Friday, January 22, 2010
I must say I am definitely feeling a lot more awake and coherent than I was when I sat down to the computer last night and I want to thank you all for you patience. I am not one to take pain killers unless I am out of options and when I do they have a crazy effect on my body and mind (I have had some crazy dreams the last few nights).
As I said yesterday, we made it! Not only did we make it the whole day went so smoothly. Boys were up in a flash packing up camp, by the time I had gotten up and worked my way to the showers to wash and change everything was clear and breakfast was up. In order to ensure that we met Kary, Ingrid and Brendan (Parkinson's Victoria Cyclists) by the arranged time the boys were out of camp by 530am. Unfortunately due to logistics and timings I was unable to meet them along the way and as such can not give a personal account of the ride. The boys have said it was a really nice ride in regards to conditions, atmosphere as well as having other riders on the road. One thing they seemed to really like was the fact that there was a clear cycling culture and good vibe, especially with respects to the behavior of drivers, none of them were keen on trams in the slightest I am very envious as from last year I remember this last leg to be one of the nicest.
My drive in was no where near as smooth or enjoyable. Both the GPS charges had not been working properly since we started out and while this really did not cause an issue on the way down it caused absolute grief coming in to Melbourne. It seemed every time I came to a complex intersection or needed to make a few close turns the GPS would die resulting in the trip taking twice as long. This got even worse in the CBD when I was required to perfect the art of the hook turn... not fun with my ribs at all.
Gluten Free pie, yum.
Once parked I met two of my friends, Nick and Katie, in Federation Square who were hind enough to grab my bags off me so I could run to the meeting stop. When running it soon became clear the place I had agreed to meet was not just 1km out originally thought but closer to 4km, I still managed to get there with 2 minutes to spare. After a a quick briefing and introductions with the Parkinson's Victoria cyclists and the boys we started to head in. On the run it I managed to phone my dad and keep him posted as well as inform those at Federation Square we were on our way.
On arrival I didn't know how to react, I was definitely filled with mixed emotions as a result of the emotional and physical roller-coaster ride the trip presented but over all I was so very excited to see so many smiley faces as we approached. After a brief photo shoot, greetings and the compulsory signing of the beautifully stitched jersey we all headed to a near by cafe for breakfast.
I consider myself very lucky to be greeted by so many enthusiastic and supporting people but I was particularly lucky to meet an inspirational individual I have admired for the last few years. Nerissa Mapes is 32 and has been diagnosed with Parkinson's, since I began organising these rides I have heard nothing but praise for this fabulous woman and rightly so. Between her genuine character, driven mindset and pure determination the world is definitely lucky that she has chosen to use her powers for good. Nerissa is the founder of Prospectives on Parkinson's (POP) and I would encourage everyone to take the time to read her story. I am definitely looking forward to meeting with Nerissa again soon, who knows I may have even got my wish of having a girl to share next years journey with (may be easier to keep the boys in line...perhaps they may need to keep us in line).
As I mentioned yesterday we ended up heading back to Canberra which was actually quite a nice drive. Upon arriving we mat up with my family at the local Chinese restaurant, eating our fill and catching up over the past few weeks. This was the first time I had got to see my dad for the entire ride so I was quite excited however I'm not sure this showed through to well given my exhaustion.
Today we drove back to Sydney and I think we will all be avoiding long car trips the next few days. It is definitely nice to be home.
Thank you once again to everyone who supported us in any way, it would not have been the same without you. Planning for next years ride begins in a few months (it does take a bit) so if you are interested in helping, joining or even just finding out more please contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (0432 713 298). While it may seem early to express interest with respects to planning it really isn't so please let me know.
Thank you all once again, please do keep in contact.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
We made it to Melbourne! More or less in one piece. We also have made it back to Canberra, hence the late post.
I do however have to apologise and say that I will put up the full post of todays events upon returning to Sydney tomorrow (or prior if I can) as I took my pain killers prior to sitting down to this without thinking how they may cause issues. May also be best I get some sleep before driving again as while Bairnsdale Hospital was the best hospital experience I have ever had I would personally like to arrive home in the same (well preferably better) state that I am in now, without hospital aid.
