Day 5 - Wednesday, 3rd September 2003 - Woodford to Caloundra

From looking at the ride profile many of us were expecting today to have one of the worst hills of the ride. It was about a 100m change in elevation over about 4kms, on the rider briefing the previous night we were told it was 8kms, all very steep.

I managed to leave at about 6:50am as the route was open early. As it was a short day (expected to be about 65kms) I knew I was going to finish in good time. Soon out of town I passed 3 riders in a train and all 3 joined on behind me. I lost 2 after a few minutes as I was going too fast for them but I kept the other till morning tea, about 17kms away. The road early on was a mixed bag and it was smoother to ride in a tyre track in the middle of the road. As it was still early morning it was safe enough to do this. We were clocking through the k's and then we hit the hill, it was better and worse than we expected, it was only 1.8kms, but parts were a 10% gradient. I was quickly out of gears and it was hard going. Both of us made it without walking which I was pretty proud of. I had a brief stop at morning tea to stretch my back, and then I hit the road again. Leaving morning tea we had some of the best downhills, it was a very smooth winding road, just beautiful riding down. I was by myself on the way into lunch, but at times it was an insult to call the route a road. It was more patches than original surface, very rough riding for a road bike.

It was also obvious that we were up on the Sunshine Coast as we were passing by pineapple plantations. I made lunch at about 8:10am and they were barely ready, not that surprising. After about a 20min break I was away again. I was expecting a steep hill soon after lunch, but it was still a surprise. It was a real shock to the system, it was short but very steep. On the way to afternoon tea there was a short downhill section followed by a stop sign, it was very steep and I was on the brakes before too long as I didn't know the road, there were a few warning of the stop sign and they were definitely needed.

I stopped at afternoon tea again only to stretch my back. I only had about 10kms to go by this stage. We were riding along a major highway and I was glad of my experience of riding in Sydney. We had to cross a highway and we detoured by about 2kms to make use of an underpass, it was a bit confusing as I saw two riders on the other side of the highway and it make me think I had made a mistake. However they had mentioned it at the briefing so I kept going. It was more highway riding into town and I made it by about 9:40am, the luggage truck had only just arrived and was yet to unpack. The volunteers were yet to arrive, so again I helped unload the truck and it was the same group as the last few days.

Distance 68.33 km
Average 28.05 km/hr
Time 2:26:12
Maximum 62.70 km/hr


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