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

Plan B – May Ride 4 – Extended twilight

26/27 May

Total Kilometres: 107 kms (67 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 2212 kms (1374 miles)

Autumn this year has been like one of those sunsets that you think has finished, but then the colours develop right at the end and linger for what seems like forever. Summer went well into autumn this year, and autumn has continued long past when we would normally get our ‘autumn break’ and the start of our rainy season. The leaf colour on the exotic trees has been pretty spectacular this year as well, also developing quite late and lingering on and on. What a spectacular backdrop that provides for another weekend of marking roads off the map. Read more

Plan B – May Ride 3 – Six new tracks

21 May 

Total Kilometres: 17 kms (10.5 miles)

Total Kilometres: 2056 kms (1278 miles)

There’s the crunch of gravel beneath my tires, the white noise of wind in the trees. The sun comes and goes in the spaces between thick, puffy, grey clouds. There’s the pounding of my heart in my ears (we’ve lost so much fitness since December) and the rasp of the air in my lungs. We’re working our way up the spine of a ridge to views of the Indigo Creek valley and the hills east of Barnawatha. After being taken down by a rotten cold last week, it’s our first bout of pedaling in seven days. Read more

Plan B – May Ride 1- Back to the ‘Bogies

5/6 May

Total Kilometres: 94 kms (59 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1970 kms (1224 miles)

Ugh, it’s all I can see. It jumps right out at me.

It’s just one small part of the big map on my wall where I mark off the roads I’ve ridden.

Yes, it’s the Strathbogies and we filled in a bit more of the roads there over three days at the end of April.

BUT, all I see is that black bit that just all-of-a-sudden ends. That black line that doesn’t loop or join other lines. The line that just looks like a branch hanging out there in the wind. Read more

Plan B – April Ride 3 – The tour that wasn’t

22-24 April

Total Kilometres: 136 kms (85 miles)

Total Kilometres 2018: 1876 kms (1166 miles)

Most bike tours, from weekend jaunts to months-long routes, are a joy to plan and anticipate. I’ve never felt trepidation or fear before a tour, even on my first ‘big’ tour in 2010. I’ve always just been so excited to go and spend time on the bike, time in my tent and time out on some sort of an adventure.

But this tour is different. Normally, I would be doing my week-long autumn ride sometime in March. I would plan out something super-ambitious and wonder if I’d be able to pull it off. Riding and touring has always been about pushing my limits and redefining what the bike and myself are capable of.

Originally, I wanted to do a big ride out of Benambra through high plateaus and Snowy River country. The ride would have been mostly on forest roads and tracks. But as January and February wore on and it was a struggle to just ride 20kms on flat ground, I knew that dream was over. Read more