2023 Indi-Pac Day 3 Report

Monday March 20, 2023: Up and at em’ at 2am. The usual mental battle against lethargy and body stiffness ensued but I could absolutely feel that my spirit had been restored. The rest, extra sleep and abundant calories had hit the spot.

Giddyup!

I stuffed some leftovers from yesterdays feast into my face, smashed a couple of highly sugared instant coffees, dressed expediently and then promptly faffed about for 45 minutes.

On the road at 2:59am – smack bang into the easterly.

You must be fucking joking!

With my recently adjusted attitude though it really was not that big a deal. A pain in the arse, yep but more of a challenge than an ordeal.

(Do not underestimate the power of Sleep!!)

The late night / early morning sky was spectacular. Despite a very full and bright moon the stars were out in abundance. To be expected obviously given the increasing remoteness and significantly reduced light pollution but it is a real jolt to the senses to see a sky full of stars like this. Like seeing the night sky in 3D for the first time. It had such an affect on me that I pulled to the side of the road a couple of times, turned off my bike and helmet lights and just soaked it up for a little while.

Monday March 20, 2023: Out in to the very early morning of Day 3.

Monday March 20, 2023: Ahhhh, the serenity. My Google Pixel 7 Pro is nowhere near up to the task….

The Serenity has broken….

……like the 3rd morning.

Enter stage right, the real modern day Road Warriors………the Road Trains……..to interrupt the serenity. Now that the route had rejoined the Great Eastern Highway, an essential link in a highway network that runs the width and height of Australia, these massive transporters of all matters mining, agriculture, consumer goods and everything in between, would become us Indi-Pac’ers frequent road companions for at least another week.

A lot more frequent this year versus previous editions of the ride due to the recent floods in northern Western Australia (WA). The resultant damage to the Great Northern Highway had cut off communities in the Kimberley region of WA from their main supply route. These road trains, therefore had to divert east across the Nullarbor to Port Augusta in South Australia, north to Katherine in the Northern Territory and then west to Fitroy Crossing in the Kimberley. The usual 7,000 kilometre round trip becoming a rather lengthy 12,000 kilometres.

Long story short there would be a lot more big trucks on the road, the longest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world.

The first one that passed me early that morning had at least 4 bloody trailers. It must have been close to 50 metres long! The length of an Olympic sized swimming pool for crying out loud.

Monday March 20, 2023: Holy crap that is lengthy!

Morning has broken….

No conversant blackbirds in the vicinity but the sunrise looked particularly agreeable this morning through my fresher, glass half full eyes….

Monday March 20, 2023: Morning is breaking….

Monday March 20, 2023: Morning is breaking. Take 2.

Bodallin

The 58k’s to the little town of Bodallin (pop, 40) took 3 hours and 20 minutes – the wind still retarding progress. Despite having plenty of supplies on board I pulled into the roadhouse for a cold Coke or perhaps a cheeky Magnum or 2 in the interest of keeping morale up.

No such luck. It was closed.

Oh well, I’ll have a little sit down at the picnic table for a breather and soak up the sun for a bit. It had been another coolish morning. I checked my route notes: “Bodallin – Roadhouse 24hr??, not much, playground for camping??”.  Shit eh, I hope Raymond Friedrich (aka “2 Wheel Vagabond”) and Canberra based Englishman Matt (aka “Ken Behren” – see what he did there?), hadn’t relied too heavily on the Bodallin Roadhouse being open 24hrs. I had had a beer with Ray and Matt at the rider function in Fremantle, both professing to limited knowledge of services on route. Being the kind, sharing individual that I am, I of course shared my detailed route notes with them.

I say kind, however I must admit that I couldn’t help but chuckle at the mental image of them rolling into Bodalin  late at night, completely devoid of supplies only to be met by the same handwritten note that I just saw…………..“Fuck that Pie-munching so and so!”………..😂😂😂

Mmmmm, I wonder how they’re going?

