Well we have well and truly made it past the half way mark! Todays ride was from Batemans Bay to Bega and according to the itinerary (aka the direct route) we should have traveled 724km and according to my odometer we have now reached 757km, this includes cycling to interviews, campsites and “Sarah's special tours”. Given that we have achieved this in the hardest terrain we will come across in 5 days of cycling and we still have 6 days to go I think all we really need to do now is to sit back and roll with the hills all the way to Melbourne (perhaps a little peddling, just to get the blood flowing).
One thing that did come to my attention today was how much fitter I am this year in comparison to last years ride. While I was fit enough to do the ride last year I remember being tired, drained and with a very sore back side. This year however my tiredness has only come from getting 3 hours or less sleep, the only pain I've felt has been from cold showers with only a tea towel to dry with and well my backside is in fine form... my knicks on the other hand are another story.
The cycle today was great fun and Jimmy and I are pretty chuffed at how well we blitzed it. I have two real weaknesses when riding, hills and sprinting, and for some reason unbeknown to me I had decided to use today to set myself the challenge of sprinting to the top of every uphill and ensure I kept spinning on every down. Now doing this for 146km is an interesting challenge in itself however for those who know the road we traveled today you will understand that while there are no major mountains the road is a series of ups and downs, making the fact that today was the day I set this challenge even more crazy. Mind you I stuck to it and while my sprint speed is well below the average I ensured I worked. To be honest I was amazed at how well I managed it, while there were a few hotter hills after lunch that were of a much slower pace my legs probably deserved the pace (my stomach sure needed the extra blood to digest the masses I was eating).
Lunch at Tilba
I may not be good at hill climbing but tree climbing I can do!
Along the road today we were overwhelmed with masses of support with Margret and Bill from Eurobodella Support group meeting us out near or Lake Brou, then masses of Bega Support group meeting us at both Quaama and our final destination of Bega Lookout.
Welcome party at Bega Lookout
Tonight we have spent a marvelous evening in the company and kind hospitality of a very amazing man Bob McDonald. I have heard many a story about this man since I started the first ride in 2009 and was even mistaken by many to be his daughter so it was an absolute delight to finally meet him in person and I must say not even the wonderful stories and kind words everyone has to say about Bob could do the man justice. We had the most fantastic dinner of Bob's chicken risotto and Sue's Curry with more salad than even I could consume and sat around talking and sharing stories and experiences.
So very spoilt
It only just clicked tonight that Sri, Jimmy and Warwick came on this ride with no prior background or knowledge of Parkinson's, but instead just to simply support me as a friend. These boys are now developing a good understanding and empathy towards the disease and those affected after only 6 days out on the road. I guess seeing this really brings me hope that increasing public awareness and social understanding of the condition is well and truly in reach.
Well I am looking forward to a goodnight sleep tonight and as such must say goodnight. We are heading to Alfred National Park tomorrow and I am unsure if we will have signal but I will see what I can do.