What a month it's been. From Darwin NT down to Perth WA and beyond. I cannot believe that we have now travelled over 10,000kms through four states of Australia and we are well and truly into the back end of this ride around oz!
I've had a hell of a lot of time to think while out here being on the road for up to sixteen hours a day and have come to some realizations that I will use as I transition from this ride to real 'life' again.
The first one is that irrespective of how we all got here, we have eyes on the front of our heads. Obviously this is advantageous to being able to see things coming but also they're just as great to see where we are headed. I've tried a few different things out here that have led me to the conclusion that you should always keep looking forward. Riding my bike at 30km/hr and trying to look to the right has limited success in keeping the bike rolling forward. Looking left has its same challenges. Whilst I haven't tried looking backwards for extended periods of time, I can imagine the consequences and with a good portion of the ride still to come I think it's in my best interests not to attempt this.
The conclusion to my theory? Look forward, focus on where you are going, the people around you and the work that you choose to do, to be your best self. What's happening to the sides will only distract you and hamper your efforts and looking back to the past.....well that's just stupid!
We've had some really hard days and weeks since leaving Darwin and can be summed up by the following three words;
We ended up with 21 days in a row with temperatures over 35 degrees and a top temperature of 44 degrees on a day where I had drunk 16L of water along with a heap of my usual food like Kuranda Wholefoods healthy bars and my sports nutrition from Temple Nutrition. Crazy stuff! On this particular hot day I also lost 1.5kgs whilst riding. Yes it was hot, no doubt about it but in addition, the humidity was an added challenge with over 75% humidity for most of these days.
Mentally there were some serious challenges to over come and when there's a day of 300+ kms to cover and the first 3 hours of riding equate to a gut busting 65kms into a headwind, only your mind will help you to continue to ride. This was the day out of Broome which ended up being a 16 hour day on the road starting at 4:30am and finishing at 9pm, stopping for a break every 10-20kms.
This ride has represented many things but above all it has shown me that no matter the conditions, the situation or the weather, anything is possible. If your 'why' is big enough you'll get it done. Did I ever feel like giving up? Absolutely not because I was reminded of why I was out in these conditions pushing my body to the limit.
As we started heading south from Carnarvon WA we had a dramatic reduction in temperature quickly but unfortunately it was a case of the heat simply being replaced by the wind, and I have NEVER ridden in winds like it.
A quick note here on clothing and preparation for all weather conditions. Never underestimate what you're going to need! I've had amazingly comfortable customized cycle gear from ONTHEGO SPORTS and have been prepared with not only cycle jerseys and bib knicks but wind vest, rain jacket and winter jacket which have all come in handy. It's better to be prepared that not even if you don't use certain items. If you ever need customized sports gear for your next team event, check these guys out because we guarantee they're not only awesome people who love what they do but you will be stoked with the delivery turnaround timeframe which is industry leading.
So we had eight solid days of headwinds as we headed down the west coast of Australia, which we actually didn't realize was going to happen (even though turns out it's normal in this part of the country) because we were so focused on the heat and getting through that. There were a few days again in this wind where I saw the sunrise in the morning and watched it disappear over the horizon in the afternoon. Certainly tough to see when you just want to finish the day and be in the next town already.
The mental game was certainly rearing it's head again but on a day out of Geraldton WA when the wind was at it's strongest, it really did test my resolve to continue. For three days in a row my average speed was lower than the marathon world record pace....that's right runners would've run past me. Being a maths nerd there's nothing more debilitating than watching your average speed on a 200km ride drop to 18km/hr. The day from Geraldton also presented one of the funniest tourist attractions we've seen on the road, a designated stop to take a picture of the trees that literally grow to the side as they are unable to stand upright in the wind! As hard as it was we knew easier times would come and as the past week has unfolded and the hills have now kicked in, the wind has most certainly dropped.
From one extreme condition to the next. Luckily though, the rain and storms have stayed away and we've only had small patches of the wet stuff which is awesome we've had one less weather condition to deal with.
If you ever have the chance to travel around this big brown land take it! There is nothing like it and no matter what anyone tells you, books you read or pictures you see, nothing can prepare you for the shear remoteness of this country. One of best sights is seeing a 360 degree open sky around you with a single lane road in front and behind you and nothing else but blue sky and fields.
This trip has only cemented my very firm opinion on mindset which I've touched on before.
If your 'why' is big enough you'll achieve anything.
When your body says 'NO' it's simply time to kick the brain into gear and aim up. The great news is this means you have only used 40% of your capacity. You've got 60% left! Use it, dial in and discover your true potential.
I've used this exact thought process many times on this adventure and have no doubt it'll work for you.
As we start the next leg of our journey we head north to The Nullaboor, a stretch of rode like nothing on the planet. Remote, boring, flat and windy as well as potentially 4 seasons and varying temperatures in one day. I can't wait to get out there and see what it's all about and finish up in Adelaide in a couple of weeks time for the 'spin' home to Sydney.
Thanks so much to every single person who's called, texted, emailed or messaged us your support. We are blown away with the impact we've had on so many people and we want to continue this momentum when we return.
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Remember...when you think you're done and have nothing left, you actually have 60% left so get going!