April 06, 2017 0 comments

Day 5 Recap – Mercer SuperCycle 2017

There is a strange need amongst some cyclists to round up the distance of their rides to the “next” number. For example, you go round the block 5 times to make sure you do 100kms rather than 98.

Given that today’s ride was 183kms from Burra to Wallaroo, it was to be expected that a group of the Supercyclists would be looking to round that up to 200kms. But more on that later.

Coffee at the Barbed Wire Pub Spalding on Day 5.

Coffee at the Barbed Wire Pub Spalding on Day 5.

The morning was an absolute ripsnorter, with a light northeasterly and clear skies. We set off from Burra towards the northwest along the Barrier Highway. After turning off towards Crystal Brook, we started the climb of the morning, which got the heart rate up a bit and warmed up the legs at the start of the day. The beauty of the climb was that we reached 560m in elevation, and the end of the day was at sea level. This meant that there had to be some going downhill, and that started pretty well immediately. Both pelotons set a cracking pace of over 40kmh, with peloton 1 certainly getting over 50kmh at one stage.

Apparently one of the riders had a blowout in their front wheel while doing this downhill stretch. This can easily end in disaster, as the tyre flaps around and the bike is running on metal rims rather than the nice soft tyre, but in this case the rider handled it beautifully, and brought the bike to a halt without bringing down the peloton around them. Nicely done, Cucumber (aka Oppy).

We quickly reached Spalding, and the welcome sight of a coffee. Thanks to the Barbed Wire pub for the supply of caffeine (and yes, they do have a collection of barbed wire, which is more interesting than it sounds).

From Spalding there was a bit more up and down, but a fairly quiet section with a downhill run into the next stop at Gulnare. This town seems quiet, but the bowling green was in immaculate condition, which suggests that bowls at least is still very active.

Mercer SuperCycle 2017 - Day 5

“The morning was an absolute ripsnorter, with a light northeasterly and clear skies.”

After Gulnare, it was mostly downhill to Crystal Brook for the third stop of the day (after 90kms of riding). We think long and hard about where and how often we stop, but on a long ride like this a break every 25-30kms is needed to keep the legs refreshed and the food intake up. Crystal Brook was where we turned towards the southwest, and theoretically turned the cross wind into a tail wind (making riding easier). Crystal Brook Foodland kindly gave us a discount on our food and water stock up so a shout out to them!

40kms later we got to lunch in beautiful Port Broughton. Sandwiches, fruit and hot chips by the seaside on a lovely day is not a bad way to spend lunch time. The seagulls didn’t stand a chance with 38 hungry cyclists to compete with.

Having reached the coast, the theoretical tail wind unfortunately turned into a sea breeze in our faces. This made the section from Port Broughton to Alford particularly tough, especially with the undulating road. However, everyone made it, and the run into Wallaroo was a lot easier despite the strengthening wind. The riders at the front of the pelotons did some sterling work keeping the rest of the riders protected from that wind.

Leaving Lunch in Port Broughton.

Leaving Lunch in Port Broughton.

And then a smaller group decided that, having come this far, what was another 17kms or so. So we collected our breakfast supplies, put our bags in our rooms, and headed off towards Moonta to get 200kms up for the day. This was supposed to be a leisurely ride, but the testosterone kicked in amongst some of the group and it got a bit fast. It was much nicer when we turned around and strolled back to Wallaroo with the tailwind, with many riders having done their longest ride ever (including those who had the sense to finish at 183kms).

Off to Clare tomorrow, after a lovely dinner and hopefully a nice sleep.


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