I set the alarm for 5am but the prospect of just riding home in two days and the disappointment I was feeling after yesterday’s poor effor wasn’t enough to get me out of bed. Then I had a “harden the F* up” conversation with myself and developed a plan B. The weather man said it was going to be the hottest day of the trip so far. I did some quick sums and despite the dismal day yesterday if I could clock up 1700 to 1800k’s today I would firstly prove my suspicions about nutrition to be correct and secondly by banging out at least an SS1600 would rack up sufficient k’s for an SS5000M/SS8000K. How focused did that get me?
I got up, had breakfast and was off after 6am. To make the distance in the time I had to finish the ride by 3.28am our time to keep it within 5 days. At the time I left I had no idea where I had to get to to finish. That was a detail I could sort out later, while I was eating!
First priority though was to get to Elliston and take a pic, why the bloody hell not! That done I fuelled up, got a docket and headed back to Kimba. I was still annoyed that they were closed when I went through a few days before on the 50CC Gold Ride, a quick calculation and I knew I had enough fuel to get to Port Augusta using the jerry so I rode past that big galah and topped up on the side of the road with Caiguna’s best BP Ultimate. By then the Super Tenere was telling me the air temp was 43 degrees. Riding into Port Augusta it rose to 45. I had to keep my feet high on the pegs because the heat radiating from the road was burning them despite the thick socks.
I stopped briefly at the left turn to Darwin and sent my best wishes up the road to other I knew were riding up that way. I wasn’t tempted to turn though, I had other feet to fry, and fry they did.
Fuel, sultanas, water and an iced coffee and for the first time this trip cold water down the inside of my jacket at Port Augusta and straight back out into it. Once again I had a bit of fun up Horrocks Pass. Through Wilmington and Peterborough the bike was reporting 46 degrees. The roads were melted, tar was being everywhere and in places it was like puddles. Some interesting views around the valleys near Oloroo. Riding over the hills you could see plumes of red willy willys spinning like miny tornados, amazing! But I wasn’t taking any more photos today, it was all business.
The next stop Yunta. For the first time I went to the Caltex, not sure why. I fuelled up, went inside took off my jacket, ordered lunch. I called my wife who sat down at her computer and ran some numbers. The decision was to end the ride in Gilgandra (1791kms) and I calculated I’d be there about 2.15am. I asked her to check if I could get fuel at Nyngen and to book me some accommodation in Gilgandra and text me the result so I could catch up in Broken Hill. My wife is awesome, she loves this stuff but did quite rightly express concern given the events of the previous day.
It was still a long way to go but I wasn’t stepping outside until I was cool and finished the meal. I went to the men’s room and the cold water nearly burnt my hands when I washed them. Just before leaving I got some water out of my top box and poured it all over my shirt, it was very hot too and I squeaked. Not doing that one again today!
An uneventful ride then to Broken Hill, still 45-46 all the way for fuel at the Shell in Williams Street. More snacks and 600ml of cold water, half down the gut half down the jacket. It was freezing and I squeaked and jumped about. The lady in the servo thought it was hilarious. My wife had done well, the text was waiting for me. I had a plan finalised.
A jerry stop would get me to Cobar, fuel up there and I would get to Gilgandra. I rode past Wilcannia, shut and spooky, and right on sunset stopped to fill up out of the jerry, clean my visor and put on the night goggles. A truck (wide load) that I’d passed not too long before pulled in and I had a nice chat with the driver, who has a Vulcan, while I was getting ready for the dark. He warned me about the roos and goats between there and Cobar and he was right.
There were goats, some sheep and hundreds of roos by the side of the road. Luckily only one roo had a crack at me. The ABS saved my skin. With numb hands from having already ridden 7000ks or so I grabbed a clubbed fist full of brake and pulled up cleanly on a melted part of the road missing skippy by millimetres, phew! However I was losing precious time because of having to slow right down.
By the time I got to Cobar I was determined to continue but concerned about the time. I fuelled up, had a cherry ripe, an iced coffee and some water and out into it again. The roos were worse this side of town , Then I saw some lights behind me. It was a tattooed goddess I’d seen in the servo in a great big 4WD. She caught me, I put on my left indicator and she drove past. I slipped in behind her and had myself a bull bar . And she wasn’t mucking about either. I soon noticed that the roos were not jumping towards the road as we passed. The bunnies though would jump across behind the 4WD and play chicken with me. Mere bumps in the road for the Super Tenere.
Soon enough we were at Nyngen and heading towards Dubbo. As we approached Nevertire I was chanting “Turn Left, Turn Left, Turn Left” and she did. An escort all the way into Gilgandra arriving at 2.17am, two minutes behind schedule. SS5000M/ SS8000K done! 8329kms for the 5 days by the odometer.
The goddess stopped at the Shell for a snack and I approached her and thanked her profusely. Then I asked her for a witness signature and she happily obliged. With the servo attendant and another guy who was more than happy to sign after I told him where all the 24 hour fuel was between there and Yunta (funny what we know isn’t it) the witness forms and paperwork were done.
I found the Alpha Hotel my wife had booked and paid for, the key was under the mat and I sat quietly for a while. Backing up after one of the worst days I’ve ever had on a bike I had just finished one of the best in the most atrocious of conditions and I absolutely nailed it. I didn’t want to stop.
The Super Tenere has really earned it’s stripes as a Long Distance Weapon now. It’s fast approaching 25,000kms on the clock and is not yet 5 months old! Over 17,500 of them in the last month!