Day 6 - Thursday, 8th September 2005 - Stanthorpe to Killarney
Today had a dirt section in it. In the ride guide and last night at briefing they were really stressing about how dangerous it was. I was chatting to some of the Dept of Transport people and they said that it was basically hard packed with some loose granite over it, similar to some of the dirt tracks around camp. On that basis I decided that it was easily rideable and not as hard as the BQ crew were making out.
Last night I made sure that I tieded up the tent before I went to bed, it makes it a lot easier to do it each night than in the morning. This morning I got up at my usual time, but I was completely ready by 6:30am. There was virtually no queue at Breakfast, and that made quite a difference. As I have seen in the past the day after the rest day is always a slow one for some people. I hung around till the official 7am Start Time as has been my habit of late. I rolled out with Pete and Trisha, who is one of the stronger women on this ride. John wasn't with us as he had left early. We were also joined by another guy, Tony, who I hadn't met before.
There were a few ups and downs at the start and we were passing a lot of cyclists who had left before us. Trisha got dropped on some of the early hills and didn't manage to rejoin us. We were passing through some of the towns north of Stanthorpe and some of the locals were out cheering us on. We passed one town, The Summit and they were at 925m above sea level, so we have to loose that over the next 3 days. As we neared Morning Tea, we saw a sign point right, with Morning Tea above it. Over the past days, this has often been, turn right for Morning Tea, straight on for the route. This time it was turn right for both Morning Tea and the Route, subsequently we nearly missed the turn off, and it was only because of the Vollie that we made the turn. As we neared the dirt section there were some good up and down hills that really got the speed going.
The dirt section today was a total of 8km, 4km, 1km of bitchumen, 4km dirt. The road was closed to traffic between 8am and 11am, so we coult pretty much use the entire road. Just before the start there was a good uphjill and Tony got dropped frum us, the dirt was quite rideable and although I was taking it easy, it wasn't too difficult to get a decent speed. Pete pulled away from me and I let him go, as I wanted to stay in my comfort zone. The sealed section in the middle was a blessing as there was a steep downhill there. I wouldn't have liked to do that on dirt. Tony had caught up to my by this time and he shot off after Pete. On the second section of dirt I did hit one point that was a bit hairy, a left hard turn on an angle, the bike felt that it wanted it slip. It was a bit of poor planning on my side as I didn't take a good line.
Once I left the dirt behind I went chasing after Pete and Tony. I caught them at lunch where they had stopped. Lunch was barely set up, so we rode on without it. Another ride, Michael joined us and the four of us left lunch. We were heading towards Warwick at this point, the start for the 2003 ride. Again, we were pushing the pace and taking our turns on the front. Michael dropped off the pace and so it was just Tony, Pete and I. AT Warwick we hit a roundabout and left town straight away. The only problem was that the signage truck was still marking the roundabout, so although we knew which turn to ttake, we weren't going to know where to go afterwards. Tony had to go to Warwick to buy a new bag, so Pete and I turned off. WE stopped not far up the road as we wanted to confirm the route. Michael caught us up and we checked his map, it looked like we stayed on the road. In the end we rolled back to the signage truck to confirm. We left Warwick behind us with about 30km to go to Killarney, Miachel soon dropped off the pace, and it looked like it was basically flat riding to finish the day.
There was one unexpected danger though, Magpies. The first one had a go at Pete, as I was in the lead, but the second one, found me sitting on Petes wheel. It felt like a slight head wind, butnothing compared to Tuesday. John Lindsay was ahead of us and as we neared Killarney we caught sight of him. It looked like nothing was even remotely ready at Afternoon Tea, so we didn't even consider stopping. There was a good downhill just before Killarney and we finally caught John at the bottom.
John announced that we would then have a sprint at the 60km/hr sign, so as he wanted to sit at the back and then come around at the right time, I drove the pace. It was a long way to the sign, and we had to pass an 80 sign first. John took off, with Pete and I in pursuit, and although I neve had a chance, Pete won it by a hairs beradth. Once in town we stopped at a Takeaway joint as it was all that seemed on offer. We hung around there calling all othe riders in as they came in. Even the arrival of the luggage trucks didn't get us up. So about 90mins after making Killarney we finally got to camp. By that time my bags were just comming off the truck, so I timed that well. Once I was set up, I found there was a single working shower in the toilet block. It certainly made a change from the shower trucks. I think tonight that Killarney is having St Patricks day again for us, should be good fun, and then tomorrow, we have the Hills!
The usual crowd at the cafe in Killarney.
Tent City with tomorrows hills.
Certainly makes a change from the flat riding earlier
Penny Farthing with Penguin in tow.