IP Day 25 – Adelaide to Tailem Bend

Friday 15th April, 2022

130km, +1500m
6:45 moving, 10:54 elapsed
Max 64.6kph, avg 19.3

Another 6:30am start. There was a toaster and some bread provided in the room, so I thought I’d try eating something before we left for a change. The body/brain said ‘ha ha, are you kidding?’ and brought it all back up again. I made up a jam sandwich and packed it.

I used yesterday’s gpx route overlayed on google maps to reverse our detour/motel side-trip track back to the route. We then followed the route along the cycleway alongside the Torrens – other than a (very well-signposted) detour through some streets due to the path being closed in one section. Then it was down King William Rd to our rendezvous point with Kay at Victoria Square (and where I managed to eat a little bit.) 10k down.

We set off east, following Kay, cutting through the north-eastern precinct of Victoria Park (home of the racing car ‘street circuit) on a section of the criterium track. Then through a couple of the more exclusive suburbs of Adelaide (Toorak Gardens), and then made our way a couple of k’s north-east to Magill – which is at the bottom of Norton Summit Rd.

Norton Summit is a mecca for Adelaide cyclists (well, the ones who like to climb anyway), and so we joined the public holiday cycling pilgrims.

It’s a very rare, but welcome, experience for bikes to be the dominant user on any section of road. The few cars that made their way up there absolutely knew their place! It was a reasonably consistent 4-5% grade (maybe a couple of steeper pinches, but no problems for us). We were passed by heaps of other riders, but hey, we were on a loaded tandem with 2,830km in our legs, after all!

We had great views back to Adelaide.

Loo and snack stop at Norton Summit itself, (and Kay chatted with another cyclist that she knew from somewhere!) but then some more climbing (and about 8k) to traverse across to rejoin the route at Greenhills Rd and then to the highest point at Mt Lofty.

Somewhere along that section, we were greeted by two cyclists coming the other way. These ones knew who we were. “TwoUp!” They were Kim and Alison from Stirling, and they’d ridden out to find us and ride a bit with us – and to make sure we didn’t miss the short detour (350m) up to the lookout at Mt Lofty! Alison (aka Stirling Road Runner) had actually set off on Indipac in 2020 but, along with the rest of the field, had to abandon it on the second day when it was announced that the SA border would be closing in 48 hours due to covid. Last year she also rode out and conned Rowan into doing the Mt Lofty detour.

Amongst the crowd up at the lookout, a guy started talking to Marc about the tandem, as he was a tandem owner! You just never know where a fellow tandem-head is going to turn up! David subsequently followed our FB page with comments and support the rest of the way.

I was more than ready for a coffee and some food by then. While tempted by the Summit Cafe, (probably $$ and it was crowded) we decided to zoom down the hill into Stirling (after Alison rang up their favourite local cafe to make sure they were open on Good Friday.) It was a fun downhill (well, Marc now reminds me that I was yelling ‘slow dowwwwwwn’…) and we enjoyed brunch with Kay, Kim and Alison. Probably for too long – we were there for an hour, and, because of the detour, despite having ridden 41km, we were actually only 27km along the ‘official’ route out of Adelaide. Still 90km to Tailem Bend. Eep. It was already after 11am. While we were there we were also found by another dotwatcher, Barbara, who, I think, lived on or near Greenhill Rd and had met some of the other riders up there as they rode by. After our detour foiled her she tracked us down at Stirling, with some Easter shortbread goodies for us. Again we were blown away by all these amazing people with a passion for Indipac, and coming out to be a part of it in some way.

An absolute extra shout-out to Kay for the many kilometres she did over two days as a ride guide for us.

We really did enjoy the Norton Summit climb, and despite the extra kilometres, after having Street-viewed Greenhill Rd, I was really, really glad that we did it. (In the screenshot below, the purple is our route, and the grey is the official route, so you can see how much extra it is.) I think it is pretty important for any participant in Indipac to take on board any local experience and advice with regard to safer options. (And if you’re ever riding in Adelaide, go do Norton Summit!)

Good Friday would have been a much more ideal day to be off the roads with a rest day, but it wasn’t to be. 10k to Hahndorf, which, as a popular Adelaide Hills tourist village, was predictably nuts. We stopped briefly in the park for a loo stop, took a quick pic looking back at the just-on-autumn tree-lined streets, and skedaddled out of there. Somewhere not far along we encountered another dotwatcher pair – Mike and Elka. We stopped for a quick chat and then did another 12k to Nairne.

We bought rolls from a takeaway shop there, but then packed them, and rode another 13k to Kanmantoo where there was a nice park with a picnic shelter (and loos). Marc remembers wishing we’d bought more food.

It was another 28km to Murray Bridge. You would have to call that stretch from Stirling to Murray Bridge ‘rolling countryside’ (and we all know what that means). The last part was a bit tedious, and Murray Bridge wasn’t much fun -through the town and over the bridge with the traffic. We stopped at the first servo up the other side of the river. What did we have? A packet of chips and soft drink I think. There was a space decked out in service station memorabilia, and with a couple of padded soft chairs next to a coffee table, sitting there in the aircon for a bit was pretty civilised. We were tracked down there by another dotwatcher, Dale, and he rode the 7k out to the intersection of the A1 with us.

It was about 4.30pm by then, so, we were tired. That last 16k to Tailem Bend was on dual carriageway, and it was basically 40 minutes of pretty horrible riding on a not-very-wide shoulder, with highway traffic screaming by at 110kph. It was yet another downside of following this blasted set route. Sure, it was the quickest way between Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, but ‘quickest’ is by no means the priority on other parts of the route. If I’d been planning a route around the same area, I would have only gone through the south side of Murray Bridge, then taken the quiet road option on the western/southwestern side of the river, and crossed over to Tailem Bend (if needed) on the 24/7 car ferry. I mean, my god, why does the route take the A1 when there is a safer, sealed option running almost parallel?

We hit the motel at about 5.30pm. We must have looked really weary because when Marc asked if they sold beers in reception, the owner said “um, not really… um, what are you after?”, then went out back, brought back a Corona and a Coopers, and said ‘Here you go. Happy Easter’.

We dragged ourselves out for a 5-minute walk up to the roadhouse for dinner. Did we handwash anything, or just decide to wear yesterday’s only-80km-worth-of-sweat kit tomorrow? Maybe the tops. Can’t remember!

Today Jimbo finished at the Opera House, the 5th rider to make it. Scotty, Greta, and Derek were in Melbourne. And here we were only one day out of Adelaide! Keeping it interesting for all the dotwatchers! Greta’s original plan had been to ride with Scotty from Adelaide to Melbourne, but at some point (not sure when we heard), despite some knee issues that she had treated at Warrnambool (I think), she decided she would continue riding with him to Sydney. Kudos.

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