I was up as early as I could, no mean feat after the previous day’s battering. I slowly sorted myself out and after eventually repacking my stuff I opened the curtain to the bay doors overlooking the river below. Rain and grey overcast skies stared back, a miserable start to the last day. Nothing for it than to get going though. Fortunately it was only really drizzling and I kept focused on the positive, which consisted of the moody and dramatic views plus the fact I had a bicycle lane. After a couple of miles I spied a McDonalds, time to get a coffee and muffin.
I have never seen a busier McDonald’s at 7.20am on a Sunday morning. It was rammed; clearly a meeting point for various clubs and groups off to do things. I wrestled in and ordered, and was eventually on my way. In another 15 miles was the next one, a good spot to warm up a bit again before the hard section – the motorway. I saw the ‘no pedestrian’ sign as I pulled onto it, but bicycles were allowed and so I figured I was just a slow bicycle. After 5 miles the highway patrol decided I wasn’t.
‘It’s too dangerous’ said the jobsworth who pulled up in his breakdown truck. He phoned his supervisor and they decided that going to the end of the cycle lane in 20 miles was crazy, so I needed to be escorted off the motorway; they wouldn’t even let me run to the next junction. Arguments of logic (100x safer than the mountain road, highly visible, huge lane just for me) and compassion (last day, I’ve already done 4,000km) had no effect, so the guy drove me from a 4 lane motorway with a beautiful 4m wide bike shoulder just for me to a 6 lane ‘A’ road with no shoulder and the same speed limit. Explanations that it was suicidal and irresponsible lunacy to leave me there was met with a blank smile – he was a removal guy and he was paid to remove things, not think, end of story.
And so with my ending time target in the balance I went to plan B, a cross town mishmash of side roads and main road with either broken footpaths or no footpaths. Oh, and over some ridiculous hills and bridges to make it unbelievably stressful. Not cool at all! I ran non stop as fast as possible for almost 5 hours until I eventually ran down through north Sydney and found my way to the harbor bridge. That was the first smile of the day. A kind fellow helped me up the stairs to the walkway and across I went. Suddenly, there is was – the iconic Sydney Opera House! That was it, a real symbol of what I had achieved, and I teared up to look at it. I was here, I had made it. I was so close to the finish!
It was wonderful to meet my friends and family there, although i admit i was so tired and drained it was hard to appreciate. But it was also a moment I will always remember. It will take a few days to sink in I’m sure.
I want to thank you ALL for following along, really it has kept me going through the hard times. I hope you have enjoyed reading this even half as much as I have enjoyed sharing this adventure with you. I will post a couple of ‘epilogue’ notes but for now let me just say a heartfelt THANK YOU!
Until the next adventure…