Clare and Home

I woke up in surprisingly good shape given the day before. Light rain was clearing, and it was clear my back was one of those injuries you can ride out if you're careful, so I followed up breakfast with a pasty at the store, and set off.

It's a gentle ride to Quorn from Hawker, and I followed up a dose of Ibuprofen with a regular noodling of a spot near my spine, and deliberately low gear climbs on the rises. By Wilmington, I'd ridden out the sore spot. I decided it was not wise to do the long loop around past the Port Augusta truck stop, so this eliminated the climbs down through Pichi Richi Pass and the subsequent climb back up through Horrocks' Pass to Wilmington. It also  saves around 30 kilometres.

20-Wilson1

20-Wilson2
All that's left of Wilson

21-DevilsPeak
Devil's Peak, Quorn

Wilmington's little Deli has reopened, so I had an early tea, and a break, and then set off for a delightful dead calm ride to Gladstone. Like the Jamestown - Orroroo run, there are only gentle climbs and many long, slowly descending sections, which make for good riding.

22-SunsetSunset south of Melrose

Night rides like this are truly glorious. It's silent. Traffic is rare, and you have plenty of notice when it does come.

I took a break at Gladstone, and considered options for Clare.  Clare has 24 hour On the Run service station, which is a magnet for night riders.  But it's also a tough ride from Gladstone when you are tired. For perspective, riding home to Gladstone from university many years ago, I could take Highway One via Crystal Brook, and come in under 8 hours. Going back via Main North Road would be ten and a half hours, mostly due to the Gladstone - Clare section. I've also done Gladstone - Clare as an evening ride after a long day. It's hard work.

I calculated the distance, and likely time, if I avoided most of the hills by looping around through Crystal Brook, Koolunga and Blyth. Blyth to Clare has a sharp climb through Armagh, but the rest of that route is flat, apart from Hughes Gap. I hadn't quite given up on the idea of doing the Burra loop, which would still bring me in to Elizabeth at well over 1100kms. A crazy man could then do a loop or two in the Little Para Linear Park to bring up 1200kms.  I decided that prudence meant taking the direct route and, if necessary, bombing on my friends Ian and Jan at Clare, in the early hours of the morning. They left the light on, just in case.

It had begun to chill down since Wongyarra, where the road tracks the Rocky River.  The Rocky heads west from Gladstone, but south of Georgetown runs the Yackamurundie Creek, which is so small I suspect most travellers don't notice it. Still, in November, this little gutter sits at 2 degrees Celsius. I stopped and added the winter balaclava, under-gloves, booties, and put my padded gilet on under my wind jacket.

By Yacka I was sleepy, and not waking up, despite caffeine gels and a couple of jogs alongside the bike. This was all fixed by the wind which arrived around 3am. Strong, but without the terrible buffeting of the previous night, it packed a nasty wind chill. By Rochester, and the last long drag up to the Anama turnoff, I was dead legging it. I headed for Trengove's and hit the floor sometime after 5.

22-ClareThe day's stats.
Time: 19hours 50
Road Time: 15hours 57
Distance: 267km
Ride Speed: 16.8
Average Speed: 13.48
Strava Stats: here

23-map

After hitting the floor around 5.45, I woke up at 7.30 and was greeted by Jan who then brightly announced she had just being saying to Ian how they know some really strange people!

Home was a reverse of Thursday: the trails, Riverton, Gawler Bypass and the Stuart O'Grady bike path. The wind was behind me much of the way, so despite tiredness, I rolled home at a respectable 18.2kmh. In fact, from Seven Hill to Auburn I barely pedalled at all, mostly turning over the legs just enough to keep them warmed up.

Daytime traffic down Main North Road is not pleasant. It's a faster ride from Riverton than the journey up, but never seems as comfortable. This is certainly the case past Roseworthy, where the verge narrows and is very rough. Part of the issue is the oncoming traffic, which is still in city mindset, but doing 110 plus. Just before Roseworthy, three separate cars overtook other vehicles while coming towards me. The city bound traffic was noticeably more courteous and, I think, slower!

This experience is a complete contrast to the night traffic on MNR.  There is very little to worry about (I've no intention of ever trying a Friday or Monday night) and it always gives you a wide berth.

Stats
Time: 8 hours 32
Road Time:  6hours 43
Distance: 122.5km
Ride Speed: 18.2
Average Speed: 14

More photos of the trip

 

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