When plans don’t go to plan.

As you know, it’s been a cold winter in Melbourne ….so when the opportunity to head north into the Queensland sunshine to ride the Noosa Strade Bianche popped up, we thought this would be a welcome change.

The Noosa Strade Bianche (NSB) is in its 7th year and is a ride that honours the famous L’Eroica in Chianti, Italy. So, it was a natural fit to do this ride, given my love of the gravel and quiet, country roads.

This also presented another great opportunity to ride with Dad and to help him get used to the gravel in preparation for the big one in Italy in October, that is L’Eroica.

We had a few days to acclimatize and unwind in preparation, which was greatly needed.

The NSB event goes over two days, with a “bike show and swap meet” on the Saturday, with most of the riders entering their bikes into the show. There were some truly wonderful machines on display.

Sunday is the main ride day with three ride distances on offer, an 87km, a 137km and a 160km.

Dad and I were doing the 87km and with the ride day upon us, it was an early start to ensure that we had enough time to have a couple of coffees and quick breakfast before we rolled down to the start to sign on and take in the rider briefing.

This was another perfect Winter’s day in the sunshine state, not a vest or a set of arm warmers to be seen.

The briefing was done and the bell was rung and our day was under way. We wound our way through the back blocks of Noosaville and in no time we were off the main roads and climbing, finding ourselves on quiet back roads in the hinterland.

I was riding my Cinelli and in honoring the L’Eroica ethic, used my Campagnolo strada singles, which have been used in previous editions of L’Eroica.

We floated along quite effortlessly on our steel machines and then I noticed that the front wheel seemed odd, and in a flash it was flat. No dramas, I had a spare and set about changing it. The sag wagon rolled up and we made use of their track pump to ease the task and get rolling quicker.

We were under way again and it was just a pleasure to be rolling along in the warm weather, having just hit the gravel and in the middle of quiet Queensland country life. As we passed a couple of guys changing a flat, we were the back markers no longer .

We were on an undulating road and I was coasting down another hill when we hear a loud bang …this time it’s more than just a flat. I had a nice rip in the tyre and no more spares.

It was time for a ‘team strategy adjustment meeting’. Decision made, we rang home for a new bike to be dropped out to us.

Our original plan of riding the official NSB ride was now out the window and with a slight course adjustment, we decided to choose our own adventure and see where it would take us.

We rolled into Cooroy, took in another coffee and watched a bit of Country life unfold. We then decided to take the long way home and weave our way back to the start.

After 60 odd km, we were back at the marina and having signed off on the board that we had returned safely, we took to having a couple of celebratory pints. To celebrate what, you may ask?

 

Well, rather than being disappointed about not making all the check points and finishing according to the plan, I had a great day out in the sun and in the country, riding my bike and talking with my dad, which was capped off with a great lunch of Mooloolaba prawns and prosecco. All in all another perfect day on the bike and we will be back next year to complete the Noosa Strade Bianche successfully, only with a set of 28m clinchers and about 7 tubes.

A very big thank you to Andrew, Alex and Chris from Noosa Strade Bianche for their hospitality, the bike hire and for organizing a beautiful event that is full of passion for steel and gravel…

Salute!