Here’s something new for 2015 – The first Road related rantings so far this year… Its pretty much been as ENDURO as bru since 15 kicked off, much to the disdain of the Road crew who were all left wondering why the fuck they purchased Dirty kit.
Well, here’s a weird treat then for the Road Bandito crowd, a quick mini break to Queensland, Australia to have a holiday away from being on holiday full time. Somehow that’s completely rational and fair. I will caveat using the word ‘treat’ by acknowledging that if you’re from Australia or NZ, then this will seem not only as boring as fuck, but also somewhat obvious. But if you’re as foreign as a Russian solider who just happens to be “on holiday” in a conflict zone, then this tourism propaganda may be of interest.
After EWS craziness and returning back to the cHub to find the cunty Haze still in control, I lasted about 4 hours before I felt the urge to punch out again. Luckily the Cockroach mini break was already locked in, but to make life easy and maximise the beach action, the Cannondale Evo was called into duty to be rammed into the bike case. It was time to escape the Haze Hub:
And now – Time for a message from people who don’t sponsor us
But first before we get to quiet country roads, a word on being reunited with the power of the Strava Route builder and Garmin 800 combo. I had forgotten how exceedingly awesome it is and if you’ve never used it before then get involved ASAP. If you’re like me, with a semi sense of adventure, but an OCD aversion to getting lost (which in Strayla could see you in the middle of the sequel to ‘Wolf Creek’), then this could be useful for you.
If you don’t want to get ripped off by Garmin to help pay for their PRO team roster that doesn’t make sense to anyone in cycling, then do yourself a favour and head here to hit the best instructions ever on how to download FREE Garmin base maps for wherever you’re off to. Once you’re loaded up, then get busy with the bang bang combo of Strava route builder and Google Maps street view to sort out your loops.
Street view is essential to make sure you don’t make a cunt of yourself by ending up riding a shit load of gravel roads. Yes, its so in fashion right now, but for those that don’t want to look like a fuckhead ruining your bike or having to buy a ‘Gravel bike’ #notevenarealcategoryofbike, then a little home work is worth your time. Export, load, sync and GO. with the base maps installed you have to be on meth to fuck it all up, so assuming you’ve designed the route right, sit back and enjoy.
*footnote on using google maps instead – I used this to ride to Mooloolaba (yes, actually a real place) on the day of arrival and found out one interesting quirk with Google maps cycling feature: The motherfucker loves bike paths. That’s cool if you’re riding a Giant with mirrors, a bell and 45 degree rise stem, but if your name isn’t Brian and you’re not wear the TDF climbers jersey stretched over your 120kg stomach, it’s more than likely going to piss you off massively. Good for zeroing in on your location if needed, but don’t fully rely on it when riding.
Anyway, turns out I wasn’t Bogan (for English people, that means ‘Chav’ I understand) enough to head down to the Gold Coast, so instead it was northward bound to Caloundra, about an hour or so from Brissy maaaaaate, to get amongst some of its local riding. An obscure pick to do some riding? Absolutely, no, I’m not retiring, which appears to be the primary reason people go to Caloundra, but there’s riding in them there hills and most importantly – Its Haze free bru.
Caloundra Country loop
As you can probably tell from this map, there appears to be a shit load of loops and country roads around these parts, with endless options available:
As per usual, the best way to maximise is to tap, literally, into local knowledge. Cue local bothan spy and DN Global Collective member on the scene, T Tap. He provided me with a tried and trusted route that I knew would be as legit as fuck. Whilst he may have glossed over the 18% pitches on the main climb of the day, he had provided me with some back country riding gold as well:
After a coastal spin the day before as a shakedown, getting back into the hills was definitely an upgrade and whilst its not alps like vista’s, the views still aren’t to be sniffed at either… Plus, provides a reasonable excuse to take a break on a road climb that went on a lot longer than you expected.
