For me the terrain has gotten more manageable, or more likely my technique has improved. I really feel for Loren who is giving her 110% every day but is struggling to manage. It’s such a catch, if your pushing it’s slow and physically hard and if your riding it’s hard to balance but much faster. I have almost mastered the art of sand riding but Loren definitely hasn’t. She can’t ride the bike without falling over, her fall count is at 48. We are moving fucking painfully slow, my bike that Loren is using isn’t going to last much longer. I don’t care how long it takes because I’m in my happy place, I love it out here, but watching Loren beat herself up is really tough. I'm doing everything within my power to help her, I’m taking all the extra weight I can and giving as much encouragement as possible. I want her to be here as long as she wants to be here but right now I’m not sure she does.
She’s fantastic company and I truly hope she can get through this tough patch.
Today through Loren’s eyes...
I woke up this morning with an astonishingly painful body, my bruises haven’t seemed to get any better (probably because I keep landing on them), I haven’t been sleeping well because I’ve been in so much pain, and the general mood for the morning was simply to hustle, get ready and go. Very different to yesterday.
The first section Brando and I were both pushing the bikes, it was at least a flat road but deep sand and corrugated. Brando’s got the hang of riding in the deep sand, but I can never get my balance. The bikes are so so hard to control with so much weight and the trailer on the back, I take one pedal and just tip to the side, so I end I pushing my bike a lot from the fear of injuring myself even more or breaking the bike.
We started tackling some hills, and by tackling I mean Brando would make it to the top and I would attempt to push my bike and trailer, usually having to unhook the trailer or take off the so bags of water and food and then go back for them. I wasn’t off to a good start, and I’m too scared to bike because of the bad experiences I’ve had already, I panic every time I put my foot on the pedal.
We got to a pretty big hill, and I managed to actually bike a little bit of it, but then my chain fell off and I fell off my bike, struggling to pick it up as the hill was so steep. I burst into tears, losing all hope and faith in myself, seeing Brando’s flag so far away in the distance just waiting, waiting, waiting for me as he always does. I managed to fix it and keep going, but it fell off again. A truck puled up with a lovely couple in it, they put down their window, saw I was hysterical, got out of the car and gave me a hug and a pep talk. They were just visiting Steep Point for the day so they said they’d check on me on the way back. Another truck of two guys pulled up behind them and they helped me fix the chain and off I went. I thought from that moment things would get better but far out was I wrong.
To make it all worse, I broke one of the most important pieces of equipment, not intentionally of course, but I’ve fallen off so many times that the through axle that holds the wheel in and where the trailer hooks onto, snapped. Brando wasn’t even sure if he had a spare part for this, luckily he did, but if it happens again I am screwed. I was honestly waiting for Brando to lose it at me and tell me to just go home (he didn’t).
After this a steep down hill was ahead, I managed to bike some flat and it didn’t look too sandy, I saw that Brando had done it and the ground looked solid so I thought I’d woman up and bike down instead of pushing my bike. About 7 seconds in and with some pretty good speed, my trailer started fishtailing I hit the sand bank, my bike and trailer completely flipped upside down with myself still attached by my leg being jammed somewhere amongst the chaos. I don’t think I’ve ever screamed so loud. My leg was jammed, my face was in the sand, I was shivering from shock and in so much pain I couldn’t move my leg for a while.
Brando obviously heard me scream and I could see him rushing back for me, he dropped his trailer and biked up as fast as he could. He saw the bike and the trailer upside down (I’m sure he was worried a little bit) and kind of laughed, telling me “I should have filmed my back flip attempt" and it was a good effort getting that massive bike upside down, but I wasn’t finding it funny. He helped me up dusted me off, checked to see if I had broken anything and packed the trailer again for me as everything had fallen out once, once it was all set I waddled down the hill with my bike.
I wanted to go home. I was absolutely ready to call it quits. I didn’t feel cut out for this, I still don’t feel cut out for this. I’m so anxious that I’m a disappointment to Brando, I don’t want to let anyone down, not Brando, not my family and friends supporting me, not myself. I’ve fallen over so many times and dragged my sorry ass off the ground to give up, but there’s always the part of me that’s telling me ‘how long can you do this for? Are you actually capable of this? I don’t think you are’.
As I was waddling down the hill with my bike, the couple drove past again, and they could see I was limping. They immediately got out, helped my carry my things, washed my face for me (apparently it was covered in grease and sand), busted out a chair and looked at the damage to my leg. The bruises are really not pretty. Brando rubbed some pain relief on the main bruise and taped it down, and the couple gave me cold drinks and flannels to put on the bruises. It was quite a funny sight, me sitting in the middle of no where with no pants and a beer and lemonade strapped to my purple swollen thighs.
They were so lovely, they kept reminding me how proud I should be of myself to simply get this far, and to not be ashamed. Brando even said if he’d fallen over as many times as me he probably would have given up by now, (I don’t think he would) but it made me chuckle. I might be slow but I must be determined?? I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing at this stage.
We set up camp pretty early, maybe around 6. We didn’t make many km’s today and I know it’s all because of me. That’s what’s getting to me the most. I know I’m the weakest link in the chain and that Brando could be so much further if it wasn’t for me, which really hurts me for him. I’m not in a good head space, I’m sore as hell, and I really don’t know if I can do this as much as I want to. But I’ll keep trying.