Quite a few psychologists and philosophers will tell you that it is the anticipation of the event that is actually more glorious than the event itself. And a few more will say that the memory of the event is even more incredible. In a healthy mind they say our memory skews in favour of the “good stuff” while downplaying all the “bad stuff”. But there is also the school of thought that documents the very real malaise of “post vacation blues”.
I put the KENT sticker on for Bennett — but he didn’t come 😦
And these theories work for me almost all the time. You have some epic travel planned and you spend months preparing and you get increasingly excited and you are just shaking with excitement the night before and thus just buzz through the epic bullshit of the transit part and the actual overseas adventures go like a fucking flash and then before you know it you have to go home.
Jet-lag only really effects me on the return journey. And going back to work is so demoralising and you realise you’ve lost all your fitness and your belly now requires the looser notch on your belt and you look around Brisbane and think what a shit-hole it is.
But a few months later you have recovered and you reflect on everything, go through your photos or chat to someone who shared this journey with you and you just feel entirely warm with beautiful memories and a bliss that is hard to describe.
WHY RIDING ADVENTURES ARE DIFFERENT
An epic ride is quite the opposite.
You spend most of the imminent period leading up to the event — sometimes weeks — in a state of absolute distress. So worried, and so distracted by everything that could go wrong. The night before you can’t sleep and you can feel your stomach shiver with giddy. You wake up way too early and arrive at the start quite a bit punctual.
This ride meant all that shit was trebled. I was especially worried. I thought my legs would be fine, it was just the lungs that worried me. I thought the heart rate would get too high and my poor coughy phlegmy lungs just wouldn’t have the capacity to cope. Luckily they managed though I was a bit concerned every so often.
Ryan, Tom, Shirts (in front),Doug, Conor, Benny
But by the time the ride started I could calm down. At least this meant that whatever conclusion, good or bad, was closer and I would have some control over the ensuing details (by riding accordingly) and some idea of how I would go — ever increasing during the day.
And in regards to the fun or enjoyment of the ride — well during it all by it’s very nature it goes slow. Not just because of your pedal-speed or the many, many hours you are on the bike, but also because you are perpetually concentrating — on road underneath, the road ahead, on views around, on staying upright, on staying straight and away from cars, doing your turns at the front, looking out for your mates, keeping hydrated and powered up with food, and then spending a lot of brain-power on anticipating the next section (or sections) of brutalness ahead. Plus there are heaps more which I shouldn’t need to document.
So I guess all those times where you aren’t really specifically suffering — you realise you just might be having fun. And even that suffering stuff can be pretty funny once the hill is over and your legs and heart stop whinging. Maybe even during!
But then when the whole ride is all over, or just about to be, you suddenly feel this “I FUCKING MADE IT!” euphoria. A real, real euphoria. And it lasts for days and days later. It’s almost a feeling of “THANK GOD THAT IS OVER!” (Even Dee feels this vibe.)
Which, I think, is quite a refreshing way to experience the world.
Tom and his massive pack
Conor (left), Benny, and Doug (right)
Took the opportunity to take a pic of my bike while Tom changed a flat. We got like 7 flats collectively those 2 days.
A one-tree-hill heading into Boonah. It had a name – like a plaque.
Tom and Ryan
The bit where shit was about to get real. One of those “The ride starts here boys”moments. I could almost hear Scott screaming this in my ears.
Benny, Doug and Shirts (right)
Doug and Shirts on the front
Ryan heading into Killarney. You can almost see how massive that growth out the back of his bike is!
In the distance is that Audax crew heading out for their 250ks to the Gold Coast and beyond
Shirts and Doug
Doug, Shirts, Conor, Me, Tom, Benny
Shirts doing warmups before Day 2 started proper
Tom climbing outta Killarney, day 2
Tom being camera-shy
Benny in foreground, Shirts and Doug in distance
Me being arty
Tom, and Conor at the back, Shirts and Doug in front.
Tom all sepia crossing the Teviot Brook.
Shirts and Benny
POTENTIAL AUGUST 23/24 OVERNIGHT RIDE
So the destination would be Tyalgum in Northern NSW.
DAY 1: Brisbane, behind Tambourine, Canungra, Tomewin Rd Border Crossing, Murwillumbah, Tyalgum. 167km.
Tyagum, (maybe something else around there), Natural Bridge border crossing, Springbrook climb, Springbrook descent, Robina, Home (train option).