Great ideas come from somewhere. There are three ‘movements’ in the having-fun-on-a-bike space that I think are pretty cool, and of course I’m all about adapting these ideas to suit me.
Here are the big ideas:
- S24O (sub 24-hour overnight) is what Grant Petersen (of Rivendell Bicycles) and his friends do, from their base at Walnut Creek, California. From the pix it seems that all their rides go up into the hills, and they camp somewhere with a view, and come down the next night.
- Micro-adventures. Has been covered already on this blog.
- Bike-packing. This seems a bit more hard-core to me. The zenith of this concept are the massive long-distance off-road events, such as the Tour Divide. But the basics are: a hardtail mtb, set-up for riding offroad with a minimum of gear, carrying only just enough food to get you from place to place.
It’s my plan this year to try to get to Western Australia and ride along the Munda Biddi Trail. A few things will have to fall into place for that to happen, but I’m still hopeful.
And that’s where the Black Hornet comes in. I don’t think I’ve actually posted on here about the Black Hornet, but over Christmas and January I built up (with the help of Bike Bestie and RLC Sport/Cyclinic/Aiden Lefmann) a very nice aluminium-framed 29er hardtail. It’s got a Cannondale Lefty, the frame is a Specialized Carve, the bits are mostly Shimano SLX (2×10).
So if I really am going to ride for a week along a trail in September, I better get started with a few overnighters. A few of them S24Os.
But my life is pretty full, he said in a whiney kind of voice. So February came and went, and even though I had enough gear to get started, I didn’t go anywhere. And a couple of times Emma and I tried to align our schedules for a weekend trip, but so far we’ve put that off till later.
Eventually I found a night, and off I went. I rode out from work soon after 5pm, heading towards Bunyaville, where there would be a meeting at which Queensland Parks and Wildlife staff would explain the current state of mtbing in QPWS-administered areas. I was going to go to that meeting, and then head into D’Aguilar National Park afterwards.
But as I struggled/cruised out through the northern suburbs, along bike path and back street, it became increasingly obvious that I would be late for the meeting, and that I couldn’t really afford both the meeting and the overnighter. My legs and the weather (showery!) were the two deciding factors. One would have to give, and it was always going to be the meeting.
So from Bunya Rd it was along Linkwood Rd and into Ironbark Gully, across to Lanita Road rail trail leaving Ferny Grove towards Samford, and then up the steep bitumen climb of McLean Road, to the entrance to the forest closest to Camp Mountain and Bellbird Grove.
I’ve been on this trail quite a few times before. When I train for the Flight Centre Epic, this is part of a big loop I like to do a couple of weeks out from the event to find out if I am ready.
With the touring gear on board, and light rain on a summery evening, McLean Road seemed even steeper than before. And longer. Eventually I was into the forest, along Link Road firetrail. Past the three dippers, and I got to a decision point. There was no way I had the legs to go with Plan A, which was through Bellbird Grove, and up to Centre Road, and South Boundary Rd up to the Scrub Road shelter.
But the Plan B I had told Annette that morning wasn’t a great idea: Bellbird Grove. I looked at my phone, and realised that there was no way I would have good reception down in the Bellbird Grove hollow.
So Camp Mountain became Plan C. I have climbed Camp Mountain (long) once before, with Emma about four years ago. Maybe five years ago. And that was on a pleasant winter’s afternoon, and I had ridden my old Gary Fisher all the way to the top. And Emma had ridden all the way up that day as well. I remember us being at the picnic area at the top, debating which way we would go back down.
But with the touring load on the Black Hornet and the constant showers, and my current relative lack of fitness, I managed only about the first third of the Camp Mountain climb this time.
So it was one foot after the other, trudging to the top, dodging cane toads.
The picnic area was a welcome sight. And a nice site too. Set myself up in the concrete shelter, phoned and texted my whereabouts to folks who wanted to know, and settled in for the night.
About 2 am I woke up shivering. The combination of the Reactor sleeping bag liner and the Escape Bivvy were not quite enough for the cool breeze blowing through the shelter. But I had a softshell rain jacket, and putting that on was enough to get comfortable again.
The only other incident was around 4 am, when bright lights disturbed my (light) sleep, as another mountain biker rode through the picnic area. He didn’t stop, so I can only assume he was just out for a very early ride.
I was up and gone from Camp Mountain by about 6.15, and had a lovely coffee at The Lodge in The Gap shopping centre on the way to work.
I have no idea why I am fighting sleep at 9.10pm. Oh yes I do. But it was worth it.
Let’s do it again soon!