Stage 57: Australia / NT

Tennant Creek to  Wauchope
Date: 11-02-2014 Time: 04:52 h Σ Time: 321:28 h
Distance: 117 km Σ km: 6687 km Temp: 15/30°C
Up: 128 m Σ Up: 70555 m Down: 139 m
Calories: 1947 kcal Σ kcal: 147701 kcal  
Conditions: The first cloudy cycling day in Australia. Drizzle in the morning and much lower and comfortable temperatures. However the wind was facing us, and building and riding in pelotons was a great relief.

The weather changed during the rest day. Wind direction turned again to blow strong from south and the skies were totally covered. It rained during the night, and continued to slightly drizzle in the morning, which was a welcome refreshment for the riders. Unfortunate for my ‘a sunrise photo a day’ project there was no sun. So I took the first and only chance to take a photo, when the sun rays briefly broke through the otherwise dense clouds. For cycling the covered sky was a treat. With temperatures at least 10°C lower than on previous days, it was more like cycling in the  European summer. The landscape was not very different to previous days. Only the darker red soil/sand from rain and the smell of the rain made a difference. The first 100 km was just cycling the distance, no other remarkable sights, that would force a stop. I cycled the first 45 km on my own, but joint a peloton that caught up to me for the rest of the day, sharing to break the wind and rotate for recovery. At 104 km the giant  boulders of the place named “Devil’s Marbles” came into view. Time for a photo stop and for exploring the area. Impressive how nature built this setup. All formed by weather and erosion. At sunrise or sunset even more impressive – thus I decided to return to the place the next morning for sunrise, if the skies will clear over night.

The other riders will have a kind of cycling competition the next day– a ‘handicapped race’ – on the first 50 km, which probably allows me to return into the group by lunch and not stay too far behind. Going back to the marbles will add another 20 km to the total distance, which is no problem, because the official distance is only 100 km, early camp arrival guaranteed.