4,000 for 40 – Introduction

January 1, 2016

The doctor is staring at the computer screen examining the blood test results. She smiles, then says, “I’ll take your blood pressure now, too.”

The cuff inflates and then squeezes my arm while the doctor makes small talk about immigrating to Australia for love. We have that in common.

The cuff loosens and the doctor removes it. She smiles again. It is wonderful to hear her say, “These results are all excellent….”

What is not so wonderful to hear is when she completes the statement with: “… for your age.” Read more

4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 1 – Day 1

Jindera – Granya State Park via Wymah

Saturday January 16, 2016, 42 miles (68 km) – Total so far: 42 miles (68 km)

It’s been relentless. It’s been a month of zombie days after so many sleep-deprived nights. Yes, Australian summer where I live is pretty damn miserable. This year, with the help of El Nino, has been the worst since 2009. I knew it was going to be bad when we were getting 30C days in November, the earliest heat outbreak on record for all eastern capital cities in October, and 40C degree days in December.

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4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 1 – Day 2

Granya State Park – Yackandandah

Sunday January 17, 2016, 47 miles (76 km) – Total so far: 89 miles (143 km)

I have a list of roads I want to ride in the region – a list cobbled together of places I have not yet been or places I’ve driven that I want to ride or roads that just look interesting on the map. Having lived in the area for 12 years, I also know which roads I have no desire to ever ride and the roads best to avoid on a bike.

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4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 1 – Day 3

Yackandandah – Jindera via Barnawatha and Howlong

Monday January 18, 2016, 52 miles (84 km) – Total so far: 141 miles (227 km)

So somewhere between 2.30 am, when the caravan folks parked seven feet away from my tent turned off their blaring TV, and 4.45 am, when the caravan folks turned the TV back on, I hope I fell asleep deep enough to snore and keep THEM awake. Sheesh. How totally inconsiderate in a packed campground.

When the TV awakens me at 4.45 am, I just sigh and start packing up. My watch is set for 5 am since I want to be on the road before sunrise to get back to Jindera before the heat sets in (high of 96F forecast today). Read more

4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 2 – Day 1

Corowa to Reef Hills State Park via Taminick Gap

Saturday January 30, 2016, 76 miles (122 km) – Total so far: 217 miles (349 km)

The plan this weekend is to catch the two climbs in the Warby Ranges that we missed doing late last year because we felt crummy on the planned weekend. So we’re taking care of old business.

Added on to that we plan on taking in the Winton Wetlands – the site of a decommissioned water storage that is being restored to its natural condition. I want to see it now when it would naturally be dry, then come back in winter or spring to see the change when there is water. Read more

4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 2 – Day 2

Reef Hills State Park to Glenrowan via Winton Wetlands

Sunday January 31, 2016, 33 miles (53 km) – Total so far: 250 miles (402 km)

The rain starts in between 3.30 and 4.00 am. At first, the pitter patter of drops is soothing and I revel in the cool temperatures and moisture. But I’m over it by 9.30am. The forecast was for ’60 percent chance of showers with 3-8 mm of precip’ today. I’m sure it’s already dumped 5mm.

By 11 am, I am ready to go. I have been checking radar on occasion since 8.30 am. It looked like it might start to clear around 10 am, but more rain filled in. So I’m over it. I brush my teeth in the tent, pack everything up, take down the tent, and get ready to just go ride in the rain. Read more

4,000 for 40 – Jan Ride 2 – Day 3

Glenrowan to Corowa via Chiltern

Monday February 1, 2016, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 312 miles (502 km)

I slept hard last night. I feel like I’ve just woken from a coma of Sleeping Beauty proportions when I open my eyes at 8am. The rain is gone and it is quite crisp and clear. It almost, if you really stretch it, almost feels like autumn. For a few seconds at least.

I pack up, have some tea and milk (but not together – I’m not Aussie by birth and I like black tea BLACK), then go to clean up the bike a bit so I don’t grind anymore of that grit, clay and mud into bike bits that don’t like grit. Read more

4,000 for 40 – January 2016 Goal Summary

To make my goal of riding 4,000 miles this year, with 4,000 kilometres within that being loaded touring… I need to ride 350 miles each month, including 350 kilometres of touring: 350 miles/kms x 12 months = 4200 miles/kmsSo for January (including Feb 1, since that was part of a 3-day ride) I rode:

Unloaded Miles: 32.5
Loaded Miles: 312 (502 km)
Total Miles Ridden: 344.5

This means we are on track with our goals – a tad behind in the total needed, but ahead on the loaded side. I went into it thinking any miles in January would be a bonus since it is often too hot to want to ride, so I’m very happy with the results. I also lost a kilogram of weight.

4,000 for 40 – Feb Ride 1 – Day 1

Corowa to Chiltern National Park via Springhurst, Everton and Beechworth

Saturday February 6, 2016, 58 miles (93 km) – Total so far: 370 miles (595 km)

It’s been a tough week for breathing. I don’t know what the trigger has been, but my asthma has been bad enough to keep me awake the last four nights. This means I need an easy ride this weekend.

It is supposed to be quite hot (36C – 96F) on Monday and Tuesday, so we will just do a short overnight ride squeezed in before the heat sets in from Sunday afternoon. Read more

4,000 for 40 – Feb Ride 1 – Day 2

Chiltern National Park to Corowa

Sunday February 7, 2016, 38 miles (61 km) – Total so far: 408 miles (657 km)

I wake at 3.00 am to the sound of grass being clipped next to my head. As I emerge from sleep, I realise it is just a kangaroo out there grazing. She/he actually nudges the tent fly a couple times. Ha! Being next to a waterhole has meant it has been an active night of things bashing and bouncing through the bush to come down for a drink.

I wake for real with my watch alarm at 6.00am. I have not slept well even though all aspects of my sleeping arrangements were conducive to rest. Blechhh! Oh well, up we get. It is supposed to get to 34C (94F) today and the wind is supposed to swap to an unfavourable direction after noon – so the plan is to get home for lunchtime. Read more