Rich and I were so incredibly happy to get out of town today. Everything about Mount Gambier I found irksome. Since we were in a place with ample cafes, we had considered venturing out for coffee in the morning, but neither of us wanted to start off the day in an awful mood and decided it’d be best to avoid the locals. Over dinner the previous night we got stuck listening to a group of fourteen year olds who were sitting across the outdoor patio from us loudly discuss where they could find some Ice (crystal meth). According to these kids it is quite easy to get… Lovely. Contine reading
The 85 kilometer ride from Beachport to Mount Gambier would mark our last full day of cycling in South Australia before crossing the border into Victoria. The plan for the day was to head out of Beachport and then continue westward to the town of Millicent for lunch before heading to Mount Gambier.
Finally – the sun is out! After a fun-filled and very wet night, we woke up as early as Rich and I could muster. We packed up everything as quickly as we could and we were ready and waiting outside the Cottage Coffee Shop just as the two women running the shop were putting together the final touches for opening. They were quite intrigued by us, with one of the women telling us of how she had recently hosted a Dutch family that was cycling around Australia – a couple and their two toddlers. One of the parents had pulled a trailer full of their gear, while the other pulled a trailer with the kids. She said that the kids seemed to love the adventure, but how someone travels on a bicycle with toddlers is beyond me. I can only imagine all the poopy diapers that they had to drag around with them… Now that’s impressive, and nothing I’m as of yet ready to attempt. We had a really great breakfast though while we were chatting with the owners. The coffee was awesome and the egg and bacon rolls were to die for. Wish we had done this the day before too! Contine reading
I would have loved to have used our rest day today, but considering that Salt Creek was in the middle of absolutely nowhere, the stink of fish was overpowering, and the much larger small town of Kingston SE was just a few hours ride away we chose to keep moving and potentially use our rest day there.
Desperate to get out of Wellington quickly (I really did not want another Pringles luncheon), we headed out as early as we could after attempting to eat the starburst and fat-free air that was our breakfast. Since we had skipped going all the way to Meningie yesterday, today was going to be a long day if we were going to get back on schedule. Neither of us wanted to use a rest day that might be crucial later on so that we could do two under 50 km days in a row. We were going to tack on the 44.5 km we had skipped to what was meant to be a 60.6 km day and ride 105.1 km to Salt Creek.
We woke up on the second day with incredibly sore bums, and Rich with incredibly painful quads, and broken cleats. As he had had to walk up several hills through gravel, grass, and tarmac yesterday, his cleats took a lot of damage, and Rich was no longer able to properly clip into his pedals.
On Sunday, November 16th, Rich and I departed Adelaide for our first day of riding. The city of Adelaide is generally quite flat but it is surrounded by hills and mountains, meaning that an escape from the city would include massive elevation gain and we were expecting a fair amount of undulation for the day.
When Rich came to me a few months ago with the idea of cycling over 900 kilometers between Adelaide, in South Australia and Melbourne, in Victoria I thought he was crazy. The Racing the Planet ultramarathons we have been doing are one thing. They’re controlled, the routes are all planned out by a team of organizers, camp is ready and waiting for you each night, someone provides you with water both for drinking and for cooking, highly trained medics are there to aid you in case of injury, roads are cleared of traffic and danger, there are safe places to rest if you are too tired to keep pushing on for a few moments, and a large group of people going through the process with you, forming an unshakeable sense of comradery.
Having greatly enjoyed our freedom over the past few days of wandering through Cape Town I was a bit hesitant at having to join a tour group. I was hoping to meet people here I would find as incredible, fun, and tough as those we met during the race in Madagascar. However, I was expecting the worst – a group of American frat boys or sorority girls, the type of people that weren’t okay with getting dirty and would spend the entire trip talking about how unhygienic everything was, or would be drunk and hung over throughout the trip. Though I ultimately did not become as close with our tour group as I was with our friends in Madagascar, I can definitely say that Rich and I got off quite lucky with who we were trapped with – making for a much more enjoyable trip than I had anticipated. This fourth day in Southern Africa marks the beginning of our tour-ventures.
After our time in Madagascar, Rich and I headed down to Cape Town, South Africa from where we embarked on a 24-day safari through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be discussing our trip, sharing what we did, and what we saw. Today, we’ll be talking about our time in Cape Town, prior to the beginning of the tour.