Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt - 2007
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Day: 025

Monday, 13 August 2007


Cabin at Sandfire Roadhouse


Riding from Roebuck Plains Roadhouse to Sandfire Roadhouse

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Cool early.  Very warm and sunny later


Snacks during the day.  Pie and pastie for dinner.


None really.


Managing to get to Sandfire Roadhouse ten minutes before they closed for the night.


Damaged left quadriceps muscle to the point where I was unable to pedal with my left leg.

Daily Pictures: Here
Daily Podcasts: Here & Here

I woke at 2:30am and prepared to leave extremely quietly.  The wall of the Donga were extremely thin and I had woken several times during the night to hear the guy in the next room talking in his sleep.

I left at 3:15am in cool weather and pedalled south west out into the scrubby plains.  Off to my left I could see a small patch of reflected light in the sky which was probably the town of Broome.  About 4:30am the sky behind me began to lighten and an hour later I was treated to a brilliant red sun rising in my rear view mirror.

I made reasonable progress, stopping every 40km for a snack and drink while it was still cool.  A pimple on my butt (I know, too much information!) was causing me considerable discomfort and at times I found it hard to sit comfortably while pedalling.  Around 100km I began to notice some pain in the front of my left leg just above the knee, but didnít take too much notice of it as it has been quite common to get occasional niggles which come and go.

The scenery was pretty much unchanging scrub on both sides of the road, although high enough that you couldnít really see for any distance, even at the top of the many gradual ascents.  It was hard to believe that the Indian Ocean was only about 10 or 20 kilometres to the east.  I never saw it.

As the temperature rose, I began stopping my frequently for drinks and snacks.  My sore leg muscle was gradually getting worse, to the point where is was quite painful to pedal, but I had no choice but to keep pedalling.  There was nowhere to stop and I needed to get to Sandfire Roadhouse before they closed at 7pm.

By 200km I was in real trouble with the leg, which was painful to bend and to push on the pedal with.  My average speed dropped to around 15kph as I pedalled with my right leg with my left leg just going through the motions.  Even that was painful and I spent some kilometres with the left foot off the pedal and dangling while I pedalled with the right.

My spirits nose-dived as I realised there was no way I could continue my quest with a leg this damaged.  I couldnít imagine riding the 290km I had scheduled for tomorrow, let alone another 28 days.  In the short-term, my attention turned to making enough progress to get to Sandfire before they closed.  I was stopping every few kilometres to rest and stretch the leg and pedalling single-legged in between as the sun set and the road entered a vast open saltbush plain.  Eventually I reached Sandfire Roadhouse at 6:50pm, about two hours later than intended, after a very painful and arduous afternoon.

The Roadhouse burnt down four months ago and has been temporarily replaced with a prefabricated shed from where they offer a limited range of supplies and sell fuel.  The attached caravan park and cabins survived the fire and there are some nice large tropical trees to provide shade during the day and the odd peacock wandering the grounds.  No grass, just red dust everywhere, and this little oasis is surrounded by a vast saltbush plain stretching in every direction like the sea.

I got the keys to a cabin and a pie and pastie and some drinks for dinner, and retired to my cabin to consider my riding future.  I was very relieved to have reached Sandfire, but now was trying to deal the full impact of the injured leg on the balance of my trip.  There was no mobile phone reception, but I just managed to get some wireless connectivity for my laptop using the special aerial I was carrying and so was able to discuss my plight via Instant Messaging with Sharon.

In the end I have resolved to have up to three days off in the faint hope that the leg repairs itself sufficiently to keep riding.  Losing three days will still leave me an outside chance of breaking the record, provided that the leg stands up to the rest of the trip.  This seems a bit unlikely.  If I had a similar injury as a runner, I would be taking three weeks off to allow the soft tissue repair necessary.  Iím not sure I will continue the trip if I have no chance of breaking the record, especially if it is painful to do so.  I can ride around Australia as a tourist another time.  The real goal of this venture was to see if I could break the record.  I was starting to believe that I could, perhaps unwisely feeling a little indestructible as the weeks passed and I made good progress, so continuing on at a leisurely pace does not really appeal.

Sandfire Roadhouse will be an interesting place to spend three days.  Thereís no TV, no reading matter, only pies, toasted sandwiches and some confectionary for food, no mobile phone coverage and only occasional wireless internet connectivity.  At least the time off will allow me to catch up on sleep.



Round Ireland

Hume & Hovell Walking Track

Via Alpina

Australian Alps Walking Track

Land's End to John O'Groats

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Australia Tip to Top MTB

Adelaide to Darwin MTB

Sydney to Melbourne MTB

Three Peaks Race

Appalachian Trail

Alpine Track

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