Cycle Oz day 13 – claw hand

  • Start: Marlo 
  • End: Lakes Entrance 
  • Day distance: 74.7km 
  • Total distance: 759.74km 
  • Average speed: 15.9km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 04:43
  • Total time: 06:15

I slept really well on my mattress nestled in between the reptile room and the laundry. I don’t need anything fancy, a little bit of floor space is perfect. Anything is better than being outside in a tent on a freezing cold night. It was still dark when I woke up and I was happy I could sleep for a bit longer. I peeked through the windows of the reptile house and it was totally white outside. My tent would have been soaked. 

I ate breakfast with my hosts and Kiera, who could have had anything she wanted for breakfast, chose to eat dry noodles with dry flavouring sprinkled on. She’s already half way to being a thru-hiker! They were really generous and gave me stuff to make myself a sandwich and gave me some museli bars for the road. Sarah went off for a run and I said goodbye and cycled off on a very wet Priscilla. It was a morning for all the layers. 

I stopped at the lookout as instructed by Mike. There are humpback whales in the area and he told me to look out for spray from the blow holes. I stood there for a while, it was beautiful and so peaceful, but unfortunately I saw no signs of whales. The road then followed the river and was flat and quiet and wonderful. I did 15k before I realised I had gone past my 10k break. I rode through Orbost without stopping and saw loads of girls playing Netball which made me smile. 

I’ve been getting by without weeing all day, or sometimes just once, but today I was desperate and found a BP garage which thankfully had a toilet. I also treated myself to a soda, only my second one of this trip. I stopped at a little rest area just up the road and ate my sandwich and drank my soda, all before 10:30am. My first encounter with mosquitoes happened today, they are big buggers! 

It never got warm today, I got a little sweaty on a couple of long uphills, but compared to all the previous days it was fairly flat today. I was struggling to decide what to do with my day. I could make it all the way to Bairnsdale, but that would be over 100k, and I had spent too long fannying about in the morning to make it before it got dark. Also the route that looked achievable followed the ‘rail trail’ which is a gravel trail, which Priscilla and I are not cut out for yet. I could also stop in Nowa Nowa but I got there at 2pm, too early to stop for the day. I also didn’t want to pay a small fortune for a tent site at a holiday park, there were about 20 holiday parks to choose from in Lakes Entrance and I couldn’t be bothered to look into all of them. I use a really good app called Wiki Camps which shows you all campgrounds / hostels / rest areas / facilities along the way. I noticed a free camp site tucked down near the coast, further research suggested they provide backpacker accommodation. A quick call to them told me they charge $10 and I was sold. Cheapest hostel accommodation ever! And he said I would be the only person there, which came as absolutely no surprise. 

I got my motivation back, which had been waning when I was considering calling it a day in Nowa Nowa, but the thought of being inside for the night spurred me on. This is where I came across one of the long uphills, it was about 2k of constant up and that really warmed me up for a bit. 

I made it to the Water Wheel Beach Tavern around 3:30pm and found Tony. He said that the backpacker area was undergoing some work and he would put me in a cabin for the same price. So for AU$10 I have a whole cabin, with a great big bed, a little kitchen and an ensuite bathroom. I managed to explode my stuff around the room within 2 minutes of being in there, I even brought Priscilla inside for the night. The shower was super hot and super powerful, and I wasn’t going to have one initially because it was too cold to want to take my clothes off, but I’m glad I did! 

I looked into my claw hand problems which seem to be getting worse. My left hand is totally unaffected, but I noticed that I can’t straighten out the fingers on my right hand. 

After I had sorted myself out I went for a walk along the beach and looked at the beautiful sunset, what a lovely area. I treated myself to a pizza at the bar and a cider.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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. 

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7 thoughts on “Cycle Oz day 13 – claw hand

  1. Hi Alex….I believe that your “claw” problem is related to repetitive motion….probably caused by gripping the handlebars with the hand or leaning on the handlebars. I had a similar physical problem that was caused by the job I was doing at the time. Technical name is an “Ulnar Claw”….associated with damage to the ulnar nerve in your forearm. Possible therapy that you can do and continue to ride are: 1. Find a hand brace with a wrist stiffener to keep the wrist from flexing….these can be obtained easily at almost any drugstore here in the States….don’t know how easy to find in the Outback of Oz but it will help if you find one…..you can still grip with your palm and fingers but the wrist will stiffen and cease aggravating your injury 2. Massage and ice to your inside of your arms where the Ulnar nerve resides….lots of massage. Good luck…..hope these suggestions help.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for all the advice. I’m not in the outback yet so I will look for a brace while I’m still in civilisation! I’m getting different handlebars put on my bike tomorrow so hopefully that will help too!

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  2. Argh! Puff Puff! That claw-hand is ulnar nerve injury that can lead to chronic damage (I have it from my years of ultra cycling even though I had aerobars). Get some bar ends straight away! Possibly get refitted for bar stem length—you might be reaching too far, placing extra weight on your hands. Thinking about ya! Cheering from Oregon!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The claw had is the worst!!! I’m getting touring handlebars fitted tomorrow so I have lots of different grip options. Also had my riding position adjusted. Seat higher. Handlebars lower. Hopefully that will all help!

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  3. Wow can’t believe I’ve just sat here & reread all 13 days in one go! Taking copious mental notes & can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment 😀

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