Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fraser Island Bike Tour

I'd not been to Fraser Island before, so was very much looking forward to this ride. What better way to see the island than by bike? Who wants to see the island from a cushy 4WD seat, behind salt-laiden glass and in freezing air conditioning? Beer just doesn't taste as good when you haven't earnt it!

Sand and salt don't mix well with bike drive-trains or any moving parts though, so I decided a sacrificial lamb was in order. I picked up this great pre-loved bike from Bicycle Revolutions in West End for the princely sum of $50. It's a 21 speed Centurion Sundowner, and came complete with kick-stand. Bike bling, you beautie! My only modification was to swap-out pedals. I don't think I could go back to platform pedals. Egg-beaters rocked in the sand.

Ever since using the single-wheel Extrawheel trailer on our ride across Oz earlier in the year, I've been hooked on this concept for load carrying on bikes; very stream-lined, and takes so much load off the rear wheel when it already has to support my lard-arse. Most of our riding would be along hard-packed sand on the waters edge at low tide, so I felt comfortable with this choice given I already owned the trailer and it saved me fitting panniers.

Our ride route was from Rainbow Beach to Sandy Cape via Inskip Point, and return. This route follows the eastern coast-line. This is also the main 4WD route stretching the full length of the island. Eric and Mike did this same ride last year, and to the best of our knowledge, may have been the first to do so. There was going to be a group of 5 this year, but two pulled the pin last minute. Click on map to enlarge.

Whilst the extemely corrugated stretch from the ferry drop-off to Dilli Village was murder on wheels for Mike and Eric with their panniers, my Extrawheel trailer took a lot of the shock out of this ride for me. It was still slow going though. This hard-compacted sand was more typical of the bulk of the riding we did:

Poor Mike felt like crap halfway through the first day's riding. He was not quite over the flu, and made a very smart decision to instead spend a couple of days recuperating at Eurong, and re-join us for the return leg.

I found this number plate on the corrugated road en-route to Dilli village. I figured it was destined for Sandy Cape, so I figured I would take it the rest of the way:-/ I got lots of comments from passing 4WD's.

There was no escaping pushing over some sand dunes, but still we were faster than some 4WD's burried up to their axles.

My own personal pergatory came on the second day though with a 6km push through deep sand from Indian Head to Orchid Beach. The load on my Extrawheel trailer was ploughing through the 4WD tracks. It was too low for this terrain, even though ideal for road touring for which its really designed. Very hard work. That 6km hike a bike was equivalent to 50km steep MTB riding effort. I was only able to ride 20m in that 6km, but Eric was no better off even with his high panniers and 3" wheels on his Surly 1x1. We didn't even bother with dinner on the 2nd night; just fell asleep from exhaustion.

All better for day 3, we refuelled with a big breakfast, and set sail for the Cape. We made good speed into the head-wind on the way up with hard sand at low tide. We simply rode around the rock outcrops, passing 4WD line-ups through their tricky sections. Our ride back from the cape was with wind at our backs. Eric was max'ed out with his Single speed, but it was a relatively effortless 35km for me. We stopped to explore a few small water eroded rocks on the way back.

The view looking back on Sandy Cape from the waters edge:

I had to take a photo to highlight some of the finer points of Eric's bike; and his great handiwork:

* 3" fatty downhill wheels with knobs cut-off for reduced rolling resistance
* Home-made chain guard with drain holes
* Ready access can of WD40 for regular re-lubing
* splash guards
* low maintenance Surly 1x1

On day 3 we hauled arse from Orchid Beach to the Cape and back. We waited several hours at the shop at Orchid Beach to time it for low tide en-route to Indian Head, and all the way beack to Eurong. We rode through most of that night (126km), including return hike-a-bike, with a 30min nanna nap at the wreck. This night riding was a real different experience for me. Salt in the air had a similar effect to that of fog. Sea on our left, soft sand on our right, little rock outcrops, lots of creek crossings ... had to watch where we were going. There were lots of dingo tracks on the waters edge looking for washed up fish. We saw lots of their green reflecting eyes, and also one turtle. Sea eagles glided effortlessly above us in their search for fish during the day.

