Sunday, December 14, 2008

this is Australia

A bit of Midnight Oil tonight, sitting on the padio and watching the storms.

What a cracker of a storm we are having. Great big lightning bolts and rain, cool, beautiful rain. We went to Stone River for the cycling friends Christmas piss up and flog up a mountain extravaganza this weekend. Hot, I want you to know, it was truly hot. We headed up Mt Fox range at 8 am, a time when any sensible cyclist is back from their ride and having a coffee. Headed out and spun easy on the Mountain bikes to the beginning of the Mt Fox road. I took off ahead of the rest because I figured I wasn’t going to make it and I wanted a big head start. Off I went. Soft sand on the road, the odd big (but dead) snake. Cattle who didn’t know what to make of a cyclist.

If you are cycling towards loose cattle, stick your elbows out so you look bigger. I find this an effective ruse to make them believe they should get off the road and run into the bush. So on I went. I don’t have very much hill experience, and I was really nervous. I feel sick and scared nervous. But I have gears on the Specialized bike I haven’t used yet, so I kept going up and up and up. It is 9 kms with hardly a break. By half way I was stuffed. I was sweating so much my front wheel was soaked with drips. I had drunk all my water, and I had a long way to go. I could feel the heat stress, dizzy and sick and pounding heart. I was having a fear of heights induced near panic attack when a friend caught up with me. He has had bypass surgery and is sensible about what he asks of his body. He said he was ready to turn around, and I went with him.

The decent was very fast, and cool. Down from the rainforest and back to cattle country, with fast switchbacks and my first experience of disk brakes. It was excellent. I used to get hand cramps from feathering the brakes, but the WSD of my MTN bike puts everything is reach for small hands and it was easy. Now I am over the jitters and looking forward to having another go on the MTN bike. Just give me a cooler day.

Back to the camp site and everyone headed for the river for a swim. Now I am fond of my cycling mates, but I let them go ahead of me. We have had some rain and the water was murky. I recon there are crocs in the river system, there is a sign 6 kms from our camping spot warning of estuarine crocodiles, and I believe it. But Aussies believe they are bullet proof, so in they all went, clutching an 11 am restorative beverage I may add. And when nobody got snapped I headed in too. Cool bliss.

We all spent the day in a stupor of heat. I must have been 35 celcius. Not much wind. Everyone gave in to a nap at some stage, and geeze it was hot. Great supper, lots of camp oven cooking, fun and wine. Early to bed, but no sleep. It was just so hot we all just dozed and tossed.

So now we are back home and blessed relief has blown through with a proper storm. The temperature has dropped to about 25, which is cool if you live here. Hope we have a clear start for tomorrows ride though, I have missed my road bike.

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