Darwin to Victoria River Roadhouse
A good nights sleep after a long hot day on rough roads. Last nights steak dinner has refueled Reid for a new day ahead. We changed the tires on Reid’s bike to suit the road conditions. A marked improvement on yesterdays ride and a happier Reid. Darwin is one of the towns that must be visited in part of the world record attempt. The only road into Darwin is the same road out. Today Reid rides beck to Katherine and then heads west towards Western Australia.
A Day in the Life of the Ground Crew
Dan and Daun are on the road with Reid today while Lynda and the two Grahams are on ground crew duties. Just as Reid has to manage his sleep, so do the ground crew. They need to maintain their health and energy to be able to look after Reid, both while he is on his bike and at rest. Once again as a team we see Reid off and then it is back to bed for the ground crew to bank some sleep for the next couple of days ahead. Unfortunately our crew on the road do not have the same luxury. They leave with Reid as they need to pilot him out of Darwin and back on the highway. We will care for them later down the track. Our rested ground crew have a full morning ahead of them and do not get to leave Darwin until lunchtime. We were expecting a package to arrive from Brisbane. It has not yet turned up. In the package is a SIM card for the satellite phone we are carrying. Important equipment over the next week as we head into the remote wilderness. What to do? We have arranged for the package to be forwarded to Perth which will be fine before we cross the Nullarbor. Our technical expert in Brisbane has located a speciality communications shop in Darwin that can supply another SIM so off we go. Next is Coles for fresh groceries. Now we need to find a chemist (and not just any chemist for the product we need). Supercheap Auto is next for some fuses for Dan’s car and then we go back to the caravan park to say our farewells and thank them for there gracious hospitality. We ask the manager to sign a witness statement for Guinness World Records, buy some milk and some ice and off we go. A busy morning is part and parcel in the life of the ground crew.
We carry a mass of equipment to keep us in touch with the outside world. Each of us has a mobile phone. Apart form keeping us in touch with our family they are our main tools in relaying information back to the many followers of Reid’s journey via Facebook. We have two Garmen GPS trackers to record Reid’s progress. We also have high intensity lights for Reid’s night riding with four battery packs. Every time Reid stops the Garmens are checked. the battery topped up and Reid’s phone is checked for charge. Reid is carrying his phone and an earpiece so that he can talk to people while he is on the road and listen to his music. Why not give Reid a call and some words of encouragement. Inside both vehicles are a plethora of battery chargers and veritable spiders web of leads snaking there way back to the power outlets.
We arrived back in Katherine at tea time. Did you know that Cadel Evans was born in Katherine? It was proudly announced on the sign as we drove into Katherine, so here we stayed and waited for Reid to catch up for a photo. Cadel could you do what Reid is doing? Could you wear your yellow jersey the whole way around Australia? Our plan tonight is to ride 410km, camp for the night, and ride another 410km in to Kununurra. On the map is a roadhouse at the 500km mark. Reid decides he can ride the whole 500km. Bonus, hot showers and power for the air conditioner to sleep for the night. Graham H phones ahead to see if they are open 24hours. No but you can set up camp when you arrive and pay in the morning. Off we go with both vehicles tagging Reid along the way. The crew snatch moments of sleep when they can and Dan rides the last hundred kilometers with Reid. Dan can now add to his list that he has ridden his bike in the Northern Territory. As we near our goal Flo goes ahead to set up camp. Reid arrives before 2:30am. A shower and in bed by 3:00am. Up again at 6:00am ready for another day in the saddle riding across the top of Australia.
In 2012 a bunch of Challenge For Change riders that included Reid, took a 24hour challenge. They rode for 24hours and covered 500km. Today Reid rode 500km in 19hours and he will be ready to back it up tomorrow.
Goodnight Reid. Goodnight Ground Crew. Your rest is earned and your effort is applauded. Think well of the children in Zambia who you are riding for. They do not receive a rest from their vulnerability. Your effort will help them find that relief and help them find their God given potential.