Tennant Creek to Renner Springs
Up = 486m - Down = 593m - Highest Point = 394m
TENNANT CREEK TO RENNER SPRINGS – 8th September 2017
The second longest day distance-wise after the 179 day from Marla to Kulgera!! It’s always a bit spooky on a long day, as you want everything to go right – or else it can be a mighty long day on the road!!! Well – I didn’t get off to a good start at all – on my way back from the bathroom – in the dark at 6:15 am – I went and checked on Finn who had been locked to the water tap for our 2 days at Tennant Creek. OH NO!!!!!!!! My back tyre was flat!!!! I tried pumping it up, but could hear a hissing noise – so decided not to muck around and replaced the tube in the half light at that time of day.
I am happy to report it did hold up well, and we arrived in Renner Springs in pretty much record breaking time for me (and probably Annie) for the distance. I would never have believed we would have got this day done by 1:20 pm. I think Annie's stats from her Garmin showed that we averaged about 28 kph - which is pretty good going for us!! Its been the second time that I have come out after a rest day and felt really good on the bike, and basically - just gone for it!! It is a great feeling!!
We had a mixture of road surfaces today – and I am getting pretty used to just letting Finn rattle away over the rough roads. Poor bike – I’ve asked him to do so much over the years!! On the smooth roads we all breathe a sigh of relief as we just “purr” along!
A stunning part of the day was the cloud formations - truly a constantly changing scene with the benefit of "cooling" us from the hot sun.
Liz sat out the first 100 kms today so Annie and I set off from camp just before 7:00 am and as my speedo seemed to be “playing up” I asked her to yell when it was my turn to do my 5 kms in the front. Annie managed this very well – it always seemed to be uphill when it was her turn in front!!! Thanks Annie!!
We had been worried about the wind – and I am really being very mean when I say that a few times we had to contend with a strong easterly – a side wind. The majority of the trip it was a south-easterly wind and therefore very helpful – and the major factor in making such good time today!!
Our first very short stop was at Threeways – where the highway across from Mt Isa and Queensland joins the Stuart Highway. I was expecting more traffic once we passed there, but I didn’t really notice any difference.
We pressed on to the next “Rest Stop” that was signposted, and a very nice place it was, called “Attack Creek”. Nice to ride in and out of these places on sealed surfaces – much better than the rest stops in South Australia I have to say.
We took on board a nut-bar and oranges to sustain us for the next 30 kms which would see us at Banka Banka Station. There were quite a few horses in paddocks near here (as well as 2 donkeys) so I guess they use the horses on the station. When we reached there we had cut out the first 100 kms of the day – mentally a very significant point in the countdown of the kms to be ridden. It wasn't even 11:00 so we had gone really well.
Liz decided to ride from Attack Creek, so with three of us riding and rotating the lead every 5 kms, this meant we got 2 turns each in front, so it was much more restful getting 10 kms “in the trail”. Not long after we set off on this leg, a pilot vehicle came through from behind and warned us of a very wide load coming and could we move off the road. Of course we were happy to do this!!!!!!!!
We had one rather alarming moment in this stretch when a car and caravan decided to pass us on the crest of a hill where there was a solid white line in both directions. Annie was in the front, followed by Liz and then me. While the caravan overtook us, not giving us 2 metres clearance but hanging their wheels over the double solid white line, a car came up the other way. Annie thought - crikey - there is going to be a crash as it had no room to pull over to the left of its side due to a steep bank. Annie put on her brakes suddenly and Liz nearly went into the back of her, but just managed to swing to the left and onto the rough metal shoulder. I was able to stay on the road although I hooked to my right a bit. This could have been a disaster - but luckily wasn't!
We decided to have lunch at the 130 mark – where we were greeted to nice hot cups of coffee and tea already prepared roadside by Bette in her caravan! Super nice - thank Bette!!
Off we went for the last 30 kms – it had a couple of uphill bits that tested the weary legs, but Annie and I had great momentum from such a good ride that we just powered up them. There were then some great downhill runs and we sped the last bit into Renner Springs.
I think my top speed for the day was 53 kph and our average must have been one of the best for the trip. One of those days when I felt really good on the bike and things went right ………… even after the bad start!!
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