Plan B – Dec Ride 1 – Last 3 Rides of 2018

23, 25, 26 December 

Total kilometres: 115 kms (72 miles)

Total kilometres 2018: 4006 kms (2489 miles)

We’ve whipped around the sun again. The year is coming to a close. In some ways, the year has dragged so slowly. In other ways, it’s hard to believe that another 12 months have passed. Sliding into the holiday season, I see one final opportunity for an overnight ride before the heat sets in. Read more

Plan B – November Ride 2 – Wind and a cold

24 and 25 November

Total Kilometres: 53 kms (33 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3791 kms (2356 miles)

The low pressure system wound up. It curled into a tight ball with lengthening rain bands and spun its way across the state. On Wednesday the rain came from the north in long north-south bands. On Thursday the temperature plummeted from a high of 15C at midnight to 9C by mid-day. They got 5-6 inches of snow in the mountains. We got band after band of heavy rain that fell in torrential sheets interspersed with moments of sun. The wind strengthened. The rain bands came from the west. On Friday, the rain and wind came from the west southwest. On Saturday, low, scuddy clouds intermixed with the sun, and the wind stayed strong but moved to the southwest. Jumpers (i.e. jacket or sweatshirt) were required. It was our last taste of winter and it was definitely a blustery blast that felt like late July instead of late November. Read more

Plan B – November Ride 1 – So, this is Plan C

3 and 4 November

Total Kilometres: 48 kms (30 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3643 kms (2264 miles)

It’s a change in the wind. It’s the angle of the sun. It’s a smell. It’s the way the cloud moves over a stand of trees. It’s these things, sometimes together, sometimes on their own. It’s other things. But it’s always some flash of familiarity or a momentary stutter of sight, smell and/or sound.

Something makes a neuronal connection and a flash of the present brings forth a memory from the past. All of a sudden I’m in Nebraska in May pedaling against a strong quartering headwind with storm clouds receding. Read more

Plan B – October Ride 1 – Back in the saddle

7 and 8 October

Total Kilometres: 51.23 kms (31.83 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3996 kms (2110 miles)

Time slips away. It silently rolls on while we’re sleeping. It ticks by slowly in the hours at work. It jumps forward an hour in spring. And so, it feels like just yesterday that we were riding through the canola at the end of August. And now, we’re already into the second week of October and daylight savings has made the days seem longer.

Of course, my goal for September was not to ride at all. Read more

Plan B – August Ride 2 – Kooringal and canola

25 August 2018

Total Kilometres: 58 kms (36 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3326 kms (2067 miles)

Today is the first day that really feels like spring. It’s something in the way the angle of the sun finally meets the warmth of the air and the waft of floral pollen on the wind. The start of spring is late this year. Temperatures have been a couple of degrees below average most of the month. There’s been no real temptation to go camping in early August like there is in many years. But here we are, end of August, not many kilometres on the odometer and not many days left this month to add to the total. So let’s go! Read more

Plan B – August Ride 1 – Malakoff Climb

4/5 August

Total kilometres: 31.5 kms (20 miles)

Total kilometres 2018: 3177 kms (1974 miles)

Day 1 – Loop from Woolshed Falls

We are predicted to have our first real spring-like day on Sunday – high of 19C and sunny. But you wouldn’t know that today. The front that came through yesterday has left low cloud and mist in its wake. Oh, it was looking like the sun would poke through out at Corowa, where it had managed 9.5C by 11am. But as we head east and towards Beechworth, the clouds close in and there is a need to use windscreen wipers on occasion. It drops to 6.5C. But we’re going to go ride in the wet anyway – because the frog and the amphibian like such weather, and I prefer it to flies and heat. Read more

Plan B – July Ride 1 – Or NOT And

21/22 July

Total Kilometres: 136 kms (84 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 3020 kms (1876 miles)

Day 1 – Burma Road to Holbrook (64 kms)

I think my life has been reduced to a Boolean search or two.

I am responsible for helping 100 or so staff members at work navigate our electronic recordkeeping system. It has a very powerful search engine that searches across all folders and files. Yet staff have been by brainwashed by 30 years of Microsoft and want to find records through Directory structures. When I tell them to just run a search, you’d think I’d just told them the world ended. I am constantly amazed at how little life-long officer workers know about Boolean searching. I am constantly explaining the default “AND” search and what that means when you type in a phrase with seven words.

In my life outside of work, the exhaustion that comes with ME/CFS means my days take on the characteristics of a “NOT” or “OR” search. There is no “AND”. I can ride my bike OR clean the house. I can go to work OR have energy on the weekends NOT both. And so it goes.

This weekend I have decided that I will ride my bike. Read more

Plan B – June Ride 3 – A bit like 2006

24/25 June

Total Kilometres: 110 kms (68 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 2671 kms (1660 miles)

Day 1 – Mullock heaps and tiny laneways – 57 kms

This year feels like 2006. Not the fashion, not the music, not the political climate. But the weather sure does. The last time I can remember a dry winter with very cold nights and spectacular days was in the middle of the last major drought in 2006. Unlike in 2006, however, I have a slightly more stable life and routine which means I can get out and ride on most of the really nice days. Sometimes, it’s just a short ride after work before it gets really dark, but the number of dry days does give me weekend options. Read more

Plan B – June Ride 2 – Queen’s Birthday Party (not really, but, well, you know)

11 June 2018

Total Kilometres: 42 kms (26 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 2428 kms (1509 miles)

It’s a long weekend. It’s the Queens Birthday public holiday. So what do a few Yanks do to celebrate a monarch in a Commonwealth country? Well… we go ride, of course.

The Queen’s birthday is actually in April, I think. But we have a heap of public holidays in April (Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC day), and I guess Oz needs a holiday to celebrate the start of winter, so Queens Birthday is always the second Monday in June. That just means we have to share the national park today whereas we would normally have it all to ourselves on a Monday.

Read more

Plan B – June Ride 1 – Loop de loop

4 June 2018

Total Kilometres: 42 kms (26 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 2315 kms (1439 miles)

I am glad I am not a farmer. Oh yes, the idea of making your living off the land, and cultivating a crop and a relationship with the earth… oh, that all sounds attractive. But to be a farmer, you’ve got to be a gambler. You’ve got to try to read the weather, the commodity prices and the future and then make decisions about when and what to plant. And then cross your fingers that a big round of hail doesn’t wipe out the whole thing. Then, in autumns and winters like this one, you’ve got to just wait and wait and wait… for rain that doesn’t come. Read more