The Waiting – March Ride 1 – Re-jigged rail trail ride

5-7 March 2021
171 kms (106 miles)

There’s an urgency in autumn. The earth’s tilt is just right. The weather pattern is stable. The temperature becomes humane again, and there is day after day of sunny skies and light winds. There is a hurried sense that you need to take advantage of every single day because that perfect confluence of factors never lasts long enough.

In my part of Australia, you’ve really got to hit it and make the most of those perfect early autumn days. Those weather and earth axis conditions that are perfect for outdoor activities are also perfect for burning off crop stubble and conducting planned burns in the forest. The consequent smoky days really ruin the gorgeous days of autumn, so you’ve got to get out there and make the most of it before the burns begin.

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The Waiting – Feb Ride 2 – Over to the river and through the woods

26-28 February 2021
120 kms (75 miles)

The thought of a ride is always on my mind.

 If I am at work, and the day outside is nice, I consider the wind and which direction you’d hope to be riding if on tour on such a beautiful day. In my mind on those beautiful days, I can see the road flowing forth up a long valley or the views from any of the numerous forest roads in the region.

If the weather is poor, it will remind me of that day I rode 103 miles across the Montana plains in wind, rain and 42 degrees F. Or a couple times on tour waiting out a snow day in my tent in Iowa or Illinois in early spring.

Or I will get random memories from the thousands of rides I’ve done over the past 10 years that pop in my head at any ol’ time. Cycling memories are always there, and regardless of weather or health, I’m always planning the next ride.

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2021 The Waiting – Introduction

2019 bled into 2020. The drought, the fires, the extreme temperatures. It seeped into the new year like the bushfire smoke seeped into our homes and lungs. There were no fireworks in the new year, since there was enough fire in the landscape already. Celebrations were subdued. And so began the year that was 2020.

2020 has bled into 2021. We’re all still working from home. Virus restrictions are still in place. The virus has seeped into the new year like it seeps into nasal cavities. There were no fireworks in the new year, except in Sydney, since authorities didn’t want people to crowd together to watch. Celebrations were subdued. And so begins the year that is 2021.

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All the pieces left behind – Conclusion

Some endings are explosive and ragged. The pieces left behind reflect the trauma and tearing apart.

This jagged rhyolite is from an explosive phase of the Toombullup volcanics and the Wabonga Caldera.

Sometimes endings are really beginnings, laying down the foundation of the future.

And some endings are not endings – they are just the flow of time, breaking down some things while building up others. Time may be linear and constant, but it is not always experienced that way.

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All the pieces left behind – Days 3 and 4

4 kms (yeah, I know)

Day 3

There is that feeling you get when you wake before your alarm goes off. Do you peek at the clock to see how much longer you can sleep? Or do you just roll over and try to pretend you’ve not woken at all. If you peek at the clock, there is the relief when you see you’ve got a full hour to sleep until you have to get up or the disappointment when you’ve woken just seven minutes before the alarm.

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All the pieces left behind – Day 2

33 kms (14 miles)

Have you ever had a day that did not really go as you had seen it in your mind? Have you made decisions on the information available that turned out to be a bit misinformed?

With mobile phones allowing you to google any question you ever wanted to answer in real time and allowing instant access to weather reports and radar, it’s easy to forget how to make decisions for yourself and choose the best option. I’m reminded of this on the short ride today.

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All the pieces left behind – Day 1

53 kms (33 miles)

There should be rewards for getting up at sparrow’s fart.

The rewards I’m seeking when I get up at 4.50am today are a few hours of riding in cool temperatures with no wind or pesky flies.

But it is already 24 degrees when I get up and it is a very sticky warmth. It is very humid today which is a bit unusual for us, but not so much in a La Nina year like this. The pesky flies will join me just a few kms down the road.

However, the early start should help us beat the heat predicted (36C – 96F high) and the storms forecast after noon. The idea today is to pick up a couple new roads and get about halfway up the plateau, then find a place to camp before the storms come in.

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