The best invitations have an element of mystery.
Flyboy Dave posted a grid reference to some of his mtb-riding friends (S 28 11 14.68 E 153 05 46.06) with the invitation to meet him there on Sunday night for a camp out, and ride back to whence one came, the next day.
I plugged the grid reference into Google Maps, and then into Ride With GPS. It was at the top of Duck Creek Road, which is a dirt road back way from Beaudesert to O’Reillys.
Even though I had never been on that road, the idea sounded pretty good to me.
There’s a difference, though, between the idea of a bike ride, and the ride itself.
I know this VERY well. And I also know that every time I plan an adventurous ride, there will be some moments on that ride where I hate it, and can’t imagine why on earth I ever thought it would be a good idea to do this particular thing.
To get to Duck Creek Road, I started at Beaudesert. After a busy (& fun) weekend of church, family and social engagements, I left home around 3.15pm, and started riding from Jubilee Park at Beauey a little after 4.30pm.
With the sun scheduled to cease providing illumination in our part of world a little before 6pm, I knew there was no way I would ride 35km to the rendezvous spot in daylight. But luckily for me, Dave was in the same situation.
Dave left home even later than me, parked his car at Beaudesert as well, and caught me just at the start of the big climb.
Have I mentioned that Dave is really fit at the moment, because he is training for the Tour Divide, one of the most gruelling off-road races IN THE WORLD.
The sun set. A half-moon provided enough light to walk the bike. At riding pace I had a headlight.
We rode & walked the climb together. That is, when it got too steep for me to ride, I got off and walked, and Dave waited for me at the next natural re-group point.
By this method we climbed about 540 metres of vertical in 7 km. That is one of the harder dirt-road climbs in SEQ. I had some bad moments, and some better moments.
We arrived at the best lookout on Duck Creek Road about 7.45 pm. By the half-moon’s light, we could see over the valleys to the south and west, back down to Kerry, and the headwaters of the Albert River, and down to Duck Creek.
It was a spectacular view even when I couldn’t see it. It was better still the next morning.
Only a short further climb was required to find our camping spot, which had a sensational view to the north.
Dave set up his swish new Tarptent, I rolled out my shelterless setup (groundsheet, air mattress, sleeping bag). I had a bivvy bag in reserve, but if it had rained, I would have been quite uncomfortable. And wet.
Fortunately for me, the weather stayed fine. There was some food, some chat, followed by some snoring. The next morning, some packing up, and then some more riding!
A great overnighter to finish off an excellent weekend.