2017 Disjointed – Safety First

Sun 26 Nov, 19 miles (31 km)

Friday night we had our work Christmas party. My ticket number was called in the raffle which meant I got to pick a prize from the table. There were gift certificates, bottles of wine, various pamper packs, etc. But I chose a deluxo first aid kit. Everyone laughed – because they know I don’t drink much at all and don’t like anything frilly. The comments were all, “yeah, Emily would always go for something practical and sensible!”

It was good timing. I needed to replace my first aid kit anyway. It’s been depleted over the years and none of the band-aids are sticky anymore. Then, today, I read the article below about snake bites, and I’m glad to have some new materials to use for a compression bandage. Used in conjunction with my sarong, I think I could wrap an entire limb – that is actually one of the reasons I always take my sarong – double duty. It’s scary that you’ve only got about 30 minutes though – I thought you had a few hours to get medical help!


So first aid kits sorted, we continue the safety theme by not doing an overnight ride this weekend since it is quite stormy. Instead it is just a short 19 mile ride this weekend between bands of showers and storms. We’ve had this weather pattern all week as a blocking high has kept a trough centred over us. That means it’s very humid and storms build in the afternoon. Yesterday it managed to get to 35C (95F) before some rain came to cool us down a bit.

This morning we had showers, but the guys were desperate for a float and I was desperate for a ride. So we left almost as soon as the rain stopped and before the next big, building storm band moved in.

We needed a pretty quick ride today anyway. My body has gotten in on the Black Friday atmosphere and decided to do a wholesale clearance of the contents of my guts. It’s a weekend sale, apparently, starting early Saturday morning and requiring toilet trips once every few hours. So we are squeezing this ride in between those constraints as well. We’re trying to stay close to a toilet and away from lightning – not all cycling is tailwinds and picture-perfect vistas.

We take off through town, down the rail trail to Rutherglen. The thought is that I can hit up the toilet there mid-way through the ride if needed. We are riding into a 25-30 kph wind which keeps the flies away. They are really sticky today since it is so humid. I don’t need the toilet at Rutherglen, despite the unsettled feeling that has taken over my abdomen.

Heading along the rail trail toward Rutherglen chasing the dark clouds of rain that have already passed over. Note the canola is windrowed off to the left and the wheat is golden yet unharvested to the right. Contrast this to the pic from October.

So we head back along the rail trail with the wind and a few pesky flies. We turn off on Jacks Road and ride the only portion we haven’t yet done. I stop to take a couple pics for my Dad of the truck that’s been sitting in a field for a while. He loves the way Aussies do no-nonsense truck ‘bumpers’, or bull bars, as they are called here.

Jacks Road heading north – we haven’t ridden this bit of it before. It’s not washboarded and doesn’t have too much loose, big gravel.
Ford truck pic for my Dad.
Guaranteed you wouldn’t survive a collision on a bike with that bull bar.

Then we pick up a new road – the “Back Wahgunyah Road”. It’s in good shape and spits us back out on the Federation Way by the Uncle Toby’s cereal factory. It smells very strawberry sickly sweet – maybe they are pumping out some muesli bars today.

New road for us – Back Wahgunyah Road.

I stop to take some pics of the footy goalposts lining the road for my dear readers. There are four goal posts because, in Aussie Rules football, you get more points for kicking between the inner posts and fewer points if you get between the outer.

The sign explaining the public art installed as part of the bridge opening in 2005. Basically, the border of NSW and VIC is supposedly where the Aussie Rules Football codes gives way in popularity to Rugby League. So they installed footy goal posts to signify the “Barassi Line”. This isn’t true, though. Aussie Rules is much more popular than rugby just over the border in NSW – you’ve got to get up toward Wagga and Tumut (an hour or two north) before you get into rugby territory. But never mind, I like that Aussie minds turn toward sport even when they are trying to figure out some appropriate public art.
There are the goal posts on either side of the road leading to the VIC side of the bridge over the Murray river heading into NSW.

Then we stop for a quick float beneath the bridge. It’s really windy, so the guys sorta get blown back to shore. Some gusts send them back out before they get shoved back in, and Kermit has a great time whipping around on the end of the tether.

Floating near the Federation Bridge. Kermit was getting whipped around at the end of the tether. I didn’t want to take my shoes off and get my feet wet (and allow time to dry before putting shoes back on), so they had to stay quite close to shore.

The skies are getting blacker, though, and my guts are getting a little testy, too. So it’s time to head home.

There won’t be a ride tomorrow either. I’m going to the doctor’s for my annual check-up. I’m also extending the safety theme of the weekend and asking about getting a prescription for an Epi-pen. One of my American friends is a preventive medicine GP and was aghast about my reaction to the ant bite/sting recently. She said having trouble breathing and nausea are symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction and that is not normal at all. She suggests I investigate an Epi-pen because you are at higher risk of having a severe and life-threatening reaction later on, even if you’ve only had a mild anaphylactic reaction in the past. So safety first – we’ll see what the doc says here.

And hopefully we are back to an overnight ride next weekend!

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