Cycle Oz day 5 – the weather gods are bastards 

  • Start: Tomerong
  • End: Ulladulla
  • Day distance: 46.55km 
  • Total distance: 244.19km 
  • Average speed: 15.1km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 02:59 
  • Total time: 03:40

Linda and Jenny sent me off, after making me breakfast, with a packed lunch. I had big plans today. The weather looked good and I was following the highway for the whole day. Lots of people have told me to go to Pebbly Beach which was about 86km away, but a good 10km round trip out of my way, so I planned to try and make to to Batemans Bay exactly 100km away. I had several back up plans if I couldn’t make it. 

The day started off great. I was in a much better frame of mind and feeling a lot less emotional. It didn’t take long to get back to the highway and I was trucking along. The highway was undulating and I was crushing the hills, mostly in first gear, but I did manage to take one in second gear, so I’m improving! My quads no longer feel like they are being ripped apart and they don’t throb at night so that’s a bonus too! 

Jerrawangala!

The quality of the road varied today, it’s amazing how much quicker you can go when the tarmac is smooth. Sometime the shoulder was ok to ride on, but sometimes it was pitted with holes and lumps and it was pretty narrow. In these situations I chose to ride on the road and I’m sure the drivers think you should be riding in the gutter, no matter the state of it. 
A note to drivers – if you think you’re passing wide enough, you’re not, give as much room as you possibly can. It amazed me when the road was two lanes, with a clear right lane, the cars still stayed in the left lane and didn’t move over at all. I am basically a hazard in the road, any other hazard a car would slow down for. Just because the speed limit is 100km, doesn’t mean you have to go 100km. You can slow down and pass me safely! I had one particularly hairy moment when a caravan weaved over the white line in front of me. Now I understand why everyone hates caravans!! 

That was a bit of a rant! 

So I came to a wonderful long downhill and I was enjoying freewheeling and lifting myself off the seat slightly. There were some roadworks up ahead and I rolled past everyone who had just passed me as they were queuing. I spoke to the lollipop man and he let me go down to the halfway point so I could get a head start. Another worker greeted me and we joked about our attire. I was wearing a pink top and a yellow hi-vis vest and he was wearing a yellow jacket and a pink hi vis vest. His mate took a photo of us together. Annoyed I didn’t get one too! The workers were super friendly, and I waited there while they cut down about 5 trees in front of me, then they let me pedal off before all the traffic caught up. I gave the workers at the other end a cheery wave and congratulated myself for being quick enough to beat the cars! I have to take small victories where I can get them! 

It started to drizzle a bit but I was working hard on the hills so I wasn’t cold. Another long downhill saw my speedo tip 53.6km/hr before fear set in and I applied the breaks! I had been warned about a big hill coming into Milton and every time I went up slightly I hoped that was it. But it wasn’t, and the big hill into Milton was a big hill. Thankfully it wasn’t too steep, just long. There was very little shoulder on the majority of it so it was quite unpleasant for so many reasons, but I was determined to make it. I had some friendly banter with some workmen who told me I was about half way when I was almost at the top! 

Hot mess!

I was disgustingly sweaty and it had also stated to rain a lot harder by the time I reached the top. I ducked into a petrol station to take a breather and escape the rain. The rain was not part of the plan today! I waited for it to clear and pedalled on. 2 minutes later the heavens opened and buckets of water fell from the sky. I was completely soaked within a few seconds. It was like a monsoon. Water was cascading down the streets and the passing traffic was dumping huge amounts of spray over me as they hurtled on by. I couldn’t be any wetter. There was no point stopping for shelter so I carried on, knowing I was close to the next big town, Ulladulla. 

My shoes had puddles in them. Water was just running off me. I pulled into KFC which was the first shelter I could see. Soaking wet and cold I stood there wondering what to do. If I carried on I would get really cold. My waterproof jacket is no longer waterproof. Much like everything else I own, it’s breaking down. The sky was black and the rain was coming down in heavy waves. 

Do I really need to cycle in this? No is the answer to that question. So I tried to dry myself enough to be able to use my phone and googled somewhere to stay. Just across the road was a hostel. Great. So I headed over there. I got to the door and it said closed. Bum. The rain was torrential again and I considered just staying there anyway on the porch! But I decided to call them and they were open, just the office was closed. She told me to go inside and wait and she would be back in half an hour. There was one other guest there, another cycle tourist, David from Vancouver. 

When the lady came back she got annoyed with me because I was dripping on her floor, and because it was 1pm and I wasn’t supposed to check in until 2pm (come on, there was one other guest there, do you want me to go stand in the rain for an hour!), and I asked to use the bathroom to change out of my wet clothes because I was starting to shiver – she wasn’t happy about that! But we eventually broke down some barriers and had a nice chat. As with most people who are a bit grumpy there is normally something else going on – she has a 2 year old who won’t take a nap. 

I dried out and warmed up and David (a chef, yes!) cooked dinner for me! I’ve been seriously lucky with food so far. Day 5 and I haven’t bought or eaten any of my own food! As the rain continued to hammer down all afternoon and evening I was more than happy with my decision to bail. 

And, the best part of the day was when I was going through my things and I found some chocolate! A nice bar of Lindt dark chocolate and mint. My first chocolate of the trip…so I ate the whole bar. 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world. 

663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation. 

If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.

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