Ditch water helps journo
TROY Kippen doesn't worry about signs.
Signs of rain, 40-degree heat and the 11 warning signs that mark the descent down the Dawes Range all failed to deter the South Burnett Times assistant editor on his bicycle journey from Kingaroy to Gladstone.
"I don't plan. If you only think about all the troubles you are going to have, you'll miss out," he said.
Troy started the mammoth journey with a 120km slog from Kingaroy to Ban Ban Springs last Wednesday.
But he soon found the three litres of water he packed wasn't going to be enough to survive in the 40-degree heat.
"I didn't think I was going to make it. I was so dehydrated that I stopped sweating and started overheating," he said.
"I knew I was in a bit of trouble, so I took off my t-shirt and soaked it in some water in a ditch by the road. I tried to look for clearer water. Then I squeezed it out and drank that.
"I would suggest no one does that."
But the drink was enough to push him along the last 20km to Ban Ban Springs.
The next morning the exhausted journalist rode only 30km before hitching a lift through Biggenden, Mundubbera and up to Monto with Central and North Burnett Times staff.
But that was when the heavens opened up, cutting off all access from Monto to Gladstone for three days.
"I actually liked seeing just how much rainfall can change a community," Troy said.
"Rain lifts spirits. People were chatty and happy when you saw them in the shops.
"And I think by the Sunday morning in Monto, I had finally recovered from the first day. I was a bit sick on Saturday after drinking that ditch water."
But the final stint on the bike on Sunday still had its challenges.
Troy pulled into Many Peaks pub in the early afternoon, only to find the publicans were going away for the night and he couldn't stay there.
"I was exhausted. During the last 20km to Gladstone I was so tired that I couldn't pedal anymore, and a guy pulled over and gave me a lift," he said.
He also lost his front brakes and had to push the bike over a couple of flooded creeks.
"When it gets tough like that, you just have to realise you are still moving - you're still knocking off kilometres," he said.
He pulled into Gladstone on Sunday in time for dinner with former South Burnett Times editor Rowan Hunnam.
"I wouldn't do the trip again, and I've got no plans in the near future for long-distance rides," he said.
"But I'm happy I did it."