Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Outback Odyssey - The third third

We were only two weeks from winter, so it wasn't a huge surprise when the weather turned ordinary again for the first two days of the last section of the Odyssey. We encountered fairly serious, impassable mud on the way in and out of Quorn. It was a case of picking up your bike and walking, or trying to push through it. It was similar on the way to Hawker.
I had an extra dimension to my trip. As I was leaving Quorn, in the early morning rain, my bike got stuck in a muddy patch. I couldn't turn the cranks. I couldn't remove my shoe from the pedal (mud build up) and I had a cleat fall, landing solidly on my left side. It hurt a fair bit, but I was resolved to riding this thing out. Especially as I had come so far. So I swore a little and carried on. Despite the fairly lousy weather, the rides to Quorn and Hawker were still enjoyable in the main.
The weather brightened a little for the penultimate day, and our big ride into Rawnsley was largely unaffected by damp or mud. I could, however, have done without the headwind as we rode the rocky, climby and seemingly endlessly juddering Moralana Tourist Drive though. Me and everyone else.
The last day of our adventure took place under blue skies, and the breeze was negligible. I finally recalled just how good the Odyssey could be. Even with sore ribs...
It's been a long time since I was so happy to be anywhere, as I was to be in Blinman. I was slower in 2013 than on other Mawson rides, but I'd expected that. It didn't affect my happiness on finishing, that's for sure.

I went to the doctor once I'd gotten back to Adelaide - it turns out that two of my ribs were broken in the Quorn tumble. No wonder it hurt.

Time for a rest I think.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Outback Odyssey - The second third

The second chapter of the 2013 Odyssey was a vast improvement on the first. Not only was I feeling better, fitness-wise, but the weather was a significant improvement on what had come before. My back had improved considerably after the rest day.
The ride from Burra to Hallett was long but enjoyable. Close to 100 kilometres, with the last stretch being the toughest, but I made it without drama.
The short burst to Spalding on Friday was fun, even the massive climb up through the wind turbines. I had a sense that my body and brain had clicked into gear.
Saturday's ride to Laura was also pretty good. Ups and downs, in and out of the Bundaleer Forest, and some sketchy stuff early.
On Sunday we enjoyed another sunny day as we made our way to Melrose. A shortish day, but with some decent climbs on the way into Melrose.
On Sunday night I spent a couple of hours with my guitar entertaining those who were happy to sit around the campfire. It was a late night, but my performance went down well.
Monday was a rest day. I slept in until 9.20 and missed breakfast. A day of chores (not many) and rest... All very pleasant.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Outback Odyssey - The first third

I was a long, long way from being anything like prepared for this year's Mawson Trail adventure. Overseas travel, the associated jet lag, a head cold and a cracked rib conspired to put paid to any plans I had about getting fit.
The first four days were pretty hellish for me. Due to bushfires we (somewhat thankfully) dodged the Castambul climb on Day One but still endured some decent bitumen ascents through Kangaroo Creek and also on the approach to Lobethal. It hurt.
The second day was the usual hell on wheels. The middle stretch of the day, on the way to Steingarten, was very tough. As was the undulating ride into Tanunda after the super fast downhill. I was very happy to see camp. That is the understatement of 2013.
Day Three was filled with mud, rail trails and some decent riding into Riverton. I was still struggling to find my lungs and my legs. It was all about getting there.
The ride to Burra on Day Four was OK. More mud, rain, climbing and a bitumen detour. My back also decided to play up which was exactly what I didn't need. It's an old injury that barely affects me these days but, if it does, it is generally when I am riding.
The rest day wasn't good. My back felt terrible and I thought I might have to go home. I decided that I would try and tough it out and visit the pharmacy. I placed my faith in drugs. I went to bed hoping that I'd feel better for Day Six.