Cycle Oz day 17 – winter solstice  

  • Start: Bairnsdale 
  • End: Sale
  • Day distance: 73.29km 
  • Total distance: 886.41km 
  • Average speed: 18.1km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 03:59
  • Total time: 05:00

Well unsurprisingly I didn’t really want to leave, but after a great night sleep I was feeling well rested and and good to go. Mick and Jacinta sent me off with an awesome care package full of my favourite things. I can’t begin to thank them enough for their kindness and generosity. I was definitely overtired and the couple of days of rest did me the world of good. 

The last two days have been absolutely glorious, sunny and warm and wonderful. Today was not like that at all. It was cold and grey and threatening. The temptation was to stay and wait out the weather, but, the clouds were high in the sky and I had a bed lined up for the night so I was hopeful for an ok day. 

I felt good today. Over the last two weeks I have been so emotional, on the edge of tears the whole time. And I know this makes people worried about me, but I also have to tell it like it is. It may sound like a romantic notion, to hop on a bike and cycle across a country, but it won’t always be wonderful or easy. Sometimes you just have to roll with it, let the tears come and have a good cry, even if you don’t really know what you’re crying about. It’s all part of the mental challenge and part of adapting to something new. I’m alright. I know it’s just part of the process. Plus pushing yourself and making yourself overtired doesn’t help matters. Today I’m feeling a lot more focused and a lot less unstable. I’m going to ride out this peak before the next trough hits. 

It’s flat from Bairnsdale to Sale, said everyone. Yeah yeah I thought, that’s what everyone says about Oregon and Oregon is not flat. But in this case they were right, it was flat! It was great to be able to keep a more consistent pace. 

I was enjoying my new set up. I cycled 30km without feeling like I needed to get off the saddle. This was likely down to the new position of the saddle but some other things may have helped too…I’d had two days rest, I had taken ibuprofen in the morning, it was flat. So it will be interesting to see how it continues. But I can say that there was less pressure on the fanjita and my sit bones were much more comfortable, I wasn’t constantly wanting to lift myself off the seat. The new position also means I am using my legs more efficiently. Before I was using only my thighs it seemed, but now I am engaging my glutes as well and it felt a lot better. The real test will come on the hills of course. 

And the new handlebars are working well so far. It’s great to have so many different option of hand positions. I changed my hands regularly and I’m finding I am gripping less when my hands are on the outer grip position and my hands are more relaxed. 

Apart from the first couple of kilometres of the day I was off the highway all day which was brilliant. I took the C106, which has no shoulder, but the road is so quiet it doesn’t matter. I was a dream to cycle on and all cars, with the exception of a police car, passed wide and slow. Perfect. I was travelling through farmland and was surrounded by fields of sheep and cows for most of the day. 2 squashed kangaroos and one squashed wombat, one completely flattened possum and one splattered something. My mum tells me there aren’t enough photos of the squashed kangaroos in the blog (weirdo!), so here you go…

About half an hour after I left the house it started to drizzle and I feared the worst, but in a turn of good fortune it only lasted a few minutes and the clouded broke up a bit towards the afternoon and I even saw some sun and blue sky. 

One road caused me a couple of problems, the first one cycling through a cow pat which was pretty gross and then a big truck drove by and covered me in dust. I had to pull over because I couldn’t open my eyes as they were full of grit and dust. Unpleasant. 

I was making such good time because of the nice quiet flat roads, I was near my destination way before I expected to. On the way a car pulled over, it was my host Gerard! We had a quick chat and I carried on, stopping by the supermarket first because I was so early. I guess I could have gone further today, but I don’t want to push it with the arm the way it is.

Stopping at the supermarket was a bit of a mistake. First of all they didn’t have what I wanted so it was a wasted journey and I got rained on quite a lot for my last 1.5km to my hosts. I arrived a little soggy and I was bundled into the shower by Jenny straight away, and there was a hot cuppa waiting for me when I got out. I ate my second sandwich that Mick had made me, I ate the first one as I was cycling which is a lot harder than eating and walking! 

The ulnar nerve thing seems to be irritated by hot water, so when I get out the shower my hand is all curled over. I got an ice pack and iced it and relaxed for the afternoon. The sun set at 5:08pm but the good news is that today is the winter solstice so it’s just going to get lighter and better from today! Better than England I suppose where it seems to get dark by about 3:30pm in the winter! 

We had a delicious dinner of chicken curry and after explaining the story of Priscilla and how we are queens of the dessert I got a real treat of bananas and ice cream and gooey buttery caramel squares for pudding! 

I am pleased to be inside yet again. The hospitality I have encountered on this trip has really blown me away. The cycling bit is just a bit of an inconvenience in-between meeting all these wonderful people! 

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

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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4 thoughts on “Cycle Oz day 17 – winter solstice  

  1. Puff Puff, I have enjoy your stories since the PCT. You bring humor and honesty into into every post. Thats why i enjoy it so much. All the smashed kangaroos are comparable to the smashed deer we have here in Pennsylvania.

    Like

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