2023 Indi-Pac Day 28 Report

Friday April 14, 2023: Out of my Wollongong Hotel and on the road at 5:28am. All my gear was still soaking wet but I didn’t bloody well care. I was only 135k’s from the Opera House and from ticking off another line item on the bucket list – completing the Indian Pacific Wheel Ride.

In the interest of brevity (word wise that is, there are a lot of images and 1 video in this post), and to ensure that I publish this post before the start of the 2024 ride (it’s gonna be close) I would just like to say 2 things:

1. Thanks to everyone involved in this ride. From those that keep the ride going in an “unofficial” capacity, to the trail-angels, dot-watchers, bike shop legends, interested locals, bakers, and all those that take one giant leap out of their comfort zones to give this beautiful ride a crack, I love youse all, every single last one of ya’s!!

2. The curse of the long time expat is that the country of your birth starts to feel unfamiliar and confusing. As Bill Bryson says in his book I’m a Stranger Here myself, “Coming back to your native land after an absence of many years is a surprisingly unsettling business, a little like waking from a long coma……..” I still and will always bleed green and gold, get up at all hours to watch the Wallabies, Test Match cricket etc, and get involved in heated Pommie-Bashing (please don’t let political correctness catch up with that enjoyable past-time), but visiting Oz is always very stressful – the weird feeling as described about coupled with the jetlag, travelling with young kids, the no time to relax or even just simply catch your breath because so many people want to see you. (Hey, they’re only human). Our last trip to Oz was 4 years ago (Covid didn’t help), the previous 3 years before that and I’m pretty sure the one before that was also a 3 year gap.. Yes, absence makes the heart grow fonder but it also feeds an out of sight, out of mind vibe, where you can get stuck in your own day to day world. Not good, if you don’t want to have regrets with aging parents and a desire for your kids to know what it means to be an Aussie. SO……..long story short this bike ride across the Great Southern Land, the Sunburned Country, the Lucky Country, has fundamentally changed things for me. The 4 weeks on the road has afforded my the time to settle back in, to fall back in love with this country, the people, the food, the remoteness, the attitude, everything! I now feel comfortable in my own skin in my own country again. We came again back late last year to spend an amazing Christmas in Sydney (Melissa and my 2nd in 20 years, the boys’ first ever) and we’ll be back on a more frequent basis going forward. Who know’s we might even…….

Is it just me or can you hear those ivories being tinkled?

Don’t worry I won’t.

Fuck it, I can’t resist: (starts at 0:23)

Pre-dawn Wollongong.

Pre-dawn Wollongong.

Pre-dawn Wollongong.

and more…

….and more.

…..and more.

Mmmmm, I hope those clouds don’t head north.

Beachside North Wollongong burbs.

Beachside North Wollongong burbs.

drum roll please…..

….the start of the extraordinary Grand Pacific Drive.

….more Grand Pacific Drive.

….more Grand Pacific Drive.

….after you sir.

What goes down (via Macquaries Pass, yesterday) must go up via Stanwell Tops.

…….and up….

…..and up…..

…..and up…..

Rather fitting….reckon I’ll find the pot of gold later today.

…..and up…..

…..and up…..

…..and up…..

…and into the Royal National Park.

Mmmmmm. those clouds look ominous. Just as well I lost my rain jacket on the climb. Still in the Royal National Park.

Mmmmmm. those clouds look ominous. Take 2.

Still in the Royal National Park……c’mon sun.

Crossing the Hacking River, Royal National Park.

and up.

Out of the National Park and into Sydney traffic.

A well appreciated welcome to Sydney by black belt dot-watcher Michael Strugnell, in Sutherland. Shame we didn’t grab a photo mate. How far from Sutherland station to the finish again?

Sutherland back streets I think.

And another well received welcome…..thanks Unkle Eric.

Southern Sydney burbs…….those clouds are back.

Traversing the Georges River on the Captain Cook Bridge.

The start of the bike lane “network”.

More bike lane “network”.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more, Brighton-Le-Sands.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more…..finally some Rugby Posts.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

In the burbs……I have no idea where.

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more. Rather heavy rain now.

Lil’ legends!

…..and more.

…..and more.

…..and more.

after me.

I don’t know about this….

…..and more.

I lived in this city for over 20 years and I still have no idea where I am.

Ditto….

More ditto…

Ah ha……now I know where I am…..C’Mon!!

And yet more bike path….

……and more.

……and more.

……and more…..all 3 lanes of it.

……and more.

Now that is what you call a welcoming grin……thanks Smitty Smitty, really appreciated the welcome!

Getting close now.

……and closer.

She verballed me through……promise.

…..and closer.

It was lovely of an old friend and her daughter to come and say hi, and to take this sweaty arse action shot….

……and closer.

……and closer.

There she is!

…..my heart is a pumpin’…..into The Rocks now.

Time for a cheeky one at the Mercantile?

….or the Orient?

Holy shit, just as well I have my sunnies on. L to R: cousin, Dad, uncle.

Oh my goodness.

LOVE!

LOVE!

G’Day guys, fancy seeing you here.

LOVE!

Thanks Michele!!

Thanks Daniel…….the only man to bring beer. The Victors hit the spot mate, thankyou so much!!

 

The Day According to Strava:

3 Comments
  • Louise
    Posted at 17:03h, 16 March Reply

    Really loved your race report, mate! I rode the Melbourne – Canberra leg as part of a relay team in 2018, so it was especially great to read your posts about that section. Fantastic way to reminisce about the good times I had on the road there. Loved your previous race reports as well, I’m really looking forward to that book you’re writing. 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  • Laurelle Croker
    Posted at 21:44h, 16 March Reply

    well done our amazing son and brother and uncle. We are so so proud of your achievement and loved your blog. Thank you we love you.

  • Bill Dawson
    Posted at 17:38h, 21 March Reply

    Congratulations !! Fantastic ride on what looks like very tough and narrow roads, sometimes with lots of cars and trucks too close for comfort. I’m curious how you’d compare IndiPac to TransAmerica. Big kudos on fixing the battery problem; that was a big worry to read and I’m sure 100 times the worry to discover before finding the fix. These posts have been an awesome mix of text, photos and video that really tells the story. I’ve been to Sydney twice, really enjoying it both times. Great city, culture, and people everywhere I went. Good luck on your next adventure.

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