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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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The real getaway

Sunday's outing at Springbrook was designed to be the consolation for missing the Alpine. However, it may have turned out to be even better. Springbrook turned on what could only be described as the most perfect day. When the mountain starts playing tricks with the cloud, there is nowhere else in the world a person would want to be. The climb was negotiated with surprising comfort on The Black Magic -- it was the highest altitude that bike had seen in almost four years.

Between 600 and 800 metres on the climb I received a welcome drenching from the sky. This was also busy stirring up the waterfalls on the Eastern side of the escarpment. Consequently, after cresting Best Of All Lookout to another whiteout, I headed back to Goomoolahra Falls to take in some spectacular views of clouds lifting from the mountain. I also explored some of the area around Twin Falls as the mist moved back in. The implication from this was clear, it was time to head back to lower altitude.

I was joining my bushwalking group for a trek around Purlingbrook Falls, with a detour to Warringa Pool for a swim. It was actually quite a warm day by Springbrook standards, meaning it must have been sweltering on the coast at that time (it had been 26 degrees C overnight there). Purlingbrook Falls is always pleasant, but standing right under the spray from the waterfall was something else again. The water temperature at the rock pool was quite beautiful for swimming or just general existence. There was a general consensus that it had been a quite lovely day when we all retreated to Mudgeeraba for a quenching ale (or orange juice in my case).

For me personally, the day was significant for another reason. The news is The Blue Flame could be off the road for a while, but the performance of The Black Magic indicated that I may not lose a great deal in between. The Mt Jerusalem National Park jaunt is on either way. I also had the last laugh back at the Woodchoppers Inn at Mudgeeraba (after absolutely slaughtering a few rolling hills after the big descent) when I was the only one in the group not to be carrying some uninvited guests in the form of leeches. Sometimes letting others lead the way on a walk has greater motivation than just politeness.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Flash flood

This is becoming a regular event these days. Another ride immediately following a flash flood, a flooded creek that had to be forded three times in Urliup alone -- insanity! Yet after missing the Alpine Classic, I had to do something. The Black Magic backed up yesterday after Sunday's incredible day at Springbrook (that will be my next blog post). This time I went back to the Garden of Eden, in the Macpherson Ranges backing the Gold Coast.

The dirt roads were just a little torn up after the previous evening's downpour, yet the one usually the most treacherous, Glengarrie Road, didn't appear to have suffered at all. The cynics might suggest that this is because it's usual state is pretty close to "rock bottom". Still, I had fun in the rainforest, and the ridgetop dirt roads are virtually always deserted, making it a pleasant escape from the craziness of the coast.

I'm still considering a possible weekend tour to Mt Jerusalem National park next weekend. The loss of The Blue Flame has cast some doubt on it, but I'm half tempted to just use The Black Magic regardless. It seems to have handled the weekend as well as could be hoped for, and the circuit that takes in the Garden of Eden will test any bike. Whatever happens, I have plenty to look forward to.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A missed opportunity or a bullet dodged?

Yesterday I missed my flight to Melbourne because I managed to get stuck in a queue at the Gold Coast airport behind quite possibly the stupidest individual ever to inhabit this rock we call a planet. I would have put this up as a "tosspot of the week" post, but frankly, calling this guy a tosspot would be a gross insult to any tosspot who may one day read this post. The practical upshot of all of this is that my Alpine Classic came to a premature end this year. However, looking back on what has happened since, it's entirely possible that, rather than a missed opportunity, this may in fact be a bullet dodged.

30km into a ride this morning, I realised that last weekend's pedal problems were, in fact, the result of a crank arm that is now completely screwed. I was on the way to Canungra in preparation for the climb to O'Reillys when it happened, but on this occasion, I was able to limp home the remaining 30km without any problems, a situation that would have been a lot more problematic had it occurred half way between Wangaratta and Bright for example. The Blue Flame is likely to be off the road for at least a week, which means The Black Magic will be brought out again for the remaining two days of the weekend. I suppose the consolation here is that I'm getting all of my back luck out of the way in one hit, and in doing so, making around 50% of it redundant.

I'm not changing my views on the idiot, however.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pedal mist out

It's strange that I forgot to mention Saturday's trip to Springbrook. I ended up riding with a triathlete that I caught up to at Mudgeeraba, it was nice to have some company for the climb. Higher up, we encountered another group from the Kurrawa Surf club in Broadbeach. It's astonishing that while most cyclists on the Gold Coast don't attempt to ride to Best of All Lookout, this group from the surf club were doing just that. Unfortunately, their progress was halted when one of their group managed to crash somewhere on the climb.

