The search for the truth can be a lonely enterprise beset with cryptic clues, false promises and self-doubt. The verve of anticipation can both sustain and drain. The hope of resolution both nourish and savage. So gunner suspends belief in the hope of a free pie and cream bun and churns the 50km from West Hindmarsh to Willunga along the veloway and beyond to the foot of the Willunga widow-maker in search of a 10:00 apparition. A minor miscalculation sees him arrive at the Willunga bakery at 10:08 having witnessed the village reverie of street markets in McLaren Vale and Willunga. Alternative types draped in cheesecloth and dreadlocks munch on mung bean wraps alongside the gold adorned white-pant set sipping skinny soy lattes while reading their Country Style magazines. Brought back memories of year 12 and F Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby - "I am within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."
All the while he's scouring the sidewalks and the roads for a sign of 'the ghost'. Lycra - well there's plenty of that around, and perhaps more than is necessary for a town this size but he was looking for a scarred ghost. A bloodied elbow, a wallpapered knee, a slightly drooped shoulder and a limp that evidences a ghost2ghost fall.
With each passing minute gunner's hopes sink; not like a leaf that sways, partially suspended by the turbid murkiness of faith but like the rock of reality, an unforgiving plummet. But gunner's man enough to know that the truth is elusive and that coffee is restorative so with a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders he mounts his trusty Cannondale and heads up the road to Christina's for a flat white and some contemplation. Before him stands the Willunga widow-maker, the only obvious obstacle between here and destination Victor Harbor and believe it or not he could smell the sweet allure of the pasty that awaited him at the Meadows bakery.
The widow-maker is summited and a lefty at the top sends him in Meadows' direction. Like drunken promises, 'the ghost' is soon forgotten and the ride takes on a subliminal stage where the mantra of 'pain is only weakness leaving the body', 'pain is only weakness leaving the body', 'pain is only weakness leaving the body' sustains him along the single-minded straightness of Brookman Road until Meadows beckons.
Pasty down and the pedals are soon feeling the pressure of the 1km rise out of Meadows before the relief of 13kms of solo lairizing to Ashbourne and beyond. But as if to invoke the skip's ire at the effrontery of such jolliness on the road the squally showers begin, accompanied by the onset of severe indigestion from having scoffed the pasty too quickly. And these unlikely twins continue to plague gunner all the way to Goolwa.
Goolwa's abuzz with the boat show crowd whose 4WDs crowd the pavements, the roads, and the parks. Soon enough the delightful township of Port Elliot emerges and the ride is near completion. The temptation of another pasty stop at the incomparable Port Elliot bakery is averted as the freshly erased memories of Meadows indigestion reemerge. Hail Hayborough and Olivers Parade where the rest of the weekend will be spent.
Ave Speed: 25.2kph
Monday 9 March 12:05 while heading back to Adelaide and just through Goolwa a solo smokkelaar on the biggest cog pulling the biggest gear riding like a rock star powers past in the opposite direction. It was all a blur, or was it a dream, or was it...'a ghost'?