My trip south didn’t go as planned

Having monitored the weather forecasts over the last week, I saw that the heatwave in Sydney was heading north and that it was peaking on Tuesday. That’s when I had to start riding south in order to catch the train back to Sydney from Coffs Harbour.

I got up at 5am and was on the road just after 6, roughly at first light. It was around 21 degrees and rise to around 31 when I reached Lismore at 10:30 and ate my egg sandwiches in the park. There’s only 30km from Lismore to Casino and I figured that I could reach there before the heat kicked in. I was hoping it would take about 2 hours…

Not wanting to ride with the trucks on the Bruxner highway, I rode my usual route via Canaiba. The climb away from Lismore is about 1.5 km and a bit steep in parts (up to 10%) and the temperature started climbing to the high 30s. About halfway up I stopped under the shade of some fig trees an lay down for a few minutes before I recovered enough to go on. Again, at the top I stopped again, this time at Canaiba school where I soaked myself under a tap and refilled my water bottles. Still about 20km to go. By this time I’d fully unzipped my jersey to take advantage of the slight westerly breeze but wasn’t feeling too much cooler as a result, since I’d stopped sweating, it was so hot. I was regretting taking this route due to the climb, but realised that I had shade and a water stop that I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

When I reached Spring Vale, I was flagging again and had to stop in the shade a couple of more times. At 10km to go, I was lying in the shade of a tree when a car drove past, reversed and came back to see if I was ok. They insisted on giving me some ice which i wrapped in my scarf and also put down the back of my jersey as well as using some to replenish water bottles. Then I decided to call NSW TrainLink and reorganise my booking so that I’d leave from Casino instead of Coffs.

After a while, I continued on. Checking my Garmin, I saw that the current temperature was 47 degrees! Later, I found that the maximum had been 49. With a couple of more stops I arrived in Casino and got a drink and an ice block. As I finished those, I started sweating again. Note that I had water on the bike and had been drinking but it was quite hot by this stage and hard to drink. The temperature was still 40 degrees at 3pm.

I rode through town to the motel and will hole up here for a couple of days until I can get on the train. By 6pm last night, the temperature had dropped from 40 to near 30. It was mid 20s this morning when I woke (late) and will reach mid 30s in the afternoon. I’m still headachey and have a sunburnt stomach and chest (with a white mark where the heart rate strap was) and am certain that I couldn’t have managed the 100km to Grafton that I was planning to do.

Yesterday’s ride took almost 9 hours in total (with stops) which is about 2 more than previously. If anyone wants to look at the details of the ride, they’re at https://ridewithgps.com/trips/19990414

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