There Will Be Blood
Depart: 5:39; arr: 3:30; dist: 101km; saddle: 5h 40m; ave: 17.8k/h; ascent: 800m.
Total Dist.:473.8km; Total Asc.:6373m.
More data here, but the computer stopped working halfway.
At 101 km, it’s the longest day of the trip. We knew this was going to be tough. 100km not epic enough? Let’s make it all dirt road. Still not epic enough? OK, let’s do it in 40°C+ heat. Oh, and let’s have 5 punctures along the way. Epic.
Vinnie goes down.
Skin grows back. (This ends up as part of the “Ezekiel Beast“.)
At Nowa Nowa the cafe owner is a man with a vision. We like his ideas.
He has designed a maze of mountain bike trails that only lack a four entry bridge fly-over. He has applied for govenment funding for just such a bridge, and has so far produced a model with artists statement. It’s only lacking an up-side down tree, but these are details.
Scott gets a puncture, no spare 27″ tubes. But he has a patch kit. Then he gets another another puncture.
Bruthren. Rehydrate, refuel big-time.
I am sitting in a rotunda looking at James’ bike and the Vulcan is looking back at me and then it goes: sssssss… This bike is showing some real bad attitude.
The early start means we have so far avoided the worst of the heat. My bike computer has given up hours ago at only 36°C. …but it’s REALLY hot now. The long lunch at Bruthren means we are now under the suns anvil.
Not a good time to get lost. We get back on track and at the end of the railtrail is the Caravan park by the river.
I go to the bike shop and try to speak to the people there, but nothing comes out. I point, I sigh, we look at each other, I sit down. The shop owner, clearly used to shattered riders coming in, talks me down in soothing tones. Soon he has sold me a $65 tyre.
James is sick of changing tubes and also buys a $65 gatorskin. As if that is going to placate a Vulcan; in less than 24 hours another puncture. There are many ways of getting punctures. The Vulcan has managed each possible way at least twice.
We’re now off dirt roads and Scott goes to work, preening the Nishiki. In a spontaneous burst of activity, this snowballs until everyone is cleaning their bikes. Bike pride. I stiffle a sob. A crackle of static passes between me and James. A change is coming and we cower from what what must surely be ball lightning, but all is quiet. Too quiet.
We go down to the Mitchell River and swim.
This was our day in Hell.