Made it to the top: big thanks to John 'Pig' Grant
While trying to recap the ride from Lake Illawarra NSW to the High Country Vic is a challenge all on it's own, so I'll just throw some snippets in along the way of things that really stood out for different reasons.
This pic reminds me of that saying: You're never alone.
Riding Solo on unknown tracks, on a bike that outweighs my ability, I knew it'd be a big call to get through a lot of the areas alone.
The day before I'd dropped the bike on a smaller hill, I was riding with the tracks4life Vic coordinator (WILKO) on a recce ride, it took two of us to stand it up and point it in the right direction, no way could I find the energy to do it alone.
Then this day, I thought to myself, don't be a dickhead, you're out here on your own, this one's longer, has sharper turns and it's as loose as buggery. Any yep, I crashed, I struggled for a good 1/2 hr or more, took all the luggage off and eventually stood the bike up and headed back down. I was about to ride the tarmac again to find some easier trails....
Then out of nowhere, another Solo rider appeared on an Enduro bike (was kinda wishing I was on my BETA at this stage myself) he cracked up and couldn't believe I'd gotten as far as I had on that track on the loaded Adventure Bike. We had a pretty good yarn, and he told me that after this one last hill, it was pretty easy, with views that would make it all worthwhile.
I geared up, thought long and hard, he said he'd hang around and ride back up to the top and help me if I got stuck.....so I spun around and twisted the throttle..........straight to the top and it was bloody amazing.
The big Africa Twin destroyed the tops of a couple of mounds this time and sprayed rocks all over him on the way up, we stopped, pissed ourselves laughing, had a good chat and both parted ways at that point.
There's so many things that came to mind about this for me, but mostly 2 things....sometimes when we have all the support in the world, we find ourselves not pushing out of our own comfort zone enough and rely on others more than we need to because we doubt our own ability and strength to go on, other times....we dig deep and surprise ourselves at just what we're capable of.
BUT Importantly, on both of these days, I had support and accomplished something I never really believed I had the ability to do, I called on a mate when needed, and a complete stranger offered his time and energy to help me achieve a goal -
I realised that, we are never truly alone, especially in the Off Road and Adventure world.
I'm not a great rider, I'm always in awe of the pack leaders that simply dance bikes over obstacles, float sideways around long sweeping corners then effortlessly lean back, lift the front wheel and turn and grin while I'm still trying to just hold a line without crashing.
I ride because I love it, like any dirtbike rider knows there's a feeling of freedom and accomplishment that just doesn't come from anything else we do.
Riding beyond my physical injuries and mental illness, allows me to Navigate, Explore and Discover things I never knew existed.
I've met countless riders that joke about the injuries, broken bones are like trophies, we compare and inspire each other to keep riding, keep searching, and to stay safe....I'm blown away at the stories and adventures achieved by men and women that to many, should just hang up their boots....like me they simply say 'bugger that'.
Not all of my injuries are from dirtbikes, but there's a few :) I ride for my mental health, to navigate and explore, to achieve self belief and let others know, we can keep going.
Riding helped me to overcome many obstacles in my own mind, to prove that I was still capable of doing things I'd let myself believe I couldn't.
We've all got a story, a reason and a method of dealing with things....I've got eye cancer, have fractured my lower back twice in separate car accidents (and been in a brace to correct it), fractured my mid back and my neck when I tried to end my life, I have a degenerative and shrinking left hand without feeling, nerve damage and no tendons in my wrist (that one was 3 years of recovery and no riding until I said...no more and taped my hand to the bars until it kinda came good), steel and screws holding the top together and broken a few other bits along the way......
Carpal tunnel is enough to trigger depression, my wrist is top 2% and only one surgeon in Australia was prepared to have a shot at operating to slow the degeneration, kind of ironic that a medical oversight from a simple dislocation caused the damage in the first place, I couldn't work, I was on 26 pills a day for pain relief and I spiraled out of control. Ultimately, a mix of medication, depression and other life changing events led me to attempt to take my life.
Riding again kept me alive and still does,
these are just some of the reasons I Ride to Stop Suicide.
tracks4life is changing, we're growing and more than just raising awareness and me rambling on about my own experiences, a big push is now on to do something I hoped to do from the start, provide both physical and mental health education courses to the offroad community, stay tuned for more on that later..............................
Anyway, as always I'm rambling now on different things......
so just remember, Keep going, you're never alone
Until next time
Ride Safe | Ride Far
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