Stage 58: Australia / NT

Wauchope to  Barrow Creek
Date: 11-03-2014 Time: 04:41 h Σ Time: 326:10 h
Distance: 111 km
133km *)
Σ km: 6798 km Temp: 26/44°C
Up: 225 m Σ Up: 70780 m Down: 56 m
Calories: 2548 kcal Σ kcal: 150249 kcal  
Conditions: Skies cleared, hotter and dry. Wind not always to our favor. We gain a bit of altitude towards Alice Spring,
*) 22 km extra to return to ‘the marbles’

The group decided on a 50 km time trial on this ‘shorter’ cycling day, whereas I decided to return to the Devils Marbles for a sunrise photo opportunity. This added 22 extra kilometers to my day and a late arrival in the next camp, Which wasn’t too bad, as the Barrow Creek caravan park is not the first address in the outback. It is the most basic campsite so far in Australia, everything rundown, broken or not yet finished, except the pub, which is one of a kind. No pool to refresh and relax after a long cycling day, but enough cold drinks in the pub.

Since I wasn’t ‘racing’ I had all time of the world to finish the day. I was behind everyone the whole day, including the sweep. The lunch-van paid me a surprise visit, to ‘search’ for me and deliver water and food. Although I ‘signed out’ for the day, a TdA official was a bit concerned about my wellbeing, because I left camp at 5:30am and wasn’t seen thereafter, and there was no mobile signal to keep in touch. I received a lunch packet from Chelsea to survive the final 70km, which I took slower than usual, to save energy for the next two long distance cycling days to Alice Springs.

The  ‘Ufo Capital of Australia’ was my breakfast stop at 18 km. The racers missed this unique location, as they couldn’t afford to stop their race. I was ‘hijacked’ by the aliens and only released after I bought a sticker for my bicycle and a pin for my Australian pin collection, which is the substitution for bracelets I collected in Indonesia.

At the Barrow Creek pub I got another animal for my travelling bike helmet zoo, which Doug mounted to my already crowded helmet.


Navigation Challenges

Navigation Challenges in the Outback

The Northern Territory Outback introduces some difficult navigation  and unforeseen challenges for the riders to get from one camp to the next. Although we are excellently briefed every evening before dinner with the next stage details, it may happen that one gets lost or feels she/he has gotten lost in the vast and hostile outback. One day I was already cruising along for hours, not seeing a human soul. I wasn’t sure whether I still was on the right path and almost considered to u-turn and retrace from the last known correct  location, when I eventually spotted a bright shining something on the horizon ahead of me. I accelerated to close up to the still little moving neon spots in the far distance. It took me a while on these long straight roads, which make it hard to estimate a distance. Approaching closer I was so relieved to see that it were 2 cyclists. Shirley and DanGOPR6400-001, who were cycling into the same direction as I am, and could confirm, that we were still riding on the correct track and we continued our little  ‘odyssey’ through the dessert and eventually reached the lunch stop from where it was easy to get to the next campsite and reunited with the rest of the group.

Find below the short instant interview I had with Shirley and Dan about the navigational challenges and what difference a ‘Navigational Expert’ can make …


and the briefing information on the white board for the day, which caused us some difficulties to remember and follow  Winking smile:

Devils Marbles

An early morning start to the Devils Marbles, which were not in proper light when we passed them yesterday. Theefore I decuded to add another 22km to today’s distancecand return to the place at sunrise. The skies were still covered to the east, but  enough light to turn the site into better colors.


Now I am chasing the group which left hours ago.

No worries, only 70km more to go today …