The Blonde Assassin
I will concede that it may be a strange name, but in view of the colour scheme of my new MTB, and in view of something that happened on Saturday, I think it's wholly appropriate. Martin and I decided on a slightly shorter ride taking in Urliup and Tomewin, with a slight detour out to the Garden of Eden on the dirt. The reason for the shorter ride was largely to do with the crazy weather that we've been experiencing lately. Only on Friday, someone in Surfers Paradise had been killed by a tree branch being driven through a window, but that's not enough to keep me off the bike for a day.
As it happened, we did get battered by a headwind while heading south, but the rainforest at Urliup provides shelter against the most vicious wind in existence, and in truth, despite the extravagant language used in some of the news reports, I still recall encountering stronger winds in both New Zealand and Scotland in the past. Still, we also had to negotiate FIVE flooded creek crossings in the first 45km of the ride to reach the start of the climb of Tomewin.
I had never managed to do this climb in under 25 minutes before Saturday, and I didn't look like I would this time either, as my early attack faded alarmingly quickly. However, when the climb kicked up to 11% in the middle, I felt strangely comfortable. At the higher end, where the gradient eased to something a little more sane, I realised I had more than enough time to finish this one off. I did it in just under 24 minutes at it turned out, on the first ride on an MTB!? I think The Blonde Assassin is highly appropriate after this.
We took a detour on the very beautiful but very cut up Garden of Eden road at the top. These days we can no longer ride across the top of the ridge back to Bilambil, so we had to settle for the out and back ride on the western side. I'm still trying to figure out how there were no leeches in the rainforest on a day like this. After this little detour, it was a simple matter of descending Tomewin, and coasting home on the back of the tailwind. The only noteworthy thing that happened on the rest of the day was a successful "test" of my disc brakes on the 14% section of the descent in the wet.
I feel sorry for those suckers who stayed inside during the wind and the rain. I really do.