No flat roads today instead a challenging spectacular roller coaster of a ride from St Helens to Scottsdale with in excess of 1500 mtrs of climbing. I was either going up hill or descending. The gradient in places would be difficult on a nibble responsive road bike, but on a loaded touring bike I was tested and as in life, there is reward for effort. So it is with cycling.
I shall never forget cresting the highest point of the climb, then descending at speed with myrtle forest and huge tree ferns as my companions, just us and the fully laden logging trucks trailing that newly cut eucalyptus, smell , like fresh blood. Occasionally the forest gave way to dairy farms, orchards, bee hives and dirt crops; peas and potatoes planted in deep rich red soil.
Overcast skies actually helped, better than having the sun beat down on you whilst climbing. The slight headwind cooled me down and was hardly noticeable in the mountainous country . Small towns and hamlets flashed by: Pyengana, Weldborough, Branxholm and Darby an old Tin Mining settlement where I stopped for lunch after a hair raising descent into town.
A couple of New Zealand tourists who had seen me on the road to Bicheno stopped to take my photo. Tourists taking photos of other tourists.
No rest for the wicked or the touring cyclist. I had expected a gentle glide down into Scottsdale as reward for my efforts in fact it was quite the opposite. The last two kilometres into town are all uphill! it’s as if the town is hiding something and don’t really want you to get there, well that’s how it felt.
I arrived at the nearest bakery for that well earned chocolate muffin. I was accosted by a couple of beefy jocular locals who treated me with that mixture of admiration and distain. This I have become accustomed to.
“Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for your there. Did ya loose ya licence or something?”
His mate asked”Which way ya headed?”
I’ve played this game before, it doesn’t matter which direction I say I’m headed, they just want to say that the mountains are bigger in that direction, and the logging trucks more numerous.
“Launceston” I said.
“Plenty of hills between here and Launceston” said Tweedle Dum.
“Need to be careful of the traffic and watch out for those logging trucks.” said Tweedle Dee.
I couldn’t have scripted it better, “Thanks guys, I reckon I will be ok.”
“We had a couple come through here last month , they were going cycling too, started out in Lonie (Launceston) only got this far then had their bikes freighted back to Melbourne.”
“Cheers fellas” I said as I rode off .