Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Two Smiddy riders decided to continue on to Darwin after completing their journey up to Uluru with team Smiddy. From a peloton of 58 riders down to a peloton of two. With nowhere to hide when the winds hit, it is their determination to succeed that continues to drive them towards their destination of Darwin. Captain Kev is once again backing up with another ten days on the road to look after this pair who have energy to burn at will. Mel's Son Conner is there to help out as well and to keep Kevvy company. Below are Mel and Mick's words of their first four days on the road from Alice Springs.

Day minus one
Yalara to Alice Springs
Distance 400+
Avg speed 127
Avg cadence 3200
Road kill. Nearly one camel

This morning we left Yalara behind in the darkness of early morning as part of the Smiddy convoy to Eldundra. Stopping at the roadhouse for coffee and breakfast before bidding farewell and safe travels to the rest of the crew that were heading south on their trip back to Adelaide.

We bummed a lift to Alice Springs in the back of the Krista and Claire mobile. When I complained to our travel Mums that Melissa was being mean to me, I was told to sit down and be quiet or they would leave me to the dingos on the side of the road. Thanks for the tough love Claire.

Into Apollo to pick up Kevvy's camper van and we manage to squeeze the four of us, all our gear and nine days worth of food for two hungry cyclists and two equally hungry road crew inside.
The afternoon was spent doing the tourists thing, checking out the old telegraph station and then preparing our gear for the 1800k journey that lay ahead.

Day one Alice Springs to Ti Tree
Distance 204k
Ride time 8:15:23
Avg speed 24.7
Max 33.2
Elevation gain 736

Day one began with a quick look over the city of Alice from ANZAC hill and then we were on our way north and there to greet us was our old friend, the 30k/ph head wind.
It didn't take long for the peloton of two to gel and get 5 minute rotations happening and setting the standard of 35k before the 1st yellow room was called.
Traffic was great and we had several toots of encouragement, the truckies were very considerate and gave us plenty of room on the road.
The landscape was in constant change, from green grass and stunted trees to rocky outcrops and mountain ranges. Red dirt and ant hills to a mango farm, which had the best mango ice cream.
A quick 10k TTT into Ti Tree before the ice cream melted so we could have ice cream at the end of our first days ride
Thanks to our road crew Kev and Connor for setting up camp for the night

Day two Ti Tree to Devils Marbles
Distance 200k
Ride time 7:30:38
Avg speed 26.6
Max 44.3
Elevation gain 490

Today I awoke to the rain softly drumming on the corrugated iron roof and the warmth of the still smouldering coal in the fire place. Then my alarm went off and the drumming sound was rain on my swag. I lay there wondering how do I get out of this thing without getting everything inside wet.

The rain eased and with no breeze to speak of we left our road crew snoozing and headed off toward morning tea at the infamous Barrow creek pub, 90k down the road. We rolled into Barrow creek a little wet and had the remainder of last nights dinner heated up on wraps. The bar tender had yarns of a Smiddy group that had visited the day before. You have got to try the burgers he told me, the other guys said you can't beat them.

Further down the road at Ali Curung, Captain Kevvy was stopped by the local police and was asked to participate in a roadside breath test, passing with flying colours.

The clouds were forming spectacular shapes and layers and in those clouds was more rain and we rode the last 17k in the wet.

Hot showers and a comfy bed and dinner in the Wauchope pub, drifting off to sleep to the sound of rain on the roof and Kevvy snoring on the bottom bunk.

Day Three Devils Marbles to Tennant Creek
Distance 116k
Ride time 4:54:51
Avg speed 23.5
Max 30.9
Elevation gain 610

One of the things I wanted to see on this trip was the sunrise at Devils Marbles. But Mother nature had other ideas. It rained from the moment we arrived at our overnight stop at the Wauchope caravan park until after we rolled out the next day. A short 10k roll to Devils Marbles but we missed the sunrise due to the cloud cover but were treated to the wonderment of rock formation. We walked around in amazement at what nature has developed.

Today was also the first time I have ever seen Kevy with a camera, yes he took some pics and no it was not a box brownie.

We came across an Italian guy 'Romeo', who was spending three months cycling around Australia before heading to Alaska. We rode with him for awhile as he talked of his adventures and love of travel. His bike and gear weighed in at around 50kg.

Into Tennant Creek, domestics done, crew fed on a great minestrone soup. A call from long time Smiddy rider Kate Warren and then off to bed.

Day Four Tennant Creek to Renner Springs
Distance 160.8
Ride time 5:23:14
Avg speed 29.9
Max 60.2
Elevation gain 739m

Awesome day with a tailwind for most of it.
Stopped in at the three ways servo, is that a coffee machine I spy? Well yes it is, make sure you try the coffee.
Stopped in at Banka Banka for lunch, what a great place and wonderful hospitality. Can you find the pot of gold.
There is a hut that was constructed in the 1920 from mud bricks made from the local anthills. The roof of the hut was made to prevent the sun drying out bricks.

A sunset trip to Lubars lookout just south of Renner Springs produced some great photos. The colours from the sunrises and sunsets on the trip have been nothing short of spectacular.

The score card stands at
60 signs are a tie
Mel two up on the windmill count.
Road crew are one up in the pool comp.

Bye for now.

Mel, Mick, Kevvy and Conner

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