In 2015 for us South East Queensland riders - the destination was the Sunshine Coast. Offering stunning beaches without the highrise view, a fabulous trail network and gravel road options for the return loop - something for everybody. Including a pub counter meal at the end!
My day started well before dawn, getting 20km in the legs to my rendezvous point - I then hitched a ride with Chris and his new Borealis Echo up the coast, our journey starts from the backtracks at Perigian beach...
As the Australian fatbike ambassador for Cannondale, I had my new Fat CAAD 1 to session. Minimalist approach today - just the bare essentials. Strapped to the bars I have my Zipshot tripod, my camera (Panasonic FT2) in the top tube bag, one water bottle (I didn't want anything on the huge downtube to spoil that Cannondale graphic, and nothing on my back), my Blackburn Outpost HV pump secreted on the seattube and my lights, spare tube and sunscreen in the seatbag.
It was quite a gathering on the path out front of the surf club, checking out each others bikes and setups. Carbon, alloy, titanium and steel all well represented.
A hot topic was chain lube (Ride Mechanic Bike Milk - nothing better) and of course tyre pressure!
Much frolicking! As usual, fatbikes bring out the big kids in all of us. Brenno on his Muru Witjira doing...something...in the background here - fatbikes are about fun!
'yes, the fork is more aero'
'yes, I got the fork at half price'
We had a brisk tailwind up the beach, temps were mild at about 25 degrees C (okay, 77F).
20 riders showed this year - we had 5 in 2014, 2 in 2013 and solo mio in 2012. Much discussion went into the correct name of a 'collective' of fatbikers.
Everybody just found their groove, be it up higher on the beach or closer to the waterline, catching up with mates, having a race, or just chewing the fat.
As Russell Coight would say: "all too soon it was time to leave the beach and head for the hills, on some trails that skirted the national park. These trails are easy to see during the day, but hard to see at night, because it's dark."
Terry on his freshly built Salted Sandfly, and enjoying the smooth comfort of that Thudbuster. Chris with those blue hoops, and hardman Eric - a veteran of Fraser Island bike expeditions - on a Krampus.
We were headed for Laguna Lookout - overlooking Noosa township, the river and North shore.
Matt here showing us the correct way to descend tech trail obstacles, on his bright carbon Fatboy.
A quick smoko break - Bonk Breaker bars got me through some very tough times in Alaska on the Iditarod - Brenno reckons eating them has improved his riding and the health of his beard too. What a stud!
This little tike had the fattest tyres of all* as well as a disc wheel and aero frame. They breed them fast here - the home of the Noosa triathlon!
*to scale of width, volume, ground pressure, body weight
Nick (on the left of image) only picked up his new Fatboy at 4:30am that morning - the first ride was to be on the sand, while Paul and Leanne are no strangers to the fatbike genre on 2 heavily modified, full rigid Salted Sandflies (hint - only one bike had pink Nexties)
All too soon it was time to hit the road (another Coight meme). We bombed our way down the hill from Laguna lookout on some secret singletrack, to swan our way along the hoity-toity of Hastings St. Wayne on his Moonlander just cruising along, admiring the health of the trees and the integrated watering systems.
John (Salsa Mukluk) our local guide, found us a bit of double entendred 'North Shore' on our way to the marina for morning tea.
A quiver of fat!
All too soon, it was time to quit the road, the fancy coffee shop and head for the trails of Tewantin. "Set amongst the tall eucalypts and cabbage tree palms, the singletrack here was sandy with a light covering of leaf litter, as well as branches with a sandy base underneath" (trail description taken directly from Russell Coights new book 'How I got this black eye and other injuries')
Chris - a veteran of several Tours de Roto - was eager to pin it on the Echo.
Paul has an efficient fast, flowy grace, with Nick hot on his heels.
My bike was patiently waiting for its turn...
We regrouped at the trailhead, to be greeted by a huge group of those skinny tyred mtbers - with lefties!
The party over, we began our journey South for the final leg to the pub on back roads...
...and fire trails. Neil leading us out with his extensive, encyclopedic knowledge of trails in the South East QLD region.
Erk! Both Jason and John got sticks in the tyres - Jason had to run out while Johns remained inflated enough with the stick in place, to ride out on.
Arrival at the pub with a sweet 66km loop on the Garmin - Nick reckoned that was equal to about 100km on the road. Some changed into their finest, while the rest of us were happy in our stinky, sweaty kit. Hey, chamois time is chamois time before Iditarod!
The beefburger was the choice for many. I'm on controlled diet for Iditarod, so was happy with my Bonk Breaker...
But the day of riding wasn't over for me. I got a lift with Wayne back to Northside Brisbane, I still had 40km to ride home. All totalled I ended up with a fantastic 125km of mixed terrain riding on the CAAD 1 for the day, 3500 calories burnt and 3 Bonk Breakers consumed. Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 is 12 weeks away...