- Start: Glendambo
- End: off the road banana loop bush camp
- Day distance: 134km
- Total distance: 3030.61km
- Average speed: 16.7km/hr
- Pedalling time: 07:49
- Total time: 09:10
I woke up fairly apprehensive about the big day ahead of us. 252km to Coober Pedy and we are hoping to get there in 2 days. The weather forecast was for northerly winds in the morning, changing to southerly winds in the afternoon. If the wind was anything like yesterday then there would be no way I would make it.
I decided to strap my knee up with some trusty KT tape and took a dose of vitamin I (ibuprofen) to give me my best chance of making it through the day. I needed a bit of a boost so I got a chocolate milk from the petrol station before we set off. I don’t like paying $5 for water but I will quite happily pay $5 for a small chocolate milk. It’s all about priorities.
It was a welcome relief to have some clouds in the morning, I was feeling a bit frazzled from the sun and the wind. I was trucking along ok, still feeling a bit uncomfortable in the undercarriage region which I am finding really frustrating considering how good it was for a while. It’s starting to feel like there is a lot of pressure again. I’m not convinced the padded shorts are helping. My gloves had these little ‘gel’ pads on the heel of the hand, and my hands were getting really sore where they were so I removed the ‘gel’ which was just a bit of foam, and they are a lot more comfortable. The bum is a constant work in progress.
The morning was pretty uneventful, lots of dead stuff, lots of gross smells, a few big road trains but nothing too bad – it wasn’t as windy today so everything was a lot more stable. It wasn’t as windy but there was still a headwind as the forecast said. I wasn’t achieving much more than 15kph, and a lot less when the gusts blew. The first 50km went by and I decided I was going to stop at the halfway point for a rest. Our goal for the day was 126km, so wherever I was at 63km that would be my lunch break.
At around 60km I caught up to the boys. They said there was a rest area 25km up ahead that they were going to stop for lunch, so I carried on. A motorbike pulled up alongside me and we had a little chat as we were moving along. It was going ok until the last 10km when the wind really picked up and it was blowing hard into my face. It was such a struggle and after 85km without stopping I was starving by the time I got to the rest area. It is so demoralising when you only have 5km left but with the wind you realise it’s going to take nearly an hour to get there.
But I made it in the end and I arrived to find we have been given a ziplock bag each with a cereal bar and a biscuit in by some Grey Nomads, who had passed us on the road in their caravan. And I asked him to fill up my water bottle which he did.
We were told by another man that he had just driven from Katherine and he had a tail wind the whole way, he told me something about what that meant about the cost of fuel and how much money he had saved, but all I was concentrating on was the fact he said we would have a headwind all the way to Darwin. With 42km still to go and the wind blowing strong we carried on. I hoped and prayed that the wind would change like the forecast said it would and IT DID.
With a head wind you can feel the wind pushing you back but with a tail wind you can’t feel the wind at all, it just becomes effortless to pedal. I was up between 25-30kph and it was so good. I finally felt like I was getting somewhere, I felt like I was flying a long.
This. Is. Great!
More of this please! I felt like I could keep going for a few more hours, and the struggles I had been having all day with my bum suddenly disappeared. Even the cattle grids weren’t a problem when you take them at pace!
We arrived at our intended camp spot much earlier than anticipated and when the boys suggested going another 7km in the hope of finding a nicer spot than the one we were at, I put up no argument. We made it to the ‘off the road banana loop bush camp’ and it was indeed a much nicer spot. Absolutely nothing there, but it was away from the road and not completely covered in toilet paper.
I was ravenous and had a very similar dinner to last night which I ate in about 2 minutes flat. I was so disappointed when I had finished it and felt like I could have eaten about 5 times as much.
I’m feeling pretty pleased tonight, the tail wind was such a great experience and not only have I achieved my biggest day today, I also passed 3000km!
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