My phone coverage was crap but Maprogress eventually displayed.

Holy shit!!

Ray was a mind bending 580k’s up the road, 100k’s behind leader Matt Smith (aka “Mattussio”) from the UK, who in turn was nipping at the heals of a virtual Mike Hall. A couple of kilometres from the start Ray had flown past me as if I was standing still. His set-up was full aero which although very efficient can become very hard on the body, particularly neck, back and arse. This was his first ultra. Amazing effort!

Kenneth Behren was heading out of Coolgardie, 240ks up the road. He said he was going to tour the route……. Wow, thats hasty touring! Also, a cracking ride to date.

Inspired by both their efforts I zoomed in closer to my position so as to see my closest “competition”. There were 6 dots within the next 25k’s; Shelley Scholten (aka “Shelley”), Rhys Perrin (aka “Rhysycle”), Steve Dunn (aka “Captain Steve”), Matthew Beal (aka “avagoyamug”), the thegrumpycyclist (aka “the thegrumpycyclist”) and me ole’ mate Kiwi Geoff (aka “Just Geoff”).

Saaaaaaweeeeeet, a target. Lets get amongst it! 

Monday March 20, 2023: Rolling into Bodallin.

Monday March 20, 2023: Rolling into Bodallin. Take 2.

Monday March 20, 2023: Not much doin’ at the Bodallin Roadhouse.

Monday March 20, 2023: Soaking up the sun and Dotwatching at the Bodallin Roadhouse.

Back into it on the Great Eastern Highway with a large dose of competitive spring in the pedal stroke. I had to rein it in occasionally as it was very easy to push too hard against the wind – tricky to judge a sensible effort.

The road was now running parallel to the Goldfields Water Supply Pipeline, a pipeline that transports  drinking water 530 kilometres from the Mundaring Weir in Perth (which we rode past on Day 1) to communities in WA’s arid Eastern Goldfields, namely Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. At the time (it was commissioned in 1896 and completed in 1903), it was internationally regarded as the largest engineering undertaking ever! It still generates billions of dollars in economic activity.

Onwards.

The furthest east of the Wheatbelt town’s Moorine Rock (Pop. 61) came and went and then finally the 5k’s to go sign for the late 19th Century Gold Rush town of Southern Cross (Pop. 680).

I rolled down the impressive 4 lane main street of Southern Cross just before 9:30am, past the massive, red tin roofed Palace Hotel to the BP Truck Stop/ Servo on the far side of town. As I got closer I fully expected to see 6 fully loaded bikes out the front but it wasn’t to be. They must have been and gone.

Monday March 20, 2023: Riding alongside the Goldfields Water Supply Pipeline.

Monday March 20, 2023: Rolling into Moorine Roack.

Monday March 20, 2023: Not much doing in Moorine Rock.

Monday March 20, 2023: 5k’s to Southern Cross.

Monday March 20, 2023: Rolling down the 4 lane main drag of Southern Cross.

Monday March 20, 2023: The BP Servo in Southern Cross.

I rested my bike up out the front of the Servo and was in the process of extracting my empty water bottles to fill up when who should roll up next to be but……

…….Kiwi Geoff, Geoff Harris!!

It was bloody good to see his friendly, smiling face. We launched into our respective high level overviews of our ride’s to date and then Geoff proceeded to invite me to join his band of merry Indi-Pacer’s, aka “The Grupetto”. Their collective plan was to ride together, mainly at night to escape the heat and wind, and share roadhouse rooms which were, from all reports tough to get at this time of the year. They were going to stay here in Southern Cross and get going around midnight.

Now I could go on, and on……..and on as to why I prefer to ride these events by myself, but I will save it for another time and perhaps another blog post. Suffice to say I really appreciated the offer which I actually may have taken up if I was feeling shite, but I politely declined.

I’m feelin’ fresh mate……keen to make tracks!