5km’s of climbing without seeing a single car or Roo? Yup, that’s the kind of territory you’re in here. To be noted, same can’t be said for those cunting Magpies, who were out in force waiting for someone who didn’t want to look like a gimp by putting zip ties in their helmet. If you come riding this way, then expect a lot of this type of scenario:
83km’s and 1200m of climbing with things like ‘wind’ and ‘chip roads’, both novelties after 6 weeks off the road bike, were also reminders about how much harder it is riding in the real world. Not to mention how much I miss my Saint brakes.
This loop is definitely one to punch out if you’re in the area, suspect it can be done in reverse as well but either way you go, keep an eye out for the rollers. It seems that the terrain around these parts loves punchy little climbs, so you’ll spend a lot of time sprinting over little rises until they eventually break your spirit.
Points of note:
- Don’t get sucked into the T23 road after Landborough, instead hit the Lower Mount Mellum route, which is insanely quiet, steep as fuck and links you back on to the main road near the top
- Montville is a good spot for a coffee break, its about halfway and is rammed with cafe’s, so maximise
- If you want a longer ride, keep going straight to Mapleton, 8km’s from Montville and apparently also a mint spot to sit around wanking over coffee or drinking coke while admiring your Rapha cap in your sunglasses as you caress your bib shorts
- Clearly a lot of people love riding up here, bike lanes, signs and paths are rampant, even in places you wouldn’t expect. Good on ya Strayla.
If you want to get amongst this loop, check it here and then indulge in that sweet sat nav action mentioned above:
Noosa bonus loop
Given this trip was as well planned as an Australian PM’s term, I hadn’t really expected to get another sizeable ride in up this way, but a slight change in plans, 5 minutes on Strava route builder and next thing I know, I’m spinning through an Aussie back country road maaaaate that was so deserted it may as well have been the set of the Walking Dead.
Heading out from Noosa Heads, popular spot if you like boats, jet ski’s and massive Holden’s, there’s a Bandito playground of roads north west that are worth checking out. I’d locked in a 70km loop, purposefully designed to have 50% less climbing than the day before.
Once again, struck some gold with better than expected roads, essentially zero traffic and decent scenery. And relatively fast as well. Turns out the return leg forms part of the Noosa Triathlon course, which made me vomit it my mouth a bit when I worked that out, but I can see why they use it, as its a rippingly fast piece of road. If you’re around these parts and want a relatively low maintenance loop, then hit this action here:
Points of note:
Best thing #1 about finishing the ride in Noosa Heads, the award winning pie shop. Grimpeur fiends will want to stick their fingers down their throats at this mere scene, but with an average temp of 30 degs and after riding through lunch, holy fuck this combo dominated… Also makes you appear Aussie as, key to avoid being punched whilst in lycra.
Best thing #2 about riding around Noosa? As the locals would say: “Get to the fucken beach cunt“, which with the previously mentioned an average temperature, won’t take much encouragement at all. If you’re just sick and fucking tired of bikini models everywhere at Noosa, then you can always come down the road a bit to Peregian Beach to be left in peace and quiet, thank fuck:
Including the shake down ride on day one, it was now 3 from 3 on great rides, QLD was batting runs for sure, but there was still time to try and squeeze in one more ride back in the big smoke and for a change, I wouldn’t be rolling solo.
Diesel tour of Bris-Vegas
Time for that old reunion feeling! Yes, back to Brissy and it was time to catch up with Diesel. Given the Diesel unit pre-dates the DN world, the best way to introduce him is simply this pic, where he’s smashing his break away companions into the hot Thailand tarmac to win the final stage of the 2012 Tour of Friendship:
World famous for having Marvel comic like sweat powers that melt metal, he once corroded his way through 5 sets of handlebars in a 12 month period, before proceeding to destroy every other part on his Cannondale SuperSix until all that remained original was the frame – To see to that, he then ripped the BB cups out during an interval session. In other words, produces a power/sweat combo that makes him a tall R&D lab that strikes fear into the SRAM Warranty department, like their life isn’t hard enough already.
