27 –29 November Team Mexia took on the BOQ It’s Possible Cycle Tour in support of the Children’s Hospital Foundation QLD. We had three riders on Team Mexia: myself (Calvin Treacy), Microsoft Account Executive Graham Lawrence and Cameron Taylor. With our flash Mexia jerseys we were ready to tackle 330 kms of riding over three days in the Noosa hinterlands. The rides were a bit tougher than they appeared on paper, mainly due to the late November heat, the undulating terrain of Noosa’s hinterland and perhaps a little less time on the bike than was originally envisaged! It’s fair to say that everyone had at least one or two moments where things got tough but that’s the whole point of a charity ride and the stories we heard about some of the kids connected with the Children’s Hospital Foundation certainly put a bit of temporary pain on the bike into perspective. Mexia proudly contributed $5,776 to the grand total of $77,771 that was raised and donated to the Children’s Hospital Foundation QLD.
Ready to ride on Day One (L to R: Calvin, Cameron, Graham)
Day One: It was 8am and already HOT. The group was split into two pelotons – pro and love. Team Mexia decided the pro peloton was for us. The course was a reasonably flat 85 kms with an “easy” rollout to the first challenge of the day – Garmin Hill for KOM (King of the Mountain). The roll out was not easy and I foolishly took the first turn on the front with “Big Dog” (Dave from BOQ) and by the time we reached the first challenge the heart rate was high and the sweat was flowing. Garmin Hill is a 2.5 km 4% average grade climb – just perfect to really hurt yourself. Cameron tried to behave but as the pace picked up he had a bit of a dig and clocked a very respectable 6 min 16 secs and was with the leaders as they reached the top. I clocked 6 min 37 secs and finished mid pack. The runout and climb really hurt Graham and his HR maxed at over 200 BPM. At this point Graham decided that dropping back to the love peloton was the right move, Cam and I tried to talk him out of it but there was no changing his mind!
The pro peloton rolled on and the pace relaxed but the heat continued to rise. At around the 40 km mark Cam’s Garmin was reading 39 degrees Celsius so the organisers decided it would be a good idea to stop for morning tea – Gu’s, Gatorade and water. Yum yum!
From the stop we headed to Twin Waters via Bli Bli and had to deal with some pretty solid cross winds but at least it was cooling. The second challenge of the day was a 3 km sprint through Twin Waters finishing on Mudjimba Esplanade with a very nice tail wind giving a not too shabby 56.5km/h top speed at the finish line, but it was not impressive enough to contest the sprint (I will give myself a top 10 finish). Now with a 20-30km/h tailwind the flat run home via Coolum was enjoyable (but hot) and the pro peloton felt very pro covering 20k in 30 minutes. Once the roads flattened out Graham was flying and was duly promoted back to the pro peloton.
The Pro peloton got back to the resort by about 11.30am in one piece but were a bit worse for wear due to the extreme heat – nothing a few sandwiches and beer by the pool couldn’t fix!
L: poolside recovery after Day One, R: Day One map and elevation profile
Day Two: This was the day everybody was there for – over 160 kms and 2,000 metres of climbing. Due to the heat the start time was brought forward to 6.30am and the course was slightly shortened.
The course took us out the same way as Day One to Garmin Hill and KOM. James Dodd confirmed his KOM status. Team Mexia took it easy knowing there was a long way to go. The next 100 kms were pretty uneventful apart from a hilly 3 km sprint – I spent all my cookies pulling back an early break but Cam got himself in a position to contest the sprint but very gentlemanly let the BOQ rider (Mat Baxby) have it.
After the sprint we continued towards Kin Kin with food and drink stops every 40 kms. We passed through Gympie which was hot, hilly and generally not welcoming… but the best (or worst) was still to come. We turned on to Cedar Pocket Road around the 100km mark – the breeze dropped, the temperature went up and the road was dead. Cedar Pocket Road was hilly and the speed of the peloton dropped noticeably. We settled into a 25 km grind that took over an hour and really tested everyone. Fortunately the destination was a nice cafe in Kin Kin with food and drinks and several bags of ice to cool everyone down. The Pro Peloton waited to welcome the Love peloton into the lunch stop, and then headed out on the 40km “roll home”. However, a few kilometres out of Kin Kin the pace picked up for the third and final challenge of the weekend – a 10 km enduro up and over the Kin Kin range. An enduro is basically a race, so the peloton split into two groups – the smart ones and the ones that were racing. The Kin Kin range climb (2kms at an average 2% grade) was dispatched in just over 4 minutes and the decent (3kms) was taken at over 50kph with top speeds exceeding 65kph. The peloton was reduced to about 10 riders with both Cam and I in the mix after the decent. There were a series of attacks off front and Cam did a lot of work shutting them down, I followed while conserving energy. With about 1km to go there was a short rise followed by a downhill finish. I found myself in the perfect position to sprint for the win – chalk up one for TEAM MEXIA!
After expending way too much energy we still had to get home and there was a couple treats in store for us. About 3kms after the enduro we hit Cootharaba Road climb (4 kms 2% average grade) and with 135 kms in the legs on a hot day it did some serious damage with some riders cramping badly. We stopped at the top of the climb to regroup, with Cameron leading the peloton to the top of the climb, however it was here that Cam took a very badly timed nature break as the Peloton rolled out. Cameron did not know there was a 10 km long decent immediately on departure. Catching a peloton on a decent is extremely tough, as Cameron learned. The peloton covered the next 10km in 15 minutes, to Cam’s credit he was able to catch the peloton once we hit the flats and ride home with the bulk of the group. However while Cameron was chasing back on, a breakaway group formed, partly out of pure stupidity and partly out of a desire to get home as quickly as possible. The breakaway consisted of a group of 6 including myself chasing a solo rider (James Todd) for 14 kms and amazingly the group could not catch James as he was able to hold an average speed of over 36 kph into a headwind for over 30 minutes! It was a fitting way to end a tough but enjoyable day.
L: Cam roadside, R: Day Two map and elevation profile
Day Three: This was slatted as the “easy day” at 55 kms with a 10 km team time trial (TTT). On the way out to the TTT the combined peloton stopped for a 2 man sprint off which pitted a BOQ team of 3 against a Hutchinson Builders team of 3 (2 lead out riders and 1 sprinter) – Hutchies won convincingly and it was on to the TTT.
Team Mexia was teamed with Hutchinson Builders, GIO and 100 Acre Bar for the TTT which made for a very strong team…on paper. We set off well with all 10 team members taking turns on the front, however James Todd (100 Acre Bar) took a long turn on the front and pushed the pace before the first climb and as a consequence the group of ten reduced to six quickly on the climb with 5 kms to go. The remaining six worked together with the two remaining Hutchies riders paying for their lead out efforts 20 minutes earlier but digging deep to ensure that we had the required five riders at the finish to get a time. James was full of beans and we had to keep calling him back as he was destroying the more tired riders in the group, we regrouped and finished with six riders, two from each of MEXIA, HUTCHIES and 100 ACRE BAR with a time of 15.21 which was good enough for a second place. 5 seconds behind BOQ1 – so close but so far…
We rolled home and finished in a single peloton and took over a local cafe just for good measure!
Top: Day Three map and elevation profile, Bottom: Final cycle tour stats
It was a fantastic weekend with a really great group of people. Thank you to BOQ and race director Kent Williams for organising an amazing event for a worthy cause.