Cyclist escapes Sydney for a weekend jaunt on the Gold Coast, in search of the road less ridden with Soigneur.
We awake to the dulcet sounds of an iPhone playing the harp and take a peek out the window. It does little to spark the motivation. The darkness blankets the road, street lamps flicker under the drizzle and it’s far too cold to unsheathe from the comfort of the duvet. But none of that really matters because this afternoon (Friday) we’re jetting off from Sydney for two days of winter weekend sunshine and riding through the Hinterland on the Gold Coast.
Daniel Strauss and Jason Blankfield from Soigneur have been kind enough to host us for the weekend on the first of their Escape Winter trips. Needing minimal ‘arm twisting’, the thought of two days riding in mid-20’s temperature, with little traffic, fewer traffic lights and along new stretches of roads, is too good to pass up. For those planning on taking on the Peaks Challenge Gold Coast event in early August, we would be riding a few sections of the course. A little reconnoissance ahead of Game Day is always a good idea.
We had heard only great things about Soigneur. The Melbourne-based duo have previously hosted the likes of Richie Porte and Nathan Earle (Team Sky) on similar style weekend trips and with their amazing service and off-piste riding routes, it seemed only fitting to experience first hand.
The idea is for guests to worry about little else except for feeding themselves and pedalling. Soigneur will take care of the spectacular scenery, on-road support including full mechanical assistance, post-ride massages, all meals and beverages (including beer and wine) and the chance to meet and ride with a bunch of like-minded and soon-to-be new friends, along with anything else a reasonable person may need. Seems like a pretty good deal.
Every moment on and off the road is captured by a professional photographer and this time around we were lucky enough to have Jeff Curtes (@jeffcurtes), a stalwart of the snowboard and photography scene, on hand to snap us sweating and suffering.
You can see the full list of inclusions here.
Now, before we go and spoil the whole story (you can read more about that soon), we’ll instead leave you with a snippet of the weekend getaway…
#EscapeWinter to the Gold Coast
…a short flight later we arrive on the Gold Coast (having departed from Sydney just an hour earlier) where our Soigneur shuttle driver is waiting. A 20-minute drive and we’ve climbed high above the GC skyline to our accommodation. Two-days of riding and adventure await down below. Daniel and Jason have chosen the near-perfect location for the #EscapeWinter Gold Coast Hinterland bunch. The only catch is the final stretch at the end of each ride: The Panorama.
Less than 2km in length, descending the Panorama is like rolling into a big dipper. On the way home it’s a very different story. Suffice to say, there are few people to have attempted this ascent and descent. It’s steep!
Summer is back: Numinbah Valley – Tomewin – Currumbin
Without going into too much detail – that’s reserved for a coming edition – the main climbs of the day on Saturday were out of the Numinbah Valley and then Tomewin. Both offer a challenge but nothing that will push you to the limit unless you decide it so.
It wouldn’t be a trip to the GC without a beachfront stroll. The views at Currumbin are worth a look and offer plenty of spots to drop in for coffee and ice creams – it’s summer all year long up here.
Easy like Sunday morning: Beechmont – Binna Burra
Day 2 was an out and back up to Beechmont and then up to Binna Burra in the Lamington National Park. The route climbs steadily to around 900m above sea level. As you can see by clicking the ride profile below, it goes up in steps. There are also spots to stop along the way and there’s a cafe at the top. Definitely worth the effort.
Keep an eye out for our full story in a coming edition of Cyclist.
All images courtesy of Jeff Curtes (jeffcurtes.com).
Need your own weekend escape? See where the Soigneur crew are headed next.
Looking for another challenge on the Gold Coast? Check out the next stop of the Peaks Challenge series.