I woke to a tight and painful knee. The tendons were sore and a bit swollen. I climbed out of my tent in the dark at 6:00am. I could see Darb over at the amenities block filling up his water so I decided to test my knee out for the 100 metres on my bike. Not good! Every pedal stroke felt like someone stabbing my knee wth a knife. I felt gutted. I told Darb and discussed options of pulling out. Deep inside me, I did not want to quit but the pain was almost unbearable.
We headed out of Bracknell towards Poatina on the recommended bike route, avoiding the horse route up the Caves track.
The guidebook advises to not take bikes up the Caves track. This was a wise decision by Darb as later on Tim and Bec (refer to day 2) showed us some pictures of their ordeal. They had to carry all their gear and bike seperately up huge boulders. Luckily they are fit and strong enough to handle it. Good job guys!
We could see the Central Highlands in the distance. We joked about climbing up that later but as my knee twinged in pain, I felt worried.
We got to the intersection of Poatina Road and if I was to quit, I would turn left here. “No, I’m not quiting”, I said out loud! Thankfully my knee didn’t feel as bad as the start with a bit of heat in it.
We continued towards Poatina through more nice farmland.
Eric found a nice black berry shrub and we all gorged on them. They’re great for vitamin C. Yum!!
We crossed a bridge over this tail race that was coming from the hydro power station. This water was then used for irrigation too.
We rolled into Poatina and found some coffee and snacks.
This monument had blown down in 2010! I think it was built to pay tribute to the hard working power station workers after WWII. We were grateful the weather had been so kind to us.
After Poatina, we got a little bit of downhill before a 1000 metre climb up onto the roof of Tasmania. The Central Plateau supports some of Tasmania’s most fragile ecosystems.
And the climbing begins.
On the way up there were several spots of marvelous clean water falling down the mountain. We stopped and filled our bottles. The water was chilled and very refreshing to drink.
We also had a good look at the pipeline for the hydro power station. For over 100 years, Tasmania has been leading the nation for hydro generated electricity due to Tasmania’s dramatic topography and relatively high rainfall in the central and Western parts of the state.
Today Hydro Tasmania operates thirty hydro-electric stations, one gas powered station and is a joint owner in three wind farms.
Funnily enough and fortunately for me, as I climbed, my knee pain was fading away. I experimented with different cadences and gears and learnt it preferred a higher gear and lower cadence. Less pain lifted my spirits, I started climbing stronger than I ever had on a bike before.
I had one rest stop on the way up.
Another thing that really pushed me through the pain and climb strong was thinking of my grandfathers serving in World War II. What they had to endure was way more difficult than the challenges I faced today. I felt humbled and very grateful. I got quite emotional thinking of them and as I reached the summit, shed a few tears. They’re my true heroes and will always ride with me.
I placed my trail mix in my front bag and kept the energy up as I climbed. This mix of peanuts, sultanas and M&Ms is brilliant, expertly designed by an adventuring American veteran, Jim Berky, whom I was lucky enough to meet in my life.
Jim shared an interesting story wth me that day via email… Back in 1998, Jim was walking across Australia raising money for MS. A local Parliament member got right behind him and using his connections with the unions, informed all the logging trucks of Jim’s presence. These trucks don’t like to stop. The next day while Jim climbed up the Central Highlands, pulling his self supported, self made cart, a truck came barreling down with its horn blasting. As Jim jumped for his safety, the driver threw something at him. Jim waved and when safe, went over to see what he threw. It was money! The driver had made a donation! During that day, several more trucks threw donations out of their windows. Jim said, “it was a great day to be alive!”.
I must add, the timber trucks were very kind to us as well.
At the top, I rested waiting for my friends, Eric and Darb.
We then regrouped and headed for Arthur’s lake. When we rolled down the gravel road towards the lake we saw a herd of deer run across the track into the scrub. I couldn’t get the camera out fast enough.
Arthur’s lake is a man made reservoir. It was made for the hydro electric scheme. This lake is 952 metres above sea level and holds 500+ million litres.
We then had a short climb up to Poatina Road where we crossed it and then climbed a steep pinch up to an interesting flume. The water is pumped up to this flume where it flows into the great lake for storage before being used for power generation at the Poatina power station.
These yellow flowers are a member of the daisy family and lined the flume. We followed this flume for many kilometres. It was really enjoyable as it was slightly downhill like a rail trail.
We cut through a few gravel roads to the Great Lake at Miena. We felt really tired now and just wanted to get to the hotel for a beer, or two.
We trudged up the windy hill to the Great Lakes hotel at Miena and went straight in. The view from the deck overlooking the lake was very nice on the eye.
The fire place in the pub was awesome.
Today we rode 90 kilometres and climbed 1,552 metres of elevation gain.
I would rate today 9 out of 10 on the tough-o-metre.