This was the first time that I had left the COUNTRY and left the business. I knew, having been off for my knee replacement, that things would be ok, but Being in another country is a different matter when I cannot always be contacted if there is an emergency: would they cope?
Little did I know Ryding2Health was about to be tested in ways I couldn’t even imagine!
We have stayed at this hotel before, so we knew that the accommodation would be ok. after a very early (4am) get up and long 7+ hours drive to Christchurch, we were less than impressed to discover that our flight was delayed by two hours, meaning we would get in even later than already scheduled to to Gold Coast. Literally arrive, coffee and sleep was the size of it.
We could smell the smoke as soon as we arrived, the haze impossible to see in the night sky but the charcoal smell reminded you it was there. We had been doing some research and Mark found a local company that hired out road bikes so I eagerly anticipated its delivery the following evening. Combined with my all time favourite open water swimming pool (Gold Coast Aquatics Centre) I was sure I would have plenty to keep me and this TKR moving. After all, it was only a few weeks till the Oxman, my middle distance aquabike race that marks my return to racing after almost 9 years out due to the knee injury.
We were actually quite excited to be able to take another ‘fit family’ photo, it has been many many years since we both got up and set off our own separate ways to do some type of fitness or other! His was running, mine was cycling – on the hired road bike (a road bike, thats been a while too!)
I aimed to go out and ride the bike every single morning I had it. I pretty much managed it too, heading off down the spit where the roads were quiet, down the coast to the next few towns, the best way to see the Gold Coast IMO. My first ride was a 35km ride out to Currumbin village, to ‘Elephant rock’. I have to say the beach views were more impressive than the rock!
When I found out there was a ‘cat cafe’ in Surfers, I just had to go! 16 wonderful fur babies to borrow for an hour while I reminisced hoping our own cats were doing ok back in New Zealand.
Having not really spent any time in particular in Brisbane, we decided to take the train and make it a day trip early on in the week. Brisbane has some amazing shopping, a great Irish bars and this wonderful park by the river.
The craziest part of Brisbane was the ‘scramble crossings’. These were essentially 4 way road junctions where the traffic on all four sides were stopped by the lights and the pedestrians could cross any which way they liked! It was bedlam! (Orgnised bedlam!)
Not to mention evenings in my favourite pool, if we weren’t tasting another amazing dish in another amazing local restaurant.
Then this happened on Wednesday. Yep, a medical emergency that was about to test us in many more ways than I could possibly imagine.
Wednesday middle of the night I was woken up by the sounds of Mark in the bathroom. He said he had chronic stomach pains. By morning he was even worse so he went to hotel reception and asked where there was a local doctor. They whisked him off almost immediately in one of their cars and less than 45 mins later the doctor was calling for an ambulance saying he thought it was either appendix or twisted bowel.
Cutting a long story short, he was admitted to hospital that same day for emergency surgery: appendicitis. He remained there for 5 days and we had to cancel our return flight home, scheduled for the saturday following.
Apart from the ‘I hope he will be ok’ panic, there was the hotel, car hire, car storage in NZ, my work and all the mayhem associated with that to sort out, as a matter or urgency, all without any notice at all. Not to mention the return flight, which could not be booked until he was given medical clearance. At this stage we had no idea when that would be.
We ended up having to stay on the Gold Coast for a further 7 days.
What to do when you are suddenly on a holiday for one, the other one detained against his will in hospital growing more and more frustrated? It was tough to know what was the best thing. I wanted to be there for him, he didn’t want me to be sitting there all day. Dilemma time.
So I called the bike hire company who had taken the bike back the day after this initially happened and booked another hire for the following week. It seemed we would be here at least another week at this stage.
I also had to break this disastrous news to my staff, because suddenly they were going to have to cope without me for two weeks instead of one. Not only that, but all my bookings for the second week had to then be rearranged because I was not going to be back. Luckily I have some pretty awesome staff and super cool understanding customers. They actually sorted it all out for me really swiftly and I didn’t have to worry about a thing (other than the sick husband). Some casualties of my extended stay were all my medical appointments. I am still chasing some of those, but I had to cancel both my joint replacement follow up and my nerve test on my left foot. Tragedy of that is I have been told I might have to wait up to 6 months to get another appointment. 😦
To keep myself entertained (and keep my Oxman aquabike race hopes alive… I hoped) I went to the Aquatics centre every evening and rode the hire bike every morning, nice and early (setting off before 6am to beat the heat). I grew to like the ride along the spit, with very little traffic but I also knew this was my opportunity to explore a bit further so one morning mid week I set off up the Currumbin valley road. A local had told us it was a nice scenic drive, so it seemed like a perfect location for a ride. It also seemed like all the local cyclists did the same thing on a regular basis. Not only did I see lots of them up and down that road, but it had a bike lane almost all the way! Pretty amazing for a country valley road.
