gradient. It was followed by the now obligatory detour along the Garden of Eden Road, before returning to the Eastern side of the range for the ridgetop ride across the top. The muddy conditions made for difficult going, and I had several near misses before "the crash". Nevertheless, I found the motivation to continue as we watched some rain approach.

The rain held off until we descended the switchbacks of the Zig-zag road, before creating a slick surface for the final descent into Bilambil (how convenient). Martin managed to pick up a flat on the way to the bakery and a welcome food stop (that still leaves me in front 3-1 however) -- a large piece of glass was responsible, and he'll probably need to replace the tyre. The final stretch through the last 30-odd km of suburbia was uninspiring, but at least a tailwind made it pass quickly. In the end we both agreed that it was one of the hardest 100km rides we've had in a while, but every minute was worth the effort.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Austinville Reborn

Austinville reborn

This update has been a little slow in coming, not because I've been lazy, but because those responsible for administering electricity supply in this part of the world have decided that the suburb in which I live is only entitled to supply for about two-hours a day. Only in Queensland.

On Saturday I took an early, unplanned ride to Brisbane. It was totally unremarkable apart from the fact that I forgot to bring that pump that I was meaning to take to Epic Cycles to be looked at, and that I was in devastating form when riding through the southern suburbs. Something far more interesting happened when I took a ride with Martin out to Austinville later in the day. Austinville is a small valley covered in rainforest in the Gold Coast Hinterland. It was, of course, flooded in the recent downpour.

Martin attacks the floodwaters I wasn't letting him have all the fun

Yet while riding through the rainforest alongside the stream, we noticed just how clearer and fresher the water now appears -- despite the obvious damage caused by the flood. At times it was almost like being in New Zealand again, so fresh and cool was the stream. I made a point of riding across the flooded causeway about six times, just to enjoy the sensation of the cool, fresh water. Austinville had been reborn. It will likely take time for much of the vegetation to fully recover, but already the signs were there.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Images of the flood

According to the data over at, a few people have visited this page looking for some pictures from the flood damage of last weekend. I've been hampered in uploading these, first by a camera failure, followed by the purchase and set up of a new computer. Memory cards, on the other hand, seem to be remarkably resilient. Consequently, I've been able to save the images from last Saturday's ride.

In other news, Mark from Epic Cycles got in touch with me via email regarding the Zefal pump I purchased there that didn't work, and offered to replace it. We're all quick to complain when we think customer service has been poor, so I'd like to take the opportunity to give some credit where it's due on this occasion. We can only wish this sort of thing happened more often.

Do you want to ford this stream?

That's one hell of a pot hole

A little redundant perhaps?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Mountain mist

Climbing a mountain into the mist is always an interesting experience. There almost seems to be a process that must be followed. First the mist is admired from afar, then the climb begins in earnest, you gradually close in on the mist, before realising that it wasn't really that high after all. Thus it was on this morning's ride to Binna Burra. In truth, the mist commenced at around 475 metres above sea level -- not a huge amount, and yet it seemed so high at the start of the day's ride.

The flood damage was considerably less on the range, predictably, than it had been in Tallebudgera Valley the previous morning. That said, an additional 24 hours to start the clean up always makes these differences appear greater than they actually are. Nevertheless, it made for a spectacular ride, as I climbed through mist on the way to the summit of Mt Roberts, before the clouds lifted, and the mountain views opened up on the return. I did manage the detour along the western spur of the range which is now becoming mandatory on that ride. Once again, it was spectacular.

The only downside to the day was yet another flat tyre, my third of the year (there was another yesterday), about 2km from home on the return. At this rate I'm well and truly on course to beat last year's tally of 28 by the end of February. It's probably Murphy's law that I should have a run just after my high-powered pump refused to work, but it seems the no-name pump that I bought in Scotland has a few tricks that I wasn't aware of (hardly surprising as it didn't come with instructions). The extendable stem means that I'm now able to pump with literally twice the power that I had thought, and this makes the job of reinflating tyres so much easier and more efficient.

I've also made some on-line equiries, and should have a replacement camera in use at some point this week. The first objective will be to retrieve the pictures from Saturday's ride.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Washed away


Those who have clicked on this post expecting a heap of spectacular photos are going to be out of luck. My camera stopped working at some point during the day's ride. Presumably inside the last 10km as that was when I took a picture of the floodwaters engulfing Elanora this morning. I have a store of previously unseen pictures from recent rides that I can use to "decorate" the page until I have other arrangements in place.

I have a feeling that the amount of moisture around this place offers at least a partial explanation for the demise of the camera. It certainly had an impact in Tallebudgera Valley overnight. According to the "official" figures, parts of the Gold Coast Hinterland received as much as 600mm (24 inches) of rain over the last 48 hours, much of it falling last night. This morning's ride proved to be as much about evading giant pot-holes and fallen trees as it was about racking up kilometres.

