The last leg of my ride to (R)Adelaide.
For a change of pace I'm combining today's and tomorrow's ride into a single post.
Truth be told the final day is up there with watching grass grow, at least for the section of riding through the Coorong. Flat, hot, dry and a straight road as far as the eye can see. Though you are never far from the ocean, you are never close enough or high enough to see it.
A stitch in time.
The day was not without it's highights.
It began in a similiar fashion. My alarm clock sounding, me slowly turning and then rising to pack my belongings, and immediate search for food.
The pub had a dining hall set aside for guests which offered juice and toast. A cup of English Tea and 6 slices coated in honey later I rolled out in the morning light and the call of the magpie.
Oddly enough in the place most baren, and isolated I found cellular converage which allowed me the distraction from the dull road to talk with my best friend about yesterday's effort and what lay ahead. An hour later with seemingly no effort 30km had passed.
Another 60km beckoned before the hope of food and water.
A lot of nothing for miles.
Don't believe me when I say it was flat and straight? This was the consistent view for the first 90km of the day.
The view to the South....
and ahead to the North...
Road safety. South Australian style. Apologies in advance to fellow Ranga's who take offence.
Salt Creek does a mighty fine steak sandwich. Add to this chips, Mother, candy and another sanga for the road.
At the petrol station, an older gent was setting up a table and I checked out his offering. This weekend was the Kingston Lions Club Surf Fishing competition and after noticing the grand prize of a motor boat I asked him how many people would enter. About 12? he said. 12 hundred. The Coorong is lined the length with rods and reels all trying to catch the biggest Coorung Mullet they can.
The petrol station door was covered in images like this of previous 'catches'.
Stages of a ride like this there is almost no alternative to putting the headphones in for entertainment. Even the sound of music wasn't drowning out the sound of my squeaky chain and pulleys. With some good oil it was back to rolling silent.
It's an unforgiving landscape for all in the Coorong.
Unforgiving and bloody hot.
The salt flats glisten like diamonds. Beneath the salty crust lies a small measure of water.
Happy to see the back of the Coorong.
Meningie was lunch and a relaxing lie down in the sun on lush green grass.
I consumed my weight in a dilute mix of fresh juice and water and contemplated the afternoons ride and how soon, I'd be at the end and as satisfying as it was to have completed, it would be sad that my holiday had come to an end.
In the middle of somewhere I met another cyclo-tourist.
I pulled across to his side of the road immediately, he offered me a chocolate muffin and we swapped stories about roadside encounters and I can tell you that he plans to cover 40,000km this year on his 40kg bike. Starting in his German home town he had covered southern Europe, Northern Africa, Central and South Africa and was currently trapped in the Coorong. When I said I'd come from Kingston this morning he said he was aiming to be there by tomorrow night. A very different style of getting around with tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove and utensils, he was fully self sufficent - though when possible he planned to stay in pubs like myself.
A familiar site. The Wellington ferry. The last time I reached Wellington it took me an hour to travel 10km. That's how tough the headwind at the 240km turning point. This ride across was in far stronger spirits.
I grabbed a Magnum from the petrol station and bathed in the shade of station awning.
At Wellington I turned into the cross/tail wind I'd been enjoying until this point. The afternoon dragged on but at least the scenery was improving.
It crossed my mind that I hadn't had a single puncture the whole trip but I was noticing a constant bump in my rear wheel. I thought it would be prudent to investigate and this is what I discovered.
I was in Langhorne Creek when I stopped and I now had a slew of emotions running through my head. Would I make Strathalbyn? There was a bike shop there but would I make it? Why the fcuk didn't I take the spare tyre like I hand intended.
A mix of self anger and fear of exploding canvas propelled me for the next half an hour with a constant thought of 'when' rolling around as fast as my wheels.
Fortunately I did make the Cycle On bike shop before close in Strath - but they had sold out of 700c tyres!
The owner dug through a pair of used tyres and I my mind was drawn fondly to the days of old when the SBR mechanics would offload 'used' tyres to me to distribute to other Melburn couriers. When I say 'used' I mean used once.
The owner found me a solitary tyre and for a mere $10. I was chuffed in many ways.
A group had assembled outside the shop for the evening ride around town and I told them about my day(s) adventure while changing tyres. One kind lady offered me wet-ones to clean my embarrasingly filthy hands. Strathalbyn hospitality is mighty fine. They also suggested the best pub/hotel in town which I headed for after stocking up on supplies.
I ran the tap on the spa bath and let it fill, throwing my entire wardrobe in for a good soak. I could have lay in the tub for hours and let the jets massage the legs. Two flights of stairs and I was in the dining room. I ordered my weight in potato wedges and parmigiana. Today was a good day.
Old Willunga Hill
Up at dawn and off to watch how the Pro's do it.
This animated contingent was just one of many on Willunga Hill that welcomed me with open arms and cold beers! Thank you lads!
Some new FYXO undergoing product testing and development. Should be here by months end.
The following day I rode a splendid loop of Nortin's Summit / Corkscrew with my (R)Adelaide hosts in the morning, watched the final stage crit and hoped on a big bird and flew back to Melburn.
I was in good company on the way back home.
There you go. 4 days / 1000km. Map your own adventure now - I've already started planning 'The Ride in preparation for The Ride which cannot be finished'.
Have a great weekend