Summary: knee problems and wind.
The start of the stage today was quite flat and the mist
didn't rise until about 9:30. There was a strong wind blowing
which was a tail-wind for the first 30 kilometers until morning
tea. I covered that distance in about 1:30.
Mist and wind
For the next 30km until lunch at Tarago, the westerly turned
into a head-wind and then into a cross-wind after lunch, gusting
quite severely. It took me about 2:30 to get to lunch. This
stretch also included about 1.5 kilometers of gravel road which
wasn't in good condition.
My knee was aching all the way from morning tea. I got ice and
Difflam on it again at lunch and I'm getting to know all the
St. John's volunteers. After resting a while I pushed on through
Tarago, past the pub where about 10 bikes were parked, and up
over the Great Dividing Range with that murderous cross wind and
big trucks buffeting me one way and the other.
I struggled almost to morning tea at the 80 kilometer mark -
having to walk up the last couple of rises to save my knee. More
ice and Difflam. I was seated next to a guy who had taken both
feet off the pedals to re-seat himself and had the chain come off,
right in front of the St John's people at afternoon tea. They
gave him 9/10 for execution. He scraped his right arm (gravel in
the wound), his hand and leg. He could walk, but they took him
to camp in an ambulance.
After treatment I was told to take it easy the rest of the way
and that it all downhill from here (it's always downhill from
here <groan> ). I managed to coast to the flat section outside of
town with about 10 km to go and walk to the last water stop and
waited for the sweep bus.
It's all downhill from here
At this stage it had already gone by once and police escorts
were pulling up next to cyclists and asking how they were
going. After being swept up, we watched as a police car slowly
escorted a lady who obstinately refused to give up over the last
6 kilometers and this exemplifies the care and commitment the
police has shown over the last 6 days.
At camp I went to where the medical facilities were set up and
spoke to the doctor, who gave me some stronger anti-inflammatory
tablets and told me to stop riding tomorrow if I felt
over-stressed. I also got more ice and Difflam. He also suggest
I see the Pegasus Crew about my bike setup in case there were
any issues affecting my knee there. The main guy there gave my
setup the all clear which was nice to know.