Around 80km to the south of here is a dirt road climbing over a range that passes through Mt Jerusalem National Park. This climb is quite steep in places (particularly from the north side), so much so that for a long time I actually mistook it for the real Mt Jerusalem. Ironically, it was only after I discovered that it was a fake that I discovered many of the other attractions in the area. However, last Saturday was all about incorporating the ride as part of a circuit. For once it was a cool day -- at 24 degrees C it felt more like winter than summer, so I was going to
make the most of it.
is now my regular start to most of the southern rides. It was once the regular ride home, until I was reminded that the climb over Tomewin
to get home cuts out around 10km of suburbia. At the start or the finish, Urliup
is still quite pleasant. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that the rally last month hadn't torn the place to shreds. It was also interesting to see that someone obviously reads this blog because some tracks indicated someone HAD actually taken a road bike along the now very smooth dirt road. Interesting.
Further south, it looks like the local sugar cane farmers have taken to burning some of their crops for some reason. I'm not quite sure what this achieves, but I can only guess that sugar is a product that doesn't store very well, meaning there's no point having it on hand if you don't get a decent price for it immediately. The strong southerly wind that was around blew the smoke away fairly quickly regardless, and it was now time to start the series of climbs over Round Mountain and Cudgera
Creek, to the next phase of the ride.
It seems as though my blog is making me something of a celebrity in these parts, and sometimes the recognition comes in the most out of the way places. This conversation informed me, among other things, that the dirt road over the Impostor would be in a treacherous condition due to the amount of dust around. Fortunately, a couple of rain showers eased that problem by the time I hit the climb. There really is something unbelievably beautiful about the Australian bush when it's wet. It's an intangible quality that really has to be experienced because it just can't be described.
The descent into Uki
was notable for the dropping temperature in the rain -- now just 14 degrees C, which at this time of year is a little like snow on the Equator. At Uki
I ran into group of hippies who were on a short (three day) bike tour of the Tweed Valley. One of them had broken a derailleur a few kilometres up the road, and had limped into the village. The nearest bike shop was in Murwillumbah
, and that was closed. They were asking people in the village if anyone had an old bike from which they could salvage the part they needed. Last I heard they were heading for the Murwillumbah
rubbish tip (wherever that is) to try to find an old bike there. Given that the ride back to Banora
Point where they started is basically flat, they might as well have just ridden straight back.
For my part, I still had the final climb over Tomewin
to navigate, and that was after a surprising headwind between Uki
. What was surprising about this is that it required the wind to come from the North, when it had spent the rest of the day coming from the South quite strongly. Normal service was resumed just after Murwillumbah
, so I'm not sure what the wind was on about here. Either way, it was forgotten with a clinical demolition of the Tomewin
climb. While it wasn't my fastest time, it was still pretty good at the end of a ride of this length, and left me with plenty in reserve to mop up the last 30km from the top.
I finished the day with 180km, and still felt fine that the finish. Since returning from my tour, all I've wanted to do is ride. I thought motivation was supposed to go the other way after a tour, but I'm not complaining.