Two weeks ago, I managed to ride 123 mi / 199 km from Erldunda to Alice Springs in a single day – I was impressed with myself.
That being said, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered by the fact that I was a mere kilometer away from hitting 200 (that’s only 0.6 mi). Not that I care about or think in kilometers (still can’t shake miles), but 200 definitely sounds better than 199.
With a chip on my shoulder and the wind at my back, today I did what I probably would have considered impossible at the beginning of this trip: I broke the 100-mile (160.9 km) mark (for the third time) and then went another 26.77 miles (43 km).
Today’s grand total (for those of you too lazy to engage in simple addition): 126.77 mi / 203.9 km – the longest ride of my trip so far (and probably, realistically, of the entire trip).
Not only is today my longest day of the trip, I also had my highest average speed (16.4 mph / 26.4 km/h) and my fastest five-mile (8 km) split at 14 minutes 9 seconds.
I don’t know how these numbers stack up to my superhuman bike-touring friends out here in the desert, but it’s a huge improvement over the 8.5 mph (13.7 km/h) I averaged my first week out of Melbourne (where this trip began).
Tonight I’m camping just 445 mi / 716 km south of Darwin. If I was somehow capable of maintaining today’s pace (I’m not), then I would finish this trip in four days.
But now that the end is in sight and I’m becoming more confident in the successful outcome of my journey (bar an unfortunate road train encounter), I’m more keen on staying on the road. For the past few weeks all I’ve thought about is getting this trip over with, but now that the end’s nearly a reality, I am hoping to prolong it as long as possible.
Funny how these things work.
With my continued progress north the landscape has begun to change in subtle but notable ways. The termite mounds are growing larger and the red martian dirt slowly fades as green slowly begins to creep into the desert.
We’re approaching the tropics.
Prepare to sweat.
- START: Attack Creek, Northern Territory
- END: Newcastle Waters, Northern Territory
- DAY’S DISTANCE: 126.77 mi / 203.97 km
- TOTAL DISTANCE: 1,977.3 mi / 3,181.44 km