We said our farewells and I headed inside to make a pig of myself for a change.

Monday March 20, 2023: num, num, num…..

Monday March 20, 2023: Looking back to the Palace Hotel from the BP Truck Stop, Southern Cross.

It was a 40 minute stop at Southern Cross, the homemade Shepherds Pie a particular highlight. I didn’t stock up particularly heavily knowing that I would stop again in 30 odd kilometres at the Yellowdine Roadhouse where I would need to ensure I had enough for the next 160ks to Coolgardie!

Yep, shit was just about to get real. This would be a first for me – ie carrying enough food and water to cover such a distance, overnight most probably too. Desert-like and windy conditions to boot.

Back on the Great Eastern Highway following the Pipeline.

About 10k’s out of Southern Cross I came across a section of roadworks with a stop and go setup. As I rolled up to it the operator ambled towards me with a smile on his face, obviously up for a chat. As he got closer his hat blew off and so before any initial pleasantries were able to be exchanged he was off to chase it down.

Anyway soon enough he was back nursing his Pork Pie hat (I shit you not), mumbling something that made me laugh, not that I can remember what it was. We chatted for about 20 minutes before he was able to let me go. Very funny chap. A real character.

Monday March 20, 2023: Back on the Great Eastern Road again.

Monday March 20, 2023: Roadworks.

Monday March 20, 2023: My new best mate had quite the roadside setup – Eski and comfy chair.

Monday March 20, 2023: Legend!

Monday March 20, 2023: Roadside friendliness.

How Do you know if someone is a vegan?

There are many possible answers to this question.

One is, they probably won’t call themselves “Prodigal Pie-Muncher” or “Pizza Rider” in a self supported, ultra distance bike ride across a continent.

Another is……they will tell you……….apparently. 😂😂😂

I was to learn this and much more while hanging out with Steve Leske and Kevin Paine (aka “KP – Pizza Rider”) for about an hour at the Yellowdine Roadhouse. Great fella’s. Steve, an accomplished ultra cyclist was not participating in this event, rather driving a van from Perth to Adelaide. KP, the face of the Indi-Pac, this 2023 edition being his 5th attempt. Would this be the year?!

Monday March 20, 2023: Coming up to the Yellowdine Roadhouse.

Monday March 20, 2023: The unassuming yet extremely important (particularly for cyclists), Yellowdine Roadhouse.

Monday March 20, 2023: KP’s bike. You can see him and Steve peering out of the window.

Monday March 20, 2023: All smiles at the Yellowdine Roadhouse.

I finally extracted myself from the Yellowdine Roadside just after 1pm, out into the hottest part of the day.

There is not too much to report from the rest of the afternoon’s play apart from plenty of trucks, the trusty Goldfields pipeline, wind, heat and a long never-ending road. It became increasingly obvious however that I had right royally fucked up my water resupply at Yellowdine. By the time I called it a day at a truck stop at around 6pm I had just under 1 measly litre of warm water to last over “dinner”, “breakfast” and the 90k’s of riding to Coolgardie.

Mmmmm……could get spicey tomorrow.

Monday March 20, 2023: 150k’s to Coolgardie.

Monday March 20, 2023: A truck…

Monday March 20, 2023: More trucks….

Monday March 20, 2023: Another truck….

Monday March 20, 2023: A truck…

Monday March 20, 2023: Long never ending road and a pipeline.

Monday March 20, 2023: Getting acquainted with the pipeline.

Monday March 20, 2023: A Mad Max extra…

Monday March 20, 2023: Surprise, surprise, another truck…..this fella was a long one.

Monday March 20, 2023: A truck…

Monday March 20, 2023: My accommodation for the night….a truck stop.

Monday March 20, 2023: Satisfied with an honest days toil.

Monday March 20, 2023: My digs for the night.

The day according to Strava:

 

 

WANT TO CONTINUE TO DAY 4?………………..CLICK HERE

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