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Great Cycle Challenge 2016

Wild Horse Mountain

Darb wants to cycle over 1,100 km during the month of October to raise funds for cancer research.  We decided to support him by starting the month with nice long ride through some of the vast plantations north of Brisbane.

Caboolture

Four of us began our ride at Caboolture railway station, riding north towards the Glasshouse Mountains.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

At the same time, Darb started from Landsborough and headed south to meet us.

Underpass

Bike Path

We followed bike paths and walkways out of Caboolture, avoiding traffic as best we could.

Overpass

Four kilometres later we crossed the Bruce Highway, left the road, and disappeared into the pine plantations…

Pine Forest

The plantation is huge.  Pine trees stretch in all directions, from Woodford in the west to the Bribie Passage in the east.  It’s exhilarating to leave paved roads and be immersed in miles and miles of trees.

Pine Forest

Sunlight filtering through the pine needles made the tree trunks look like a huge three-dimensional Jackson Pollock painting.

Single Track

Because plantations don’t grow well near damp creek beds, you’ll often find long stretches of native scrub lining the waterways in a plantation.  We followed a twisty narrow track along one of these creeks to add a bit of variety to the terrain.

 

Mount Beerburrum

Darb eventually caught up with us a few kilometres outside of Beerburrum and rode with us into town for a quick snack.

Beerburrum

Beerburrum

By chance we met a few other mountain bikers at the Beerburrum cafe.  My friend  Craig and his mates were out camping for the weekend and agreed to ride with us for a few kilometres.

dsc04964-animation

There were now more than dozen of us as we followed rocky tracks behind Mount Tibrogargan along the boundary with a macadamia orchard.

Orchard

Mount Tibrogargan peeked through narrow rows of nut trees as we rode past.

Darb

Halfway up the hill we left Craig and his mates to their weekend adventure while we continued to the lookout.

On previous rides we followed a steep rutted track up the hill and had to walk part of the way.  Today we took an easier track up the hill.  It was still steep, but we were able to ride the whole way without having to get off and push.

Darb

It was a perfect day.  Under a cloudless sky we enjoyed a clear view from the summit stretching over wide plains of pine trees toward the pacific ocean.

But we had a deadline to meet – our train left at 1:30pm.  We kept our rest stop short so we would have plenty of time to catch it.

Connection Road

We followed Connection Road northwards around the back of Mount Beerwah.

Powerline Track

Power lines stretched from one horizon to the other.  As my eyes surveyed the bright orange track which meandered under the lines and over the numerous hills, I felt like I could have ridden for hours if I really wanted to.

Wrattens Forest

Apart from its odd-shaped peaks, one of the unusual features of the Glasshouse Mountains is a steep escarpment which runs through the area from Mount Mee in the south to Mount Mellum in the north.  We had climbed up that escarpment earlier in the day when we rode to the lookout.  We now followed the edge of that same escarpment north, through Wrattens Forest towards Peachester.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

It was a tricky ride down the hill from the top of the escarpment.  Yeates Road is very steep and rocky in parts.  I walked down a couple of the more challenging drop-offs.  Darb and Jason nailed most of them without having to get off at all.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

After the most challenging part of the descent, we enjoyed an easy roll down the remainder of Yeates Road towards the town of Beerwah.

Road Ends

To avoid traffic we rode behind Mount Coochin and followed some quiet tracks and bike paths into town.

Jason

After a quick break we jumped back in the saddle and continued our trek towards Landsborough.

Forestry Track

With a golf course on our left, and a pine plantation on our right, we followed yet another endless dirt track into rows and rows trees.

Forestry Track

As we had done earlier in the day, we left the wide forestry tracks in favour of the shady narrow trails which followed the creek.

Bald Knob

Plantations are dynamic places: the continual cycle of harvest and replanting constantly changes the landscape.  As we emerged into a recently cleared wide expanse we were struck by the impressive views of Bald Knob and Mount Mellum in the distance.  Several months ago, tall trees would have obscured  our view of these hills.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We rolled into Landsborough around 1pm.  We had half an hour until the train arrived.  Darb wanted to ride another ten kilometres which would notch up a total of 100km for the day for him.

I sounded him out.  “Hey Darb, would you mind if we had a couple of beers in the pub here while you did the last part of the ride yourself?”

He didn’t flinch, and heroically continued his epic ride alone while we cooled our heels in the Landsborough Hotel.

 

Train

Half an hour later, the train pulled up across the road.  We loaded up the bikes, sat in the cool air-conditioned carriage and enjoyed the trip back to Caboolture.

Here’s the route that Darb took.  100km off-road in seven hours (including breaks) is an impressive achievement:

Here’s the route that the rest of us took. 70km in about 6 hours (including breaks):

I’ll rate this ride 7.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.  Darb’s effort rates about 8.5 out of 10.

Thanks Darb, Paul, Jason and Peter for a great day out.

Thanks also to Craig and friends for sharing some of the journey with us.

Please consider contributing towards Darb’s fundraising effort to help fund cancer research.

Bald Knob

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