In sharp contrast to previous years, Saturday August 9th dawned bright and clear for the 4th annual Winter Warmer. This is a weekend ride covering varying terrain over 250km of south east Queensland's best country side. At 6:15 on Saturday morning the troops began to arrive and load the team support vehicle driven by Paul, our friendly `kiwi' driver. People looked rather nervous as they parted with their bags, wondering if they'd ever see their clothes again. Paul had never been to Maleny, is obviously not a local and directions are not his forte!
The Wombles were first to release their bags and at 6:30am they rolled out with a team 15 strong. The rest of the WW riders pedaled out of the shop car park at 7am, on a Wombles hunt, and were closely followed by the support/sweep wagon. Unfortunately the team had to leave with 2 less riders than initially planned for, as Jeremy and Lisa had an alarm clock blow out that morning. They were forced to kit up in the car and high tail it to the Alderley hotel to catch the group. Secretly, we all think it was a sneaky way of dodging a few miles as neither party accepted responsibility for the shonky 'alarm clock'. If anyone's wondering what to buy Jeremy for Xmas I hear he has `alarm clock' written on his Xmas pressie list!
The group got off to an organised start, riding out over the Samford range and onto Mt Mee via Dayboro. The race was on up Mt Mee as word on the street was winner takes all in the spoils of the Lifecycle bake off which had been held on the days leading up to the WW. The bake off had been brewing with Blair cooking up a fruit cake the night before and Julie baking up some home made muffins. Everyone wanted to be first up Mt Mee and the Wombles were so desperate they organised a road block in the form of a broken down dump truck in hopes of slowing the faster group. Their ploy worked and they greeted the main group at the top of Mt Mee happily waving and munching on fruit cake and muffins. Luckily Blair and Julie know how to cater and the Wombles are generous folk, so there was enough for all. The re fuel stop was a massive hit with the party mix and mars bars being overlooked for the finer baked goods on offer as the choice of snack on the summit of Mt Mee. After the stop and snack the group was full of energy and it was onto Woodford with more hills and a couple of high speed descents with tight corners. This got the groups adrenalin pumping and everyone was pleased to see Benny make it down a descent in one piece.
All stops tended to revolve around food and at the 80k mark we popped into CJ's bakery at Woodford for a coffee and snack. Another re fuel was needed to keep the legs turning over for what would be the last part of the day's journey, and the toughest. After a relaxing coffee and feed, Owen and Tony decided they'd have more fun on an all boys road trip, so they took over the wheel of the sweep wagon while Paul saddled up to ride the remaining k's on 2 wheels instead of 4. The climb up the mountain range to Maleny proved to be quite a test for all and it caused major splinters in the group. The front runners arrived at Tranquil Park at around 1pm with everyone else coming in at their own pace. Tough nut Benny decided he wanted to sneak in a few extra k's than everyone else so he rode straight on past the finish and was looking as though he'd do the whole winter warmer, 240k's and return to Brisbane in one day. He went a little too far and was preparing to chuck the bike and lay down in fetal position when Melissa and big sister Lisa found him, saving him from this disgrace. Benny's tip for the day: don't do extra k's and do eat/drink more than 1 Red Bull for breakfast.
Matt Hopper likes cake stops!
After Benny's big rescue the WW riders settled in with their roomies and freshened up with a nice warm shower in preparation for the afternoons activities. Everyone seemed to find their way to the bar ok and most enjoyed a drink and the food platters on offer. Strangely, Laura decided to take a more unorthodox approach and drink from a waxy candle holder, she seemed to enjoy it though and didn't get sick so no harm done! I'm not sure if the waitress thought it was so good but you can't please everyone! The drinks continued flowing into the night and a big thanks from all must go to Officer Luke Stockwell who kindly called through a bar tab to encourage some hard core partying. This didn't have the desired effected although things got fairly animated for awhile particularly when Toddy and his partner returned from their romantic dinner for two and got into abit of swing dancing. The rest of the crowd were happy enough to watch the Men's Olympic road race on TV and cheer on the aussie rider, Micheal Rodgers in a fantastic finish. The night also saw us enjoy some good laughs and guest appearances from some of the Lifecycle crew. Josie and Corinne Loane arrived mid way through the evening as word got out that a bar tab was on offer!
After a fun night and a good sleep the group rose for Breakfast at 7am. Everyone was famished and looking for a big meal and the hotel didn't disappoint with a large selection of cereal and hot food. At 8 everyone gathered kitted up for the final day of riding which was another 120km back to Brisbane. The trip home was a little easier as the first 20km was a descent down the range letting everyone ease into their saddle for the day. The way home took us through the back of Peachester and then onto Wamuran were we supported the CJ's bakery franchise once again. Major Dave decided that cakes and coffee weren't part of his strict diet but a serve of hot chips from the take away down the road were. This decision paid off for him about 10km down the road when the group came across the `worlds steepest driveway'. A few daring riders took it upon themselves to attempt this feat and Dave and his chips powered up the driveway and stole the crown of `furtherest ascent up the world longest driveway' only narrowly beating Liam. Dave's tip for the day: Hot chips appear to assist climbing ability more so than cake and coffee.
The group continued cycling on home and a sole rider nick named `Crouching T-Moore, Hidden photographer' (Tony Moore) would randomly ride off and later be sighted hiding in bushes as the unofficial WW photographer. We're still waiting on those photos so at least thats what we're hoping he was doing! As the ride came to a close, things got tougher and the sweep wagon was put under some serious pressure as cyclists bailed and jammed bikes, bags and bodies into the wagon. By the end the wagon was chokers and some suffering cyclists had to bite the handle bars and continue on to the shop giving the sweep wagon riders the evil eye. Most riders arrived in at 2pm and everyone refueled, enjoyed some coldies and reminisced over the past two days of riding. This Winter Warmer would go down in Lifecycle history as one of the warmest and many a tale would be told for years to come of the 240k's from Bris to Maleny and return, all in the space of two days!
Congrats to all who came along and thanks to all those who made this great ride possible!
Check out more cool photos in our `Latest photos' link.