I’m heading to bed early tonight. By the end of my club race tomorrow I will have ridden somewhat more than 150km, up a mountain, to the snow, then back down clocking 80kph, if I go slow. We’re being told to expect our course to be cut short, by deep snow on the road that has been falling for the past 24hrs. I guess 40 or 50 riders will come. We’ll have lunch at Longford bakery. We’ll barely see any cars the whole day—thanks in part to a wind-back in industries including farming, logging and canning.
My life is taking on a hyperreal quality. I’m part of a school of architecture where students are doing work as exiting as anything comparable in the US or Europe. I’m embarking on a book tour of Asia and Europe. I lecture on highfalutin French cultural theory, etc.. Yet my backyard is thousands of kilometres of nigh empty roads, so perfectly suited to this pursuit called road cycling, one wonders if Slartibartfast didn’t sculpt the terrain.
In my experience as someone who cycles for sport and recreation (not only transport) the Tasmanian landscape is a third state of consciousness, after waking and sleeping. Once the endorphin levels have reached a comfortable high, the world becomes an endless reel of beautiful asphalt and a never-ending succession of rural postcards scrolling toward me. Which came first: my appreciation of things, or the Rapha film I watched before I came down here? Surely too, those classic mountain stages we have all seen on TV, fill our heads too when we’re riding. When I breakaway during races, I could swear I hear Phil Liggett reading stuff about me from some buried file, and the chopper overhead filming.
Cycling is not the only non powered mode of recreational travel, but I can’t think or another that would make an island as big as Tasmania seem like a synthetic playground. If you don’t agree with me, that nature is socially constructed, then tell me this: how does a caveman come to be reading my blog on a computer?
I stopped just short of the summit, because of the wind and the whiteout, and my poor choice of gloves. Photos from the dozen or so who went all the way show an extreme scene. Here is a photo from my turning around point. I was glad to have descended alone, at my own pace.