As usual for the Lifecycle weekend away rides the main topic of conversation is about the weather. Never has a ride day dawned sunny and clear with the prospect of a light tailwind! So true to form at departure time of 0630hrs the ride team was huddled under the awning at the back of the shop waiting for a downpour to ease. Prior to this the early departing Wombles had made the most of the opportunity and left before the heavens opened. It looked like being a long wet day!
As it often does at this time of year the rain stopped and we were on our way and soon enough the rain was behind us. Not so lucky with punctures and our own "rockin'" Rod Stewart was soon changing wheels and tubes like a seasoned veteran. Our first breather was at Logan Village which was like Queen St on Friday night as everyone was heading for the polling booths. We had glimpsed the Wombles in the distance but they accelerated and we did not see them again until our R&R stop at the Outpost cafe in Canungra. That is all except poor old Phil Ciniglio who had suffered a blowout on the run into Canungra. He was being ably assisted by Melissa Carlyle who had taken on the support crew task for the Wombles while husband Simon was in NZ with the Moore brothers doing the Lake Taupo ride.
Before we left for the ascent of the major obstacle for the weekend Josie's boyfriend, Greg, turns up ready for allcomers and challengers to his victory up the mountain last year. The mountain we are talking about is the road to O'Reillys in the Lamington national park. It is a relentlous 35km climb to the top and a true challenge to riders of all levels of ability. The road starts with an easy gradient switching back and forth before leveling off for a bit around 1/2 way before the road narrows as it enters the rainforest with the road little better than a goat track. The final kilometre sees some riders reduced to walking as a combination of fatigue, a slippery bumpy wet surface and steep gradient takes it toll. The resort at the top is certainly a welcome sight.
After a tough tussle Greg emerges first but only just ahead of Liam McCarthy, a good effort for a first timer. A bit later the gnarly old Blair Stockwell comes in a little ahead of Josie who did well on limited preparation. Then the field came in with Chenise Nitis showing good form along with Luke, Ray Concar, Jason Bilsborough and Jason Reed. Before long all were in and settled into the Kootootonga lodge, our home for the night. After a nice lunch we were ready for more activity and the Skywalk was a popular choice.
The next activity was even more popular......happy hour at the Rainforest bar where the 1/2 price cocktails were in great demand. The Kilkenny and Guiness was especially popular with Marshall and Ray. Also very popular was the cheeseboard provided by Major Dave. It is an awesome spot with glorious views especially at sunset. Lots of our party are coming back or are repeat visitors....definately reccomended. Soon we were called to dinner and then back to the trivia night and a few red wines to finish!
Next morning we were woken to the sound of sausages sizzling as our road crew manager, Rod Stewart, had the barbie cranked with sausages, onions and toasted leftover sandwiches.As usual the day had dawned nice and clear and everyone had a nice cruisey start to the day as they rolled down the mountain taking in the views they missed out on the day before. Coffee and toast at the Outback cafe again and we hit the road for home. The bunch divided at Tambourine with Wombles and a few ringins took the straight road homewhile the main group headed through Beenliegh. We were blessed with fine conditions and a tailwind so good progress was made by both groups. Both parties had stops along the way for punctures and refreshments and amazingly met at precisely the same time at the junction at Underwood.
Then it was plain sailing for the last 20km back to our starting point at Lifecycle. Once again a great time was had by all for a fairly tough weekend. It was good to see a couple of teenagers, Chenise and Ben, tackle the ride and make some of the more experienced riders hurt at times! Also congrats to the Wombles. This group of weekend warriors are the backbone of the ride as it is a real challenge to them. Phil, Chris, Anna, Marshall and Tony all made it with a bit to spare and always had the most laughs keeping eveyone entertained. However the biggest thank you is to Rod Stewart and Melissa Carlyle who did a great job supporting us all weekend. They kept us safe, changed tyres and tubes and fed us....what more could you want! They also entertained us as well!
So thats it until our next adventure, probably the Winter Warmer in August 2008. We can't wait!