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Xmas Epic 2011 up here (27/02/11)

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A very big thank you to our driver Wendy who took on a huge job with panache and élan. Chapeau!

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day 7: Wooyung – Robina

A quick lesson in strip urbanisation

17th Jan 11; 6:50am(dep)/11:30amQLD(arr)
68.3 km (dist); 3h 20m (saddle);
20.4 kph (av); 45 kph (max);
421.9 km (tot)
In the morning we rode at five. The track became a bad goat-path, zigzagging up a hill-side too precipitous to climb except on all fours. We had to re-pack the food and explosives; and, in spite of all our care, lost two of our feeble camels in the pass. They were at once cut up and shared out as meat.” 7POW; pg225

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day 6: Byron – Wooyung

jewel of the north coast

16th Jan 11; 6:50am(dep)/11:00am(arr)
47.4 km (dist); 2h 21m (saddle);
20.1 kph (av); 54 kph (max);
353.6 km (tot)

The long ride in company had made companions of our minds and bodies. The hazardous goal was in our thoughts, day and night; consciously and unconsciously we were training ourselves; reducing our wills to the single purpose which oftenest engrossed these odd moments of talk about an evening fire. And we were so musing while the coffee-maker boiled up his coffee, tapped it down again, made a palm-fibre mat to strain it before he poured (grounds in the cup were evil manners), when there came a volley from the shadowy dunes east of us and one of the Ageyl toppled forward into the centre of the firelit circle with a screech.” 7POW;ch45

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day 5: Lismore – Byron

coffee and the coast: Byron Bay

15th Jan 11; 7:30am(dep)/1:00pm(arr)
51.8 km (dist); 3h 04m (saddle);
16.9 kph (av); 59 kph (max);
306.2 km (tot)
To-day we rode for hours while the perspectives grew greater and more magnificent in ordered design, till a gap in the cliff-face opened on our right to a new wonder. The walls were precipices, like all the walls of Rumm; but appeared greater, for the pit lay in the very heart of a ruling hill, and its smallness made the besetting heights seem overpowering.” ch62

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day 4: Lions Road – Lismore

getting into the groove

14th Jan 11; 6:45am(dep)/1:30pm(arr)
71.5 km (dist); 3h 31m (saddle);
20.2 kph (av); 54 kph (max);
254.4 km (tot)
They would ride immense distances day after day, run through sand and over rocks bare-foot in the heat for hours without pain, and climb their hills like goats. Their clothing was mainly a loose shirt, with sometimes short cotton drawers, and a head-shawl usually of red cloth, which acted towel or handkerchief or sack as required. They were corrugated with bandoliers, and fired joy-shots when they could.” 7POW; ch15

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day 3: Rathdowney – Lions Road

The Border Ranges

13th Jan 11; 6:10am(dep)/3:00pmNSW(arr)
82.0 km (dist); 4h 44m (saddle);
19.0 kph (av); 51 kph (max);
182.9 km (tot)

Long before dawn we rode away, and having crossed Hamdh got confused in the broken surfaces of Agunna, an area of low hills. The ground was luxuriant with colocynth, whose runners and fruits looked festive in the early light.” 7POW;pg168

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day 2: Boonah – Rathdowney

The fog of cycle touring

12th Jan 11; 1:15pm(dep)/4:30pm(arr)
39.1 km (dist); 2h 13m (saddle);
17.5 kph (av); 50 kph (max);
100.9 km (tot)

“During the morning it rained persistently; and we were glad to see more water coming to us, and so comfortable in the tents at Semna that we delayed our start till the sun shone again in the early afternoon. Then we rode westward down the valley in the fresh light.” 7POW;ch25

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day 1: Ipswich – Boonah

Armegeddon comes early

11th Jan 11; 5:20am(dep)/12:00(arr)
61.8 km (dist); 3h 44m (saddle);
16.5 kph (av); 47 kph (max);
61.8 km (tot)

“…this gave place to a broad wooded valley, up which we rode for an hour, till our troubles began again; for we had to dismount and lead our animals up a narrow hill-path with broken steps of rock so polished by long years of passing feet that they were dangerous in wet weather.” 7POW;ch31

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day 0: The prologue

… sometime in December …

This year’s XmasEpic is brought to you by T.E. Lawrence; “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”.

“For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us, at night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man’s creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in the glare.” 7POW;pg11

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