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Adventures on a bike; sometimes on foot

Fifth wheel

When I was a child at the christmas dinner table, i’d pile more and more food onto my plate. The growing mountain of food only being contained by my Nan who would caution me with aged wisdom “Be careful, your eyes are bigger than your belly”. Of course she was right and I’d always end up stuffed full beyond description staring at the remaining food on my plate grateful that someone had stopped me from making my mistake any bigger.
Where, oh where was Nan when I posted on facebook that I wanted to go for a long ride? Consultation with Basecamp and google maps had me filling my plate with more and more tasty morsels and there was no calming voice asking me whether I really thought it was a good idea. Where was she when Pete, Landon and Phil all thought it sounded like a good idea too? Especially since each of those gentleman is in far better shape than i’ve been in for years.¬†Predictably, i wound up staring at the remaining mountain of food on my plate, barely able to move and choking on the last mouthful. Another one of Nan’s dinner time pearls of wisdom “Don’t bite off more than you can chew”.

I spent some time ripping some Stava files, sribbling lines in Basecamp and studying google earth looking for an interesting way to get from Buladelah to Taree. After discovering some wonderful single track on in Buladelah last weekend, I was optimistic i might find something similar in Wallingat State Forrest. It wasn’t too be. Instead I discovered endless miles of wide, groomed gravel roads and a world of pain as I exploded while desperately trying not to hold the other guys up too much who attacked every hill while barely raising a sweat.

Pink marshmallow and a mocha. Now that's a manly drink

What's that? The Ferry isn't going for another 20 minutes and the pub is open?

Unfortunately, the route strayed into 2 areas of private property. The first wasn’t signposted until we were leaving and saw the gate. The second was signposted but the gates were wide open and we were faced with a 50 – 60k backtrack with 3 hours of light left to end up less than a kilometer from where we were standing. We elected to brave the farmer with the shotgun and sacrifice Landon if things didn’t go well. Fortunately, no-one was home and we rolled through without incident, although not before having to wade through a freezing stream.

With less than 2 hours of light left, we reached the decision time. It was clear that I was a shot duck as cramps were threatening and we had somewhere close to 60 k’s of unknown trail to go to reach the car in Taree. No-one was overly concerned when I made the call to roll the remainder of the ride on the road. Even that didn’t save me though. Just before Nabiac I completely imploded and handed the car keys to Pete and said “Pick me up on the way through” and stopped in a roadside cafe and stared into space until the sag wagon came to get me.

Some days you have it, somedays you are invincible. This wasn’t one of those days. Some days in a group of 4 riders you are the 5th strongest in the bunch and this time around I was OK with that.

The once mighty pile on my metaphorical plate had been slightly reduced however far too much remained for my dear departed Nan to approve. Coming from a generation that never threw anything out, i’m sure she’d wrap it up in the fridge for lunch tomorrow and so I have the left over bits to look forward too in the not too distant future.


One Response to “Fifth wheel”

  1. Phil Welch says:

    Great read Ross! I’m still amazed that you were able to ride for as long as you did considering the amount of gear you were carrying! Thanks again for organizing the adventure and allowing me to tag along.

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