Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt - 2009

Overview     Planning     Schedule     Map     Diary     Pictures     Messages     Conclusion

"Every Second Counts"

I have learned that it's very easy, on a very long multi-day endurance ride, to lose time fiddling around on breaks, stopping to add or remove clothing, chatting, stopping at a seductive ice-cream shop or bakery, etc.  I have also learned that, in remote areas, a lost hour on one day can mean a lost day shortly thereafter because of a failure to reach a resupply point before it closes.  For this attempt, I will live by the mantra "every second counts" in an effort not to lose those key hours.

Bike

I will be riding the same 2007 Specialized TriCross Expert that I used for the 2008 attempt.  It is of robust construction, designed for cyclocross racing, with an alloy frame and carbon fibre forks and seat post.  The alloy frame allows me to fix a rear rack to the frame and the carbon fibre components incorporate vibration dampening inserts.  Vibration will be one of my biggest problems because it can lead to various hand, arm and shoulder problems.  I have modified the bike by installing

  • a new Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow saddle (the same that I used last time).
  • the Velocity AeroHead rims I used last time.  The front wheel has a Schmidt Dynamo Hub which provides power for two front lights with minimal drag (advertised as the equivalent of climbing 6ft in a mile).
  • Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (700X25C on the front and 700X28C on the back).
  • a rear rack with an easy-release Topeak rack bag.
  • a small front Topeak rack bag.
  • two large 1.25 litre bottle cages.
  • Shimano - PD-A520 - SPD Clipless Touring Road Bike Pedals.

Iím not much of a bike mechanic, but will take some basic bike repair documentation in addition to three spare tubes, a spare tyre, spare spokes, a puncture repair kit, spare chain links, spare chain. cable ties, wire and a small tool kit.

I will also mail ahead spare Schwalbe tyres to somewhere on the west coast in case I need to change them over.  If I donít, I will mail them ahead to another point on the route.

Lighting & Visibility

Because I will be travelling a lot at night on unlit outback roads, I need to have good lighting so will have three front lights, two driven by the hub dynamo and one (flashing) headlamp, and three flashing red tail-lights along with a very large reflector.  I have bought from the US a running belt, incorporating a flashing blue strobe light, that I will tie around my rear carrier.  I will carry a small store of batteries as spares.  I will have a large reflective patch on the back of my backpack and will wear flouro yellow vests and a fluoro yellow rainjacket.

Entertainment

I will have a Sangean DT-400 AM/FM radio (I love listening to the local country radio stations and am a current affairs addict) with me along with an iPod Nano with the 200 greatest songs of all time.

Communications Equipment

I will have a handsfree headset for use with my mobile phone (it gets very tiring riding one-handed during long phone calls), a Dell Mini 9 notebook computer (less than 1kg) and a Next G Wireless modem along with an aerial that works with both my mobile phone and my wireless modem.  I will carry a TrackStick II, a GPS logging device, with which I plan to record and upload my daily route to this website.  The file, and hence my route, can then be viewed via Google Earth in various modes, including fly-through, if your computer has the capability.

A number of people suggested during my last attempts that the time spent maintaining the on-line diary was risking the attempt as a whole, especially when I was very short of sleep.  However, for me it was part of the adventure and I still have hopes to one day write about my experiences.  I also gained inspiration and motivation from the many supporting e-mails I received during the trip as a result of the diary, even though I rarely had the time to extend the courtesy of a reply.

Timing

I want to avoid the heat and humidity of the north as much as possible, and also to complete my trip between school vacations, thus avoiding the associated traffic and accommodation squeeze.  I originally intended to set out in May, but changed my plans when a chronic knee injury was hampering my training rides.  I have rescheduled for a late July departure in the hope that the knee has improved.  The advantages to a late July departure are more stable weather conditions in the north of the continent and longer daylight hours.

