I’ve never biked better, but I’m digging too deep to do it. Sometimes I catch myself staring dead-eyed at nothing in particular, vacant and flat under the weight of weariness. My body is all ribs and complaints, with knees that refuse to work the way they once did.
It happens every winter on the road. The feeling used to scare the hell out of me – I thought I was getting slow or stale or maybe just old. Of course, the truth isn’t nearly as extravagant. I may have superhero calves, but the rest of me is very human. Sometimes I need a break.
In two weeks I fly from Auckland back to Tasmania where I will house-sit in a place too small to be a village. My only company will be a black cat and a snoring dog, not to mention the modest collection of paperbacks I’ve been easing off second-hand shelves for the past year. I’ll be there for two months and my only plan is to wear slippers and stay put.
Until then I’ll keep pedaling, ragged but content in knowing I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
One day I’ll look back on all of this, at these pulpit mountains and roads that vanish into clouds. I’ll be warm and full and clean, and then the question won’t be how I found my way to such great heights, but why on earth I ever left.