Caiguna to Ceduna: It goes pear shaped

Today I was supposed to ride my Super Tenere to Port Augusta.  I didn’t make it, here’s why.

I woke in my budget room at Caiguna up on time feeling relatively refreshed.  I got some oats out and went to put water in the jug. It didn’t look worthy.  The fridge was also not turned on but did have some little containers of long life milk in them that look like they had had a long life. I had some sultanas, packed the bike and headed to the roadhouse for breakfast. 

There was one staff member, a queue of 5 or 6 so I handed the key over the counter and left without eating.  Dumb move.

The cross wind from the ocean was immediately noticeable and huge numbers of road kill made me really glad I stopped for the night.  I’m used to running in the mornings without fuel so the empty feeling was pretty normal.  I clicked into my ride routine, stopped at Mundrabilla for fuel and sultanas. The day got hot and the wind picked up more.  It wasn’t as hot as the previous three days because the wind was coming from the sea.  However, it was vicious, I was fighting to keep the bike on the road the whole way.

The next stop was the Nullarbor Roadhouse for fuel, a cherry ripe, cold water and gatorade. At some point along there I did a really stupid thing.  I decided to grab a photo of the Super Tenere on the Great Australian Bight so I rode into a carpark, past a post and down a walkway.  I got a great photo but there wasn’t enough room to turn the Super Tenere around.  I spent a good 15 minutes or so inching the bike backwards and forwards walking the front wheel around, each time digging a little hole that I had to throttle out of.  I had cramps in my hands, forearms and feet.  Here’s the photo, it wasn’t worth it!

Back out on to the Nullarbor and into the wind things really started to go bad.  I couldn’t work out why. Inattention, that dreadful feeling you get when you are riding along and you look down and you are doing 70kph.  I stopped a few times and walked around the bike and didn’t come good. I passed Nundroo and having stayed there before wasn’t keen to stop so I limped into Ceduna.

Ironically though I was right on schedule but couldn’t go any further.  My plan for the day was to do Elliston and finish at Port Augusta for a two day trip up the centre and a detour to Uluru on the way.  Self check, Rule 1 applied. I was staying in Ceduna and Darwin was out of the question. To try it in two days from here, particularly with the forecast would not be achievable. So I got a room at the Highway One and had a Bacon and Egg Roll, Chocolate Milk, some fruit and went and had a shower.  Here’s the view from the room, I’ve only been through there in the dark I didn’t even know it was on the water!

Here is a photo of the back tyre (Heidenau K76) after this day.  You can see the ripples on the inside of the outside tread knobs.  The ones on the left side are just ripples, the right side however are substantially more worn away because I spent most of the day being blown around on that side of the tyre.

After cleaning up I went straight back to the Highway One Roadhouse and ordered a chicken schnitzel with vegies and pepper sauce.  The chicken schnitzel was charred, the gravy was hard to cut with a knife, the vegies fell apart when you put a fork in them. As I wolfed it down and started to come good I realized what I’d done.  I got the nutrition wrong and paid dearly. I skipped meals in exchange for time.  It wasn’t the heat, it wasn’t the wind, it wasn’t lack of sleep it was me changing routine and running out of fuel, my own fault and avoidable    I will never make that mistake again.

After eating I went back to the room watched a movie and had dessert, pretty unhappy with myself really.