I will be travelling anti-clockwise, having researched prevailing winds, daylight hours and temperature ranges on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Given that most of the trip will be in winter with shorter daylight hours, this means planning for night-time riding and cold temperatures, with wet weather in the south.  I donít mind riding at night, especially in the outback, providing I have good lighting, but do not enjoy the cold and rain so have some quality adverse weather gear with me.

Daily Schedule

I learned from my previous attempts that a very early start works best, especially in areas where shops are few and far between.  My goal will be to rise at midnight and be on the road by 1:00am each day (for very long scheduled days, I may get up earlier).  By starting at that time, I can reach the day's objective by mid to late afternoon, even if I encounter delays, and buy supplies for the next day's travel before shops close.  In the warmer latitudes, riding at night can be pleasantly cool.  Traffic is lighter too.  I will average 15 hours riding a day which will include 15 minute breaks every 40 or 50km and longer 30 minute breaks one or two times a day.  I tend to choose break spots according to where there is a good place to stop, i.e., a town, picnic area, etc.

Accommodation

To keep my equipment to a minimum I will be ďcredit cardingĒ the trip, riding from settlement to settlement, staying in a mix of motels, hotels, cabins and lodges, and only carrying an old one-man tube tent, without poles and pegs (to save weight and time), which I can used for shelter in case I need sleep somewhere with no accommodation.

Food

I do not want to carry much food so will be relying on what I can find along the way.  Being well-known for my propensity to eat junk food and having tested this as a diet on previous trips, I am reasonably confident I can manage.

I plan to carry only as much food as I need to get me to the next re-supply point with maybe some ďsnakesĒ as an emergency food supply.

Drink

I can carry 3.25 litres of fluid in the bottle cages on my bike to add to the 3 litre Camelbak pack I will be wearing.  If I know I need to travel for a whole day in warm conditions, I will add two or three 1.25 litre bottles to my backpack load.  This will make for a heavy pack (the laptop will already be in there) but by using the fluid in the backpack first, the load will be lightened relatively quickly.  I tend to only carry as much fluid as I think I will need for the day

Clothing

I plan to carry four pairs of high-quality cycling knicks and two tops, with the plan to wash the things I wear every few days.  I will wear two pairs of cycling knicks at a time to reduce the chance of saddle sores.  Additionally I will have a lightweight pair of shorts, underwear, a T-Shirt and thongs (sandals) for when Iím not riding.  For colder conditions I will also have a waterproof jacket, warm thermal jersey, a thermal beanie, a Goretex helmet cover, long Goretex riding pants, waterproof Goretex gloves and socks, and waterproof overshoes.

Pharmaceutical

I will carry plenty of Vaseline and lanolin and use it liberally each day.  At night I have found applying some antiseptic cream to chafed spots has aided recovery and avoided nastier problems.  Windburn and sunburn will be addressed with lip salve and suncream, and Iíll include some Nurofen and Voltaren to deal with any significant pain issues.  I tried No Doz caffeine tablets on previous trips when I got very tired, but didn't find they made any difference to my fatigue.  A steady intake of caffeinated drinks (colas and iced coffee) seemed to serve me better.  I will stick to my daily multivitamins and Glucosamine intake.

Training

I donít think it is really feasible to train specifically for this kind of challenge.  Riding 300km a day on familiar courses would drive me nuts, as well as being very time-consuming.  I am really trusting my body will adapt as the trip progresses and that the challenge will tap the resources and willpower necessary for success.

I try to get in one or two 200+km rides each week.

ADVENTURE LIST

 

Round Ireland
(2016)

Hume & Hovell Walking Track
(2013)

Via Alpina
(2012)

Australian Alps Walking Track
(2011)

Land's End to John O'Groats
(2010)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2009)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2008)

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt
(2007)

Australia Tip to Top MTB
(2006)

Adelaide to Darwin MTB
(2005)

Sydney to Melbourne MTB
(2004)

Three Peaks Race
(2004)

Appalachian Trail
(1986)

Alpine Track
(1983)

You can email Dave directly at dave@davebyrnes.com.au or subscribe to his Adventure Blogs here.

You can see Dave's Running Blog here.