Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mustering up the gumption - not only to ride through unknown territory, where 'roos and wallabies dart onto roadways, but also riding a bike 30 years newer than mine. This means responsive brakes, clutch and gears. This means twice my butt slipped at a stop that was only from 20 km to 0..... Did I mention I must look right but ride left? Did I mention that the temperature is almost 40 degrees celsius (104 Farenheit)...and I should mention we do not where we are going evidenced by the stops and starts to consult the iPad and roadsigns. I am getting more comfortable with the bike and with trying to read the guy in front to know he is about to pull left. I attempt to help the navigation...sort of. I would have to get glasses on, lose the shades and squint in the sun...so I trust the guy I have been following for more than 3 decades. We find Kangaroo Round and breakfast in a quaint local cafe where the owner has a hard time with the directions as she has not been out of the valley. After thinking she helped us steer clear of the non-stop twists I can see the glint in his eyes when she says how treacherous it is. We are off to find this road....and we do!! It is as ideal as any road we have been on. Narrow, twists, serene and constant swaying back and forth. It is invigorating and exhausting, wanting to take in every moment, every tree, bird and kangaroo. There are few words that can adequately describe the energy and peace that is generated in the movement of left, right, following curves, gear up, gear down. Now, lest you think I am a wimp...I rarely complain..I can be tired, cold, hungry, frustrated, hot, sweaty or have a headache. I can hardly remember a time that stopped a ride short including fingers almost frozen solid. I also know that to find the most amazing roads, you may need to tolerate some bumps, or straightaways filled with traffic. We happened upon a gravel road for the next leg and at this point, over 170kms in, more than 7 hours of riding. I complained....actually...I got nervous too. "Did you know this was gravel?" I yell through the motors and bumps. He nods no and I am trying to find any way out of here. We are somewhere on the way to Warburton on a gravel road more like a lane that is lined with gum trees and birds singing. At least 15kms in I wobble and the bike is down. It was a blur. I had a raspberry down my arm, hip, leg....my ego was bruised and I knew I had to pull it together and get to where we were going. The heat engulfed me..my arms was stinging and bleeding and I could feel the cuts oozing down my side. The bike was mostly fine except the right mirror....I was grateful there was no more damage. I barely hobbled in to our destination, by this time knowing I am in shock and that I am bruised and sore. I take solace in the fact that lots of great roads are hard to find and are part of the journey. Being on the mountain is a great experience, and you can't just stand and stay there or the beauty will be become ordinary. Gravel roads lead to esses....

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