Plan B – April Ride 1 – To the market

8 April

Total Kilometres: 27 kms (17 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1695 kms (1053 miles)

I did not escape the ‘post-exertional malaise’ after my three-day Easter ride. In the past few months, the fatigue would hit 48 hours after a ride. I would feel fine the next day after a ride and think I had escaped it. Then I would be struck down by the cognitive dysfunction, exhaustion and joint and muscle pain the following day. This time I got two days of thinking I’d escaped it – but no, I felt like an achy zombie Wed-Friday. Stay away from mosquitoes, kids, the repercussions can be nasty.

So the weather this weekend was perfect for an overnight ride – light winds, clear skies, cool nights and highs in the upper 80s (a little warm, but okay with the cool mornings). But I did not have the energy, and I did not want to drive the relapse any further, so we just stuck to easy 30 km rides around home on Sat and Sun. Our normal high for this time of year is about 22C – but we’ve been routinely hitting 29C for the past three weeks. This coming week will have highs 32-35C (up to 95F)… so I’m not sure I will force myself out in that. It will be very, very odd to get that hot and have the sun set just before 6pm!

So our 27 kms today took us on a variation of our normal route. We weaved around a bit and made our way over to the Farmers Market in Rutherglen. See pics below – not-so-great today because I forgot my camera (cognitive dysfunction, darn you!) and had to use my $40 smartphone camera, sorry.

This area is a big wine-producing region. Here is one of the more popular ones – Cofields. They also run the Pickled Sisters Cafe and have lots of lawn games and shady tables.
Another popular winery – Pfieffers. The tasting rooms back in there have warm, brick walls and wooden floors. Heaps of space out in the shade to bring your own picnic, and you can go feed the fish down on the creek.
Harvest is in and the vines have started to wither. I don’t know which varieties they net – but I know they must be finished, too, because the noisy corellas that swarmed the area when the grapes were ripe have all moved on.
We head past the old cemetery. I like the ‘sections’. I also like that you can see social progress and the rise of secularism in Oz in that now, unless you have a family plot in one of the old sections, everyone just gets buried over in “lawn” regardless of religious denomination or lack thereof.
This cemetery is on the historical register because of these Chinese burning towers. These are square-shaped, instead of round, and believed to be the only ones of that type in Australia. They were erected in 1887. There are 41 Chinese people buried in the cemetery. They came here as part of a gold rush. The first successful gold prospector in the area is buried here. The first burial was in December 1865.
Cemeteries are fascinating places for social history. This is in the Church of England section. I liked the tile. The wife died not long after her husband in 1904.
This woman died in 1991 – it is a super simple little plaque on a small wooden cross. Not everyone has much money in the end, I guess.

The Farmers Market is in swing – but not quite full-swing when I arrive. I’m there just 30 min after it starts – it really gets going closer to 10.30am.  I think most Farmers Markets are alike: farmers with local produce, craftspeople and artisans, value-added gourmet foods, small-goods, some homemade soaps and the like, and a couple hot food and coffee stalls. There’s usually a nice setting and somebody playing some music. At this market, they often have local high school kids playing – giving them a chance to play to an audience and practice performance skills. But really, Farmers Markets to me are very much the same regardless of where you attend. This one has about 30 stallholders.

Half of the Rutherglen Farmers Market. The egg and bacon rolls are $5 from the Lions Club – these are the standard hot food item at any farmers market in Oz, I think. I don’t partake – not my cup of tea.

Today, there are lots of apples and pears on offer. They are off the menu for my guts at the best of times – so I don’t even give them a look right now! Several salami guys today, some gourmet popcorn, plenty of capsicums of hot and bell pepper varieties, some Wagyu beef sausages and, of course, homemade soaps.

But I am here to see if my old Italian guy is there with his pasta. He is from Cheshunt in the King Valley. That was the study area I used in my PhD, and I always like to support the locals up there when I can. That area has heaps and heaps of Italians whose families migrated after WWII and grew tobacco in the valleys near Myrtleford. The tobacco is all gone now, but now you’ll find lots of wine up there with Italian varietals, plus various smallgoods (best sausages up there, apparently) and some other Italian specialties. My guy is super-nice and his pasta is much better than anything I can master for $6. So I treat myself on occasion.

Once I purchase the pasta, I head over to the Milawa bread folks. They have a variety on offer, but I’m looking for some French sourdough today. I just made up six litres of veggie stock yesterday for autumn soups (after our hot spell finishes!), and it would be great to have some bread in the freezer to have for toast with soup. More immediately, I have a harvest of tomatoes and tons of basil, so some bruschetta is on the cards before the bread hits the freezer.

Our purchases for CLC ride 6.

After our purchases have been completed, we head home down the rail trail.  I count 14 people going the other way – great to see it being used. I often ride along here in the evenings when everyone is having dinner, so I often don’t see anyone at all.

Along the rail trail. There are many old distilleries and building ruins around the area. At this one, there’s an old guy often sitting near the rail trail in a wire chair on hot days – just staring off at those ruins with a bottle of spirits nestled next to the chair. I often wonder what he is thinking and what memories he is recalling.

I also give the guys a nice long float in the river before we head home. As I’m sitting there, I watch the local rowing team out practicing, see two fishermen launch boats, and then see a family with three kids under 10 arrive and get all the gear ready for some kayaking. It’s a perfect weather day – so lots of people are out and using the natural attractions of the area.

A nice long float for the guys – they kept blowing back to shore today. I had to make up for not having the floaties along when we came across the dam last weekend.

Then it’s home for a two-hour nap and some route-planning. I’ve got the last week of April off work and I’m planning out a bike tour of sorts. The ride I really wanted to do is way beyond my fatigue threshold at the moment. So we’re settling for something a bit more mundane in the Strathbogies, and trying to figure out how to do very short days. It absolutely sucks, but it is what it is. I’m still gonna get out there, though, I cannot stay off the bike for more than a few days before I go stir-crazy!

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