We continued, but above 750 metres there were no views to be had as the mist had rolled in thickly. Yet it's days like these that make mountain climbs special in my view. The summit greeted us with the coolest temperature so far of 2009 -- just 17 degrees C. It had been 25 overnight on the coast. We ventured out to the lookout, just to confirm the anticipated white out, then returned to the lower altitudes for the final descent to the coast.

My regular riding partner Martin suggested overcoming "the nemesis" (a particularly nasty roller near Mudgeeraba) by staying in "The Dog", or the big chain ring. This usually works, but today the nemesis would find another way in, and I would break a pedal. I coasted along after this for a while, but broke it right off at Mudgeeraba. Luckily I was near enough to a bike shop to get the repair done quickly, but pedalling up the one hill in the village with one foot is an interesting experience. That done I mopped up the last few kilometres to get home.

* * * * * *

In a few short hours I fly out for the Alpine Classic, arguably among the hardest single-day rides in Australia. However, at present there is speculation that the 200km edition may be cancelled due to excessive temperatures on the weather forecast. If that's the case, I may be forced to ride the 130km edition in the morning, before tackling Mt Buffalo independently during the afternoon. Either way, it should be a great weekend. I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you...

Sunday I decided to take the plunge and do it, Hell Fire Pass at Lower Beechmont. This seemed like the perfect final climb before the Alpine Classic next week. I have to say, however, that even this relatively small ride (66km total) managed to surprise me a little. I started with a little duplicity, as there was a road closure that I had to negotiate due to a triathlon. The official was asking me questions like "have you trained hard?" and "Do you feel good?". I just nodded blankly, and apparently that was sufficient to convince him that I was in the race (I wasn't) and let me pass through.

The next interest was at the top of the mountain after a pleasant cruise up the Beechmont Range. Apart from some examples of strange architecture and the pass itself (where the views were largely obscured anyway). Freemans road is the one that crests at the top of the pass, but there is a dirt track that goes beyond the end of the road through a reserve. It's here where there could be further interest in this ride. I didn't follow it to the end due to time constraints, but the track is most definitely rideable, and I'm told leads to a clearing with views in several directions. This is yet another project I have lined up for the future.

For today, however, I was content to just enjoy the sweeping views that I did have at my disposal, and the cool mountain air arriving from the southerly wind. I really couldn't have asked for much more on a Sunday morning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Simple things

How is it that so many us, in pursuit of complicated things, that often take much more effort than they are worth, can miss very impressive simple things? I am very fortunate where I live that I have so many beautiful places close to home, and yet I am often as guilty of missing the simple things as many others. I didn't even mention last Saturday's venture to Austinville and the Little Nerang Dam, somehow I forgot it in pursuit of a "training ride" for the Alpine classic the next day. Yet that ride offered as much beauty as a person could ask for. Really, one wonders how any of us could ever need anything else to be happy.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The old Mt Jerusalem

I needed a big ride yesterday, so I decided to head south. The plan was to ride the old Mt Jerusalem circuit (the one that was called Mt Jerusalem before the real one was discovered last year). The initial stretch along the coast was surprisingly pleasant, given that for once there was a southerly wind. Yet this was not going to be one of my better performances. There was a certain tiredness and lethargy about the ride that would follow me around for the entire time.

I headed south through the usual ride encompassing Urliup and the rainforest. There are also some white flowers in bloom in those parts at the moment. The surprising thing about Urliup today was the extent to which the dirt road has been torn up by recent weather. There really hasn't been a lot of rain in these parts since the last time I passed through here, so there isn't really an explanation for it. Still, Urliup was cool and pleasant as always.

Further south, I climbed over Reserve Creek after passing through Murwillumbah, and then Cudgera creek on the way into Burringbar. Usually the early lethargy passes on a ride like this, but after reaching Burringbar on 79km, I still felt like just calling it a day right here. Instead I headed south, through Billinudgel and eventually onto the Coolomon Scenic Drive, bound for Mullumbimby, where I would turn around and head North.