A landslide prevented me from riding the last few kilometres right to the end of the valley, but I was astonished to have made it as far as I had. By that stage I had negotiated three fallen trees, a barbed-wire fence that had "moved" across the road at some point, a "crater" in the road surface that was as wide as the road itself and several metres long, and had observed telegraph poles that were lying horizontally across farms some 40-50 metres from where they should have been standing.

Astonishingly enough, the sights that I had expected (impromptu waterfalls and mist-covered mountains) didn't seem to appear for most of the ride. I can only assume the downpour had cleared from the valley a little earlier, and left behind the mammoth clean-up job. For my part, I managed a reasonably pleasant 60km in conditions that were reasonable, if a little more humid and muggy than I would have liked. Somedays you have to take what you can get.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The more things change...

It might be a new year, but it's clear there are some things that aren't going to change. Just a few days in and I'm already lining up another "flat tyre challenge" after having my first en route to work earlier this week. This is particularly surprising, as the tourist season generally coincides with a reduction in the moron quotient in these parts, and consequently less debris on the roads. Not to mention the rain that really should have cleaned it off by now -- maybe it takes more to clean up after a six year drought, but that's another post. Evidently my search for a reliable pump continues, because the Zefal HPX pump that I bought at Epic Cycles has failed the first time I tried to use it. I'm now back to using the cheap one I bought in Oban, Scotland back in July until I find a suitable alternative.

Another familiar storyis being played out in the tabloid press, too (like that comes as a surprise). Yet another 'journalist' (who'd look better attached to a rope and a tree) has decided to have another rant about cyclists in order to boost the circulation figures on a slow news day. I'm not even going to dignify the original article with a link. I've always held that anyone who gets upset over something as inconsequential as a bicycle on the road needs to get a real job so they can afford to buy a sense of perspective.

The worst part about it is the number of so-called "advocates" who buy into this crap by bombarding it with replies, hence giving it the attention that it really doesn't deserve, giving the tabloid the boost in circulation that it was looking for, and hence encouraging them to just re-run the "story" next time they need to fill some space. Trolls are like any other pest -- you don't eradicate them by feeding them. This should be fairly obvious by now, given the number of times this scenario has been played out, but when people will realise it, I can't predict.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Flooding rain

Flooding in Numinbah Valley

It's traditional at this time of year to write about the top 15 rides from the previous year. Yesterday I had an early contender for 2008. I hadn't realised how heavy the rain had been when I pushed aside the big southerly wind on the coastal strip early in the day. Evidently it hadn't reached this far. I realised the extent of the rain when I rode through Urliup, with three crossings of the creek flooded.

Flooding at Urliup


Further south I continued in the rain, around a wet loop through Stokers Siding, Uki and some back roads behind Murwillumbah before coming to a decision. I would return via the 'back' route, and the climbs of Numinbah Gap and Salmon's Saddle at Springbrook. This was where the ride really started, the climb of Numinbah Gap hesitates for a while, before settling into a 12-13% slog as it gains around 400 metres. Fortunately the rain decided to get particularly heavy here, which kept me cool for the duration.

Roadside waterfall at Numinbah Gap

Numinbah Gap

From here the ride and the scenery were absolutely stunning. As I descended through the valley there were clouds nestled in the surrounding mountains, and "new" waterfalls cascading down the slopes, and it dawned on me that I was witnessing something very special. It was almost reminiscent of the crossing of Haast Pass in similar conditions in New Zealand almost two years ago -- the day that I rate as my greatest ever on the bike. Here it also dawned on me that virtually nobody else had been around all day to spoil the experience. Part of me hopes they never realise what they missed.

Lamington National Park from Numinbah Valley

This isn't going to stop

The rain continued as I approached the notorious western climb of Springbrook. Virtually nobody even attempts this climb, and I was soon to find out why. The first few kilometres are bearable, with an average grade of around 8%, but there is a final kick near the summit, where the gradient hits 24% at one stage, and probably averages 15-18%. In less technical terms, it's just a bloody hard grind. Fortunately, the surroundings in this area compensated for the effort, and the rain continued to make things easier.

Another roadside watefall, this time at Springbrook

The gale for wind returned at Springbrook, and it became apparent that the final few kilometres after descending the mountain would be hard work. The descent itself was an exercise in concentration as the wind had covered the road in a layer of debris. My familiarity with this road gave me an advantage here, and I negotiated it comfortably, before grinding my way home against the wind. The final tally for the day was 169km and 1,901 metres of climbing for those who care about the minor details.

This had been one of the most rewarding and special rides I could have asked for. Many people seek shelter from the elements, yet there is a special beauty in the rain, in a tropical downpour that is both invigorating and calming at the same time. It just requires the courage to put one's self out into the elements, and expose themselves a little. On days like this, the rewards far outweigh the risks.