QLD Hinterland Riding by Rick Horvat× 03.11.2011 For the last 25 years I have been visiting the Gold Coast. Initially these trips were part of our yearly family holiday, but now they are typically part of a cycling trip, mates in tow.Last year we ventured on a ride of 144k, that took us through rain forest, cane fields, rolling farm land and ranches. Road side fruit stands in remote areas along the ride are not uncommon which adds to the beauty of this adventure. We decided to tackle this ride once again.We started out in a sleepy beachside town Currumbin, 15k south of Surfers Paradise and headed out along the Currumbin Creek Road toward the hills. At just over 10k into the ride, a left hand turn and the first climb for the day greets us.The Tomewin Mountain Road heads towards the NSW border. Undulating roads for 9.2k, climbing up a ridge that rewards you with amazing scenery over the Currumbin Valley. It is truly breathtaking – in more ways than one. QLD roads are well signed throughout the state with gradients providing all road users with information on what gear to use. This is no different for the cyclist. Our first sign; 14% for 800 meters. Thank you very much!A strong cyclist will make it to the NSW boarder on this road in about 24 minutes. From this point the road drops down a nice gentle descent with amazing views toward the NSW coast. It was at the bottom of this descent that we encountered a python! Stretched across the road, making its way from one side to the other. It must have been close to 3 meters long. Only in the QLD hinterland!A quick roll through cane fields and a right hand turn on the number 97 is where we started the next section of the ride. Rolling roads through the valley back toward QLD. We stopped for a quick can of soft drink in Chillingham before tackling the climb back up the ridge. As we were in NSW, the roads aren’t marked with how steep this climb is. But when I could, I would look down and see what my Garmin was reading and I think through the sweat dripping from my brow that I saw a 17%.The climb starts in earnest as you pass through Numinbah and is approximately 5k long.A quick rest on top of the border and we were off again with another gentle descent toward Natural Bridge. The roads through here roll through some brilliant country side with horse ranches on either side based at the bottom of steep intimidating mountains.After 75k a right hand turn onto Pikes Road (the Goat Track) is what will guide us to Springbrook. A sign at the entry to the road greats us letting us know that it will get steep but there will also be respite half way through the climb. This respite did not come! The road climbs and climbs and then climbs a little bit more for just under 7k. At one stage I was turning the pedals with just enough power to register a speed of 6.9k/h! In the middle of the day with the QLD sun beating down on you, the hill seems just that little more difficult.A quick stop at the top of the ‘Goat Track’ at a quaint restaurant to talk about our struggle and battle with the hill before we continue up toward the last stop before we head home, ‘the Best Look Out Of All’.Gradients in excess of 10% smack the legs around on more than a couple of occasions as we make our way the additional 10K to the look out. At times you still question as to whether getting off the bike and walking would be acceptable? The lookout is amazing! At the time it is very hard to think as too whether or not all the climbing was actually worth it. On reflection – it is!Now with all of the climbing done, all that was left was to descend. Sweeping corners, smooth roads and forest on either side; this is a brilliant 15k drop back toward the valley. As we get closer to the Gold Coast, the suburbs build up around us, eventually completely replacing the forest landscape that we leave behind. The final 20k of the ride is on main roads. We power home with a nice tail wind eventually arriving back at our accommodation.In summary; the QLD Hinterlands provide for great riding. The adventure that we shared is one we will fondly look back on with great satisfaction for many a year to come and keep us wanting to come back for more!