Dawn. The air is cool and a light fog hovers in the distance as I pilot my road bike through the first few kilometres of my ride trying to keep up a reasonable speed to counter my lateness while simultaneously trying not to push my cold muscles too hard. The roads are quiet with patches of last night’s rain mostly soaked into the tarmac and, aside from the birds, the only sound to be heard is my tyres whooshing along the road surface.
My first stop will be a rendezvous point in Brisbane’s far northern suburbs where my accomplices and I will set off for the little town of Dayboro and onward to climb Mt Mee. The climb is about 7km long with a gradient of about 5% which can be done at quite a relaxed pace to help you enjoy the stunning scenery of the rolling hills to the west.
As I pulled up to our rendezvous point, a slight sense of panic set in as I observed that most of the crew had left except for one rider who, despite my tardiness, kindly remained to ride with me to Dayboro. We wasted no time scampering along Gympie Rd into Petrie and onto Dayboro Rd traveling along the rolling hills for about 20km into the township. A few light showers on the way provided welcome respite from the rapidly warming day.
Unfortunately, upon arrival at Dayboro the rest of the crew had eluded us once again and started the climb up Mt Mee a few minutes prior. Warmed up from our jaunt along Dayboro Rd, the two of us were now in business mode and started a steady but spirited pace up the mountain. Passing farmhouses and fields, we looked up to see a cloud of fog sitting at our destination atop the mountain. As we kept climbing, we approached the first hairpin in the road and as we rounded the corner, the curtain opened on a stunning scene of the valley floor below partly covered in fog with tallest trees piercing through.
Looking up the road, we now also saw the familiar bikes and jerseys of our comrades up ahead. We had closed the gap and would all get to meet up at the top. The climb snaked higher and higher up the mountain taking in hillside cottages and pastures along the way until we reached the top at the corner of Townsend Road. Just when we thought the fun was over, Townsend Rd presents what I like to call “the kicker” – it’s a hill only a few hundred metres long but the gradient is about 18% and after a sustained effort up Mt Mee, this is makes for a great test of endurance.
After a brief stop for a chat and some snacks at the top, we started heading back down the mountain. Climbing is definitely my preference over descending and while my friends bombed down the winding road as quickly as possible, I opted for a slower, more ginger pace and took in the scenery once again from new angles. My decision was validated when shortly after beginning our descent, the skies opened up once again providing a welcome cooling down but also making the tarmac a little more slippery and gnarly.
After winding and braking for several kilometres, the final part of the descent straightened out and, with the rain now gone, I ditched the brakes, curled up into the drops and hammered full speed back into town. Exhilarated, I pulled up at the Dayboro Bakery with the others for coffee, food and a decent stretch.
While savoring our morning tea, we got talking with another group who had also just completed the Mt Mee climb and we decided to ride back to Brisbane together. The return journey would be a much more sedate affair along Mt Samson Rd and then into Winn Rd with the skies opening up again for a thorough drenching this time. We rode on in good spirits nonetheless with banter about headsets and bottom brackets needing disassembly and re-greasing.
Mt Mee is a great morning out and you can expect to cover about 70km to 100km+ depending on how you plan your journey. You should be of at least moderate fitness and beware that sections of Dayboro Rd are 100km/h zones though there’s plenty of shoulder on most of the way in. I found Mt Samson Rd with it’s lower speed limits to be a better option for the way home.
The bike I used for this little jaunt was my 2015 Trek Emonda SL6. It’s unique in my current stable of bikes in that it’s the only carbon fibre one I have. Fitted out with mechanical Ultegra and a rather nice Mavic Ksyrium SLE wheelset, it’s without doubt the most indulgent bicycle purchase I’ve ever made. And whilst it’s an absolute joy to ride and there’s no way I could say that I regret buying it, I also can’t see myself going to this extravagance again any time soon because, as I found out with the purchase of my Scott Scale 940 mountain bike since then, even bikes lower down the range are really nice these days in terms of both function and aesthetics. Sure, the higher speced rigs are a bit lighter and possibly a bit stiffer but given my truly non-professional cyclist status, that’s not likely to make much difference to my performance which is also a thing that I’m starting care less and less about as the years start to pile up.
With regard to ride stats for this trip, I don’t have too much to tell you. That’s mainly because I don’t have Strava due to my detestation of social media and I don’t have any other exuberant cycle gadgetry like power metres and GPS thingies either because, as I already mentioned, I’m not even close to being a pro so why go to great lengths to measure mediocrity. Pretty well, all I have is my very thrifty little wireless computer that I got from 99 Bikes. So there you have it.
Enjoy and see you out there some time.