Aug 9, 2013

Distance today = 51.77 km; Total distance = 24,508.81 km; Location = Frances (10 km north of) – 36 38.304’ S, 140 54.453′ E; Start time = 0811, Finish time = 1613


I finally got to run on a quieter road today, moving off the Duke’s Highway. Besides the extra traffic, the Duke’s has a rough surface of sharp stones. Once on the road to Frances, however, it was much quieter and smoother – much easier on the feet.

After a radio interview with ABC Illawarra in Bordertown this morning, I enjoyed my run on a course that holds fond memories. In 2010, this was the road where Lance and GD made a break 30 km out from the town of Frances, and the pace was on. They took turns at the front, as we averaged 50 km per hour. Reefton Humblewood was dropped very quickly, as Big Andy, Chips, and myself hung on as best we could. The amazing thing, though, was Jimbo’s performance. He missed the initial break, and so, set about bridging the gap on his own. He passed Reefton, who was immediately spat out the back again. Jimbo eventually caught the lead break just a few kilometres from the end in Frances. We had ridden 30 km in 37 minutes, thanks to the cracking pace of Lance and GD, and Jimbo would have been even quicker. I was much, much slower over the same course today.

There were so many birds around the road today, mostly sulphur-crested cockatoos. The noise was deafening at times, as they protested my presence. But ……. there was something more disturbing that emerged today – something that strikes fear into the hearts of cyclists, and even more so for runners. Magpies!!!! Magpie breeding season is usually around September and October, when they protect their young by swooping and attacking humans, often drawing blood. I was swooped upon twice today, and once last week. It looks like the season is getting earlier every year, but the start of August is a new record for me. I may have to start looking at strategies to ward off the dreaded magpies as I near the end of the run. They will surely be worse by then.

I also managed to figure out the Garmin issue today. I did many experiments over distances that were known by the kilometre pegs that had been verified by the support vehicle’s odometer. When I had the Garmin in my hand, it measured up perfectly with all the other measurement methods. However, almost every time it was in my pouch, carried right up against my body, it began to “lose distance”. It seems that being so close to my body prevents the satellites from “seeing” the device properly. I have added in the missing data from today – 530 metres – but from now on, I will carry the device in my hand to ensure accuracy. It’s a bit annoying, but necessary. I did discover, however, that the device also works properly when carried on my head, under my cap.

Tomorrow I continue on to Naracoorte. Stay tuned for the story of how Chips won the day.