Monday, December 13, 2010

Stone Jug Creek

When I feel like riding out I'll do it despite the strange days of a purple summer. Rain hangs rather than dust. But in my head something else hangs, just out of reach and with no name. Enacting the ride is a way for it to materialise. It is gone when I sleep in everyday distractions, but when my spirit is restless it is there - when music or words wake me up. It is a dream of the place I'm riding through, as though the dream fills up a missing half of the reality. I imagine the place while I'm there. Like we imagine our lives even as we live them. One sees things otherwise missed, and creates new things.  And all the while the rain hangs.

Rosy and I made easy confident sweeps through King Lake National park. Then she left me due to a lack of sleep.

And so I rode to Strath Creek, overtaking Sunday drivers with my chin on the tank for extra speed. I ate my lunch with a churning stomach, thinking of the rider Rosy knew who was killed last week when hit by a speeding taxi.

Then a motley group of riders pulled up, each a minute apart, and all laughing. We are all going to die, but you can choose to laugh in the meantime. And if there can be no imagining when you are dead, then there is no possibility of death's nightmare beyond what you imagine now. And you can change the now, because right now red blood flows through your veins. And what better a joyful assertion of your humanity than to mount a motorcycle? Most things are better in the wind.

At Trawool I took a new road - Upper Goulburn Road - which hugged the river until Tallarook.

Another new road - Pyalong-Seymour Road - and I made my way to Heathcote and coffee. From there I dropped to Mia Mia and paused, before choosing a farm road in preference over the main route. It had no name, but ran parallel to Stone Jug Creek.

I enjoyed different speeds on this road, cruising along between 40 and 50kph while sitting and looking about, or standing on the pegs and pushing along at at least 60kph, on my road-bike with road-bike tyres. I disliked the feeling at greater speed of the rear fishtailing ever so mildly on the gravel - I thought at first I had a rear puncture - and so I chose the these paces and really enjoyed the surroundings. That's the way to do it! Leave hustling for the tarmac.

And that's what I did: plodded along the dirt, and when I met the tarmac of the Burke and Wills Track, I opened up into my beloved staccato drum roll of an engine, rolling on and off between 4000 and 5000 rpm.  I sat at the speed limit.  A hoon appeared on the straight and attempted to ride my backside, but each time we entered a set of twisties he would lose more and more ground. On a long set of straights he would appear again, desparately breaking the speed limits, and then we'd meet the twisties and I'd laugh as he was lost again. This bike can be flicked effortlessly at freeway speeds through a tight mountain road. I love my SR500, which draws forth different elements of my being on any ride: contemplation and imagination here, adrenalin and the pulsing of spirit and blood there.

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