Running in, with the speedy cyclists hot on my trail
Welcoming party, full of smiles and cheers
Nerissa and me finally meet (this woman is amazing -more details to come)
As such I just wanted to post a quick not telling you all we are all well, and we have had a fantastic day which I will document tomorrow, slightly more rested and slightly less drugged.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Today was one very bizarre experience and a lot of people must have thought I was a total fruit cake when getting directions and trying to explain that I had only ever cycled the route. It began as usual with my alarm blaring at 4am, this was followed promptly by a few loud screams in agony as I attempted to pack up my stuff. It would appear that stuffing a sleeping bag with a bad rib is the most efficient alarm to get boys up and out of bed in a flash. I would recommend blood curdling screams to mothers and girlfriends everywhere as unlike the anger produced from cold water or other such wakeup methods this method can produce in a sense of relief once the boys discover you are still alive, I would warn that this is not one which can be used successfully on a regular basis.
Once all packed up Jimmy, Sri and I sat down to breakfast and sorted our plan of attack for the day ahead, then it was shower time. Showers were oh so much easier in the comfort of Bairnsdale Hospital as was dressing with the instructions of the brilliant Carrie. I found myself unable to gain enough room in the shower cubical to get dressed in the uncoordinated fashion required so took up the main thoroughfare of the female bathrooms to hop around and get myself as respectable as possible. There were two things which I found particularly amusing, firstly the fact I was talking out loud to myself instructing whether I should be putting my good or bad side in first and secondly that men all over the glob spend their lives perfecting the one-handed bar removal and I had 24 hours to perfect one-handed bra dressing (no man is ever aloud to complain in my presence again).
Once dressed and ready I saw the boys off and began my role as support driver. A bit of back ground here for those who don't know but Sri was initially meant to support by cycling this ride rather than driving and when no one was able to be support driver he kindly gave up cycling to fill in. As a result Sri, being much more a mountain biker, had never done training fitting to the ride. In fact the longest ride he had been on was one with me earlier in the year which was followed by weeks of cursing. Given todays leg would end up an excess of 130km (double the ride I had taken Sri on) I was both nervous and so very appreciative when he offered to keep Jimmy company on the ride.
Not only did the boys kill the ride, they didn't get lost once, made perfect time, pulled up fantastically and sustained zero “P Words”. As for myself in the car, I spent the day taking wrong turns, holding in loose GPS charging connections, juggling my computer, diary, phone and itinerary (while stationary) all in an aim to support the boys while drumming up as much media support as possible. I'm not convinced my day was nearly as successful as the boys, with incidents such as my brand new helmet being run over by a 4WD occurring (the lovely gentleman was very apologetic and seemed to have just as big a day).
The day did end on a high with Warwick returning for the final leg and an old cycling friend, Mark, paying us a visit. We have just all returned from a massive meal on the water followed way to much dessert and the boys are totting of to bed. Myself on the other hand have a jersey to fix.
Looking forward to seeing you all out there tomorrow (Even those who I will be meeting for the first time).
One more sleep.
Monday, January 18, 2010
As I had already been given the all clear from the doctor and now with the aid of excessive strapping tape, a list of painkillers and required dosage times we were ready to roll. Carrie (only the most fantastic nurse in the world) and the boys had convinced me to give my shoulder a rest for today and drive to Moe then look at riding starting tomorrow. So after saying our farewells the boys and I set off around Bairnsdale to work our way through the todo list prior to heading to Moe. The to-do list consisted of:
New Arm Warmers
Get lunch from the awesome chocolate cafe (Crave)
Tasks 1, 3 and 4 were simple as we were directed to Riviera Cycles by the Pharmacist who sorted all 3 in the time it took us to complete task 5. Task 2 on the other hand was not as simple as first thought. Due to landing on my head this had to be chopped off, and while Dave and David did their utmost to cut along the seams when removing it the seamstress took one look, laughed and told me to throw it out. As a result I went with plan B, went next door, bought cotton and a singlet top and will fix it myself after dinner tonight.
After all tasks were complete we decided we better begin the journey towards Moe. It was around half way I realised how much the hospital pain relief had helped, actually becoming physically ill from pain is not fun at all. Keeping to myself I sucked it up and took the prescribed painkillers in hope all will calm down soon.
