Friday, 1st April 2022
What to do at a roadhouse on a rest day (and when you can only get mobile reception in the roadhouse itself, and not in the motel room? We did washing, had a hit of table tennis in the roadhouse, and went for wander up the back towards the escarpment. We spotted three emus – the first ‘sizeable’ wildlife spotted so far. (So far we’d only seen birds (that fly!), and ants, and FLIES) . Noted the Nullarbor Links golf hole here.
In the roadhouse, we talked to a family with 3 young kids camper-trailering westbound from Victoria, and the kids were groaning about having to endure another 9 hours in the car. I asked them about what they’d seen – like, how was the Great Australian Bight? Blank looks. ‘The Bunda Cliffs?’ Blank looks. THEY DIDN’T STOP THERE WTF?!!! What the hell were their parents thinking?!
Messages to my sister: ‘I’m not handling it that well tbh, Marc would prefer it if I was more positive. I’m kind of reluctantly suffering through each day. ‘
(About appreciating places she probably wouldn’t get a chance to see… and I mention she’s been to Europe and I haven’t, and she says ‘you’ll have to plan it then’: ‘Well I did! *sob* and ‘Bloody Covid’ …’It was all booked’... and ‘I probably wouldn’t be doing this bloody stupid thing if we’d got there!‘
I did – at least – acknowledge that yesterday the scenery had been more interesting with the escarpment to the north.
In the morning we received terrible news from home about the death of a cycling friend/acquaintance – not a close friend, but someone who I had ridden with occasionally, but, more often, gotten to know over coffee where a few bunch riders would rendezvous nearly every week. He came off his bike after hitting a pothole on a regular downhill ride near his home in Coffs Harbour. As well as being distressed, and so sad, for his family, it was also a sharp reminder of our vulnerability on the roads. You tend to think you’re most at risk doing something as crazy as this ride (with the memory of Mike Hall constantly with you.) It can happen anywhere. I thought of him, with a heavy heart, many times over the rest of our ride. RIP Chris aka (to his cycling mates) ‘Wildman’.
The staff at Mundrabilla roadhouse were super-friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with them about how they ended up working there. It was currently being managed by a young Kiwi who convinced her mum to come over and work with her. And other staff members were a family from WA that just decided to sell up and travel – staying in each place for a while.
Happily, for Marc, a delivery of beer arrived during the day, so he got to enjoy a ‘good’ beer over dinner. Phew!
Meanwhile – checking on the other Indipac riders today – Otters was already through Melbourne and nearly 500km further on (in Omeo), and the next closest (Willie Maykit, IPWR Caveman and Beetlejuice) were along the Great Ocean Road. Crazy.
BJ-55 (Brad), Oompie (Tony), and Jimbo had made it to Adelaide but Oompie called it quits there, after various body parts said ‘yeah nah’. Danny rode into Kingston SE, but the Shermers Neck issue that he had developed got too much and too unsafe, so that was it for him. And KP Pizza Rider (still riding across the top of the Eyre Peninsula) announced that he was not keeping up with his personal schedule due to the headwinds, couldn’t get any more time off work, and announced that he would now take it easy to Adelaide and stop there. (Sounded like a very good idea to me, sign me up!) Derek and Scotty were also riding across the top of the Eyre Peninsula – a bit ahead of KP.
As for us? Apart from falling further and further behind – which happens when you do rest days and shorter daily distances. The Strategist was working very much on a ‘day at a time’ approach. His philosophy was that every day you get closer to the target, then the less chance there is that you’ll pull out. Major incidents or injuries (acute or chronic) aside, you’re not going to pull out one day from the end. And you’re very unlikely to do so only 5 days from the end. Or if you get two-thirds of the way through (ie. nearly Melbourne). It’s a sliding scale of probability, and he figured that each day achieved brought us closer to the ‘less likely’ end of that scale. So all he had to do was con me into riding another day, and then another one, and then another one. I just kept thinking ‘all I have to do is make it to Adelaide.’
Possibly, the bum and hands issues were easing a little bit. At some point – we can’t remember exactly when, but possibly at Balladonia – Marc took the handlebar tape off the bottom of his drops and added it to mine to give me more cushioning. (We’d put new handlebar tape on before the ride, but it turned out to be a bad choice.) The extra layer did seem to help lessen the tingling a bit.
So tomorrow we were only going to do the 78k to Border Village, but we were going to have to leave at stupid o’clock again to hopefully beat the worst of the headwind.