I'm thrilled to announce that this ride is officially reverse sponsored by McDonalds and sketchy North Coast service stations. They thank me for my generous donations and have pledged to accept my ongoing support.
Day 3 of the ride was certainly more eventful than what has passed of day 4 so far. I'll start of with a stern warning: camping on the beach is absolutely nothing like the brochures. Specifically, sand. Everywhere. In everything. What I imagined would be a morning filled with a coastal breeze gently waking me, a soul-finding dune-side yoga session, picking the fruits of the nearby Extra Shot Piccolo Latte trees nearby and a general sense of zen, quickly turned sour. Following rainfall overnight, every inch of my gear decided to take a souvenir of Casuarina Beach in the form of a fine, powderlike sand. The simple act of rolling up the tent turned into a soul-crushing abandonment of civility and a general sense of 'to hell with everything'.
Having brushed, washed, dried, rebrushed, cursed at and given up hopes of ever getting sand off all my gear, I set off on what I hoped would be my biggest ride yet. The previous days had been enjoyable but not a far as I would have liked so an early start and a questionable amount of caffeine put me in good stead.
As the mercury rose and my now accepted charade of ride-stop-drink-ride-stop-pee-ride-repeat was well underway. I eventually passed through Byron Bay (which seems a lot like a bad parody of itself) and picking up a few supplies (basically just Nutella and various methods of transporting Nutella to my face).
On the other side of Byron, I ran into my first spot of trouble with Google Maps. For those who don't know, you can change the mode of transport depending on preference and the bicycle route opts to avoid hills and major roads. Well, after a steep descent, 'avoid major roads' was exactly what it did. In fact, took the liberty of avoiding all roads and instead deposited me in a privately operated olive farm with no discernible exit in sight, except for the way I came, now a steep 2km climb. After numerous irrigation dam crossings mumblings of "it's an adventure"s to myself, I was spat out into another private road and faced with pushing my bike and 30kg of gear up a 2km hill. Let's just say there's no verifiable way of an objective third party saying confidently if it was sweat or the tears of a broken man.
Eventually civilisation was rejoined and I was rewarded with rolling hills and the uncharacteristicly wide shoulder of the Pacific Highway. After 3 hours of eventless riding (interspersed with the regular eat/drink/pee schedule), the 50km/h speed limit of a town ahead rendered traffic at a standstill. Needless to say, I adopted the smug smirk and sense of entitlement that only a cyclist can adopt and whooshed passed the standstill, even threatening a tickling of the feet that dangled from a wicked camper.
Finally arriving at the turn off to the Black Rocks campground, the next hour's riding was a mixture of racing the setting sun and flipping a coin between the loose gravel on the sides of the unsealed road or the bone crunching corregation of the centre strip. Let me tell you, drifting both wheels of an over-corrected fully loaded touring bike is not something I wish to repeat any time soon.
I also saw the first glimpses of what could become full-blown batshit craziness. I've taken to referring to my bike (a Vivente branded tourer) as 'Vivenne' and praising her work aloud after particularly strenuous climbs or deftly handled corners. I even rather fancy tapping the top-tube between my legs as one would a horse to let her know she done good. Also, it would seem, I refer to my bike as a her.
Arriving in time to dry and shake the morning's god-awful attempt at tent rolling, I was approached by a small group of campers who not only offered me some of their spacious lot, but also bacon, sausages and an ice cold beer. Truly glorious.
I admit to cheating here a little, I type this half way through day four but as I alluded to previously, today's ride has comprised of just... Well... Riding!
Thanks for reading!