2023 Indi-Pac Day 2 Report

Sunday March 19, 2023: In the video towards the end of Day 1‘s post I mentioned that the amended plan for the day was to overnight at a rest stop picnic table that I’d identified in my route notes. I never found the rest stop though as it was just so damn dark outside the cone’s of light emitting from my bike and helmet lights. I’d ended up sleeping on a concrete picnic table just off the main drag of the tiny Wheatbelt town of Shackleton. I’m sure the Shackleton picnic table was equally as well appointed as the one at the rest stop but it came with the added benefit of being a few k’s further down the road.

After extracting myself from my sleeping bag the first item of business was to postpone a rather urgent call of nature to hobble after my bivy which was in the process of blowing away. Due to a slight breeze I’d secured the bivy to my bike, preferring to sleep under the stars. This morning the breeze had stiffened somewhat and as I adjusted the position of my bike to access an oat bar from my feed bag, the bivy was off, moving rather more quickly than a barefooted MAMIL in the pitch dark. The rather crucial part of my sleep system snagged on a bush not too far away thank goodness. Disaster averted.

Suitably awake now I quickly dressed and packed up. I didn’t attempt putting my contact lenses back on as it was too bloody windy. I only had one back up pair and didn’t fancy putting them at risk so early in the ride. My prescription ain’t an easy one to fill.

Back on the road by 5:01am, my 4 eyes squinting through the easterly into the gloom which soon became the semi dawn, which soon became a rather impressive sun rise.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Riding into the pre-dawn of Day 2.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Riding into the dawn of Day 2.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Riding into the pre-dawn of Day 2. Take 2.

Sunday March 19, 2023: G’Day!

Bruce Rock

The 32k’s to Bruce Rock took almost 2 hours. Sluggish and frustrating going. The terrain was dead flat, cycling topography made for a large lad in lycra, but not so much with head and cross winds. I was out of food and had been rationing water since Shackleton so the 24hr BP Servo that I had noted in my route notes was top of mind, not that I could find the damn place. I settled on the general store that was attached to the Roadhouse and Hotel, which upon scouring the main street, up and back seemed to be the only place open this early on a Sunday morning.

Time to live up to my moniker……….show me the pies!

Sunday March 19, 2023: Riding into Bruce Rock.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Not much doing on the main drag of Bruce Rock.

Yep, pies were available as were toasties (it’d been a while – very Aussie!). I bought 2 of each, a Coke and a Coffee and then sat down out the front at a table to consume while basking in the early morning sun. It had been a chilly morning and the warmth of the rising sun was glorious. I nodded a few G’days at some locals who were popping in to the general store for whatever was required to kick start their Sunday – coffee, bread, milk and the like.

Speaking of kick start, I was hoping the caffeine and calories would do exactly that for me but the malaise from yesterday had seeped into todays play. I had the distinct feeling that this was going to be a tough one!

Sunday March 19, 2023: The four eyed Pie-Muncher!

An hour later, food and drink for the bike purchased, contact lenses back where they belonged, I stiffly yawned my way back on to my bike. No checking of Maprogress to ascertain my position in the ride to aid motivation. The racing aspect which I could more often than not tap into to fire me up was the last thing on my mind at that moment. It was gonna be a case of just gritting my teeth and turning the pedals. Hopefully I could just lose myself in my expertly curated playlist that I’d sprinkled with plenty of local tunes.

So far, Mental as Anything’s “The Nips are getting bigger” was the surprise hit of the trip. I was never a big Mental’s fan but this tune on every listen was putting a smile on my face.

Reggie et al got me on my way, out of town, heading north now on the Bruce Rock Merredin Road towards…….drum roll please……..Merredin.

Struggle Street the whole way and I finally rolled into the Central Wheat Belt town of Merredin at around 11am, the 50ks taking a pain staking 2 hrs and 45 minutes. I followed the signage to the main street which was slightly off route on the other side of the railway line. There was quite the vibe in town that Sunday morning, the complete opposite to that of Bruce Rock, plenty of people about shopping etc. I was tempted by an ice cream truck but just wanted a seat in the shade to think for sec.

I pulled up to a park bench adjacent to the Visitor Centre and plunked myself down in the shade, watching a group of fresh faced backpackers excitedly pack up  a mini-van that most probably would be taking them out to a farm to work as seasonal labourer’s. They were close enough to engage in conversation but I kept my head down. I wasn’t in the mood.

Shit eh, this really ain’t going according to plan. 

Exhausted and not even halfway through day 2 of the Indian Pacific Wheel Ride.

Awright, what are my options:

  1. Lay down right here and now and have a snooze.
  2. Hit the IGA supermarket opposite for supplies, then get back into it with the aim of reviewing the situation at Southern Cross 110ks down the road.
  3. Cut my losses and get a hotel room here in town.

I was desperate to keep moving forward but with my current energy levels and the unfriendly winds to date, the point of diminishing returns was pretty close to being reached. I didn’t particularly fancy hitting the wall between here and Southern Cross in the middle of bloody nowhere.

Option 3 tis’!

Buoyed by having made a decision I hit the IGA for all the required essentials and then back tracked to a hotel that I had passed on the way into town. It was a bit of a battle to get a room (a story for another time) but I finally got one. I cranked the air con, ate, rehydrated, showered, got everything ready for an early departure and then promptly fell asleep with early season Kick n’ Giggle murmuring on the TV in the background.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Battling away on the road to Merredin.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Rolling into Meredin.

Sunday March 19, 2023: Better make sure I save some for breakfast.

The Rather Abbreviated Day According to Strava




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