Friday, April 25, 2008

A Rough Day to Canberra

April 4th
A Rough Day

I was acutely aware that my sleeping set up was not up to the task this morning. I awoke colder than in the bush camps in the mountains despite being 1000 meters closer to sea level. I would find out later that this is typical of Canberra. Fortunately I still had the plastic bags and threw on my homeless man mittens for the 40km into Australia’s capitol city. On my way I passed a dead deer. One of the many animals the Europeans brought with them that were suited well for this environment. Its head was freshly caved in and was perhaps the most gruesome roadkill to date. Canberra is a sleepy town of 300,000 and is a planned city. It having the virtue of being neither Sydney nor Melbourne as it was these cities that have always competed with each other. Thus Canberra was chosen as a compromise and this sleepy hilly farmland became the decision making center for the continent. I stopped at a chic outdoor shopping mall for breakfast. More meat pies, read the paper and was quite pleased with the time that I made it to the city. Only one week before at this time I had been in Omeo and had put a lot of ups and downs in-between. I was now assured of making it to my flight to Melbourne and hence Lat’s wedding.
These happy thoughts and the last 3 k to the city center were all the filled my mind as I stepped back on the bike. Pressing my full weight into the pedal I heard the satisfying click of the cleat and a sickening bend as the pedal crank curved most unnaturally. I looked down and was stunned, shocked. And not a little bit suprised that my bike frame was cracked. Not a micro crack in the weld but a fill on 10 cm crack that curved all around the crank and into the meat of the aluminum frame. In a daze I gently peddled/ pushed my bike to the CBD. I was too aghast to be angry. It being early enough to call the states and really needing some moral support I did what I believe a lot of people, especially momma boys like myself might do. I called mom.
Unfortunately, my brother had not gotten into his first choice for University and was pretty crushed and thus had a monopoly on Mom’s sympathy. She wished she could help, really did, but today was not it. So I talked to my brother who had sat in silence for the past three hours after the news. I told him about the bike and then just started laughing. 299km from my destination with a broken bike. My mirthless laughter seemed to get him going and he replied that it was clearly a dark day for the Hanssen-wood clan. It was quite clear we were going to have to rethink our efforts.

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