1. New home in West End: it's close to everything, small inside and surrounded by hills. Within easy cycling distance of Mount Cootha. Perfect.
2. Somerset trail at Mount Mee: headed up there with Vetti and Angela for a casual 3 hour hike. Rainforest, pine-forest, open bushland and great views of the lake. A hidden gem. Walked barefoot for the last 9km, right foot and left calf still giving me some trouble.
3. Friday's nightclub: first time I've been out in the city, first time in a night club. I was pretty underwhelmed - it was mainly colourful drinks, tightly wrapped tits and arses, and people with no rhythmic sense dancing (myself included) - but had a good enough time faring Mike well for his trip to the US. Didn't get to sleep until 5am, at A, S & C's house.
4. Raging hangover: head throbbing, regret, trainwreck. Walked barefoot to the station on Sunday morning to get home in my (only) stylish shirt and Jeans. Classy, I know. Contemplating not partaking in:
5. Nerang-Murwillumbah road and Natural bridge: just beautiful. I have been there before, but not since I started appreciating the outdoors. Caught the train to Nerang and was on the saddle by 1pm, 5 hours behind schedule - great mental training for keeping moving while feeling like garbage. Roadside AGB after an hour. Disgusting.
The initial 20km of rolling hills were pretty demoralising, then the flat road through the Numinbah Valley was an absolute joy. Dispersed within the expansive jungle, towering golden cliffs on either side in the mid-afternoon sun. Got to Natural Bridge pretty much beat, so was glad to illegally dip my legs in the cool water, and take in the geological wonder that is best described by the following stolen picture:
The cycle back to Nerang was a bit of a nightmare internally, but a dream externally. Those tables turned with 10km to go as it started getting dark and I started to feel good.
80km of cycling in total. Worth it.
On a side note, I've been contemplating some lessons to take away from Flinders' Tour:
1. Alternate between drinking water and Nuun, especially when eating gels aswell, to prevent electrolyte imbalances.
2. When Mick and Dave went after the turnaround, I should have stayed at the same pace. We were doing 4:15s-4:30s before that, and in hindsight I really think that I could have maintained that pace until the end, instead of fading to fives and sixes.
3. Wear lube or something between the legs, chafing is not fun.
4. I should always bring my own Ibuprofen, just in case.