Monday, November 18, 2013

Meet me at the Big Trout

At Adinimaby a guy in an orange Sydney Melbourne T-shirt sees me looking over the Waterford. He asks if I need anything.

I love these people...

But probably not, having just wiped off the cable guides under the bottom bracket. The very lowest point on the frame, the part closest to the ground. The front derailleur cable has been creaking and resisting with every shift. The baptism of mud we got yesterday, it's gumming up the works.

Everything else is going well. Riding with Sarah and David is fun; feels like we're just out for a ride. David's a little faster up the hills, Sarah a little slower. Everyone ends up more or less in the same place.


David is quiet and patient and wryly funny. Sarah is strong and has the best attitude ever. She stops at the right times to take care of the right things, never going anywhere near the Pit of Despair. Ever. I'd ride with the two of them any day.

I'm wearing a wool jersey with short sleeves, my RUSA jersey. Totally necessary this morning on the Monaro Plain. But if you want the truth, it's a little on the warm side for these long, exposed rollers heading out to the Snowies. A gorgeous day, 28C (82F), full sun. With the faint smell of moist sheep. Hope that's OK.

The volunteer produces a bottle of TriFlow, stands the bike on its head with wheels in the air and proceeds to lube the cables in question. Maybe he thinks that's more effective than rubbing the area with a damp napkin. I don't know...

Then he tilts the bike up on the rear wheel, saying "watch this!" A stream of water runs out of a small hole. A drainage hole on a steel frame, how about that! Didn't even know it was there. Apparently the rims can also store a fair amount of water. We joke about this being why the bike feels heavy.

Supplementing the ice cream bar and Schweppes Lemon from the Spar across the way, I make a peanut-butter-and-jelly roll with one slice of white bread. My nod to gluten-free! The volunteer at the picnic table shudders, I can feel it. They provide peanut butter for those of us who want it, but it's still an American food.

Another rider at the table is talking about the mythical climb up the road. The Big Hill. We've heard it's 15 kilometers. We've heard it's 8%. We've heard it's 600 meters. The two of us make eye contact and I say, well the good news is, it can be only two out of three. It can be 15 km at 8% (but that's unlikely). That would give us nearly three times the vertical gain, 1600 meters. It can be 600 meters with an average grade of 8%, in which case the climb will be over with quickly. Or it can be 15 km with a total gain of 600 meters. The most likely option. It feels good to finally compare notes with another sane human being on this.

As we're leaving Chris Walsh, the organizer rolls up. Deb's 10-12 kilometers back. She'll make the cut-off time for this control, but there are others who won't. Even if he's not I'm worried about her, I am. We've already climbed plenty today, but the long, steep climbs remain.

So much going on, I don't even notice the Big Trout. How can you miss something like that?

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