Learning what goes on in the car scares me a just little (that haad been sitting in te heat all day!)
Upon arriving to Moe the boys began to set up camp while I did what I had been dreading all night, face the bike. All I can say is if there was ever a moment of truth it was then. Getting the bike down was not a problem, getting on the bike was slow but fine, similarly with positioning on the handlebars. Pain from applying pressure and distributing weight, there wasa lot of teeth clenching but I could stomach it. However no matter how hard I tried I could not physically get my left leg to pedal into position without my whole body giving way. We tried the lot, redistribution, repositioning and even rearranging seat heights, no matter what we did that motion killed me each time.
Boys setting up camp yet again
Gearing up to give it a go
As much as I am putting on a brave face with the boys to be honest I am gutted, I am fairly certain they will not see this until after Thursday so I will be honest here. Good news is the show must go on and while I wont be able to do tomorrow I have no doubt I'll try for Thursday and at any rate I will be in the car to each stop meeting the support groups along the way. As for Melbourne we will no matter what be there on time, Federation Square Thursday between 8:40 and 9:20, even if I cant the boys will cycle and I will at very least run my bike in. I think the think I need to come to terms with is that while making the cycle is a big thing for me and I am torn that I cant do the whole thing, the whole point of the cycle was o raise public awareness surrounding Parkinson's Disease and funds towards Parkinson's Australia, and we have successfully done both.
It's what you achieve not how you get there (Myself and Winey at 2009 Parkinson's Awareness Week)
I will keep you all up dated as to how things go the next few days and once again thank you all for your kind support.
Even in the comfortable surrounds of the Bairnsdale hospital and the doping effects of way way way to much pain medication my body still some how will not allow me to sleep past the sunrise. Being a touch disorientated when I awoke and in dire need of a pee I went to shoot up and off to the loo only to be brought crashing back down with a sight reminder that my top left rib is fractured and I was attached to a large number of cords. I was a little more careful, and awake when I tried this again.
I would like to apologies for my briefness in posting last night as I was really not well, I think a combination of pain killers, anti-inflammatory medication and perhaps a touch of pain got the better of me. Good news is I am feeling a million times better now,even if this is due to having a very understanding doctor and nurses who are doing everything they can to (safely) get me back out pedaling asap. As a result I have been given the all clear to leave today as other than drug me up and spoil me there is not much more that they can do. Apparently cycling will be doable on the grounds I feel I can put up with the pain and of course safely control the bike.
So I have called the boys, sweet talked the hospital staff for double breakfast and am about to get out the maps and itinerary and sort how we are best to approach this as I will with out a doubt be going very slow.
Thank you all for the well wishes, every bit of encouragement has and will help me get back on my bike.
Will need to be brief as typing hurts a touch.
As some of you know I came off my bike today and appear to have fractured a rib. Currently in Bairnsdale Hospital and being well looked after.
Shoulder, laneded here and head
What a slide
Boys have found a place to stay an were well fed by Bev and Ian from the Bairnsdale support group.
Bev, Ian and Jimmy waiting for all clear
Promise more details and up dates when I feel a bit less sore. Will have phone on.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I tried to sleep in, I really did, phone was switched off temperatures were right and I had no real pressing matters to tend to. Even with such perfect conditions as soon as 530am ticked over it was almost like someone had injected a double espresso straight into my blood steam. I spent the next half hour willing myself to sleep knowing that it may be my last decent sleep for a week, but the bribes of a longer beach run only made me want to get up faster. So up I got, by the time I had located my running gear (which the boys had threatened to confiscate), drink bottles and reached blindly into Sri's tent to find the keys the boys had stirred. All in all waking them up did work in my favor as while I went for my run they went out to buy ingredients for the most ultimate feast (only to be beaten by lunch).
I'm getting good at pancakes (confused at this salute theme the boys have)
Boys cooking up a storm
The run was fantastic, I was however grateful that I was tackling the headwinds on foot rather than bike and am really hoping they die down a little before tomorrows ride. Breakfast was amazing, we cooked up pancakes, eggs, mushrooms, zucchini and tomato and ate so very much. It is becoming clear to me if there is one thing these boys know how to do it is cook a lot of food, they follow up with the eating part quite well too (I still win there).
