So, spoiler alert, we did it and returned to tell the tale… 🙂 if that’s all you wanted to know you can stop reading now… for those interested in the long-winded version, read on!
The week was a fairly busy one – now that I have a vague idea what’s going on at work, people expect me to actually do things!! What’s that about?? Which means I spent most of the week trying to find an hour and a half on a day and at a time in the next 3 weeks where ten people were all available – and not people like me who have nothing better to do, people who run divisions of superannuation companies and travel and by the way we won’t be paying you for your time so if you could just do this out of the kindness of your heart that would be lovely, thanks… I’m pretty sure I get paid both too much and not enough to do this job. But it’s done.
Thursday night we splurged and had pizza and a wine (just one) and on Friday I could definitely have gotten stuck in but in the interests of this whole experiment with my body I abstained, had water with lemon in it (*eye roll*), an early dinner, and hit the mattress at about 8pm.
Sleep was somewhat hard to come by. The dog decided that there was just too much going on and she couldn’t get comfortable. She tried this pillow, then climbed over me to Kiwi to try his pillow, then sat on him for a while, then back to me, then jumped off and went to see my dad downstairs (who kindly came to look after her while we were out riding), then came back, then needed to wee and chase the possums outside… OMG! But when it was time to get up at 4am I was surprisingly ready to go and lacking the usual slight grogginess. Which I think means I’m forced to admit this whole ‘cut back on the booze’ thing is working. Sigh. I do feel better for it. Much as it pains me to admit it.
Leg 1 – Canberra to Wagga Wagga – 350km
After the ‘get out of bed, drag on clothes, shove food and coffee in mouth, brush teeth, leave the house’, the first thing I realised as I got on the bike was that I’d forgotten my camel back which was still sitting on the chair inside. So strike one for preparation – I went back inside to get it and we were on our way.
Getting a start receipt definitely went better than the last time I tried – I managed to press all the right buttons in the correct order and was ready to go in 2 minutes. Unfortunately I had forgotten that for Far Rides we each need a receipt, so Kiwi had to go do his own. But we were both done in under 5 minutes and we were on the road at 4.27am, three minutes ahead of schedule!
Most of this leg was fairly uneventful. We headed up towards Goulburn on the Federal Highway, hung a hard left at the Hume (a 35km/h turn off a 110km/h road is interesting), made a right at the Sturt Highway and followed it down to Wagga Wagga where it was time for second breakfasts. The most interesting things that happened on this leg were the couple of roos who were keen to end our ride (and their lives) earlier than desired who thankfully were persuaded to live another day, and an interesting discussion about bodily functions when we stopped around sunrise…
Kiwi: I’m going to stop at the next truck stop for a leg stretch
… (We pull over in a truck parking lay by – has rubbish bins but no seating area or toilets, it’s just for rest stops)
Kiwi: Wee time
Me: I need to do a wee too!
Kiwi: You can do a wee.
Me: I don’t think so, not unless you want this trip to get gross and disgusting really quickly.
Needless to say, we stopped again 20 minutes later at a rest area that had actual toilets. I know there are devices out there designed for women to be able to go to the bathroom like men, but I still have reservations about how I deal with the pants/undies thing. I’d rather just take the extra time to go to a real bathroom! Those were our only two stops and we arrived in Wagga soon after 8am.
The advantage of being on the back with mobile coverage is finding a good breakfast option on the go. A quick interweb search found me ‘The Blessed Bean’ and we had good coffee as well as scrambled eggs and bacon for second breakfast. It was a nice way to warm up again after a cooler than expected ride (it got down to 12 degrees at one point and we were both dressed for more like 18-20 degrees).
Leg 2 – Wagga Wagga to Dartmouth – 220km
We were back on the bike again 45 minutes later and the trip to Dartmouth was pretty uneventful. Though I did discover that I don’t like listening to music while riding. Usually Martin has the bluetooth on the bike going to listen to stuff, but with our comms kits on he used the speakers instead. The advantage of that was that the bike didn’t interfere with our headsets (usually mine ends up all crackly because of the interference) but the disadvantage was that I had ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ stuck in my head for the rest of the day. But I learnt something I didn’t know about myself before – which is a good thing. And we know now that we need a bit of a strategy for what we do when we each want to listen to different things. Some of the photographic highlights from the back of the bike…
We made it to the check in at Dartmouth roughly 30 minutes ahead of time, had some snacks, socialised and then successfully submitted our starting receipts! By 12.30 we were back on the road (bye Lynne, Fatman, PhilMor, Simon, and all the others I met/saw again)…
Leg 3 – Dartmouth to Corryong – 145km
Again, this was a fairly uneventful part of the trip, by now we were both definitely in the groove, the music was off (I still had Elton John in my head but only intermittently) and I was taking in the sights.
Who knew there was an international airport in Mitta Mitta!?
But we were both starting to get the hunger worms. This was where things could have gone badly wrong but thankfully didn’t. We were both in need of food by the time we hit Corryong, I’d done the interweb search thing and found out that our cafe of choice closed at 2pm (the time we hit town) but that another cafe and the bakery were open until 4pm. Lesson 2 of the day: Don’t trust everything you read on the interweb!! Turns out the other cafe was also closed when we hit town. Thankfully the community bakery was still open and had some vegetable pasties still available, along with an apple turnover (Kiwi) and a Lamington (me) and a full on riot was avoided! No photos were taken. The evidence was consumed. We left the scene at 2.20pm.
Leg 4 – Corryong to Home – 290km
So it was time to head for home. The electronics told us the final leg would take us 4 hours and with a couple of stops for bathroom breaks it was pretty much right on the money. At roughly km 863.4 (just over 500 miles for you ‘Muricans reading this) I hit the threshold of my butt hurts. The seat is definitely miles better than it was before Mick worked his magic, and I had been working my abs and my legs all day to try to dull the pain and move around but even so I hit the point where it was all hurting and my back was starting to ache. Even the beautiful scenery of the Australian ‘alps’ wasn’t enough to distract me, though the view did help…
Other than that, there was little to report – I loved the ride up and down the mountains! We had a great time on the curves and I was definitely feeling very relaxed about things in general. We were back in the garage at home before 6.30pm, having done just over 1000km in 14 hours. It turns out it was a close run thing as a rock we hit up in the alps bent the rim of the front wheel and we could well have ended up with a flat tyre and no way home, but I’m choosing to believe that the deity of LD Riding knew that would have meant an early exit from the fold by one of his/her newest members… So no harm done!
The trip went well. I had some painkillers with me just in case, and I’m pleased I did because it made the last 140kms much more bearable. Still painful, but not so much so that I was crippled when I got off the bike, and today I’m feeling only a little achy. My inner thighs are sore from holding on more with my knees, and I was really focussed on using my lower abs yesterday rather than slouching which I think helped a lot with my back. The nutrition for the day wasn’t great, and next time I’ll be making sure we pack more healthy stuff and/or make sure we have a plan on the road. I also need to remember to take my back brace with me (already packed for next week’s trip to Phillip Island) so that I have some extra support when I need it. But we both handled it pretty well. Granted, we weren’t trying to collect bonuses and I was completely wrecked by the time we were done last night (we had pizza again with Dad, and two glasses of wine, and I was hungover this morning…) but I stayed hydrated, we didn’t get cranky with each other at all and we both got back having had a good time… At least Kiwi said he had a good time. And guys always tell their partners the truth, right?