Numb nuts, black buts and a knight in shining armour were all there on today’s annual pilgrimage up the mountain.
A smiling clan of five set out on the cross country section from Moore to Linville. The countryside was parched with the creek crossing Dave had subjected the lead pack too last year dwindling to cess pool smothered with brilliant green slime. First stop was for AM tea with the pit crew at Linville. We settled in amongst the thrifty grey brigade who were free camping within a short walk of the loo. Today was a leisurely affair and time for a sticky beak around the dilapidated rail carriages.
Onto the main leg where distant rain, mud, stock and a long dry spring had transformed the once smooth trail into one continuous rugged corrugation. Every bump had set like concrete. This was not a problem peddling up as the pace was more of a steady plod with frequent stops. Next stop was a second AM tea for Chris and our eyes boggled as he happily devoured an enormous bun – surely it would leave a bulge in his slender frame. We had pulled up by the shed shaded by the solitary mango tree to find railway couplings crawling out of the hillside like the beginning of a alien invasion Dr Who style. Next stop a chat with some inward bound mountain bikers coming down from Nanango. Dressed to impress, I am sure the bulls in the home paddock would appreciate their bright branding.
Along the way new signs on mounted on beautifully forged stands shared more history of the area, including an outcrop laying claim to an unmarked grave. Further up it was pull off to the left to bear witness to more of the creepy robotic alien invasion. The valley was parched dry with few areas of lush green filled with the chimes of those elusive bellbirds. Next stop for the convenience of the smart loo and incongruous council bike rack. These, together with the hitching posts and horse corals remain in pristine condition. Too much effort and not enough exposure for the tom cats and their spray cans. Just out of Blackbutt the smooth deco path paved the way for a reunion with the increasingly important pit crew. They had enjoyed a morning exploring the charm of small town shops, and were the purveyors of the all important lunch panniers.
Stoked up with an array of fresh food and sins from the bakery it was for the downhill run which no one was giving up to the sag wagon. While the black buts were starting to make an appearance, it was not until the downhill leg that they really started to make their presence known. Ohhhh those nasty little corrugations – it was the bicycle equivalent of Cape York. The downhill gear seldom surpassed 2-4, unlike last time when the smooth trail was conducive to riding 3-6, at times even hitting top gear 3-8 in a thrill seekers whirl. It was to every bicycle’s credit that it did not get shaken to bits. From Linville the track had the added interest of dodging a mixed herd of cattle, with some being positively frisky – maybe they hadn’t approved of the Nanango rider’s attire, either that or the second wave of just fluoro was all a bit much.
Not long after my tyre did what I was feeling like – it expired. Flat. Dead as a dodo. Oh well, not far to push it from here and some welcome but relief. But no, the knight whipped on his silver cape and insisted that yes, this was not a problem and walking was not an option. But, but my but was quite happy to walk. The knight had it fixed as quick as the flash of his cape – clearly the knight’s but was not at disturbed by the cement corrugations and as it turned out there was another reason he was wearing Matt Shirvington pants.
By now the wearer of the Audi bicycle pants had numb nuts and was progressing onto a belly ache that only a male could appreciate and the female giver could find hysterically funny. In the very beginning of the trip the knight had given a sympathetic knowing look of experience but held his court. Hmmm, Audi bicycle pants, not such a clever birthday present afterall.
Despite the black buts and numb nuts a plan has been hatched for next years pilgrimage. A one way peddle starting at the top of the hill and follow the trail all the way into Ipswich. To be done over two days with a ground crew for support, and tents morphing into pub accommodation it will make for a great Spring Tour de Blackbutt.