Cyclists make history on valley rail trail challenge
SCORCHING heat couldn't beat three cyclists determined to make history on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
Jonny Ayres, Lachlan Murray and Cameron Wickbold became the first riders to cycle the length of the trail from Wulkuraka to Yarraman and back again - a total of 334 kilometres in under 24 hours.
Furthermore, the trio completed the epic ride in 40-plus degree heat for most of the day.
Mr Ayres said though they were all experienced endurance cyclists, the extreme conditions made them worry whether they would be able to complete the challenge they'd laid down for themselves.
"We didn't choose the hottest day of summer - it chose us unfortunately,” he said.
"The weather predictions were for 38 (degrees) maximum, so we thought if we paced ourselves and turned off at places along the way, we would be fine, but what nearly stumped us was the fact that it hit 45 degrees and stayed above 40 for about five hours that day.”
Mr Murray was the only one to have previously set foot on the trail, and Mr Ayres said they received remote assistance from Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Users Association president Paul Heymans to find water and rest stops.
"We had to make a number of unscheduled stops, not so much to cool down but just to stop overheating,” he said.
"Absolutely, we said we might not make it both ways on this day, that it simply might not be feasible when it was so extremely hot.
"There was a moment when we were sitting on the floor of the IGA in Yarraman, each with a two-kilo bag of frozen peas on the backs of our necks, and that was very comforting.”
The riders decided, since it was most downhill back to Blackbutt, they would carry on until there and reassess their situation.
After a few more stops and the opportunity to refill their drinks containers, the trio determined to finish what they had started.
"As we got down toward Fernvale, there was no doubt we would be able to finish,” he said.
"Riding through the night was surreal - everything goes very quiet and that's one of the things that appeals to be about long distance rides.”
The veteran cyclist said he considered completing the trail one of his greatest achievements.
"It was great to do it with Cam and Lachlan - I think we have huge respect for each other,” he said.
"It's not the furthest distance I've ridden, nor the most that I've struggled through a long ride, but considering it was riding on gravel and in such extreme conditions means it would certainly be one of my most epic adventures.
"There are certain situations where you may feel you've bitten off more than you can chew, but overcoming those adversities and still finishing makes for an even prouder achievement.”