After breakfast it was chore time, the choices were:
1) Clean up after breakfast
2) Do the clothes washing
Due to the fact that even the idea of a bra bag confused the day lights out of the boys I decided it may be in my best interests to take on chore number two.... next time I think I'll sacrifice the bras. It wasn't too bad and to be honest my stuff smelt just as much but I was confused that between two boys over the course of a week only one pair of socks was needing a wash. I spent the next few hours waiting for the loads to wash and dry while catching upon emails and sorting admin for the next few days of riding, the boys cleaned up within half an hour and spent the next few hours playing Street Fighter and Terminator Pinball (Sri apparently won).
After the washing was done and neatly folded might I add (even if it was out of habit they still didn't notice) we decided it was time to seek out lunch. After suggesting to the boys we buy some prawns, oysters and salad ingredients to eat on the water and being “poo-pooed” on the grounds they would rather have someone else do all the work we spent the next 2 hours walking around Lakes failing to find anything they wanted. It as around this time the boys came up with a great idea, something along the lines of “Hey let's get some prawns, oysters and salad ingredients to eat on the water”, hmmmmm.
Lunch was even more massive than breakfast, to the point leftovers have been factored into tonights dinner. Sri also used this time to be introduced to oysters, which he didn't like one bit. Half way through enjoying the food and sun the clouds moved in and the rain began forcing us to vacate.
Sand sculpture along the water (I found the turtle - the boys couldn't)
In the afternoon I left the boys to look at camping stores and I wandered the coffee shops and stores while I waited. Sitting down to coffee I had a massive Sarah moment while on the phone to my mother and spilled the entire large hot very needed latte everywhere before even as much as smelling it.
Back at camp we decided we better get organised before any more rain settled in and put out the tarps to unpack, reorganise and repack the car. We are well and truly getting good at this however in our extreme moments of flawless efficiency I somehow managed to not register that Sri's tent was where it has been the last 24 hours and totaled myself in the most hilarious fashion.
Currently we are sitting in the caravan park kitchen area and the boys are mastering Mexican while playing Guess Who and dodging little kids as they dart past. One thing I am liking is while they are busy they have less time to plot or play their little games, the most recent one being “who can make the OC side of Sarah crack first”.
Better help them with dinner. Tomorrow Jimmy and I head for Sale.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I've decided that while my perception on temperature has been really out of whack for the past few days there are many different ways I am coming to learn to aid me in gaging it's severity. Clearly you have your standards like the time it takes your iced drink bottle to be hotter than your morning coffee, or even second degree burns on the soles of your feet and lower legs as a result of the heat radiating from the tar. Today I discovered a new indicator which would work for all extremities, it was deemed a hot day today when 100km in we opened the “Aussie Bum Cream” to find it quite literally boiling. Ouch!
This morning started quite comically with Warwick, Jimmy and I waking to a frantic Sri yelling across camp “Come on guys, you up?” after trying to reason with Sri that is was in fact 3:30am and not the prearranged 4:00am it became clear he was delusional and would not believe us, so we all ignored him and stayed in bed blocking out his curses. Once up and fed we all chipped in to pack up camp before Jimmy and I rode off and Sri drove Warwick to Lakes Entrance to get back to Melbourne.
Good to know I'm the boss
Jimmy posing to be the hotdog man
Jimmy and I had a fun morning cycling, stopping at Cann River to post yesterdays blog and then cycling pretty much straight on the Cabbage Tree Creek. We were all really looking forward to this stop as some weeks ago I received a call from a lady by the name of Kathy who had read my itinerary and could not understand why we had our rest scheduled at the truck stop past Cabbage Tree Creek rather than in town. To be honest neither could I so the stop was re scheduled to be at the General Store / Cafe. As Jimmy and I had aced the morning legs we arrived not only before Sri but also an hour early. After introducing ourselves to the owners Jo and Pete we sat down to a coffee while we waited for Sri before ordering much needed meals. While we didn't get to spend nearly enough time in Cabbage Tree Creek I am really keen to give myself more time to explore it when I next pass through, between the great coffee, tasty food and fantastic company of Jo, Kathy and Peter I have no doubts we will not only be back soon but also be moving our rest stop there permanently.
