|Day||Ride Time||Distance||Average Speed||Elevation||Calories|
|1||4 Hours 17 minutes||120 km||27.9 kmh||680 m|| 2310
Day 1 of Cycle 4 Sam IV was a 119K sprint from Blinman, South Australia’s highest town, to Hawker, taking us through Flinders Ranges.
I had no idea just what a mammoth effort Cycle 4 Sam was, and certainly not the number of people that were involved. At least fifty people besieged Blinman on a sunny Sunday afternoon, causing the poor hotel manager, who was of course from Leeds back home, to get quite frazzled.
The big morning finally arrived, 15 intrepid athletes at the peak of their physical fitness prepared to set off on a 1030K (it’s actually already got 9K longer) crusade to Adelaide. With the Team Captain declaring he was going to run a tight ship I already felt out of place. I was the only member of the team that hadn’t shaved their legs, and a Pom to boot. In addition to the riders, we had a fire truck paving the way, and a caravan of vehicles (including a caravan) taking up the rear.
After 30K, some cheery Aussie shouted “Only 1000K to go!”, which although mathematically correct at the time, wasn’t quite the encouragement I was looking for.
Next thing we know were riding in parallel with a mob of kangaroos. Although initially one of the coolest things, quickly turned to concern as it became evident that the mob had designs on getting to the other side of the road. My recollection is a bit vague (I’ve had a few beers this evening), but with a single hop the entire mob cleared the whole peloton leaving everyone in awe of these majestic creatures (although I’m led to believe they’re considered pests here).
We continued towards Huck’s Lookout negotiating cattle grid after cattle grid and taking in the unique smell that is rotting kangaroo road kill. Once at Huck’s Lookout, we all participated in the ceremonial releasing of balloons in memory of Sam and other children that have passed away after suffering from terminal illnesses.
A stage isn’t a stage without a trademark sprint finish. Fortunately Petie-Pops was coaxed into a demonstration of unadulterated power when challenged by the only other non-Australian rider in the group. Exerting more than a full kilowatt of explosive muscle, he made a manoeuvre that saw him finish well clear of the only other rider that was racing him. By the time I flew past him we had apparently finished racing. I’ve still got a lot learn!
Written by Johnny "Pops" White