When I woke up this morning, I planned to take a rest day off the bike.
When I had a Thai chicken pie for lunch, the rest day seemed a little less justified.
When I followed it with a blackberry pie, the rest day went completely out the window.
Luckily, as we drove home after our morning/afternoon coffee (plus 2 x pie) ritual, I actually felt the need for a road ride – and I hadn’t been in that space for a week. I quickly took advantage of my new-found attitude and hit the bitumen before my hunger for dirt returned and overcame me… as I suspected it might.
I enjoyed a cruisy but solid climb on yet another perfect north-east day and pondered what Mt. Buffalo meant to me. I wrote about some of it here. There is no doubt I am emotionally attached to this mountain; it has consumed so much of my life.
I decided I needed to record some of my wishes, and Mt. Buffalo’s involvement, in the event of my death. Morbid I know – and I’m not sure if any of this thinking was prompted by my intention to gain the KOM (King of the Mountain) position on Strava for my Mt. Buffalo descent?… but in any case, I digress.
When I die, regardless of what might preceed it in the way of thanksgiving services in Melbourne, I want to be burnt to smitherines then scattered from a hang-glider across the Buffalo Plateau. Not from one of those stupid motorised thingies; from a real hang-glider. So… as he later offered; Tim, my brother, must learn to fly or someone with the requisite skills will need to be found. I want bits of me in Lake Catani, bits floating off The Gorge, bits on that big bitumen intersection at the top, ashes on Dingo Dell and Cresta and a dash on The Horn…
… which I rode to on this ride. I couldn’t resist the dirt in the end and covered the four or so ks on my paper-thin Schwalbe Ultremo Pros without an issue.
This is seriously one of the most beautiful places on earth. One of the best views you’ll get of the wildest parts of Victoria; across the Wonangatta, The Razor, Mts. Cobler and Speculation. So beautiful.
Anyway… Prior to the drop (of ashes), it would be great if there was a little celebration at The Gorge lookout. You know, someone can say a couple of things about how the area played out in my life, maybe play a couple of songs that meant a lot to me (I’ve got you under my skin – by Grace Knight for my lovely wife; To know him is to love him – by Amy Winehouse for my Jack; A little ray of sunshine – for my Kate and Lucy). That’ll do… over and out.
As I left The Horn carpark, the autumn chill in the air was obvious but pleasant. A picture-perfect day. I tested the temporary steel frame out on a few of the descending corners of the plateau. It felt pretty good. It’s heavy but stiff… and it totally rails the corners… “I reckon I can go pretty fast downhill on this!”
But back to my pondering…
A few days ago, I went on a little solo ride for Roger. I rode his trail as fast as I possibly could – got the KOM! – then dropped by his grave to read his epitaph (“Gone for a ride“) and say a quick gidday. As I mentioned in my words at the trail opening, I didn’t know Roger that well, but I rode with him, I now know his family and I know how much he loved life. At 43 when he died, his story and his lovely family are a constant reminder to me to value and respect every day of my life. Mt. Buffalo and the north-east help me do that and some of my most precious memories of this holiday have been my riding with Jack and the rest of my family – more on that at a later time.
So I enjoyed the glorious views of The Cathedral and Dingo Dell as I cruised across the top. I wish I could write about how good that was but words fail me. I topped The Gap which is the top of the main Buffalo descent and hit the gas to record my time. Smashed it…
… I wonder how long I’ll hold it? And I’m still alive so the above instructions can wait (Note: Mum… it wasn’t that bad… I’m exaggerating slightly… and me!… one of the loudest advocates of the dangers of Strava!).
For the record, I reckon the energy I expended on the descent alone was equivalent to one Thai chicken pie and one blackberry pie. The rest was a bonus.
And as for my road ride feeling… thank God for that, because if it didn’t occur I would have missed out on this wonderful experience.