Day 5. Cairns to Cape York. Elliot Fall to Bamaga (feat. OTL)

Day 5 Cairns to Cape York MTB. Elliott Falls to Bamaga

Last night’s feast was dehydrated Spag Bol and Apple Crumble which I had saved for this very occasion. You simply add some boiling water and voila, instant dinner and desert. It was really tasty, though I did work up quite a hunger getting here.

The Bivy was warm to start with, but a lifesaver when it started to rain.

With one of the best swimming holes in Australia only meters away from my Campsite a morning dip was a must. I had been to Elliott Falls a number of times before and always laugh when I remember our 6 year old son Jonah about to jump off the 4m cliff into the amazing water shouting “To infinity and beyond” as he’s about to do a front flip. I yelled “feet!” just in time.

I loaded up the bike again and headed up the remainder of the Old Telegraph Track, knowing there’d be plenty of creek crossings and then the familiar town of Bamaga to stop at with friends.

The Track was awesome to ride with fast flowy section and beautiful creeks. It was easy to overtake the odd 4wd and Motorbike along the way. The gallery of spectators at the creek crossings all cheered me on.

After the deepest crossing at Nolan’s Brook, the track turned very sandy and was way too difficult to be called fun. The water was crystal clear in the creeks and flowing well so I made sure I rehydrated using a life straw regularly.

Once Back on the Peninsula Development Road it wasn’t long before reaching the Jardine Ferry for my intended lunch stop. Unfortunately, they’d run out of proper food (or didn’t have any) and I had to settle for an array of soft drinks, chocolate bars and juices.

The Ferry was free for bicycles and it wasn’t long (it actually was) until I reached Bamaga for much needed some chain lube and more food. I then cruised to my good friends Robi and Mel’s house in Umagico for the next 2 nights. Tomorrow I should reach the Tip of Cape York.

I wouldn’t have undertaken this journey without a Spot Gen3 Tracker. Before I left home I simply set up a tracking map for public viewing and pre programmed key phone number for daily check ins and in case of emergency. The Spot works on GPS and can send the programmed messages and track without phone range. You can follow my route here.

Day 4. Cairns to Cape York. Moreton to Elliot Fall (feat. OTL)

Bloody Mad x6

Bloody Legend x2

Why are you doing it?

Where is the motor?

Last night was the first in the Bivy at Moreton Station. A Bivy is like a waterproof bag with a raised section near your face so you can breathe. I like the concept, but way too hot for Cape York … especially with legs that were still cooling down after the days riding. I lay on top of the Bivy until 2am, when it was finally cool enough to zip up.

I was really looking forward to the ride today as I only had 40k of Dirt Road then 80k of the infamous Old Telegraph Track. I downed the obligatory Burger at Bramwell Junction and struck up a conversation with a guy wearing a Paluma Push T-Shirt.

The Old Tele didn’t disappoint! 5hrs of Creek Crossings and a Track that winds through the Heathlands finally stopped my from counting Kilometers. Is driven it twice before and tackling it on a MTB was a dream come true. Despite over 500ks in my legs after 4 days, I was much faster than the 4wds and often overtook traffic jams at creek crossings as they deliberated over which line to take … and get the recovery gear ready.

The questions above have been asked many times so far. And I’ve had plenty of time to consider and we’re. Why? Because I can.

Day 3 Cairns to Cape York MTB. Coen to Musgrave Station

2 Heart Attacks in 2 Minutes!

1. After 180k and 7hrs on the Bike, the last thing you want is a kitchen closed sign!

2. They were setting up the big screen for State of Origin Game 2!

Back to the Start of the Day

After a good nights sleep and a bowl of porridge thanks to my good friends Graeme and Charmaine in Coen I was off again, knowing all too well that today was going to be tough.

From Stage Racing experience I knew Day 3 was always a challenge to start, add to that 300k done and the longest stage at 186k ahead of me. Knowing that I had some “goodie bags” stashed at intervals along the road for fellow MAD MTB’ers the Scoble’s, who had driving up days earlier gave me optimism … along with getting closer to the Tip with each pedal stroke.

I made the 65k to Archer River after 3hrs Ready to take my Burger tally to 4. Doing the maths, that’s 4bpc! 4 burgers per 100k (century).

The run from Archer to the Cape York (Pajinka) was a good run with bitumen and a tailwind all the way. Even managed to get in the TT position for a bit. 110k down and 70 to go with a belly full of food and drink thanks to the Scoble’s 2nd Food stop.

