Day 7 - Junee to Cootamundra - 83.4km

Second longest day. No huge hills, supposedly, but Marc sent Alison and me off earlier while they finished up packing up the tent and getting the bags stashed on the luggage trucks.

We ended up having a good run to morning tea.. a couple of guys "adopted" us, and rode alongside us, taking our mind off the slog, and pacing us.

We arrived at morning tea, surprised that Marc, Cait and Zoe hadn't caught us. This was at Illabo Public School, and I have to tell you, their scones with jam and cream were worth queuing for!

When they arrived, seemed that Caitlin had had her "moment"... brought on, she said, by the moments I'd been having (over my inability to eat breakfast).. and the testy exchanges between Marc and me over our pace, etc. She spat it, had a 'what the hell are we doing here?' cry... and would have pulled out if she could!

I reminded her that I'd told her she'd have moments like these, and that I was surprised it had taken this long. And that Dad and I still loved each other - we were just in marathon mode.

My theory was also that she succumbed to that feeling because it was the first time they'd been behind Alison and me and not caught up and ridden past. A taste of how Alison and I felt pretty much constantly the whole ride, really, but new to Caitlin. She denied it, but of course I'm right!!

The road out of lunch should have been easy but the wind was getting worse, and soon Alison and I dropped off the pace again. These photos were taken by someone else:


A bit later we found ourselves at times having to pedal downhill into the wind. Not a good moral booster...

This is a back view of tandem friends we made.. Marc in particular spent a lot of time taking turns drafting with Peter and Graham from Canberra. Graham, who rides stoker on the back, is blind, but he even has his bike (he owns the tandem) set up so that he operates the gears - they have a system of communication that works for them! Impressive. Had to laugh once when someone else commented about how 'that guy on the back of that tandem had his face so close to the Captain's back, he wouldn't be able to see anything!'

"He can't, he's blind!", we informed him. Oops!

The girls learnt a lot from seeing Graham get into it all. They had even observed him doing his bit hammering in the tent pegs.

Anyway, in the end, Alison and I decided to let the others go ahead. We started walking some of the hills, and when others enquired as to the whereabouts of the rest of our family road train, I gestured vaguely to the road ahead, and said 'With a bit of luck they'll have the tent up when we get into camp.'

I don't remember feeling incredibly bad, we just took it slow and steady; these tortoises just couldn't beat the hares this time. Mind you, apparently Zoe lost the plot along the road there somewhere. Sobbing sounds from the back... she has a headache. Turns out she hadn't been drinking... (a bit of a lifetime tendency of Zoe's).. So Marc ordered her to drink down half her bottle.. and he tipped the rest of it over her head. They continued on, scoring a ride with Peter and Graham, and reckon they literally hooned the rest of the way into Coota.

Alison and I got into camp an hour later, and were eternally grateful that they had put the tent up for us.

And Cootamundra pool was right near the campsite. Guess where we went? On this trip the kids had discovered diving boards, which kept them occupied for ages. Mind you, they left their goggles near the diving boards at Cootamundra, but that's another story.

We also decided it was time for a good hearty pub meal that night instead of the camp food, with the biggest day of riding ahead of us. We weren't the only ones to do so, either. We also had no idea of just how big the next day was!

>> Day 8