Outside the general store at Cabbage Tree Creek
Next on the route was Newmerella, a little place just outside of Orbost. Here we were greeted with the smiles and kind offerings of cold drinks, watermelon and biscuits from Sarah, Ted, Joe and Reuben all from the Orbost support group. After sitting down to a nice lunch and chat with the group we all decided we would recruit Reuben as or support in training for this and many future rides. This amazing 4 year old put a smile on all our faces and was very good at ensuring we all had enough biscuits and water, he even helped Sri fill up all our bottles.
Orbost Support Group
Reuben and his masterpiece
Sri got Reuben in training early
In other news we passed the 1000km mark today, which Jimmy and I counted down as we approached the exit to Orbost. When the odometer hit 999.99km we were ready to cheer only to find that it simply ticked back over to zero... so much for the picture with the odometer reading at the end. This has been named the DST-1k Bug and I am far from happy as there is no reason as to why it can't count past 1000km given it's total measured distance is already well into the thousands.
5.86km..... try 1005.86km.... grumble grumble
We are currently in Lakes Entrance and the boys are waiting for me in the restaurant as my computer decided to break mid post before dinner so I am left to rewrite it. There are a number of plans being thrown around with respects to what we will do tomorrow but at this stage I will be more than content if it doesn't storm and I get my beach run. Guess I'll keep you posted.
PS: Lakes Entrance Support Group: I tried to call a few times and couldn't get on to any one, we waited at the park but couldn't find anyone to meet us. In Lakes all day tomorrow so please feel free to call.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I am wondering if it just has something to do with this leg of the ride but given last year my knee flamed up (originally injured by a mishap with a bus) and this year my back (put out many years ago from a horse riding incident) I am left wondering what it could possibly end up being next year.
Unfortunately my back pain was not fun and games in the slightest and the boys got whiff of this very early on in the picture. To them it must have been clear that something was up when I was reluctant to hold conversation while riding and provided short single word answers when posed with questions (usually followed with a growl and teeth clenched). This was the case from the word go and I surprised myself when it only took 25km to give in to the wise voices in my head, which sounded scarily like my boyfriend and sister, and pulled over to reluctantly take some pain killers (ATT: Chris & Mandi – I'm learning... even if it was only because I was sure you would both hunt me down if I didn't).
The boys were fantastic the rest of the ride, Warwick and Jimmy listened to the earlier warning signs and sat behind leaving me be the whole way while Sri stopped regularly to ensure all was well, pass water and encourage us along as we got close.
I have to say the ride it's self was not hard, however this could have been due to my methods of dealing with pain. In order to distract my mind I pretty much put my head down and go, focusing on making each pedal stroke harder and faster. While this method works wonders unfortunately as soon as you stop or slow down the pain is back so logically you would want to keep going which is fine for me as it was causing me less pain to push harder, I do however feel a bit guilty for the boys. On the up side it was a very fun ride particularly entering towns 20km+ above the speed limit... whoops.
As a result of the adopted “head-down pain relief” we arrived in Eden 1.5 hours ahead of schedule after leaving 10 min late and enjoying a toilet stop. This timing fitted perfectly with the arranged live catch up with ABC radio presenter Ian Campbell. Some of you may remember Ian from last year when he cycled a leg of the ride with me (Eden to Scrubby Creek). Unfortunately due to timing Ian was unable to join the ride this year however he has been an incredible help in raising the profile of the ride and most importantly awareness surrounding Parkinson's Disease.
Currently we are camped in Alfred National Park and as you may have noted from the fact that the blog has been posted late we have no signal at all. Our campsite is literally an over sized pull in bay next to the Highway and we have been tooted by many a passing car (Hopefully as a result of listening to Ian this morning). The plan tonight is to eat asap, pack and crash then pack up camp and get out assoon as we can in the morning. Warwick will be heading back to Melbourne tomorrow to get a few days of work out of the way but will be back on the 2nd last day.
I have just been called for dinner so should really sum up. Having the boys take what I was going through today in their stride, still be concerned as to how I was doing, offer massages and currently be cooking dinner and setting up camp really meant a lot. I don't know how it would ever be possible for me to thank them but I will sure try.