The dirt road for the final 70k was great thankfully. I gave it all I could to arrive at Moreton Telegraph Station on dusk. Another big day. To my dismay, I was greeted with a “Sorry Mate … Kitchen closed”. Fortunately the staff were sympathetic and could see the the side. 4 Pies and a litre of milk later and I was refuelled.

I’m really impressed with how my Giant Anthem Pro is going. Such a capable XC and Marathon Bike …. as well as one of the fastest BikePacking Rigs going around. Super smooth and comfy on the corrugations with all the extra weight in carrying. The lockout is a lifesaver when I need to stand up to pedal up hills without the bags rubbing on the wheels due to suspension bob. Very impressive.

Day 2 Cairns to Cape York

Hann River to Coen

171.9k. 7hrs26mins. 5,100Calories

After a great night sleep in one of the cabins and baked beans for breakie I was ready to hit the road.

The seemingly short 62k section between Hann River and my morning tea/lunch stop at Moreton Telegraph Station saw the dirt road deteriorate rapidly with dust holes, corrugations and plenty of loose sand.

Moreton was first built as an overland telegraph station in 1887, named after Sir Anthony Musgrave who was the Governor of QLD from 1883 to 1888.

The 4wds and Trucks were friendly with lots of waves and photo taking. Dingos by the side of the road along with a plethora of bush parrots and cockatoos made the section enjoyable. I now have an Eagle feather to keep me company.

I found myself riding on the right hand shoulder of the road often. Thinking why, I came up with the following.

1. Morning Shade

2. Less corrugations for some reason

3. Less dust as the SE Breeze push it away from the traffic.

After Moreton things got hard … quickly. Yesterday’s effort began to take its toll and I struggled to keep the pace up. It felt like it took forever when coming across the numerous “5k to bitumen” signs. What should have taken 10 mins was taking 20. Over it, I find a small creek and pulled over to sulk, consuming a packet of salt and vinegar chips and raspberry lollies. I had 3 water bottles left with 60k to go. This was a worry with an average speed of 20kph on the cards. Once regaining my strength and resolve, I stated to Ride again only to be met by a lady offering me some water, who didn’t have any!

Just as the sun set I finally rolled into Coen, and straight to the sExchange Hotel for a bottle of water and a ginger beer.

Tomorrow’s stage is longer. But 1 step closer!

Day 1

Lakeland to Hann River

137k. 5hrs. 2960Kj. TSS 445

As we cruised up the Kuranda Range in Linc’s (Lara’s) Red Audi I was glad I was starting this extreme bikepacking adventure up on the tablelands, out of the rain.

I planned to ride to Cape York, meet my son in the Torres Strait and fly home with Him. Great excuse for a ride!

I’d spent the weekend in Cairns being spoilt by the Carolin’. Apart from being a fierce rival and a great mate, Linc and I will be partnering up for the Pioneer MTB Stage Race later this year. We have a funny habit of spoiling each other’s finish line pics.

I made good use of the time, dropping off a bike bag to my son and explaining how important it was to be taken to Horn Island on the top of Cape York when he boarded the plane Sunday Morning with his friends. Sunday I met a group of keen MTB’ers and facilitated a Level 0 MTB Skill Instructor Course, followed by a massive carb load and doing last minute bike prep.

I was particularly proud of my BCF Stubby Cooler food bags. Hope they survive the corrugations.

I traded the Red Sports car for a ride in a Police Car at Mt Molloy after meeting another FBQ MTB Legend “Frank Falappi”. There was never a dull moment on the way to Lakeland with plenty of laughs, solving world problems and even managing to issue a Traffic Infringement Notice to a 4wder way too keen to get to the Cape.

Upon reaching Lakeland, the sun broke through the clouds and the rain disappeared. The 1st 60k on the bitumen was a breeze, literally with a 25knot tailwind and a slight down hill. Sitting on 40kph was not a problem, as I flew past the turnoff to the Split Rock Rock Art Gallery. No sightseeing for me!

Grabbed my first burger (Chicken) at Laura and continued the Stage. I was feeling great but once the dirt, sand and corrugations appeared, the speed disappeared … along with my legs. Being unsupported, you have to cart everything. After the 100k mark, I rolled into Hann River spent, hoping the resident emu was not going to chase. Fortunately it didn’t, content to make strange grunting noises at me instead.

The Bivy was a breeze to set up. No rain on the horizon and a famous Hann River Steak and Pattie Works Burger to refuel.

Bring on tomorrow! The same distance as today … plus another 30k!