“Is this the way to Hanging Rock?”
“Are you going to attempt to cycle all the way up there?”
“No, not attempt. I AM going to cycle up to Hanging Rock!”
I was fed up with people doubting my abilities. Telling me a place was ‘too far’ or ‘too remote’ or ‘too difficult’ to get to.
We WOULD cycle to Hanging Rock, dammit!
And we did.
It was steep—a 600m altitude gain in 10 kilometers. The well meaning woman in the SUV was right about that. But the Hanging Rock climb certainly was do-able. Reaching the top was merely a question of cranking the pedals slowly and consistently.
Debunking The Myth
Conquering Hanging Rock is exactly like cycling around the world.
There’s no need to be a super athlete. You don’t have to possess rock hard calves and look good in lycra.
All you have to do is wake up and hop on the bike. You pedal for a couple of hours, snap some photos, take a break, eat far too much with no sense of guilt and then hop on the bike again and pedal some more. And then you do that again and again and again. Eventually you’ll reach the end of one continent and then another and then another.
Soon the countries will start piling up and confidence will increase.
You’ll know that with determination and persistence you’ll always reach the top of the climb, the other side of the desert or the end of the continent.
Another Big Sky Country
Hanging Rock is situated in the New England Tablelands, a place of misty valleys, winding roads and impossibly green paddocks. The Tablelands is also known as the Big Sky Country. And with its cattle ranches and cowboys is not dissimilar to Montana.
As far as I’m concerned, the Tablelands is cycling perfection. First of all, it’s remote without being completely isolated. The roads are lightly travelled and unpaved for much of the way. One could spend weeks bumping along old forestry tracks and rolling over fertile farmland. Every day or so you’ll stumble across a small settlement with a friendly grocer and an Anglican church. There’s sure to be a pub, too, where you can drop in for a refreshing pint.
Change of Seasons
This time of year the region is ablaze with color as the leaves take on beautiful golden, amber and scarlet hues. It’s cold, too, with temperatures plummeting to well below zero. By 5 PM the sun was low in sky and it was time to start slipping on layers. After dinner, the cold became too much and we plunged into our thick down sleeping bags and hibernated till daybreak.
If the sizzling Outback is Arizona, this part of the country is more like Maine.
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