Two weeks ago I set off on a slightly ambitious ride. It was ambitious for two reasons, firstly, it involved the climb to and descent from O'Reilly's Plateau on a wet day, a descent on which I've had two nasty wet weather crashes before. The second reason was that I'd had a pump failure and a mega tyre blow out on the previous two weekends, so something nasty was almost certain to happen today. Yet that was all forgotten on the early part of the day, as I rode along The Gorge Road, and began the climb out of Canungra, where the surrounding patchy rain provided spectacular views over the ridges to the west.
On the higher parts of the mountain it got even better, particularly the final 10km of the climb through thick rainforest in the mist, which occasionally gives way to spectacular mountain views over Lamington National Park. There really is no need for heaven when you can ride through areas like this. I pondered launching an attack on the climb in the rain as the temperature had now dropped to 15 degrees C (in Queensland this is akin to snow on the Equator), yet I kept my pace constant, conserving energy for the Beechmont climb to come later in the day.
I donned the jacket for the descent as the rain seemed to be intensifying at the higher altitudes, and set off. The descent along this road isn't for the faint of heart or weak of bowel, as the narrow strip of bitumen winds through some massive rainforest trees, many of which are hundreds (or possibly thousands) of years old. The road is also pretty bumpy, and in the wet it gets very interesting. Still, I made it to the flatter part of the plateau near Mt Cainbable, and mentally prepared myself for the really treacherous part of the descent.
I needn't have worried about it. I decided to take the short detour to Kamarun lookout, because I figured the views would be spectacular on a day like this, but shortly after leaving the main road, the crank on the left-hand side simply fell off. I didn't just lose a pedal, I lost the entire crank. It dawned on me quickly that this was to be the end of the ride right here, with no great escape possible. All I could do was walk the 2km or so to the Alpaca Farm/Coffee Shop (one of two on the entire mountain) in intensifying rain, and hope they had a telephone I could use.
Luckily, I had just eaten lunch when I met up with a family of day-trippers from the Gold Coast who offered me a ride home, an invitation I gratefully accepted. I had to accompany them back up to O'Reillys while their kids fed the birds and did the treetop walk, but that wasn't a problem, it was actually fun in a way. I was glad I still had the jacket with me, because it was no warmer at O'Reilly's than it had been the first time I was up there. I still would have liked to have completed the ride, however, as the Beechmont section would have been doubly spectacular on a day like this.