Suddenly the mountains ended. So suddenly, in fact, that we didn’t even recognize it yesterday, but they are just gone today, replaced with grassy foothills … and wind. On this day, the wind is mainly our friend.
From the outset of the day, I had my mind set on a 30 km/hr rate. Our route is a familiar one, having driven it dozens of time before. In fact, it has long been a dream of mine to cycle it. Today is the day. These are long, sweeping hills – gentle ups and downs, but lots of them. The area it’s also known for its wind gusts, with a forest of wind turbines across the landscape and live roadside gusts reports on highway signs. Gusts today are a relatively light 8-12 km/hr, which is great news, as they rarely seem to hold in one direction for long. We have certainly seen the effects of these strong winds in the past, and the ditch littered with transport trucks blown off course.
Our original route is 120 km to Longview, and I might not have made it that far In today’s heat, had an angel (my sister Sandra) not appeared on cue with water and grapes.
It turns out that the next available RV Park is in the Turner Valley a further 25 km down road, so wet push on.
Stats for the day: 145 km, vertical 1.34 km, speed, 30.4 km avg. I have cycled further, higher and faster in the past, but not all three together. I feel certain that this is my greatest one day performance.
It is also a reminder of my Parkinson’s limits, as I am depleted upon arrival. Initially, I am barred from access to the municipal swimming pool, when my stumbling gait, wavering stance and slurred speech are mistaken for intoxication. This made me sad at first, but I now wear it as a badge of honour. It is a reminder and confirmation that, despite what Parkinson’s has taken from me, I refuse to budge on cycling. Incredibly, and against all odds, I continue to improve.