There have already been a batch of them. The most recent is arriving at Adelaide, spending time in Adelaide and leaving Adelaide headed to Tailem Bend.
An amazing journey of 3000 odd kilometers since leaving Perth on Monday, August 1st. Planning for this journey, I felt fit and ready but also had background disbeliefs. I’ve thought about doing mega long rides crossing the USA west to east and north to south but never could put it all together. One thing or another blocked the way, mostly the enormity of the task. When Chris and Scotty offered to let me join in their cross Australia journey a few years ago, pre Covid, I said sure but did not really understand the volume of kilometers and the number of days needed to accomplish the task.
Arriving in Australia and spending time in Goulburn didn’t help but did start to acclimatize me and get me used to a new social normal, the Australian way. Packing the van and then starting the drive westward, reality was starting to sink in but I was still on a holiday trip until that first day out of Ceduna when Scotty and I hit the pavement for about 40 kilometers as a trial ride heading west. I awoke to a new reality, rough road surfaces I was not prepared for, pace that was higher than I anticipated, I needed to get comfortable with traffic conditions and riding at the “verge” to stay safe. Bam, reality strikes.
That was 3 to 4 days before arriving in Perth and before I came down with a cold virus. Unfortunate at best. A threesome ride around Kalgoorlie got me a bit more comfortable with the task. A day or so and we are in Perth. A shorter, enjoyable ride from Applecross to Cottesloe Beach and back to our Airbnb was good the Sunday before the “real” start, Monday August 1st.
More ups and downs, or rather downs and ups as we sorted through the rain and adversity of the first few days. An adjustment to the schedule to reduce one long day to help me recover from the virus which ended in a camp night, one of one only, never to be repeated. A bad day after the camp out, leaving me with significant doubts about what I could accomplish and complete. Then, a magnificent day of accomplishment doing the ride across the longest straight road in Australia. A day that kicked my confidence in the ass. Some rest days, some crazy, childish fun along the A1 Great Eastern Highway, another spectacular 200 kilometer ride to the Nullabor Roadhouse, the middle of nowhere in Southern Australia after crossing the border between Western and Southern Australia. My confidence continuing to build as Scotty and I settled in to some harmony riding 6, 7, 8 and longer hour long days. Chris patiently monitoring our backs for safety as traffic and huge trucks passed by heading west and east almost blowing us off the road at times.
One massive achievement completed was riding all of Western Australia, second was arriving in Adelaide. I was hoping to do a social ride to Glenelg with Chris during our days off in Adelaide but we got a bit casual and lazy and that didn’t happen. My excitement about riding the Adelaide Hills, traversing Mount Lofty was literally dampened by cold and rain and fog leaving Adelaide and the g=eating very cold descending into Stirling and Handoff. Scotty and I were giddy with laughter by the time we got into a cafe for coffees and pancakes, which we polished off in no time flat.
Our plan was arrive in Tailem Bend, which we did and things were good, overall. Then the ride from Tailem Bend to Keith, which began to unwind me. Getting lazy with effort expended, food/fueling needed during the day, accumulated fatigue from the overall trip and especially the last few days resulted in a realization that all the miles were doable became, a realization that every day is a hard day and needs to be respected as such.
I had to admit I needed one more day off than planned to recover from my lack of serious commitment. I had to resign myself to a support role to recover the energy and excitement of the ride again. As things do, this was a good thing. Scotty got a chance to set a blistering pace, with numerous personal bests along the way. I got time with Chris in the van to be a tourist and get some pictures not easily done while riding. Chris got a chance to ride the last 20k into Penola with Scotty, building confidence in his riding prowess. I got a chance to take over the DS role and drive the support van and help- ensure safety. I also got reenergized and excited about the last few weeks we have left of this adventure. Scotty and I have crossed some friendship barriers and established some bonds not to be forgotten.
It’s Saturday night about 9 P.M. and I’m about to call lights off for a 6 A.M. alarm. We had a great local dinner, one of the best of the trip, Penola, Royal Oak Hotel.
Time to ride on!