I wake up with a little grin knowing that I get to head up to Comboyne today. In order to prepare for the ride I have a coffee or two plus a good breakfast, I have been opting for porridge lately with banana and peanut butter. I make sure I’ve got some homemade snacks in the pocket as I head out of town on the Oxley highway, in a westerly direction from Port Macquarie, Australia. The first ten kilometres are out to the donut, the big roundabout over the Pacific highway, we continue straight towards Wauchope, 18km west of Port. Today isn’t so hot, which is good otherwise we would already fill up the drink bottles here as this is the last opportunity for a while. As we leave Wauchope still on the Oxley highway we pass Timbertown and now the undulations start, there are three main climbs now until the turn off at Comboyne Road. Previously this was the end of the phone coverage as we really head out into the country side.
These aren’t long climbs to start with but they are the first opportunities to test how the legs are feeling and if we are going to push a bit on the mountain later. After one hour we have just passed Huntington school, that means we are making good time, legs must be feeling ok. After 30km we turn for the first time in the ride, left, towards Comboyne, the road opens up and there is this amazing view. It’s open with cows in the fields by the river, the Great Dividing Range in the background and nothing else. I love this view. As the bike jumps around on the rough road I’m thinking its a good thing I haven’t pumped my tires up for a week. I remember Seersy saying to me that country roads make you stronger so that just makes me love this ride more. We pass over the first bridge and I reminisce about the three ‘pick-a-plank’ bridges that used to add to the charm of this ride. You used to have to balance you way across the bridge being careful not to go off your chosen plank as the joins between wooden planks were more like the ‘Belgium crack of death’. After ten more kilometres we pass through the small village of Byabarra and now its time to think about the climb coming up in a few k’s time. After 40km we reach the bottom of the mountain and the now it’s time to push. The first two kilometres are the steepest of the climb and generally also the hottest in the middle of summer, its about 10% average but hard to find a rhythm as the degree changes often. I try to vary between seated and standing. About half way up the cicadas are so loud I can’t even hear my own breathing, well maybe that’s a good thing right… I can also hear the waterfall off the side of the mountain as we get closer to the top. It’s an avocado farming area at the top of the mountain and I just love the first farm views as we come over the top of the climb. This is where I want to live in the future, I’m now busy planning my farm life in my head.
Now we pedal the last few kilometres to the cafe in Comboyne for a piece of homemade cake, maybe apple pie today? And a good coffee as a reward and to get me home. Time just seems to stand still here, giving me the time to really breath and appreciate how lucky I am. A chat with the locals is always a highlight before the return back to Port Macquarie along the same route. It might be more downhill on the way back but there is generally an Easterly blowing to content with as we come back into town so no slacking off all the way home.
I always get home from the ride with a smile and a feeling of satisfaction. It is not the hardest or longest ride in the world but it is one that means the most to me as it signifies everything I love about my home in Port Macquarie and my love for my Cycling journey so far. I hope you have enjoyed this pedal with me and I hope to take you along this route in real life if you are passing though this part of the world!