2016 Chain Reaction Challenge New South Wales Day 3 – Blog
16 May 2016 Chain Reaction
#CRNSW Blog Day 3 – Innisfail to Tinaroo
Before we get to the day’s riding we should mention last night’s accommodation and the warm welcome the Chain bunch received from the Barrier Reef Hotel in Innisfail. Glenn and his team kindly looked after us, and this morning, just as the peloton were about to leave, he handed Ride Director Tim Chadd an envelope that included a generous donation to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.
It’s not the first time the hotel has opened its doors to a good cause. Shortly after the Cyclone Larry tore through the town ten years ago, the hotel housed and fed those tasked with the subsequent clean up and rebuild. Throughout the hotel’s bar pictures hang detailing the devastation of the time, but they also show the pride felt when a community pulls together in tough times. A decade is long enough for a town to rebuild, and when passing through the town’s suburbs there were few traces of storm, with the town seemingly benefitting from the subsequent construction-fuelled economic activity.
Today’s riding was partly a reversal of yesterday, and Newton’s law about gravity was again proved true as yesterday’s thrilling descent became this morning’s tough punishment, with the peloton heading skywards for about 30km to the top of the range and across Queensland’s highest road.
The peloton was proudly led out by the day’s competition jersey wearers; Jon Lesquereux in the Dexus Green Jersey, “Lakey” wearing the EY white jersey, Iryna Nuzhaya in the UBS polka dots and Mike Bowan proudly sporting the Scentre Group yellow.
Cycling uphill in Queensland is deceptive. Unlike last year’s ride through the jagged and remarkable peaks of middle earth, aka New Zealand’s South Island, FNQ’s climbs are more gradual affairs taking riders up to a plateau rather than a summit, up and over rolling hills rather than craggy peaks. While different, the country is no less scenic with constantly varying hues of green and shifting landscapes from mangroves and rainforests, to canefields and pastoral lands.
However, like the South Island, the weather in the tropics changes quickly, and today the peloton experience the whole gamut of Queensland’s seasons – both wet and dry. The morning was a little overcast, although not particularly threatening, but as riders started climbing a fine mist developed into steady rain as the bunch worked their way back up to the highest road in the maroon state. Fortunately upon arriving there, the rain eased and the sun stepped out from behind the clouds. After a seriously tough morning, the effect this had on the bunch cannot be exaggerated. Almost instantaneously, morale was boosted, the level of chat increased, and the scenic roller coaster of a road was relished.
Today we found our lunch waiting for us deep in the rainforest at just next to the Hypipamee Crater, a diatreme – geologist jargon for a volcanic exhaust pipe. With a diameter of 61m and 82m deep, it’s a spectacular pipe, and made a good spot to break up the day up after the morning’s climbing. The crater also served to remind us where we are, an ancient land that once was covered in volcanic activity.
Without getting too carried away, today’s lunch stop and the contrast between canefields and rainforest are also a reminder of the importance of conservation in this area. It is truly staggering to consider the size and scale of the forests that covered the area prior to European settlement in the area.
Almost immediately after lunch we came across a seriously committed individual pushing a cart on the side of the road. “Ferris Gump”, or Ben as his parent’s named him, is part way through running from Magnetic Island to Darwin, in attempt to set a record for running around Australia, and raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service at the same time.
After a cracking afternoon filled with stunning sunlit vistas across the Atherton Tablelands, the bunch rolled in to our accommodation at Lake Tinaroo to find a charming resort filled with condominiums, a swimming pool and six massage therapists ready and waiting to go.
And as one experienced Chain Reaction rider put it; “Well, this is bloody nice.”
Distance covered: 135 km
Metres climbed: 2100m