About 6:00 pm, lying down felt so good, if only on a small ¾ size blow up mattress. I took some pain relief and when they started to work I knew I could get some rest. Lying here in the silence my mind started at me, ‘You’re a failure, only day 5 and this. What the hell!’
I then concentrated on what my possibilities were and only two came to mind. Sit and sulk or work out a new plan that was a safe option. I wrote a text to my event manager, everything manager (daughter Lan) knowing she would get it sometime in the future when I got Telstra service. As I SPOT every 4 or so hours she would be able to see something was amiss.
TEXT FROM KENNY
“Please don’t panic, I did 32kms on a horribly nonstop corrugated road and it has done my back. I went to move my bike and trailer up out of the sand to a camp spot but there was deeper sand and over I went. I couldn’t life my bike up, some people stopped and helped me put it on a tree, soft sand makes it so hard to push. I’ve camped on the side of the road at 113km mark with 98 kms to Jervois Station. It was my next stop tomorrow night. It closes at 6pm. May take me two days to reach it. Then I’ll work out what I’ll do from there. Don’t do anything from your end until you here from me on the phone. I’ll ring you when I reach Jervois Station. I’ll SPOT often so you can see where I am. This was the only thing I didn’t think about, the corrugations and my iffy back. What a bummer, it might come good in a few days. Please don’t do anything until I ring you. Love Wong.”
I was at that moment, happy with my new plan. I nodded off for short bursts of sleep but would wake with different ideas of what I could do. About 1:20am on Thursday morning the wind started howling from the south so strong and cold.
My mind, with ideas and new plans was working overtime. After lying still for so long I was stiff and sore, not able to move much at all. At least I was warm my new Black Wolf sleeping bag, it was such a comfort to me. It was now 2:30am and I wrote another text to Lan with my new plan. One which I felt was a safer one. Go back to Atitjere.
TEXT FROM KENNY
“Again please don’t worry. The wind started at 1.20 this morning a south easterly. That means a head wind to Jervois and could take 3 days to get there. My right foot is numb as well. I looked up at the stars and saw a falling star heading back west. And I’m thinking that would be the safest option. I’ll walk ride the 31km to Atitjere in the morning instead of going East the 98km to Jervois. I’ll ring you from Atitjere. I feel so bad about this, but safety first. Lucky I have a pee bottle, I couldn’t get up to go. Ha. The wind is so strong now my tent has quite a lean on it. It took me 4+ hours to do the 31km, I’m guessing me a good 8hrs walk-ride. Again I’ll SPOT often so you guys can see where I am. Love Wong……xxxxxxx”
I was so worried about my leg and back, this has made me a failure. I then thought, if I pushed forward and something really bad happens it would be stupid and being stupid in this situation would be the REAL FAILURE. I was at peace with my decision to go back the 32 kilometres of corrugations and sand to Atitjere, see if it was possible to arrange a car ride to Gemtree to rest and re-assess. I had full Telstra phone service at Atitjere and would be able talk to my family.
Considering I was up writing the text to Lan and knowing it would take a considerably longer amount of time to pack up camp and the bike in my condition I stayed up. I turned on my headlamp and my new LuminAID light and started the normal two-hour process. Nearly four hours in the end, I was loaded and ready to go, it’s 6:30. With the moving around (not fast) I felt confident I could to Atitjere by lunch time.
I looked at the campsite, making sure all was clean, then noticed the sand bank between my campsite and the road. I knew I had to push the bike and trailer over it and the only way would be to head at it with some speed. I removed any tree branches, twigs and small clumps of grass and made a small gap in the sand (as good as I could) where it was at the highest point.
All groundwork work done, I started the push to the road, made a big circle (this bike and trailer is like turning a road train) so I could face the sand bank full front on. It was a breeze to get to the road, so pleased it was, prep-work is the key here. The old PPPP, preparation prevents poor performance.
I started the gruesome 32 kilometres of road in the dark (with full lights front and rear) and wouldn’t let a negative thought enter my mind. If one popped up (lots did) I would think about wonderful things in my life and silly things that would make me laugh. There were sections of road where the pain would scream at me so I would scream back at it. I knew that every kilometre I do, is one less that I have to do. And finally I made it to the Atitjere Store. Can I say, that was not a pleasant cycle at all. I could sense the happiness in my family’s voice when I told them I made it to Atitjere.
Next goal have some lunch and see if it was possible to arrange a lift the 79 kms to Gemtree this afternoon. Then face each goal one at a time.
Cheers Kenny Mac