The searching fingers of a swirling cyclone from the north found me just after lunch and I was hit with a wet deluge from the skies. As with previous encounters with precipitation, there was no reason to panic and I just rode through it with a crazy sense of enjoyment. Wave after wave of torrential downpours came and they are continuing now as I write. By 2pm I was in Northcliff and after a rest at the general store, during which I escaped one wet spell, I decided to make a break for a nearby picnic area where I might find cover for the night. If that failed, I would continue riding and camp in the bush. I made it about 500m before I was spat in the face by an oncoming downpour. I spotted some goalposts and took cover under the porch of a recreation centre building. I waited for about 40 minutes for the rain to slow. I started to ride on but turned back when I thought I should at least scope out the recreation centre for a sheltered place to camp. I was thinking this was unlikely as there were several people moving about the club room and I didn’t want them to know what I was up to. I found a roofed shelter in the form of a spectator stand next to the tennis courts that I thought would have been ideal, but I was too worried about being discovered and kicked out. As I rode away from the centre, I passed one of the guys that were there and stopped for a chat. It turns out that the four people I had seen moving about were the remains of a contingent of volunteers from Blazeaid. Started in the east in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires, Blazeaid moves about the country and helps where fences are needed, with volunteers being rewarded with meals and a place to sleep. The volunteers had been based here for six weeks, helping rebuild fences destroyed by the February 2015 bushfires. They had only just packed up and left in the last few days. The two couples were just finishing the cleanup. Kevin (I am so bad with names I am not 100% sure if this one is correct) said it doesn’t bother him if I camped in the spectator shelter. My decision was made. Just as I parked up my bike, his wife came over with a bag of apples and the offer of tea/coffee and a hot shower in the clubroom. I passed on the tea/coffee (I don’t like hot drinks, except soup) but eagerly accepted the hot shower. Later, she gave me some spearmint and cherry flavoured chocolate milk (that’s two different types, not the two flavours mixed together), made locally at Bannister Downs. Yum! I am now tucked into the corner of the spectator stand as rain thunders onto the tin roof overhead. I am very glad I am not camping in the bush tonight!
|Accommodation||Free-camp (spectator stand at sports ground)|
|Distance ridden today||49.99km|
|Average cycling speed||11.4kph|
|Total distance ridden||1,569km|