14 December, 2008

Lights, camera, lightning!!

Flash!! Rumble, rumble, flash,flash, FLASH/BANG!!!!

We have just had a cracker of a storm blow through- lasted about 40 minutes with the prelude and all and as it passes away to the east, the trailing light show is an awesome spectacle. I have been watching for about 5-10 minutes since we had the last of it and now it is just a continuous display off to the east. Probably not more than 2 or 3 seconds between flashes.

Thankfully the storm brought a much needed freshening of the air and the temperature has dropped about 10 or 12 C. It was 35.5C (at least that's what the thermometer in the car said while we were parked in the shade) earlier this afternoon when Dee and I were running a few errands. Any excuse to get out of the house and into some aircon!!

We went camping/mountain bike riding yesterday with some of our friends in our cycling group. Got up at 4:30, finished packing the car and headed off to Stone River. Beautiful spot at the bottom of the range- surrounded by tropical rainforest with a lovely creek running at the back of the property- idyllic.

We arrived around 7:30 and met up with the rest of the group who had driven up Friday afternoon. The challenge ahead of us was to ride up Mt Fox.....9 km of hill with very little opportunity for rest and recovery on the way up. I've done it the last two years and keep asking myself why I need to go back and subject myself to it all over again.

Off we went on this year's adventure but it was not to be a successful conclusion for me this year. When I woke up yesterday, I had a sore throat- very unusual for this time of year as we come into summer. I figured it was viral as I also had an accompanying sore on the inside of my nose- always a warning sign to me of a viral infection.

Anyway we headed off and all was quite good until we reached about the 5km point. I was cooked!! I couldn't cool off and had stopped sweating- definitely not a good sign. So I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it and returned to the campsite. I do recall my doctor advising me not to cycle hard when I have a viral infection- there have been instances of elite athletes (not that I fall into that category- as a matter of fact I can't even see elite from where I am) who have died from their viral infections by continuing to train hard while ill and their bodies have succumbed to the infection. "Sorry but I do this because I enjoy it, not because I have to. And I'd like to be able to do it again tomorrow- or whenever I'm healthy enough to resume."

I tried to rehydrate myself while waiting for the rest of the group to return. When we were all back, we went for a bit of a soak in the stillwater area of the creek. There is a certain amount of complacency about this swimming hole- fresh water from rainforest streams, beautiful surrounds- what could go wrong?

Fortunately in this instance, nothing. Dee had expressed concerns about crocs (estuarine/saltwater lizards- big ones with bad attitudes) and I have to confess I was a bit hesitant as well but I guess there's safety in numbers. "There's no crocs here. Too far inland, yada, yada,blah, blah..."

We didn't see any (this time) but just a few km's down the road as we were heading home this morning, on the same river system, is a warning sign saying, "Caution- estuarine crocodiles inhabit this area."

But it was all good. The food which was pretty much all cooked in camp ovens in the fire pit was outstanding, the company and conversation was great and the wine flowed freely. If there was a downside, it was the temperature. We camped out- in a tent as you do, and when you camp you expect to be cool at night. Our mates had told us that Friday night they actually had to get in their sleeping bags as opposed to just using them as extra cushioning on the camp mats.

Not last night- no way, no how!! It didn't get below 28 or 29C overnight so sleep was hard to come by. Daybreak was a flurry of activity as everyone broke camp, packed up and headed home in the air conditioned comfort of their vehicles.

The temperature now is 25C- you just gotta love natural air conditioning.

Cheers, ride safe

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