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Getting to Blinman

Since becoming a member of Bicycle SA in 2004, I have been lucky enough to complete seven Annual Tours, four Outback Odysseys, an Easter Cycle, and a few of the epic day rides such as Coast to Coast and Sea to Vines. Memorable moments have been many, but I think if I had to nominate a single experience as a high point, it would be hard to surpass my joyful arrival in Blinman on the last day of the 2007 Outback Odyssey.

I’d ridden the Odyssey in 2005 but my body, brain and bike were not really as up to the task as I would have liked. I’d had to hit the bitumen on more than one occasion and ultimately I arrived in Blinman feeling a little unworthy and believing I had unfinished business.

I returned for another crack at the Odyssey in 2007, fitter and on a better bike, determined to ride the Mawson Trail all the way to Blinman.

Two weeks later, as I greeted the cool Rawnsley Park morning on the thirteenth day of the tour, it dawned upon me that I’d almost done it.

Earlier in the trip I’d caught up with Ray Cross, whom I had met in ‘05 at the Odyssey and the Annual Tour. I now count Ray as one of my best biking buddies, and we generally ride together whenever we are on tour. From the Day Three lunch stop at Riverton, Ray and I rode the Mawson as a pair. I have no doubt that without his encouragement and solid riding, I would have been getting to camp a lot later each day, and probably in a lot worse shape.

On the very last day of the 2007 Odyssey, we pointed our bikes towards Blinman. We had great fun speeding through the single track out the back of Wilpena, gritted our teeth as we climbed Razorback, and rode the ridges until we were spilled out onto the main road to Blinman. Back then it was still largely unsealed, but we knew it was only 20 kilometers to the end of the ride.

We rode as fast as we could; there was no point hanging around. The sweeping uphill curves kept coming, and we kept going, chalking off the kilometers one at a time.

The Blinman sign was a beautiful sight. Three kilometers to go. I could almost see the finish line. Memories of the strain and pain of 2005 vanished.

We arrived, triumphant and thirsty, and proceeded to seek hydration. I was buzzing. I’d done it, and in reasonable style too.

There was so much to be happy about. I’d enjoyed a great holiday, met my personal challenge, and formed a friendship that endures to this day.

Without Bike SA, none of this would have happened.

They think it's all over...
They think it's all over...


© Copyright David Robinson, 2012

Not to be reproduced without the permission of the author