Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lake Mountain and the spurs

Today's ride was moody. I always enjoy my weekly ride but little events, along with anxieties, left me feeling mixed. I set out late, midday, so didn't attempt Walhalla. I chose my route at each intersection, but not with carefree pleasure. My small accident the other day played on my mind.

My route: to Kinglake; Chum Creek Road to Healesville; the Black Spur; Lake Mountain Ski Resort; Reefton Spur; Healesville; Yarra Glen; Kangaroo Ground and home.

I had great rhythm through King Lake National Park and Chum Creek Road. I took a once fateful corner at speed to see what happened to Micki. She was a learner whom I led through there on her first country ride. Rounding that decreasing radius she came off, sliding across the road, her bike tumbling down the embankment. I think it was the unexpected decrease that got her. The most important techniques in riding are those performed by the head: not making assumptions, slowing for corners, never riding faster than you can see. A strong suck on a cigarette and Micki was fine.

The Black Spur was again rhythmic. I always cruise gently through this road but various times I had to break the new rule that prohibits overtaking across an unbroken line, showing how foolish that rule is (unless of course they change half the lane markings in Victoria). The road has always been 100kph and was recently dropped to 80. I overtook only on clear stretches to get round a 40kph car. Where a month ago they might have described the exact same act as sensible over-taking, a cop will now tell me that I was being dangerous. From sensible to foolish in the blink of a bureaucrat.

In a tight section I was taking a left-hander when another rider rounded a corner too fast on his Harley. Clearly unskilled, he was in my lane. His eyes like a deer in the headlight, he simply wobbled and continued for me! No doubt he was target-fixating: a phenomenon where motorcyclists get fixated on the thing frightening them, and because a motorcycle goes where you look, run into the very object they want to avoid. I braked and counter-steered toward my shoulder of the road, a manouver which he should have pulled. He passed me still in my lane. A car could not have avoided him as I had.

Above Marysville I stopped the bike.

I shared smiles with a couple in a convertible whom I would see throughout the day, and followed them to Lake Mountain. There's a ski resort, amidst a landscape tortured by January's fires, where I enjoyed a coffee and wandered about.

This place evoked northern Italy, where I lived for seven months in Piedemonte. High. Thin air. Silent. Meditative.

I then rode Reefton Spur. My recent off left me anxious all day that I might crash. The entrance to one corner was all fern and peace...the exit exploded into high-speed log truck, taking the whole road and about to engulf me. Hard left, hard braking. The trailer edged ever closer and I thought I might have to jump.

Instead I continued and stopped for photos, the peace and beauty returning.

At the end of the Spur I was tired and pulled off into a rest area, and napped on a table. Walking back to the bike I was met by a dog. From nowehere he came up for a pat, then disappeared into the bush. Twenty seconds later he emerged with a stick, dropping it at my feet.

When I'd had enough play I patted him. The same instant I stopped he turned, stick in mouth, and wandered off home, obviously familiar with the ritual!

Faced with an intersection, revived by the peace of staring up at gums and the carefree wisdom of a dog, I took a new road: to the Upper Yarra Reservior.

I tried some self-portraiture

If this is egoistic forgive me - it was fun.

I headed home,

Kangaroo Ground I stood on a hill and watched the day end.

1 comment:

  1. Truly a pleasure to read this.

    It's comforting to know that there are kindred spirits out there who feel the same way about motorcycling as I... :)