In the lead up to the IPWR, the Yeronga Medley 400k Audax ride provided an opportunity to have one more long distance hit out, but this time, with some company
After a short commute to the start, we pushed off at 0600h with 22 riders all doing distances from 110k to 600k. The pack quickly sorted itself out, and I was out front with James Nitz (200k ride) and (Nick Booth 600k).
The ride to the first check point at Yamota at 60km was uneventful and was a quick water stop and sunscreen.
We continued at a good pace but made a few wrong turns. James was doing the navigation, and it appeared his new Garmin 1030 was a bit slow indicating some of the turns. At around 90km, James turned off to follow the 200km course, leaving just Nick and myself. Nick who is preparing for the Oppy was pushing it, I was keeping up but knew I was going to pay for it later. Because Nick was preparing for Oppy stops were going to be short, that was fine with me, and it was good to have someone to keep me honest. There another quick water stop at Boonah for water, but that was it.
We circled Mt Alford, which was a reasonable climb and arrived at the checkpoint in Kalbar (155km). It was here I needed to stop for a break and some food. Another quick stop there wasn’t much time for food, so it was some Chicken chippies, potato scallop and a coke. I did buy a second scallop for the road but gave it to Nick when mentioned he had only bought the one scallop and was still hungry. The offer was half in jest but when he accepted, who was I to say no.
180km into the ride it was getting warm, I was pushing too hard and signalled to Nick to go on without me, I had been struggling to keep up with him since Kalbar. I was on my own now and able to slow the pace down, but the damage was done. The rest of the ride to the checkpoint at Rosewood was tough, and even though I had thoughts of quitting, I’ve done enough rides like this to know that a quick stop and some food would revive me.
I arrived in Rosewood (215km) just after 1400h, just to see the bakery shut and with it any thought of a pie and coffee. The fall back was a raid at the local supermarket for some baked goods, orange, banana and chips. The chips ended travelling with me for another 100k before finally being consumed.
Leaving Rosewood, there was another reasonable climb, nothing too challenging but it was here I started to notice an odd bump in my ride. I checked the wheel but couldn’t find anything so continued. The ride into Gatton was assisted by a tailwind, and I should have been happy about this but was suffering stomach cramps, which was slowing my food intake, and I was feeling progressively worse the longer I went.
Coming into Forrest Hill, the “bump” was distinctly noticeable now. This time I discovered a rather large bulge in my back tyre. My immediate reaction was to lower pressure to see if I could save it. It lasted about another 10k, and on the outskirts of Gatton, I punctured. I was unsure if the puncture was related to tyre bulge but given I was carrying a spare tyre I figured it would be just safer to change both.
Gatton was the next checkpoint at 275km. I stopped at McDonalds for an early dinner and was back on the road by 1700h. It was now cooler, and despite riding into a headwind, I was feeling much better and was able to push harder. Near Atkinson’s Lagoon, I took a wrong turn and didn’t discover the error until I was about the 3km down the road. I considered turning back, but the alternate route was not going to alter the total distance overly, so I pushed on.
The final checkpoint was at Fernvale at the local petrol station; this would be my last stop for the night, it was 2010h. I also found out Nick had passed through here one hour ahead of me. My late supper consisted of a stale sausage roll, a bag of nuts and two energy drinks.
The stop at Fervale was also significant as it was 325k. This distance will be the same as on the first day of the IPWR to Merreden, given it was similar start times, it gave me a good indication of what time I can expect on the IPWR. Without giving away my whole IPWR strategy, I am planning on having an easy first day. I plan to stop early on the first day so I can get into the routine of stopping at around 2000h, resting and then restarting at 0300h the next day. I don’t see the logic in smashing yourself on the first day by riding through the night and getting yourself out of sync. With this routine I am still looking to do 350 – 380kms a day but resting as well, so I manage my fatigue properly.
The rest of the ride was uneventful, enjoyable even. I arrived back at Yeronga just before 2300h. Left my Brevet card on the porch and road home. I thought “This is what it is going to be like finishing the IPWR”. No crowds, no cheering, you just arrive at the endpoint, and that is it. I got home at 2345h having completed 437kms, my longest ride so far.