I was back on my bike less than 24 hours after completing the Gympie-Brisbane microadventure. This time, I was off to the 11 of Eleven 100km Audax ride. Twelve months ago, this was my first ever Audax ride so I was excited to ride it again this year. After a 28km ride from home to the start of the ride, I joined the 20 or so other riders milling around wishing each other Happy New Years.
The ride started out quickly. For some reason, everyone took off as a fast bunch. I don’t have a cycle computer mounted on my bike so I couldn’t see the speed but I’m sure it wasn’t cruising pace. It was loads of fun to ride quickly with a group of other riders. It certainly wasn’t cycle racer style fast but it was a loose ragtag bunch fast; the fun kind. Before I knew it, we were crossing bridge number one of eleven: the Story Bridge.
From the Story Bridge I rode with a rider who was attending his first Audax ride. He was riding a groovy steel framed touring bike with butterfly bars. I enjoyed the yarn as we rode along the murky brown waters of the Brisbane River. Before I knew it, we were crossing the Green Bridge from the University of Queensland to Dutton Park where we stopped at Checkpoint 1 (30km). Bicycles were leaned up against trees as we got our brevet cards signed and hit the food.
The food on supported Audax rides here in Queensland is epic. Ride Organiser Simon outdid himself providing home baked muffins and slice, sliced watermelon, cold drinks, salad and ham rolls, and plenty more.
After the checkpoint, we rode further west along the river following the popular River Loop route. This route is reputed to have over 2,000 riders every Saturday. I stayed with the faster group at first but then one of the guys led us the wrong way but didn’t hear his name being called. So I waited while one of the women chased him down (any excuse for a sprint). They chased down the main group while I stopped a few kilometres down the road where I saw another rider with a flat tyre. He is very experienced but I thought it was nicer to be sociable on this ride, rather than leave him behind. Besides, it was nice to sit in the shade of a poncieta tree. The second group passed us and then the two of us rode off.
I had a lovely sociable ride with the Englishman who fixed his tyre as we followed on- and off-road bikeways west to Jindalee and then east back to the Dutton Park checkpoint. By the time we reached the checkpoint (65km) the first riders were already leaving and just a small group were milling around. I hit the lollies, potato chips (crisps), watermelon and lemonade. It was so good. The Pied Piper arrived on his single speed so I decided to follow him back to the pub at the finish.
I like the 11 of Eleven ride. It’s a great way to start the new year. It follows the river and takes in some iconic Bridges. At 100km it’s not too taxing for New Years Day. And it feels quite festive. Hopefully 2014 will see me ride this for the third time.
Total: 158km road cycling including the ride to and from Audax.