Half Way Across Australia
Sitting in Ceduna reflecting on the journey so far.
Although it been less than a month, so much has happened and there has been so much to take in and adapt to, the 4th August seems like a long time ago.
We left the children's hospital in Randwick at 10am, it was a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. Lots of friends and even strangers came along to say farewell. It was great chatting to everyone before we left and thank you for all their support, we had thought about this day for a long time and it was finally here, we gave everyone a hug and said goodbye and took our first pedal on the road home, ahead of us was 25,000km of unknown.
The first few days the weather was perfect for us, few little hiccups like panniers coming loose, a puncture 800 metres into day 2, a saddle falling off and lots of little breaks as we got used to sitting on a saddle for hours every day. All to be expected and just figuring out what works as regards the most efficient way to pack the panniers and what food works when on the road.
Midway through the first week a cold front came across the south of the country. Strong headwinds and record low temperatures meant the days were long but still very enjoyable. Two days of bad weather had us camped up in a field in Jugiong for them days but luckily there was a coffee shop across the road where we spent our days and got up to date on our journalling.
The rain stopped but the cold snap continued for a few more days. One day in particular was very tough and we decided to book a motel for the night to revive and get in out of the -6 degrees forecasted. Waking up with a roof over our heads and the heat of been inside along with the dominos pizzas the night before and we were ready to go again. We had a great day that day, 12 hours earlier we were absolutely exhausted. Amazing how quickly the body can recover with a good nights rest.
The cold snap broke and we had some ground to make up because of that extra rest day in Jugiong. We were now on a flat plain, there had been a lot of elevation getting out of Sydney and the headwinds made us work that bit harder. Now on the flat it was a bit easier although headwinds were still causing us to spend a lot of time on the bikes each day. With no shelter on the plain there was no let up from the winds at any stage during the day. Something we hadn't predicted was the headwinds been such a major factor. By the time we had finished cycling for the day, set up camp and had something to eat there was no energy left to get a run in and start preparing for our first ultramarathon.
The next two weeks was pretty much the same, long days on the bikes, "where are we going to fit in the running?" That was the big question we were asking ourselves.
During the two weeks we caught up on the cycling. Crossed the border from New South Wales to Victoria and a couple days later crossed into South Australia. From all the orchards and vineyards in Mildura to all the grass land and crops as we cycled through South Australia. A forever changing landscape, seeing the impact a few small hills can have on land has been one of the highlights. South Australia has been stunning. We were not expecting it to be so nice but locals have told us we have been lucky as they recently got some much needed rain, they told us that it has been brown and burnt up for a long long time. Australia is almost always in drought. Some areas don't get substantial rain for years at a time, farmers may have a good year or two and then without rain have no crops nor income for a few years. Many farm stations have gone bankrupt several times. It is a harsh life to be a farmer in Australia, you're livelihood depends on the weather than you have no control over.
Days on the bikes are becoming more enjoyable as we get fitter. The first few weeks the days used to be waves of emotions. I'd be having the time of my life looking around and appreciating been out there and an hour later I would be checking to see how far we have gone and what time we will get to where we are going. An hour after that I would be loving it again. We learned pretty quickly to not plan on been there at a certain time, conditions change, breakdowns happen, if you plan on been parked up at 3pm and you are still on the road at 5pm, it will be frustrating and take the enjoyment out. Whatever time we get there, we get there, enjoy the process of getting there. As the fitness has increased it has become more of a consistent loving the adventure and challenges of headwinds and hills. When we get to where we planned to be, set up camp, sometimes on the side of the highway or behind a gravel pit and we lay in our sleeping bags just before we go to sleep, reflecting on what we saw or the little struggles throughout the day, we realise what an adventure this is and the highs and lows of each day is what makes it so exciting.
We have a deadline to be in Perth, first ultramarathon is the WTF 50 miler in Dwellingup on the 28th September, we fly out on the 30th. There will be no second chances for this one, we have one shot to do what we said we were going to do. The pressure is on in a sense. It is 100% possible but we just need to figure out the best way and to make time to start getting the km's in the legs. Figuring out what works best and be the most prepared we can for September 28th. We went for a run in Ceduna this morning and it was a big reality check, it had been our first run since leaving Sydney. As we are about the cross the Nullabor, 1200km of nothing except for a few roadhouse every 100 - 200km, and carrying 12 days of food. We need to be getting the runs in and getting ready.
It's all part of the challenge we have put infront of us, an exciting time, can we do it? What ever it takes is the Crumlin motto and is our motto too. We have received several emails and messages from families in Australia and Ireland, when they tell you their story like a boy called Thomas, at 4 years old having a sore throat and then been diagnosed with cancer and going through intense chemo in Crumlin for 6 months, or Emma who nearly lost her twins to a virus at 6 weeks old only for the care they received at Randwick then our little struggles out there each day are nothing in comparison, it is all relative. If we can help kids like Thomas and Emma's twins then who cares how hard it is, it will be worth every bit of pain.
Bring on the Nullabor and bring on the WTF 50 miler!!!!
Thanks you for your continued support,