Winter Warmer

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Saturday morning 4th August dawned clear and mild which is totally unusual for the famed Winter Warmer weekend ride Lifecycle has run for the last two years. For previous events the participants had been greeted with extreme weather including howling winds and rain. So a cheery bunch gathered a little nervously to see what surprises the Warmer could dish out this year. Before the start we already had victims of the savage ‘flu epidemic sweeping the town. Two of the bunch favourites Anna Koblova and Melissa Trims had to call in sick before a pedal was turned and a couple of others battled through the weekend suffering with the symptoms as well as the terrain! The most unfortunate case however was Ben Smith who was one of the first to register for the ride…….he slipped as he was mounting his bike and gashed his leg badly on his chainring which required 12 stitches from the doctor.

 

 

At 6.30 sharp the selfnamed "Wombles" headed out minus their star import, Luke Stockwell, who was reclaimed by the main group. So after loading up the truck with bags and supplies for the trip the field was on it’s way just after 7am. It wasn’t too long before a couple of one dayers who got on the front started to string out the bunch. However common sense prevailed and a more steady pace was found after the climb up the Samford range. Shortly after here Kimble Huch succumbed to the ravages of sickness and was forced to seek refuge in the follow vehicle where he was able to take up duty as support director and navigator.

 

 

The Wombles had their time of glory as they were good to their challenge and made it to the top of Mt Mee without being caught. After a trip back down the hill to pick up Phil Ciniglio, also a flu victim, and a few refreshments we were on our way. The next challenge was an enjoyable one…….to make it safely down the back side of Mt Mee. Thankfully all made it with some clocking over 80km/hr and then it was on to CJ’s for a welcome morning tea. Thankfully Raymond Concor’s tyre waited until now to blow out……could have been nasty a few kilometres earlier. So with a quick fix we were on our way.

 

 

After afew easy k’s which may have lulled a few into a false sense of security we started on the last 20km of the day which included the notorious 900m stetch of 20% gradient to the top of the range on Stanley River road. Here while a couple of unamed riders resorted to shank's pony, a couple of onedayers Tadek Rudz and Richard Hallorahan made their escape. Stephen Alexander, Simon Carlyle and the old winddodger Blair Stockwell took up the chase but were unable to make much impression and finished a minute or two back. Not long after the rest of the field pulled into our base for the night, Tranquil Park. Some were definitely fresher than others but special mention must go to Melissa Carlyle who came in about 75min behind the leaders….a plucky effort.

 

 

Soon after the endorphins kicked in and the lure of food and Irish beer became too strong and a few stories were told while looking over the magnificent panorama before most tried to get an hour or two of shuteye. Suitably refreshed Jeremy Moore led the call to happy hour in the bar and was soon joined by most of the crew. This led into dinner which was soon devoured over a few more tales of the day and a few tallstories. A nice gesture by Tony Moore as he presented the organiser, Blair, with a nice bottle of Moet as an appreciation of the ride.

 

 

 

Then all too soon it was time for bed as the cold winds swirled around the resort.

DAY 2

 

 

 

7am saw everyone fuelling up at breakfast and an anxious eye was looking outside at the weather. The wind was cool as we gathered for the start. A quick Irish celebration was had on behalf of Raymond as his flag flew proudly over the carpark. It was a leisurely start as everyone got their muscles warmed up and took in the magnificent views. Soon we were speeding down the hill towards Peachester and the relatively flat roads towards Wamuran. A bit of a detour was made as we missed the Elimbah turnoff and the dropped riders took their chances of getting to the bakery first. However a newcomer in Jason Moore, just returned from a week skiing in NZ, put paid to that and everyone pulled into Wamuran together.

 

 

Then it was time to start the final leg. It was a tough run down through some awesome quiet but hilly roads. Everyone dug deep and after a regrouping at the site of one of the steepest driveways ever, which to everyone’s relief wasn’t part of the ride, we began the run home through Petrie and Albany Creek. A couple decided it would be better at their own pace and a couple decided to turn it into a race but by and large we all ended up back at Lifecycle in one big group just on 2pm. Most agreed it was the best Warmer ever so that was good. Next years event is already booked for 9/10 August and will be bigger as we have more rooms. Check the photo gallery for a comprehensive coverage of the event.

 

 

 

Thanks go to Paul Newbold who came from NZ to be the driver. Also to Kimble who became the unofficial co-ordinator of support and navigation. Also thanks to Luke who came up with the idea of the ride and rode seriously unprepared.

To see more photos from the Winter Warmer visit our Lifecycle photo gallery.

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