After Mullumbimby the tailwind kicked in, and I started moving fairly quickly. That was until the climb of the old Mt Jerusalem. This is a stunning ride through some really beautiful forest. I took a slight detour to scope out a campsite that I intend staying at when I visit this area in more detail next month. It looks like it could be just about perfect for what I'm looking for. I then hit a flat spot on an already lethargic ride, and made my way to Uki along a screaming descent, before gorging on whatever food I could find for the final assault.

By now it was obvious that I wouldn't get my 200km if I returned home via Tomewin. On the other hand, I needed the climbing and couldn't be bothered looking for an extra 15km anyway. Murwillumbah was reached and passed easily, before the climb of Tomewin. I'm not sure when Tomewin turned into a bustling metropolis, but it seemed every car in the world decided to use the mountain road at that moment. I'm not sure where they all went either, given that Currumbin Creek road was virtually deserted afterward. It didn't really change things though, the heat and humidity made the climb difficult enough as it was.

The final stretch of the ride was swept up easily and it was one that I was glad to finish - with a total of 187km. I guess it felt more difficult than it should have due to 63km the day before, but it's probably also a sign that I need an easier weekend prior to the Alpine Classic in two weeks' time. Of course, whether or not I can tempt myself into that remains to be seen.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Climbs are made to be eaten

Views from Numinbah Valley

It's actually surprising that I felt lethargic at the start of this morning's ride, and even thought about calling the whole thing off. I'm glad I went ahead with it now. The intention was to do the old Three hill ride over Springbrook, Numinbah Gap and Tomewin in reverse, meaning I'd be climbing all those passes via the steep side -- each having gradient's exceeding 14%, and one pinch on Springbrook reaching 24%. Fortunately, I started to feel a little better once I got into the ride, and once I got into Currumbin Valley to start the first climb, I was ready.


Tomewin fell first, and I seemed to coast over it comfortably, if not massively quickly. I actually passed four other cyclists on the descent that I hadn't seen on the climb, so either my descending is improving, or everyone else is getting worse. A flat section through the pretty Tweed Valley followed, before I lined up the next climb over Numinbah Gap. Today was actually going to be the first time I've done this climb from the southern side when it's been dry. The two previous occasions I've done this have been in the wet. Still, the rain from the storms earlier in the week left plenty of water lying around.

This waterfall does not literally exist

I reached the top with more ease than I had expected, even if I did feel the effort for a few kilometres afterward. The thing with these really steep climbs seems to be to just hang on and let the altitude steadily increase. The downhill from the pass into Numinbah Valley is quite a long one, and now the wind was behind me, so I made fast time here. The hardest climb of the day awaited, it was also going to be the third pass of the day, so I took a no-nonsense approach here, using a low gear and winching myself up the steep sections (the second of which reaches 24%). I felt really good when the mountain cracked and I reached the summit of the pass. Too good in fact, so I decided on one more climb before the day was over.

The summit of Mt Nimmel

For years Mt Nimmel was a nemesis of mine. It took me nine years to climb it successfully. Today I was going to put it right in it's place, do it as the FOURTH pass today. It was a steep climb and put up some resistance, but now I had too much momentum, and knew it was just a matter of time. I crested the climb, took in the sweeping views, then headed back to the coast. My legs did have some complaints about the rolling hills near Mudgeeraba, but I managed to silence them long enough to get through it.

I have the Alpine Classic coming up in three weeks. This was the perfect way to tune up a few things, but I have something much bigger planned next weekend.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The burn

I don't know if it's possible for a day to get any more hot and humid than New year's day was here. I saw an ambulance go past at 9am, almost certainly treating someone for heat exhaustion. That looks even worse when the usual two-hour response time for emergency services around here is deducted. As it was, I managed 103km in Tallebudgera and Currumbin Valleys. In truth, conditions were a little more bearable deep in the valleys once I got away from the coast, much like the scenery in those areas.

The most exciting part of the day was realising I would be short of distance in Currumbin Valley, and opting to climb out on Bains Road, toward Tomewin. This climb has, for some reason, acquired a fierce reputation, but after climbing it I'm none the wiser as to how that came about. The early part of the climb is steep, but it's also very short and didn't present any major problems even in the difficult heat-wave conditions. After that it flattened out across the top of the ridge. To be honest, the ride home against the hot northerly wind was far more difficult.

Still, at least that climb is done now. I'm sure I'd still be thinking about it if I hadn't put it to the sword.