Stage 74: South Australia

Adelaide to  Lake Albert
Date: 11-25-2014 Time: 07:34 h Σ Time: 416:39 h
Distance: 158 km Σ km: 8872 km Temp: 6/27°C
Up: 1340 m Σ Up: 77660 m Down: 1453 m
Calories: 3641 kcal Σ kcal: 187829 kcal  
Conditions: One of the hardest day so far in Australia. Cold morning. A climb out of camp and strong headwind for the last 80 km.

This was a tough start into the 7th section – The Great Ocean Road – especially for those who just joined us in Adelaide. Not only the distance was a challenge but also the climbs and the cold headwind. We had 2 choices on how to get out of the camp. One was a scenic ride up and along the ridge of the surrounding hills, the other shorter through the valley, but with a steep ‘walk the bike’ gravel section. I opted for the first, to get a chance on a look over the plain and Adelaide in the morning sun. Traffic was not as bad as assumed. Most of the cars were heading into town and only a few in my directions. The climb through the eucalyptus forest  was easy, compared to what we had in Indonesia. However after 5 weeks of cycling more or less flat, the climbing muscles needed to be reactivated again. After the first major peek, both routes joined again. Soon we reached a town, easily being recognized as a German settlement by its name: Hahndorf, founded in 1839. And it really was. There were several hotels and restaurants with German beer, like Hofbräu Haus or Beck’s and schnitzel. Bavarian banners all over the place and lederhosen. I stopped at Otto’s bakery to get some good bred rolls. I immediately recognized by the available bred and cakes, that the baker can’t be German. And I was true, only the name of the place remained, the rest was typically Australian. Nevertheless I bought an apple swirl (Schneckennudel mit Apfelfüllung) for 3.70$ for a second breakfast, later on the road. With the fast downhills to lunch a bit of time lost in the climbs could be recovered. 90% of the 1300 m climbs were already done by lunch, at 83km. But, whoever thought the remaining 76km in the plain would be a walk in the park was taught different. I strong headwind for the rest of the day made travel really slow and cumbersome. I managed an 18km/h average, which meant a 4 hour battle against the wind. It wasn’t a question of ‘if’ I would reach the camp, but ‘how long will it take me’.  Camp is nicely located at Lake Albert, a huge freshwater lake, with pelicans and other birds around. Unfortunately due to the late arrival on this long cycling day, not much of it could be enjoyed for long. After sunset the temperature was already to cold for staying outside, thus everyone returned to the tents and the camp died down sun in silence.

Tomorrow is another long day, with 148km and probably all day into the headwind.

I was always feeling a bit cold, even with my jacket and the temperature reaching upper 20th. This was mainly because of the strong wind, that chilled not only me. Many fellow cyclists went shopping the last days to by warmer clothes, sleeping bag, etc. because it is unexpectedly cold, or we are not used to it anymore, after 5 weeks in the outback oven.


Indonesian Morning

Leaving Adelaide. Not in an hot air balloon, no, but climbing the eastrrn mountain range.


The start into today’s riding felt a bit like the good old days in Indonesia …
No, we weren’t woken up by prayer calls and we didn’t have nasi goreng for breakfast, but we started with a real climb out of camp. And we are still enjoying it.


Shirley and Dan

Other than that it was cold today and the road signs reminded me that I am still down under.