Cycle Qld 2011 – Trip Report – Part 1

Well, Cycle Qld is over for another year.  What a holiday.  It always comes to an end far too soon but seems like a holiday of much more than a week.  I get much more than a week’s worth of enjoyment and fun out of the trip.

So this is going to be a bit of a round up with picture of my CQ adventures this year.  Warning – will be long and photo intensive!

Also, a preemptive apology – most of the photos I’ve taken are actually whilst still riding the bike so the focus isn’t great on some of them.

Rest of the post after the cut………

The Days Before:

The pick up for my area was mid week, so of course, I was furiously packing the bike in to its box until late in to the night before.  There was some confusion at the depot about which freight operator would be taking the bikes but a few calls to BQ seemed to sort it out.

Some days and flights later, we caught the Friday afternoon bus from Roma Street.  There were many excited others awaiting the bus.  We had our names ticked off, loaded our gear in the correct order for the drop off and were on our way.  A few concerns were raised about the torrential rain Brisbane seemed to have that afternoon and all hoped it was an omen for a repeat of 2010.

Our hotel in Goondiwindi was well positioned as close as we could guess to the start line to be.  We arrived late and had quite a good pub meal before settling in to bed.

Day 1: Goondiwindi to Yelarbon 57km

The next morning, we slept in a bit as it wasn’t too urgent to get going.  Once sufficiently motivated, we headed down to registration to pick up our kits and T-shirts then on to the park to assemble our bikes.   I will admit to some breath holding whilst going down the isles of bikes and hoping mine had arrived and was in the correct number of pieces.  As you can see, Goondiwindi put one some beautiful weather!

After sorting out our kit, we roamed the main street in search of food and impulse items.  Once the bellies were full and the wallets were warmed up we made out way to the starting line.  The group start was at 12pm and a few local dignitaries gave some speeches before we were off.

The first few kilometres of the first day are always a bit hectic with so many people around an so much excitement but the “peloton” soon peters out and you are riding in small groups.  The ride went quickly and in no time we were in Yelarbon.  After the customary post ride tent assembly and showers, we did a tour of the small town patronising the craft/op shop and then going to check out the lagoon and nature walk.  Both were beautiful with many small colourful timid parrots that were eating various seeds from the grass and some very interesting desert plants.

Day 2: Yelarbon to Texas 65km

It was a bitterly cold night in my inappropriate sleeping bag.  No one seemed to keen to get going in the morning with most staying inside the tent until after 6am.  Once out of the tents, we were greeted with a coating of frost on pretty much everything!

And so we got ourselves going and were rewarded with a very flat day on the bike with cool temps, some pretty decent tail winds and spectacular desert scenery.

Arriving in to the town of Texas after riding the only hills of the day, the town had opened their doors for some Sunday trading and we had a great coffee and pre dinner snack in the local cafe.  Most went to bed early, eager to get a good nights rest for the next day.

Day 3: Texas to Stanthorpe 100km

Another frosty morning jolted us awake.  The camp was bustling with activity as cyclists got ready to get an early start on the big day.  Only a few kilometres out of town came our first (of many!) hills.  Right before the legs had an opportunity to warm up!  Then came some lumps and bumps including some pretty long and steep climbs before heading in to the morning tea stop.

We had been told that most of the work had been done before morning tea.  But it wasn’t smooth sailing from there.  The stretch between morning tea and lunch had some very long grinds included but were definitely worth the effort for the views on the other side.

After lunch at 65km in a stockyard, the hills seemed a bit less intense but weary legs didn’t seem to be able to do much work in the big ring to take advantage.  We arrived in to camp, set up our tents and waited for our other friends to arrive.  We were treated with a beautiful sunset and a personal concert for CQ by Stanthorpe local, James Blundell.

Day 4: Stanthorpe Rest Day

No photos unfortunately from this day.  We had a bit of a sleep in then treated ourselves to a second and third breakfast in town.  Stanthorpe had put in a good showing with many shops offering cyclist specials and some even running market stalls.  We stocked up on some chocolate slice and tested out the three op shops in town.  Lunch was a gorgeous antipasto platter from Ulga and Agnes with the most delicious marinated feta I have ever tasted from Meredith Dairy.  The afternoon consisted of some camp site cycling trivia in which our team lost by 1 point.  But we got 10/10 for the road rules!  And had a few bottles of local wines.

That might do me for this post.  Tomorrow’s post will be days 5-9.


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