Last Stretch Towards Perth
I had a huge smile on my face when I started my second last cycling day in Australia, mind filled with memories, thoughts about crossing the Oz finish line and Im gonna finish this on my dads B-Day… so close… but not concentrating on the goal, the extremely hot day laying ahead, almost caught me off guard, and almost not completing at all!
The last two weeks in Australia had been great and taking the longer route really turned out to be a very good choice. Norseman towards the beautiful beach town of Esperance and then the final 750km to Perth.
I had five routes worked out on how to get from Esperance to Perth. It all depended on how much time I have left in Australia and what I want to see on the West Coast. Leaving Esperance I did not take one of the five routes and ended up choosing one Morne gave me 🙂 Thats the nice thing when traveling and not having your fixed route… 1. you go where the road takes you 2. listen to locals on what there is to see along your route 3. make impulse decisions 🙂
So… my final route was set and I planned to cycle through Ravensthrope (where the hills will start), do some sightseeing at a few lakes at Lake King & Lake Grace, Tin Horse Highway near Kulin and then the final 279km to Perth.
I stayed on schedule, despite of cold and rainy weather the first few days after Esperance. The hills started, slight head-winds and rain… not the best conditions and was hoping for some heat during this week. The huge, never ending wheat farms began again and somewhere between nothing and nothing, I cycle past this grumpy guy 🙂
I arrived in Lake King and there was nothing impressive to look at in the small town, but that suddenly changed when I cycled over the hill about 1km past the roadhouse. Morne mentioned I will be cycling “through”the Lake and that was exactly how it was. I cycled slowly, looking at the huge salt lake on the left and right and the highway running straight through it.Morne also mentioned that I shouldn’t take the bicycle onto the lakes, as the salt and mud is mostly wet and will probably sink in when I do. As I stood there I was thinking about taking this one photo with my bicycle on the lake…. so I did it! My bicycle got stuck on the lake and was quite a struggle to get it out but it was definitely worth it! This lakes was magnificent and continuing a cycle after this is much easier as this helps as a morale booster.
The first two days after Esperance I took it slow and eased into the cycling after a few days rest. I woke up on the third day and realised that I can arrive in Perth on 12 November, on my fathers birthday! 5 Days, 540km…
The next day I started with a 104km, but knew I had to step it up, doing two huge days. I did not want to cycle further than 80km on my last day when I enter Perth.
120km… 120km… thats what I kept thinking a few minutes before the alarm went off. Its been a beautiful morning, sun shining, no wind and temperature was perfect. Just looking at the sky I knew it was going to become really hot! No wind, cloudless and warm morning in Australia… the a sign of 40degrees temps.
I absolutely loved the first 25km as I hit the Tin Horse Highway! One of the most strange things I’ve seen on any highway till now. Over 70 Tin Horses are displayed next to the road in 15km before Kulin! I knew my sister would have LOVED this highway 😉
Kulin was a beautiful little town and I found a very unsuspected shower! Filling my water bottles, warm shower and a quick breakfast, I jumped unto my bicycle and was ready for this day… but things was about to change drastically!
The wind started to pick up and as I headed North, a North/north-easterly. I had to cover about 30km before the road turn west and I struggled on, cycling about 10km/h. The temperature were rising dramatically and it was 34degrees celius at 9am! 15 mintues before my lunch break (where the road turns west) a guy stopped and handed me some wafers and a frozen bottle of water!!! Taking a break after an extremely hard 3hours, this was exactly what I needed.
The day did not became much easier because the wind turned into a North / North-westerly as I headed west. As the day progressed this became one of my longest days, but continued and pulled over on 126.55km. I pitched the tent, ate and fell asleep before it was dark.
THREE DAYS to go and the long distance previous day helped so much to reach my goal to cycle into Perth 12 November. It was important to do a long distance yet again, because it will make the following two days much easier. In my head I was targeting 120km and then continued with the never ending hills. As the day progresses the wind picked up again (cross wind) and the temperature reminded me that Im in Australia.
This week quickly became one of the toughest weeks to date and all this conditions got into my head. I reached 100km and called it a day… or I told myself I should just find a place to pitch my tent. Trying to find some shade for camping, as my temp cage showed 42degrees.. 100km… 105km…. 110km… NOTHING!!!! Not one tree close to the road!!!! 115km…. 117km… TREE!!!, on a farm! I pulled in onto the farm and hope the farmer won’t came and chase me away into nothing land. 117km!! I was happy with the distance but my body was cursing at me like never before!
TWO DAYS and only 190km away from finishing my first continent! Wow I was starting to realise what Im about to finish and an achievement I would be proud to mention to people when they ask me… “So what have you achieved this year? Done anything cool, challenging, adventurous?”
The day started off good again as I got a climbs of an old museum from the outside (as they were closed over the weekend) and then found the most random thing when I cycled out of Corrigin… a Dog Cemetery !!
I had a huge smile on my face when I started my second last cycling day in Australia, memory filled with memories, thoughts about crossing the Oz finish line and Im gonna finish this on my dads B-Day… so close… but not concentrating on the goal, the extremely hot day laying ahead, almost caught me off guard, and almost not completing at all!
I was cycling at a good pace in the heat, constant hills and a light head wind breeze. All I could see is cycling into Perth but then pushed myself literally to my limit. The heat and hills had a big impact on my water consumption and I thought Im drinking enough, but I was not drinking nearly as much as I had to! The wind picked up and I was just looking down and paddled as hard as I possible could. Sweat pouring down my face as if someone have thrown a bucket of water over my head.
Suddenly I looked up and something strange was happening and at that specific moment, not realised how serious it could have been. I was dizzy, swirling over the road with blurry eyes… VERY THIRSTY! I was looking for a tree to get some shade as the temperature gauge showed 47degrees! Swirling over the road I saw some trees in the distance (about 3km away). The trees was off the road but not even thinking what Im doing, I cycle off the road, through long grass, rocks and a very steep edge going down to the trees. Luckily I did not fall and as the bicycle came to a halt, I jumped off the bicycle grabbing my empty water bottles. There was an abandoned sport ground…
I had about 4 litres of spare water on the bicycle but was so confused, I swirled, feet dragging, trying to get to the building hoping that there will be water. I jumped, falling over a fence and then started to look for a tap. I found two big water tanks… One raining water (NO WATER) and the other had no idea how the water get into the tank and how long its been there. The second one had water and I downed about two litres and laid underneath the tap as the water where flowing all over my body!
I drank a lot of water and rested for over two hours trying to get hydrated again. Drank over 4litres of water, ate and also some dehydrating sachets I had with me. As I was resting I thought about how quickly this happened. I was very surprised and learn a huge lesson early on in the adventure!
I finished my day on 120km… only 65km away from Perth!! This was my toughest week in Australia, but totally worth it! 108km,90km,104km, 126km, 117km, 120km and my last day will be the 65km 🙂
LAST DAY – Cycling with the biggest smile the whole day, cruising into Perth at about 9am! I stopped about 500m from the finish line as I waited for Ulrich to arrive to take a few photos. Sitting there on the grass, looking over the water, thinking… IM IN PERTH… I just cycled from Sydney straight through Australia to Perth!! It was a weird feeling, maybe not fully sinking in, but had a feeling deep inside me Im not able to describe.
Ulrich arrived and I cycled the final 500m……… I JUST CROSSED AUSTRALIA ON A BICYCLE!!!