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Beat the Heat

Mike in the Dust
On a dry and dusty morning, with mid-summer arriving two months early, seventeen crazy mountain bikers had a great idea….

Chambers Road
Chambers Road
In order to beat the heat we decided to keep our ride short (about 25 km) and have a cool swim at the half-way point.

But to earn the swim, we first had to tackle a couple of challenging climbs.

Chambers Road

There was no easing into it. As soon as we started, we had to tackle Chambers Road – a 1.5km climb with some steep sections exceeding 20% in gradient.

Byron Creek Road
Byron Creek Road

It was a relief to be cooled by the breeze as we rolled down the other side towards Byron Creek. We enjoyed a brief respite from the sun in the shade of the Piccabeen Palms that line the creek banks.

Dianas Bath Road

The second climb of the day, up Dianas Bath Road, was steeper and dustier.

Dust Cloud

Each of us made our way up this climb at our own speed as we tried to avoid motor cyclists buzzing up the hill on their trail bikes.
Dust Cloud

One by one we emerged from the dust cloud at the top of the hill near “A – Break”.

Dianas Bath Road
The “A – Break” intersection marked the highest point of the ride. From there we rocketed down a bumpy track, losing over 500 metres in altitude in less than 3km. Although this was exhilarating, a nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me that on our way back we’d have to ride up this nasty incline.

Ahhh the law of gravity. Sometimes you love it, some times you just grin and bear it 🙂

Dianas Bath Road

At the bottom of the descent we followed some quiet farm tracks to the water hole.

Dianas Bath

After grinding a mountain bike up steep dusty trails in 40C heat, it was a delight to cool off in the secluded tranquil water of Dianas Bath.

Dianas Bath
Dianas Bath

This is a special place, hidden among the sheer rock faces around Mount Byron. It’s difficult to reach, but always worth the effort.

Dianas Bath

On a hot day, there’s no better place to be.

Dianas BathDianas Bath
Dianas BathDianas Bath

We all chilled-out for a while, then had a quick bite to eat before accepting the reality of the return journey back up that nasty hill.

Dianas Bath Road

Some walked, some pedaled as we all slowly made our way back up the hill.

A - Break
We waited for everyone to catch up at the top of the hill.

It was hot. Although this was only a short ride, many of us were starting to run low on water.

Byron Creek Road
Byron Creek Road

The final climb of the day was back up Byron Creek Road. A few kind souls shared their spare water with others who had run out.

I was surprised how tough a short 25km ride could be. Many times I’ve ridden over three times this distance on less water and with less effort.

Horse Trail Ridge Descent

We enjoyed the final descent down a very steep horse trail. Once we started, it was too steep to stop. All we could do was make sure the bikes stayed on the track, and that we stayed on the bikes.

Dianas Bath

All up we rode 24km in just under 5 hours including breaks. We climbed about 950m in vertical ascent, and I burned about 2,000 kcal.

Despite being a short ride, it was a tough challenge on a hot day with three big climbs and a couple of really fun down-hill sections. I barely had enough water to last the distance.

I’ll rate this one 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks everyone for a fun morning on the bikes!

Where to next???

UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of the ride.

Dianas Bath 2014-11-22 from Darb Ryan on Vimeo.

Note:  Dianas Bath is on private property. The owner currently allows walk-in access only.  Please treat it with respect, clean up any mess you make, take all litter with you, and be courteous towards anyone else who is using the waterhole.

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