Cycling in Sydney Australia
Well, it has been a while but a few readers asked for more, especially since I left them hanging by suggesting there were horrors as yet unrevealed... so, as the Alpine ride is approaching, it may be a good time to continue the saga of my nightmarish cycling trips with Geoff and John (not their real names -- to protect me) in the 1990s. Though this is less a cycling trip than a driving trip with cycling the goal. Anyway...
It was just before an early Audax Alpine Classic which we all intended to attempt. We were driving to Victoria in Geoff's car -- we being me, my wife and Geoff. Rather than take the direct but boring route via the Hume Highway, Geoff had agreed to drive via the Snowy Mountains and pick up John at Jindabyne on the way through.
John, a very strong, almost obsessive, but also penniless endurance cyclist would ride, non-stop, from Sydney, via Mt Kosciuszko, and meet us there. Which he did, in about 21 hours, then, of course, begged a spare bed in our cabin at the caravan park.
Unsurprisingly, I again expressed reluctance but again, as in Merriwa, was outvoted by Geoff and my wife. (Should I have been suspicious of this constant anti-Neil collusion...? No, apparently not, I was merely being unreasonably uncharitable. At least, so I was told.)
Before bed we needed food so we repaired to the local cafe and all ordered meals. All, that is, except financially-challenged John, who grazed leftovers from the uncleared plates of earlier diners at adjacent tables.
Trouble flared when, with leftovers depleted, he began to graze food from Geoff's plate. There was nothing likely to be leftover there, obviously, so John probably thought he had better get in early. Geoff was having none of it. (And I am uncharitable... moi??) Pointing his fork threateningly at John, Geoff intoned that if one more chip disappeared from his plate into John's mouth, the hand which stole it would be punctured by steel tines. Inadvisedly, John took this as a joke. He made a move towards Geoff's plate and his hand was immediately impaled by Geoff's fork -- just hard enough to draw blood but not hard enough to fix it firmly to the wooden table. Thank heavens; that might have put me off my meal.
John, despite being no stranger to pain and scarring as a result of previous serious motorcycle crashes, had learned an important lesson, it seemed, because he refrained from further plate pillaging and the meal ended quietly. He even indicated that, when we reached Bright, he would book in to a cheap hostel. Palpably relieved at this development, we didn't ask what he was going to use to pay for this accommodation.
We should not have been surprised when, on seeing our salubrious Bright motel room, shadily located adjacent to the bubbling Ovens River, John changed his mind and begged to be allowed to sleep on the floor. Again, we relented. Well, Geoff and my wife relented, despite my usual vehement protest.
A few days into our stay, my wife was in the the motel office where the proprietors spoke to her about the extra person staying in our room about whom they had not been informed. She went very red. The proprietors also mentioned the greasy stains on the carpet (caused apparently by said person's cleated cycling shoes). She went even redder and said she would talk to said person.
Re-entering the motel room, she came face to face with a totally nude John emerging from the bathroom, every scar from those old motorcycle crashes clearly on display from shoulder down to... er... well, past there, and all the way to his toes. "John," she shrieked. "It's time you went to the hostel! NOW!!"
Amazingly, he did. After dressing, thank heavens.
We all slept much better that night and did ever such fast times on the Alpine Classic.