Not really, I guess, given that I cycled 280-ish kilometres to come on holidays. However, it’s a different type of fitness that is required to climb mountains.
Today, we’d arranged that Danya, Ben, Ramon and I would go to the top of Black Butt, led by Barbara Stewart, to see the snow lichen. I took the Garmin Etrex so that I have some track data, which has given me some basic elevation data, but nothing else, until I can get the track off, via a serial connection to a computer.
Unfortunately, the track finishes at the creek – halfway up. Most of the first part is really steep as it climbs up the ridge to the plateau: 150 metres ascent over about 500 metres. I was carrying the pack with food for Danya and me, as well as raincoats and about 4 litres of water and gatorade (and his bike stuff he’d forgotten to remove), while he carried his camera pack and Kathy’s digital camera for macro shots of lichen.
Anyway, all the way of the slope, my heart was racing like the time the heart doctor had me on the special machine. I passed the pack to Danya for the last 50 metres, but I was all dizzy and my calves were killing me by the time we got to the creek. After a minute or two, we started on to the rest, which is flatter but longer (2 or 3 km?). However, I still felt dizzy and said that I thought I should head back and leave them to it.
Barbara decided that an early morning tea was called for, so we all sat and ate an apple or such-like while they waited to see if I’d recover any more. After 5 minutes, I decided that heading back was still best, so they carried on and I walked home. Hopefully Danya will return with some nice photos I can point to later.
I remember, when I was younger, walking everywhere and I would never have contemplated turning back 30 minutes into a 4 hour bushwalk. Of course, cycling everywhere is the easy option. What will take me 5 hours on Wednesday would take me 15 to travel by Shank’s Pony. Actually, measuring it now makes me think that it’s do-able – is that what now makes us imagine we can travel to the stars?.
Just the other day, Danya walked the 15km back from town with Ramon; just because. That impressed me, as itÂ´Å› something that I wouldn’t think of doing. But cycling is not full-body exercise. I sit there nice and comfortable on the seat, and spin my legs. A hill comes and I change gears. Long distances; little effort. In fact, it was only yesterday, I was condemning motorised transport for insulating us from the landscape in which we travel. While cycling is better for immersing you in a location, it isn’t perfect.
Maybe that should be my new year’s resolution – walk more. I can cycle to work 2 or 3 days a week for 40 minutes and 10km, and walk 4km for 40 minutes the other days.