- Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
How come it feels so good to get home again and yet it sucks at the same time? Why do some of my most favourite people have to be so far away? And why does my backlog of photos never stop growing?! Oh well! We'll get there...eventually.
Anyway, you might be pleased to know that I am still in one piece. I did not fall down a 12 metre cliff and neither did I get a stick through my front wheel and come off breaking my sternum or ribs. I left those adventures to others in the team!
I did, however, ride for 25 hours (that's 9 days in a row of racing and training), get some wicked cuts and bruises from crashing into rocks, fell off my bike in a bog and got completely submerged and spent more than 2 hours cleaning the mud off my bike and shoes only to find NZ customs in a relaxed mood.
I laughed so hard that I thought I might explode, got attacked by a magpie (seriously...you can see where the beak of the bird wedged into my helmet!), lazed in the spa pool and learnt more about bikes in 9 days than I ever had in the last 3 years of riding. When I finally get a chance, there'll be more info about the trip up here if anyone is interested.
Oh, and I also managed to eat some pretty good food. I didn't photograph most of it (like the awesome vegan lasagnas that got whipped up for us non-meat eaters one night) because I am a bit slack but rest assured, you will not go hungry even in small towns in Australia (I found tofu, both plain and marinated, veggie burgers, oat milk and all sorts of other staples in every supermarket I went to).
This is the only photo of food that we actually cooked. This was our second night in Mt Gambia and there were three of us girls cooking together in our little unit. We were lazy and bought pre-prepared stir-fry veggies since we were traveling the next day.
Next stop was a farmstay not far out of Carisbrook. It had the most awesome kitchen where we would cook up communal meals each night. Down the road in Marybourgh there was a cafe (Legendz) that could make soy milkshakes. After a hot day out in the forest I couldn't think of anything better!
It was thick, cold and delicious...and I drunk it so fast that I got a headache!
Food-wise, Daylseford was when it got exciting. We'd just arrived and were mulling around town whist some people were sussing out somewhere good for coffee when one of my team mates spotted a sign outside one of the cafes saying it was vegetarian and vegan.
My first trip (we went twice) to the Himalaya Bakery I got a mini chocolate cake and organic cola.
I also got an apple and cinnimon scroll to take away with me too (oh, and later on I got one to eat on the plane home too...they were big and deliciously filling).
Our first night we all went out to dinner at the Old Hepburn Hotel. I got a veganised version of the vegetable and kidney bean nachos which was pretty good but I could have done with more bean mix and less corn chips. It didn't last all that long though (riding every day makes you hungry...and incredibly tipsy on one bottle of alcoholic ginger beer and therefore your table's entertainment for the evening)!
Saturday night was the social function at a pub down the road. Food was catered but I'd organised in advance for a meal to be provided for me. They ended up changing their vegetarian dish to make it vegan which I thought was pretty cool...green curry with tofu and tempeh. Not anything flash or amazing but it filled me up and, quite frankly, I was hungry so as long as it was edible I wasn't really fussed.
And for dessert they served me a big bowl filled with grapes and strawberries. Everyone else at my table was jealous and I had to fight them off!
After our final race we went into town again for lunch and boy did I need food by then...desperately (after nearly 3 hours of mountain biking I was pretty desperate)! I managed to convince over half the team to join me at the Himalaya Bakery again! Everyone had to agree the food was really good.
I got the open veggie burger (I think it was made from lentils). It was good. So basically, if you find yourself near Daylesford, go here. I really recommend it.
For our final night we went out to the Jasmine Thai Restaurant in Hepburn Springs. Items on the menu that could be veganised were clearly labelled which was super cool and my meal was delicious. Of course I was pretty forgetful that evening and forgot my camera again. Typical...
...but after over 2 hours of cleaning my bike and bike shoes (I don't think either have ever been this clean since they were brand new - look how sparkly it is!) I was completely exhausted.
So all in all it was an awesome trip (and this is a ridiculously long post). Plans are already underway for next year...