And that’s Melbourne to Canberra done and dusted! I’m so happy to have finished, and to not have to wear my stinky clothes anymore, and to not have to sit on my saddle sores, and to not have to wake up at a ridiculous time, etc. That being said, it has been a wonderful time though, and I’m very happy with the last couple of days.
The last day itself was unfortunately a bit of a low note. I would be traveling more than 100KM straight north and obviously that was exactly where the wind was coming from. That was far from helpful, whenever there would finally be a bit of downhill again I couldn’t even freewheel for a bit. But for once the wind wasn’t even the main thing I was struggling with. I spent the majority of my day feeling extremely frustrated and mad that I was riding on this highway. It wasn’t necessarily the drivers being dickheads, it was just that the highway had heavy traffic (so there wasn’t a lot of space for the drivers to manœuvre around me), the speed limit was 100km/h and there were lots of sections where there was not a proper shoulder or the shoulder would be near unrideable. Cyclists should absolutely not be allowed to ride on roads where fast passing traffic is within arms reach! I was so frustrated about the fact that Australia didn’t have their cycling infrastructure in order when there’s easily enough room to make a proper bike path a little ways away from the road. More than once would I have about 50cm wiggle room and a big truck passing me at high speed and the draft would nearly knock me into the gutter or whatever was next to the road. It also made me think about Mike, when I was approaching the place of his accident. And it got me quite emotional, hoping that he wasn’t experiencing the same kind of stress on the road just hours before he died and that he was in a happier frame of mind. It was good to have his spirit bike shrine to look forward to, it gave the ride a sense of purpose. That, and of course the finish line that was finally looming.
Once in Canberra I was still shaking off the stress of the highway, when I suddenly saw an arrow on the road with IPWR underneath it. Well, that was a welcome help! Only moments later I came across a guy in lycra. “Are you Louise?” Turned out that local dotwatcher Graham had come out to welcome me to the city and ride with me for a bit. And then another moment later I had a flat rear tire, my first of the ride. I was very grateful for Graham to be there, because even just his presence brought my stress levels down to a point where I could really be blasé about the flat. Had it happened half an hour earlier on the highway, I may have very well given up right there. It was also helpful Graham had CO2 canisters, so the flat was fixed within minutes. We chatted a little bit about the race and things in general. After a while he let me go on by myself and finally half an hour later, more than an hour than planned, I finally rolled up to the Parliament House. It took a while to find Myfanwy, but eventually we found each other and had our tracker exchange. Myfanwy is now well on her way to bring it home to Sydney for team 3G1B.
I’m now staying at Rowan and Antonia’s house and will most likely make my way to Sydney somewhere tomorrow. Can’t wait to start my week of relaxation and recovery!