Today’s ride to Scottsdale was described to us as a big climbing day despite its relatively short distance of 67k. The weather was good and we elected to travel on a smaller road that took us through Lilydale at our half way point. We find ourselves in mixed agriculture and forest. The trees are impressive size and though we are no longer in rainforest and it is the dry time of year here, it is still very lush. Our route saved us some of the steeper climbing over a pass that the main highway follows but there is still a considerable difficulty to our day. I find my right knee a little stiff today. The geometry on the cyclocross bike I took on this trip is less designed for big climbs than the mountain bike I used on my South American trip. I know that it will be fine but it is a notice to be sure to shift down and not to just power through today. We started our day biking at 8 and were very happy to be done at noon – the ride was not nearly as taxing for us as had been described by other cyclists we had met.
Scottsdale was a big timber town in it’s early days. The Pub where we had dinner that evening had a display of old photos of the early logging that were just amazing. Huge trees. One tree to a logging truck. Men with crosscut saws and wedges were dwarfed by the trees the were working at falling. I wish I had remembered to bring my phone to dinner so I could have photographed some of these images. We saw quite a few logging trucks during the day but of course they no longer carried the trees of yesteryear.
Our lodgings, Anabel’s, was opened in 1890 and was listed in the National Trust. The gardens and surrounding shade trees created a beautiful and comfortable setting. There had still been some smoke in the air from the fires but now the breeze cleared the air. Rain is predicted for the next few days but we are ever optimistic.
Our trip to St. Helen’s is 107k and is our last big day of climbing on this trip. We got an early start to try to get as far along as possible before the rains find us. We had learned about a trail along an old railway bed that would take us the first 26k and avoid some of the first steep climbs from some nice folks at the local info place. The rails never have too steep an elevation since the trains have to move on less aggressive climbs. It was a great choice since this trail went through some beautiful forest with huge ferns, thick trees and nicely packed rail bed. I had four wallabies cross in front of me on different times on this narrow trail including one just a few feet away from my tire. We got a few photos on this stretch and enjoyed the change of pace.
The grades on our remaining route were held to 6 percent so our legs appreciated that although our total climbing of 1550 meters was still a lot. The rain and wind found us around the halfway point but temps were OK so we persevered. The view of St. Helen’s on the water below us was a welcome sight. We shoved all of our wet clothing into the dryer and found a comfortable bar/restaurant.
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