Early in the morning on the 3rd May, about 75 cyclists gathered outside the pool in Beaudesert to embark on the 20th annual Beaudesert to Casino ride (held every Labour Day long weekend). Organised by the Beaudesert BUG, this year’s (and last year’s) ride was dedicated to the memory of former BUG member and the instigator of the first ride, Pip Thorley, who had died in a car accident a few years ago. We were lucky enough to have Pip’s two sons along for the ride, and his wife gave a moving speech at the post-ride dinner that night.
The route starts at Beaudesert and heads out along the Mt Lindesay Highway through Laravale, Rathdowney and Palen Creek before starting the climb up Mt Lindesay. At the top of the climb, it heads left down the Summerland Way through Kyogle and onto Casino.
The riders were broken into three groups, the first (slowest) group left at 6am, our group (average speed) left at 6.45am and the last group (fastest riders) left at about 7.30am. We left in a pack of about 20 riders and headed out towards Rathdowney (~35kms) where we had our first break. We then re-grouped and headed out through Palen Creek and started the 15 km climb around Mt Lindesay. This was a beautiful climb through rainforest and calling bellbirds. The pack broken into a couple of groups up the mountain, I ended up with locals Stuart & Pete as we descended down the Summerland Way towards morning tea (~75km).
Replenished, I headed out at the start of the pack with a few of the fitter riders. We inadvertently ended up dropping the rest of the bunch, averaging around 40 km/h for the next 10 or 20 kms. Catching up to the breakaway pair of Pete & Stuart, I dropped off the back of the gun group and coasted into lunch at Rukenvale Primary School (~110 km) with the old boys.
A quick lunch later and we were back on the bikes for the final 50 km or so through Kyogle and onto Casino. This was the hardest part of the ride, very flat with long open climbs and a strong headwind. Pete, Stuart & I ended up together again, and we slipstreamed our way into Casino around 2.25 pm, among the first 5 or so in our riding group.
All up we rode about 157.53 km in 6:29:13 hours on the bike. We averaged 24.2 km/h and reached a top speed down Mt Lindesay of 56.8 km/h.
All in all a great ride, highly recommended if you can swing an invite!