The sunrises were great, but pitty by this point the March flies would not let us sleep.

I was extremely reluctant to head out on day 4 at 1pm. It was stinking hot! But I'm pleased we did. It enabled us to catch the low tide around the south of Fraser Is, and escape the harsh corrugated road back to the ferry. The southern tip of the island was amazing. Had we been there 2 hours earlier or later we'd have been treading water. AMAZING place. I'll be back, but maybe in winter.

The Centurion Sundowner held up well, although expectantly, the bottom bracket was on its way out after 4 days of abuse in sand and salt. Both Eric and I got a couple of flats each. The cantilever brakes also worked well. I certainly got my money's worth.

It's also worth mentioning that the guys on Mantaray ferries gave us a free ferry ride since we only had bikes. Thanks heaps guys.

What a way to see out 2008. Started it on the bike riding across Australia, and now to finish off with bike tour of Fraser Island. Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good things come in 3's

.... or at least they did this past weekend.

1. Fire trails - Sat a.m.

Starting from Bunya, Nick, Brad and I rode some fire trails heading towards Samford. There was too much mud and many trees still down, so we B-line’d it to the goat track on-road to meet the others. Up the goat track, down lightline (love that descent), through some of the worst bog I’ve ever seen down near Wivenhoe dam, and back up Cabbage Tree Range road; great climb. We split there and back to Bunya. 78km.

Lots of mud today. We were all being considerate of our bikes, carrying them through the worst of the mud and deep creeks. Too much mud this season:(

2. Road ride - Sunday a.m.

Magpie alley was killer this week. Don’t these magpies realise breeding season is over? The buggers were swooping in squadrons this week. I still can’t bring myself to attach zip ties to my helmet and look like a porcupine. I stopped for this nice view en-route. Good to see some water making its way back into the dams. 185km.

3. Single track fun 'n' games - Sunday p.m.

Lars is back in town and we finally hooked-up for a fun single track ride. We could have called this ride the Daisy Hill dash for cash! Ok so there was no cash involved, but it was a shit-hot pace seeing who could make the other hurt the most. I was buggered an hour later, but haven’t had so much fun in ages. Bloody great to seeya again Lars, and I definitely look forward to more of these rides:)

Weekend warrior, signing out!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Karingal 4hr

My race was BLAAAAAH! Riding so slow is just no fun. I pulled out after just one lap and decided to become a photographer for the day.

Now this would be a great, flowing course in the dry. It was even fun in the mud, or at least it woulda been if I had any condition at all. One too many muddy races this year. I was cringing at the carnage on my drive train, again! Oh well, Dusk till Dawn here we come.

I don't often get a chance to be photographer, but I did enjoy it today. Here are a few:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Karingal 4hr Postponed

Karingal 4hr is postponed for 2 weeks. Yippee! I'm finally training again, so grateful for another 2 weeks preparation. I made the most of it today with one of my regular road rides; nice hilly 185km with 2700m climbing. F*@k it was windy yesterday. It could have blown the paint clear off the side of your house. OK, slight exaggeration, but it did blow this tree over.

I was struggling to keep the bike upright over the top of Mt Mee.

I've been seeing a few koalas around of late. I'd seen a few cars around, so decided to persuade this one off the road.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When it rains, it pours

This morning I woke at 1 to the sound of sheeting rain. The heaviest rain I've heard in a long, long time. After this morning's ride, the local stormwater culvert was still overflowing:

... and still down it comes. Actually it's music to my ears. I felt like a 10 y.o. playing in puddles on tonight's ride. I know some others are struggling with storm damage, and I hope it eases for them, but I do enjoy the rain.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Brisbane Forest Park Cruise

5am start with OMO yesterday for a cruise through Brisbane Forest Park. We headed up South Boundary Road, dropped down Auggies, up Lightline, and returned along South Boundary. There are some great hills on this ride which are very much needed for conditioning ATM. I think it was about 65km but not 100% sure since my trip computer is R.S.

