Car packed, goodbyes said, I was off on my yearly trip to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under. This is what I was leaving.
Split over two days, it is roughly a 1400km trip each way. Two days there, seven days in Adelaide and two days back. I love it.
I rolled into Hay yesterday. Unpacked the car and jumped on the bike. There was a killer westerly blowing, which made the first half of this a pain in the legs.
The ride back however, yeehaaaa!
There is a fair contrast between where I was this morning compared to tonight.
I showered and headed off to grab some dinner.
Waiting for my pizza, I saw an old bloke walk past with a pair of calf muscles that caught my eye. “That guy is a cyclist” I thought to myself.
He swung into the Hay Fish Shop and Pizza Bar. Ha! I was waiting for my meduim Americana at the time, so I thought he might pass me on the way out.
I waited a few minutes and he emerged with a cigarette hanging very loosely from his lips. As soon as he crossed the threshold, the lighter was underneath it and he took a long drag on the smoke.
He looked up. “How’s it going he said?”
“It going ok” I said, trying to swing myself around out of the wind.
“Not local, where ya headed?”
“Tour Down Under, in Adelaide”
“Like every other bastard in Hay tonight” he laughed.
We got talking. He was indeed a cyclist, although these days he just rode to the pub. I told him I rode a bit.
“oh yeah?” he said with a look that told me he didn’t believe me.
“Not a lot, I am just a fat old pretender” I offered. He laughed.
“A lot of people claim they are cyclists. It isnt like the old days when I rode. What do they call ‘em these days?”
“You mean MAMILS” I said. He burst out laughing. It was a loud and infectious laugh. Followed by a very heavy smokers cough.
“You need to give up the gaspers mate.” I said with more judgement than was healthy.
“Probably. And the piss. And the pizza!” he laughed again.
We got talking. Little did I know I had just met the Secret Non Pro!
We chatted until my pizza was ready to go. I told him about the blog. He gave me his email address. He told me he would send me some stories of “back in his hay day”.
“Your hay day in Hay?” I asked. He shot me a cheeky grin and a wink. I wandered off.
His first email has already landed. It is all sorts of fantastic.
You will be hearing more from the Secret Non Pro in the coming weeks. It will be worth the wait.
This morning I left Hay at 5:30. It has been a long day. Mildura for breakfast. Renmark for a leak.
I rocked up to my tiny room this arvo and unpacked the car.
Had a brief chat to Margaret who grabbed the TDU guide for me. God bless her.
I am just back from dinner at The Archer Pub. Lannaaaaaa.
Tomorrow morning, my old nemesis, Norton Summit. I feel flat. Lets see how I get on.