Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt - 2008
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Day: 025 & 026

10 & 11 June 2008


Roebuck Plains Roadhouse


Port Hedland

Daily Distance:


Daily Speed:


Relative to Schedule:


Daily Podcasts: Here
GPS Track Here

As usual, I didnít get to bed as early as hoped, and ended up with 5.5 hours sleep and a 3:30am departure.  Initial going was good, with clear skies and no wind and I made it my goal to have a break every 60km, which would coincide, in two places, with rest areas where there would be picnic tables and shelters.  The road has a marker every 10km and you find yourself looking for these and anticipating them.  When having a break, I usually just lean the bike up against the kilometer marker and sit on the road or a groundsheet while having a break.  I noticed at one of the 60km markers there were the tracks of a single narrow-tyred bike that had lent up against the same marker.  I bet it was Erik Straarupís bike from his completed record attempt a month ago.
During the morning it gradually got hotter and a tail/crosswind gradually blew up.  At my rest area breaks, I was always immediately visited by grey nomads offering food and drink and wanting to have a chat.  The countryside was an unchanging scene of spinifex, acacia and red dirt, with some gentle undulations.  From occasional higher rises you could see identical countryside stretching out to the horizon, although the Indian Ocean is only about 30km to the west.
Around noon some ominous clouds began to form, including a particularly long grey heavy strip.  Rain could be seen falling in a few places and the wind strengthened nd swung around to become a headwind.  I was cursing my luck at encountering headwinds for the second day in a row for the last 100km, and my progress slowed dramatically.
I finally reached the Sandfire Roadhouse shortly before 6pm and found out that nothing had changed since I was stranded there with a torn thigh muscle ten months ago.  They were still selling very limited supplies from a portable cabin and none of the buildings had been rebuilt since the fire of Easter 2007.  It had the feel of a very remote outpost.  Some motorbikers, on their way back from the Ulysses meeting in Townsville Just after I had passed through there were gathered around chatting in the gloom while I had a couple of pies for dinner and bought supplies to see me through to the next re-supply point.
I left around 7pm for the 280km run to Port Hedland and further, hopefully.  I intended to ride as much of the night and next day as I could manage in an effort to make up some of the time lost earlier in the trip.  However, progress was slow, primarily because I had developed some bad butt chafing which made it difficult to sit on the seta for extended periods (too much information, I know).  I didnít want to stand up on the pedals for too long, however, in case that caused other injuries.  I messed around for a while stopping every so often to apply creams, change knicks, or try the lambswool cover I had brought with me for the seat.  Nothing seemed to make that much difference and I knew what I really needed was to get off the bike for a while, and get the shorts off.  However, I had made a commitment to myself to ride through the night and did not want to quit.  I kept going, painfully and at a slower pace.  Then it started to rain and I had to stop and weather-proof my gear.  The rain was occasionally heavy and I had some miserable periods.  Around midnight, I reached the closed (for the night Pardoo Roadhouse and found myself a dry telephone box to sit in while I ate some of the sandwiches I had bought at Sandfire, while the residents and guests slept in the buildings and caravans behind me.  It was a gloomy and surreal scene.  The roadhouse driveway was red dirt which had turned into slimy red mud which stuck to everything.
I continued on through the darkness and occasional rain, hoping that I could make it to Port Hedland for breakfast.  However, around 4:00am I started to lose my focus and just got off the side of the road, lay the bike down and crawled into my tent without erecting it, put my wet jacket under my head and immediately went to sleep on very hard and stony ground.  I woke up about 90 minutes later, as dawn was breaking, and forced myself to get up, pack up, and start riding again.  The nap had refreshed me and I made good time, with the help of a following breeze, towards Port Hedland.  As I got closer the landscape turned into spinifex pastures with few trees and some low mountains heara and there.  Signs of human activity increased with high tension power lines, rail lines and earthworks gradually becoming more prominent, as did the ubiquitous mining vehicles, red-mud-spattered 4WDs with high flag masts so they could be more easily be seen in heavy equipment areas.  In the last kilometers, there were significant roadworks, which also left me and my bike well-spattered with the red mud.  I reached the Port Hedland Roadhouse around 11:45am and ordered a big brekky with the intention of eating it then heading off to Whim Creek (117km) for the night.  However, I called them while having breakfast and they told me they were fully-booked with miners.  I then decided to stay in Port Hedland and get some much-needed rest.   Prices are crazy here because of the mining boom and I declined the budget motel rate of $199 and paid an exorbitant $140 for a crappy cabin in the campground.
I washed out my gear in the hope of minimizing the risk of aggravating chafing and am going to bed early in the hope of starting at midnight and making another attempt to regain some lost ground.



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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