But not as amazing as the wee eco village coffee shop I stumbled upon!
And, the amazing local wildlife too! I vowed to bring Mark back here once he was well enough, and I also cycled here on more than one occasion, because the setting and the doorstop toast was worth the 50km round trip on a bike!
There is only so much cycling, shopping, swimming and hospital visiting a person can do So I set off looking for a bit of variation. The park I ended up in next has wild Koalas and wild Kangaroos. The trouble is, I (stupidly) chose to go there after my morning ride (late morning) and at that time of day it is waaaaaay too hot so all the wildlife hide and sleep. Darn it! It was pretty picturesque anyway, if not slightly vast! The whole area is a reclaimed swamp and regenerated land.
Mark finally got out of hospital in the middle of the following week, and not a day too soon because it can’t be much fun watching the sunshine from indoors. So we had to do some car trips (because he wasn’t up for much walking as yet) to make up for lost time on his holiday.
We headed up to tambourine mountain. The last time we were here they had a massive storm and the rain forest sky walk was closed, so we had finished business!
Before that we stopped and what used to be our favourite garden tea shop. Now the tea and scones were still lovely, but it had clearly changed hands and the new owners didn’t seem to love it as much as the old ones had, which is sad.
The sky walk was worth the wait. It was also pretty neat to be able to compare Australian rain forest to New Zealand rain forest. NZ version seems much more lush, lots more green growth at ground level, ferns and such like, oh and substitute the cabbage trees for palm trees. In Australia, all the ferns seem to grow on the tops of the palm trees, on their trunks. So a sky walk was the only way to see the cool parts of the rain forest!
There was that coffee shop too… I’m pleased to say he thought it was pretty cool too! By this point I had been in that many times (only once by car) they asked did I want a loyalty card! Hahah
Now, you cannot go to the Gold Coast without the surfers Paradise photo. Well, it had become a bit of a theme on instagram taking pictures of where I was that day with the bike, so it seemed only right that I stopped as I passed for a bike – surfers photo. The other one… these we statues were dotted around all over and marked all the locations that had hosted something related to the commonwealth games.
Shopping was also a must before we left – another new favourite place of ours: Pacific Fair Gold Coast. This place is one of the most well thought out malls I have ever been to. We have been heaps of times and each time seem to find something new we did not know about. It has a wee ‘river’ with deck chairs, shaded seating in the sun and a whole long list of other amazing features. It is like a small village on its own!
Northcliffe surf club became my safe local for a beer at the end of the evening while Mark was in hospital. Massage (with the amazing Alex at Calmer therapies) because I can…. Trust me she is the best massage therapist I have ever encountered outside Ryding2Health! and Fingal Head giants causeway…. well who knew that the Gold coast had a giants causeway!! We do now!
Of course, there was one last place to go back to, before I gave this second hire bike back: yep, my new favourite coffee shop for doorstop sourdough toast!
Naturally at this point I have to also mention that favourite swimming pool. Who can NOT love swimming in a setting like this!!! trouble is, it is 29 degrees even at 6am so I still got sunburnt, even with cream on! Only one thing for it: a trip to a surf shop for a rash vest! Seemed a bit odd swimming in a t shirt but when I took a second look around me, it was more normal than I had first noticed!
over 135km cycled per week and over 10km of swimming per week meant that I managed to keep my distant hopes of finishing Oxman as alive as I could under the cirumstances.
Then of course there was the 9 hour drive back that I had to undertake in Mr Ryding’c car because he was not allowed to drive… Less said about that the better hahah!
Sufficed to say I am glad we are back home in one piece!
Rudy’s real food (based in Marrakesh apartments, Broadbeach).
The all time best protein pancakes on the Gold Coast!