- Start: Alice Springs
- End: Bush camp
- Day distance: 124.8km
- Total distance: 3959.7km
- Average speed: 17.5km/hr
- Pedalling time: 07:06
- Total time: 09:00
I really needed those days off. I was getting a nasty chafe on that bit where the bottom of your bum joins your leg. The skin was getting a bit raw and it was so painful. Now it’s all healed and it’s just a patch of very dry skin, a bit like a callous I suppose. Nice! But even after a good rest it was a challenge to get up this morning. I was so cosy in that nice big comfy bed and it was cold outside. Motivation to cycle was pretty low. It wasn’t just me, the boys had no motivation either and our 7:30 start time turned into 8:30.
We said goodbye to everyone. Clare has been so awesome, so chilled and nice to us, and the kids – Shea (4) and Clem (2) – have been super fun to play with and they give great cuddles. And with two dogs and a cat, the level of love and affection was high.
We got going and immediately had to go up a bunch of hills leaving Alice Springs. My legs weren’t happy about it at all. When the head wind started I got left behind as I watched the boys cycle off ahead. I resigned myself to cycling on my own and the whole day being a struggle. After only about 5k I was so sweaty it was running down my face, I stopped to take a layer off and my legs felt like jelly, they almost didn’t hold me up when I stopped.
My fortunes changed when the boys were stopped up ahead and I was able to get in behind them, into their slipstream and my day got a whole lot easier. I was able to keep up and it didn’t feel nearly as arduous. I even kept up on the hills. But I didn’t nearly have my first accident when I lost concentration and Simon slowed down, my back wheel rubbed against his pannier and my heart leapt up into my mouth! Thankfully I managed to avert disaster.
After about 20k we reached the highest point of the Stuart highway marker at 729m. When we carried on we went up to 730m so the marker really is in the wrong place! Unfortunately it isn’t ‘all downhill’ from here!
10k later we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, which I thought was pretty cool. So we are now in the tropics, although there was a sign saying that there would be no noticeable change in climate and landscape until about 700km north of here.
After that the day was really quite boring. The road, which until today has been quite curvy, was dead straight, with nothing to look at on either side and very little up or down. We started to see some small termite mounds, maybe about a meter high, but I think there will be bigger ones ahead.
I was super paranoid about my bike and any little noise it made had me thinking there was a problem. We checked it over a couple of times and the wheel seems fine. There is a bit of a squeak but I think it may be from the chain. After Sam – from Treadly bike shop – telling me I should lube my chain every day I haven’t done it once since Adelaide!
We sat under a tree to have some lunch, it was getting really hot now, and it looks like it’s just going to get hotter as we go north. I was really struggling with pain in my elbows today, they didn’t hurt when I was riding but whenever I tried to bend them they were so sore. It hurt to get a jelly baby into my mouth which wasn’t good news at all! By 3pm we had cycled 95km and we had reached our intended camp spot for the day. It was a bit early to stop, but we weren’t keen on going another 40km to the next roadhouse, plus we didn’t want to pay to pitch our tents again when all you’re really paying for is the use of a toilet. There is so much space out here and we wanted to bush camp so we can spend all our money on ice cream tomorrow.
We got to an area we thought we could camp at only to find out there was a big no camping sign because it was ‘an area of Aboriginal significance’. So, we carried on and went to the next rest area. There was no indication you could camp there but there was also nothing to say you couldn’t. It wasn’t the best camping area but we were able to make it work. Dominik wasn’t too keen on stopping here (his annoyance was not helped by his intense hunger, which is a feeling I recognised, thing can seem so much worse when you’re hungry!), so we flipped a coin to decide if we continued on to the roadhouse or camped here. My first coin toss! The boys do this regularly to make decisions, and the coin decided we should bush camp.
There were some really spiky plants around and I spent around 15 minutes really carefully clearing my tent area. We had dinner as the sun set. I’m back on noodles because I can’t stomach anything else I can cook in my Jetboil, and I also ate a can of plain tuna after I finished the noodles. I feel so bloated and uncomfortable, I’m only really interested in plain stuff at the moment and I didn’t even eat any chocolate today!
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
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