I hadn’t ridden with Diesel for over 2 years, a contrast given in the previous 3 years to that we covered thousands of KM’s together all over the cHub and the usual shit hole spots in SEA that at one point in time seemed ok to race in. Ironically, this was going to be one of the few times we would ride together in somewhere that didn’t want to give you extreme diarrhoea:
Whilst time was limited as I was desperate to get away from all this fresh air and back to the cHub and its haze, Diesel of course knew there were a few must do’s that should be ticked off around town on the reunion mini tour. With a turbo powered mash of the pedals, it was onto the drops and off we went…
Must do #1 – Mount Coot-Tha loop. To say this is popular is an insulting understatement. Around 9,000 people have clocked a time up here on Strava, so pretty much the first spot that anyone is going to take you to in order to determine if you’re a cunt or not. Guess who failed that test…
As Diesel pointed out, this is the place where he comes to “Hurt himself“, by that he meant me, as I ENDUROed my way up and he had time to take photos. Thank fuck it was spring and not summer, I can’t imagine how roasting it gets up this 2.2km climb in the peak of January.
As I impersonated a fat Possum wearing a onesie, it was good to hear that nothing had changed on Diesels relationship with his road bike, it still sounded like he was making an Ewok snuff film when smashing it, clearly outside the normal operating window of what the SRAM Red designers had anticipated.
The Coot-Tha road and loop is a great piece of riding, and if you’re into ‘Training’, I can see why loops of this thing are considered the go to option for beat down. Apparently the 5 and 8 lap Segment is well regarded and battled over… Fart noise. Given one was enough for me, it was time to tour on and coffee the fuck up.
Must do #2 – The whole river scenario: Possibly the most impressive thing about riding in Brisbane was the deluge of bike paths. Holy fuck, I’ve never seen so many paths, signs, options and infrastructure set up for cycling. I’m the first to turn my nose up at a ‘Bike Path’, but here they’re more bike highways, so I followed the tour guide as we squeezed in the entree of the river loop.
Must do #3 – Garage Cafe: Holy shit, possibly the best toast that I have ever eaten at this place. I loathe to rave about food, but this deserves a shout out. Add to that it appeared that 100% of the clientele were cyclists, coffee was mint, excellent location and an awesome place to sit around with your mates and spend some time on your phone after sodomising an avocado:
Massive Dirty thanks to T Tap for the local intel and Strava low down and to Diesel for the tour guide duties back in the big city. Always good times to ride with the old crew and it has to be said that on first pass it appears that Brisbane loves cycling. If you’re of the road persuasion, then definitely worth scoping out if you’re on the QLD tour bus.
All in all, a massive Dirty Endorsement for Queensland on the riding front and to be noted, I didn’t even scratch the surface of it. Rumour has it there is also quality riding south and more than a bit of MTB shredding around to be had, so sounds like a return visit will be in order in the future.
And the contrast of being back on the Road bike after epic ENDURO immersion? Surprisingly refreshing… Clearly its not RAD man, but it has its own place in the world and a reminder that variety is a key ingredient… Like icing sugar on berries that are already doused in cream, you can never have too much of it. Smashing out some road rides in new surroundings provides its own reward.
Gear item of the trip – Finally got a chance to try out the Oakley Road Prizm lens and here’s no surprise, its as insanely awesome as its Trail sibling. Don’t waste your time, just get these glasses and embrace awesome vision.
Irony of the trip award – A 2 hour flight north in Cairns the Australian ENDURO National champs were going down on the same weekend… Ah… Good planning!
Biggest disappointment – Didn’t see a single animal/reptile that wanted to kill me, Magcunts aside of course. But yes, killer beasts and/or spiders and snakes are talked up in these parts, but in the end I didn’t even see a fucken Roo mate. Strayla wildlife needing to lift its game. Blatantly ignoring the fact I basically rode past the most famous Zoo in the country. Crikey.
And now then, its seriously time to start the mission that even James Cameron and Spielberg would piss in their Armani slacks just thinking about: Wading through the terabytes of EuroEnduro II video footage to bring you only the freshest shredits… Stay tuned for that action before the next mission flashes itself like a backbench politician on a bender.