Riding solo to Mount Kooroomool Lookout

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It was a ~3 hour drive to Echo Creek Adventure Centre where Matt was doing a half day mountain bike session with a group of grade 10 boys. Unless you’re a long haul truck or bus driver, ~6 hours of driving in one day is a lot for us mere mortals… Understandably Matt wanted company on the trip so he enticed me along with a promise of a long bike ride out to Mount Kooroomool Lookout and back from the centre he was working at.

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I’m getting more confident going on long rides solo. Going solo is something I haven’t done a whole lot of and I still get moments where I think ‘yikes I’m on my own miles away from anywhere and anyone – what will I do: if I have a mechanical that I can’t deal with… OR what if I fall off... OR what if I don’t have mobile coverage and need it…OR what if (insert something else diabolical that could possibly happen here) happens???’ The more I go on solo rides, the easier it is to see that my anxiety about riding solo is really because of my over reactive imagination. I’ve now proved that I can go for a long solo bike ride and come back safe and sound with all limbs attached!

Sometimes out on the ride I’ve felt uneasy, the way I deal with that is to remind myself that I’m prepared, I’ve got snacks and plenty of water, I’ve let someone know my planned riding route in case of an emergency, and besides – I’ve got two good legs and if it’s a mechanical (or big hill) I can just walk! Being in the region that hosts the township of Tully which is renowned for being the wettest town in Australia, the road went through very flat farmland growing thirsty cane and banana crops either side for at least 15kms. I rode past so many signs that said ‘private property’, ‘respect farm biosecurity’ and / or ‘trespassers will be prosecuted’ etc. and felt that it wasn’t a particularly welcoming place.

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The following ~7kms were on dirt and was mostly farmland with cows and fields of tall, tall grass, taller than me… I was quite taken with the tenacious fig on top of a dead tree in a paddock…

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…and I did just manage to get a glimpse of the impressive Tully River through the 7ft high grass – then the last 3kms of the road was a little more tree lined!

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It was the vista beyond the farmlands in the valley which made this ride particularly special. The farms were shadowed by the mountains of Koombooloomba National Park to one side and there was a mountain range also to the other side… though not quite as close or impressive, it was like riding next to sleeping giants. Exactly where the “lookout” or rather “lookup” was, was a vague to say the least but I presumed that the rather impressive mountain that stood out amongst the others in the range was likely to be the right one.

With 25km under my belt and the road looking like it just kept going and going, I was definitely past the best views to Mount Kooroomool. So guessing it was indeed the mountain I was looking for, I turned around and headed back the way I came.

On my return I was treated to quite a sight of many birds flying above a cane paddock that looked like it had not all that long ago been harvested.

Then the cows welcomed me on the home stretch back to Echo Creek Adventure Centre!

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It was a great way to entertain myself while Matt was off teaching mountain bike skills to Grade 10s. With my growing confidence riding solo I was able to just enjoy the breeze on my face, the ever changing views, the road ahead and the benefits of being able to pump my legs until I was ready to turn around – a great day out!

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Words by Liliana Williamson (May 2018)