OMO was making the most of his 29er wheels today with some bloody big rocks and several water crossings. Meanwhile I had to tough it out on my conventional 26" wheels -lol.

It was terrific to see some rain fall in the catchment area.

OMO has a Rohloff internally geared hub fitted to his new 29er rig. It was my first look at this hub, and I must say I was impressed. I think I can see one of these being fitted to a touring bike in the not too distant future. There are several great design features of this hub:

1. Equal gear spacings
2. No derailleur
3. The mechanism is pratically totally enclosed
4. Able to do a full gear dump at once
5. Able to change gears whilst stationary

I believe it's about 300g heavier than a conventional XTR drive train (TBC). It's not cheap, but given my regular use and abuse of drive-trains, I could make my money back in quick time.

Sexy modelling legs there OMO;-/

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Juscruzin Guided Tours

Juscruzin (AKA Nick) was tour guide for today's ride. Starting from Everton Hills, we got the scenic tour over Camp Mtn, along south boundary to the shelter, scrub road, back over Camp Mtn, and finished off with some superb single track through Bunya State Forest.

The pace-line. Evidently I can't take a photo and ride at the same time - lol.

Part way down the rocky scrub road; Brad repairing the first of two flats.

Scrub road is a solid climb. It certainly felt like it for me today. Forgot my HTFU tablets;/

Frother & Clewsy just about at the top. I think we're all in need of some more long climbing miles. Ah well it's all good. I'm pleased we started early. It was pleasant riding with a good group. Brad's a trooper. He's gonna go a long way in MTB if he keeps up the hard work. Good onya Brad!

I know I shouldn't have been riding with a slightly torn calf today, but I was bustin to get outdoors. Not smart. I was lucky not to do any further damage.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Had a chance to sneak out to Mapleton for some great flowing trail bike trails this morn. There are some great little pinch climbs and the roller-coaster is fun. Terrific view over the Mary Valley! The dually eats up these trials. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Haile" the Emperor - Berlin Marathon

Man this is impressive, and inspiring ... 2:03:59 - New WR!


I WILL run a marathon one day. I'd like to go <2:40, but first I must do 1:13-1:15 for the half. My return to running is going to be a big thrust for my riding next year. Let's just see how that one goes:-/

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sounds of a Lost World

My feet are wrecked! Binna Burra to the heart of Lost World and back in 30hrs. I definitely chose the wrong boots for this hike. Ah well, it was still awesome.

Lost World by day is an adventure. Lost World by night and solo is just plain eerie. Definitely a nav challenge! I only did 3 hours at night, but definitely enjoyed this. I didn't see a single soul off this beaten track, not that I was expecting to at night. Several times I just sat down and watched and listened to everything happening around me. All so busy and full of life! I became hypersensitive to sounds and movement; all the things I miss when fleeting through the forest myself. The breeze and sunlight filtered through the canopy at first light; it was so, so relaxing. I felt like sleeping. Who needs drugs!!! Lost World - I will be back for some more exploration:) ... But after some serious riding. I'm getting itchey feet!

Believe it or not this is the trail.

PS Note to self. Never leave banana bread on kitchen sink before another long hike - doh!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mt.Barney - Logans Ridge

Mt.Barney is a bloody great hike no matter which route you take. Well you know you've earnt a beer at the end of a day on this summit. Today it would be Logan's Ridge. I've done this one once before with great mates Hank and Tony. Today was solo.

It started hot and only got hotter. At the summit, I saw some very dark clouds moving across from the coast with my very own fireworks display:-/ I didn't think twice about high-tailing down Pheasants Ridge (the normal route) and made it back to the car 2 minutes before the heavens opened with a fury. OMG what a storm. I was flat out dodging sticks falling from gum trees on my way home. 6 o'clock news tonight showed just how close that wierd weather pattern was to creating a tornado, yes a tornado.

Logan's Ridge is a great scramble. You can't really call it a hike. There's very little flat ground. The views are just grand; from Mt.Maroon in the north to Mt.Lindsay off to the southeast.

I saw a rare rock wallaby today, and this yellow spotted monitor.