Well, actually I can, but the effort nearly gave me a stroke! More about that in a minute or two
Hi everyone. I've been absent from here for a few weeks, and I've missed the interaction with you all. I was in the midst of a pretty severe illness last time I was posting in this section, and since then I've had a period of R 'n' R up at my bush shack, followed by a few trips up and down to the city, where my 30 year old son is currently undergoing cancer treatment. He's stuck there for a month of daily radiation treatment. I'm scheduled to go back there in a couple of days time, to provide support for him during the final week or so of that period. (And to bring back the road bike I left there for him to get around on. We had a good time a week or two back, when I had both bikes down there, as the facilities are located in an old and very scenic area on the outskirt of the inner City of Melbourne. Riding around there was a wonderful experience!)
Anyways. That hill! I've dug up some old photos to illustrate the bottom section of it. I haven't got any of the longer top section, but I think you'll get the drift from my description here.
I've had a couple of shortish stays up at my lakeside hut since the last time I posted here in 50+. When I headed up there for the first of those stays - my period of recuperation from illness - I loaded the bike into the back of the truck intending to do some leisurely riding around the rail trails and bush tracks nearby. But I'm afraid the 'boy' in me took over, and I ended up sorta sorry that it did.
There's no phone reception at my hut. After unloading the truck, getting the gas 'fridge going and the generator set up for lighting, sweeping out the hut, attending to the bedding and all the rest of the paraphernalia it was time to ring home, let people know I'd arrived there safely and that all of our gear was still intact....
I usually wander up top of the hill to do that, to where my phone gets good enough reception. But I'd brought a bicycle with me, hadn't I? My eye wandered to it, and the mischievous imp of a boy inside me took control. "I've never really properly checked out Granny Gear on this thing" I thought! That was most definitely a mistake. It was an even bigger mistake to jump on the thing and roll down to the water's edge to ride up the WHOLE hill!
Our 'camp' is quite near to the water's edge, but it's still quite a drop down to the lakeside, as you can see from this lovely view we have:
We've a vehicle track down to the point, with a loop at the end which helps when we're launching the boats. I jumped on the bike and rolled down the 'easy' side to the lovely little spot where I often sit and catch the evening meal.
Down bottom it's flat for about 20 metres before I turn to face uphill and start climbing up the 'hard' side. this first very short stretch is a LOT steeper than it appears in a photo. There's also a lot of leaf litter and debris been tossed into the wheel ruts in that piccy, in an effort to reclaim the washed out track. It's awfully bumpy, with tree roots protruding. On a wet day you'd hesitate to drive a 4X4 up there
The track flattens out a little bit after you pass the end of the loop. It's still pretty steep up intoi camp, though. See. The day I took this photo I even got tired dragging my trusty old fishing buggy back up the hill to the hut!
Through the camp proper it flattens out a bit, with a reasonably gentle gradient where Catweazle was able to get out of granny gear and get a little bit of speed up to tackle the next challenge:
The shocks got tested out well on that drainage ditch before I really started to hurt myself climbing that short, steep little turn to the main track up the hill!
No piccys of the rest of the hill, but once around the corners it's a straight climb up the side of the hill, then a steep left hand turn after you come out into the grassed paddocks, with the wheel ruts through the grass on the hillside creating a stretch which makes car drivers very nervous, and then back to a gentler gradient for the final stretch to the top. All up, from water's edge to the spot up top where I get phone reception there is about half a kilometre of track and a climb of about 50 metres or so. I'm am SERIOUSLY not going to try riding up it again!
It wasn't really the gradient that got to me so much as the extent to which the bike bounced around in the wheel ruts, over twigs and all sorts of other nasty obstacles. And the short bits where the wheel ruts were so deep that I thought the pedal were gonna hit the dirt kinda scared me, too! Worst of all, though, was the state I was in once I got up top. I jumped off the bike and leaned against a tree stump for quite a while before I eventually made that phone call. My heart was pounding so hard that it felt like the back of my head was gonna explode! I was panting so hard that I couldn't have spoken a word if I tried
My family's comment, when I later told them that I'd ridden up that hill?
"SILLY old *******!"
By the way. A coupla days later I jumped on the bike to ride the 10 km or so to the nearest little township, to grab a few things at the shop there. Coming back from there includes a really steep stretch of highway that climbs about 120 metres over a distance of a couple of km. Riding that, on bitumen, hardly even made me raise a sweat. I'm seriously not cut out for that dirt track, wheel rut hillclimb stuff though!