After a restful night, Reid took the first shift out of Broken Hill this morning, it was still pretty windy, with gusts up to 50km/h. He didn't stop for food or a drink refill, just punched out 100km in 3 hours (technical average of 33.6km/h).
Dan, Andy, Kelvin and I chased him out of town, looking for a quick morning coffee en-route. We saw a Hungry Jacks drive through at the edge of town - quick, turn in. We rolled through in a bit of a rush...
Nat: "quick guys, what's your order?"
Um, ah, "2 large flat whites, 1 small cap, Kelvin, anything, anything to drink? No, okay..."
Once we pulled up at the pay and collect window, he wanted one... too late buddy. On reflection, we didn't really prepare him for his first drive through coffee experience... it must seem odd shouting a coffee order at a box on the side of a driveway. But no-one was offering to share their coffee, fortunately I'd made a Milo in my travel mug before we left... that'll do (for Kelvin).
The next few turns were fast, averages above the 30km/hr mark. We pulled up and watched Kelvin about 5km into his stint, flying past us, he shouts: "I'm averaging 37.2, wooooo, classic!!!"
The morning pack up crew took the opportunity to use the motel camp kitchen to do a big pasta cook up, before heading out of town (via a cafe). Sarah and El were able to share the ride and story of Eagles Wings at our accommodation and the local cafe. The discussions we have with locals and other travellers as we pass through town is always fun. "You guys are mad!" is a common response. Some even slip us a $10 donation, or promise to check out the website. Awesome!
The banter in the car is hilarious (most of the time), this afternoon I've been listening to Reid and Andy discuss the future Challenge for Change events... so many suggestions, shut downs, "don't be stupid", "I'd donate to see that", etc. Not sure where we ended up, but it should be fun?!
In the 12 hours from 6am to 6pm the riders covered 388 km, with an overall average of 32.3km/hr. Smashing it! You should've seen El's fist pump when she rolled into dinner! She's a tough cookie - massive respect!
Tonight, we pulled into Lilyvale Rest Area for a delicious dinner of chicken casserole with rice, prepared by Chief Sarah and Chef Laith.
The 'night shift' plan is 2 x turns each for Reid, Big A and El, with Laith and Hedge on support. The rest of us packed up, dashed to Cobar for some groceries before the IGA shuts at 8pm. I'm uploading the blog here. Then, we'll head north to Bourke and turn east towards Walgett. Planning to set up camp somewhere on the Kamilaroi Highway tonight. The wind conditions and shelter options will determine if we set up camp, or just sleep in the cars.
On the drive tonight, we've opted for a girls ute (Sarah, Sammy + I) and a boys car (Alex, Dan and Kelvin). We're mixing up the driving pairs and getting to know each other better as the week goes on. Our car is laughing alongside Sarah, as she sneezes and I have no doubt that the boys are 'communicating in the Aussie language' (as Kelvin likes to say).
I was searching today for the lesson or 'deep thoughts' that I could include in the blog. These pearls of wisdom came from my chats with Big A and Reid. Today's riding conditions were pretty good, a strong tailwind at times, an over the shoulder cross-wind at others. Apparently you know when you find the 'sweet-spot' in a tailwind, all goes quiet and you know it's directly at your back. There should be contentment in that sweet-spot, but we're almost always playing the 'if only' game.
If only we had these conditions all week
If only I didn't muck up the timezone change (central to eastern time) overnight and we got going on time
If only the road didn't bend away up ahead
If only Australia wasn't so wide
If only I had a bigger gear to change into (who's idea was single speed!?)
And these thoughts are in the sweet-spot of good conditions. The true test is finding the sweet-spot in the tough times, learning contentment in the chaos (headwinds) of life. I'll leave you to ponder that one.