Plan B – March Ride 4 – Heathen Heaven

30/31 March – 1 April

Kilometres: 179 kms (111 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1643 kms (1021 miles)


Every culture has written rules (i.e. laws) and unwritten rules (i.e. social norms). It’s the unwritten rules that are the hardest for immigrants to a country to figure out. For example, there’s nothing written to tell you what ‘bring a plate’ means in Australia. If you show up with just a plate to a BBQ… you’ve not quite done the right thing.

One of the other unwritten rules of Australian culture is that you must go camping on the Easter long weekend. Australia is quite a secular country, and many individuals don’t even know the Easter story or its timeline of events. What is lent? Did Jesus die on Ash Wednesday or on Good Friday? When was he resurrected? And how was the bunny involved?

I became a citizen well over a decade ago. Back then, there was no written citizenship test, as there is today. At some stage in the application process, I had to rock up to a post office at an appointed time where some poor postal service staff member read me a paragraph and then asked me a series of questions about my rights and responsibilities as an Australian citizen. “You are aware you must register to vote.” Yes. And so on. I don’t remember if there was a question that said, “And you are aware that you must go camping each Easter weekend?” But there might as well have been.

Given the exodus of Aussies to the bush for the last blast of summer camping over Easter weekend (we get 4 days here – Easter Monday is a public holiday, too), we needed a weekend ride that would steer us away from all the traffic and overflowing campsites. You really don’t want to be on narrow chipseal roads with people towing caravans, boats, trailers full of bicycles for kids to ride around the campsite, and box trailers full of miscellaneous gear. You also don’t want to end up at a public or private camping area or caravan park which is normally empty but suddenly packed cheek by jowl. Read more

Plan B – March Ride 3 – Lonesome Pine(s)

23/24 March 2018

Kilometres: 72.88 kms (45 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1435 kms (892 miles)

Day 1

Friday morning, my boss says to my coworker, “So you’re going at 11 today for study leave, right?”

Coworker: Yes.

Boss: Well, [IT Systems Guy], is on an RDO and I’m going at noon. So much for an IT department today.

I spin around in my office chair and say, “Um, while we’re on that topic. Do you mind if I take a short lunch and leave at 4pm today. I’m trying to get up to some state forest on the bike and get the tent up before dark.”

Boss: Oh, yeah, that’s fine. But aren’t you supposed to be taking it easy?

Em: That IS taking it easy – it’s only 30 kms!!

Coworker: Do you even have a ‘taking it easy’ mode? Read more

Plan B – March Ride 2 – Taking it easy

19 March 2018

Total Kilometres: 52.44 kms (33 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1362 kms (846 miles)

It has become apparent that I cannot push myself very hard at all yet, or I end up feeling really crummy for extended periods after stressing my body. After the last big ride 2-4 March, and then day surgery procedures on 8 March, it was only Thursday of this past week (15 March), that I finally felt any energy again.

Terrible things were ruled out in all of the day surgery procedures, as the doctors eliminate a range of possible reasons why I am not recovering from the two mozzie viruses. I should have a diagnosis by early April, but I’m pretty sure I already know what it’s going to be. And what it’s going to be is going to suck and will mean no big adventures for some time to come.

In the meantime… the weather was perfect today after very high temps on Saturday and then apocalyptic looking dust storms and high winds yesterday. So we had to go do something today! We just had to! Read more

Plan B – March Ride 1 – Day 3 – Total Elevation

4 March 2018

Kilometres: 74.13 kms (46 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1193 kms (741 miles)

Day 3

I slept well last night. Even though I’m exhausted a lot, I don’t always sleep well at night. Why, body, are you betraying me? I give you lots of veggies and healthy stuff, I rarely drink alcohol, I don’t eat much red meat, and I give you some junk food on occasion. Stop being mean!

There are kangaroos and wallabies all over the place this morning. I hear them thumping off through the understory or spot them racing along the road or doing a last minute dart up or downhill. The forest is still beautiful and I still really like this road. It is a rollercoaster up and down the top of the ridge and plateau, but the forest looks healthy and there are really great views through the trees. The surface remains excellent. I will definitely come back to do this again as a day-ride loop from Old Tallangatta sometime when it is cooler! Read more

Plan B – Feb Ride 3 – Into the trough

25/26 February 2018

Kilometres: 108 kms (67 miles)

Total kilometres 2018: 1025 kms (637 miles)

We are on the edge of a trough. Rain is predicted to develop along that trough from 5-8pm. And then that low pressure trough is supposed to weaken overnight and leave a nice day in its wake tomorrow.

Well, just get to where you want to be by 5pm, right?

I can’t. I am going on a lunch cruise on Lake Mulwala 40 kms downstream from where I live at noon. By the time I get home, it will be 3 or 4pm. If we head out on the bike as soon as we get home from that, we’re still not going to be where we need to be by then.

So just do a couple day rides Sunday and Monday instead, right?

I can’t. I am overdue for an overnight ride, and I want to test myself with a light load on the bike. Plus it’s the first weekend with cool enough temps to contemplate such a thing in a long time.  So we are going to ride into that trough and just hope for the best. Read more

Plan B – Feb Ride 2 – Tour de Greta

12 February 2018

Kilometres: 54.92 (34 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 690 (429 miles)

The breeze is almost chilly and almost beyond moderate. It whirls stray strands of hair about my face as I stand in the rest area just outside of Glenrowan. I am thankful for that cool breeze – it has been an exceptionally hot summer. But oooh, riding in that wind? No one would think poorly of me if I just didn’t ride today. I’m going to be riding into that hair-whipper of a breeze for at least 20 kms.

But, no, it doesn’t matter what people think anyway. What will I think of myself? I drove down and paid for a motel room which really wasn’t in my ‘fun’ budget just so we could do two days of riding… so we need to make the most of this. Besides, I woke up feeling better than any time since I started feeling crappy in December. We have to go ride. That, and I can’t bring myself to disappoint the frog and turtle. Read more

Plan B – Feb Ride 1 – This is only a test

Sunday, 11 February, 2018

Kilometres: 87.02 (54 miles)

Total Kilometres for 2018: 635 (395 miles)

It was about 2 months ago that I started feeling poorly. It was about 3.5 weeks ago that I finally stopped feeling like death. My muscles and joints still continued to hurt and I was still very tired, but I knew the worst was behind me.

Well, things still hurt and I still get tired easily, but I want to test my body to see how well it is recovering. We’ve been riding 20-30 kms almost every evening on mostly flat ground. Can we go further? Can we add some hills? Read more