NSW Loop day 16: Ashford to Oman Ama (Qld, Australia)

I’d been warned by the permanent campers last night that I would freeze overnight in my bivy. Fortunately, they underestimated the warmth the Outdoor Research bivy combined with a good sleeping bag and thermal liner provide. I was toasty and warm all night. So much so that I slept in until almost 6am. Not a huge problem given that I was only meant to cycle to Texas today. A nice steady 70km to meet Paul who was picking me up. Let’s just say plans are made for changing.
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I packed, ate and left before anyone at camp stirred. The sun was already warming the world (though my fingers did freeze on every downhill for the first 10km of my ride) and the day was perfect for riding. I cruised along, taking in my last morning on the bike. The final rolling hills. The final dumb cattle running away from me. The last of the windmills creaking as they spun. And the last of the tiny townships. Bonshaw was 40km from camp and my first stop for the day. The one shop town provided me with a chance to enjoy one last chocolate milk (something I try to avoid at home due to the excess sugar and calories). There was even a conveniently placed petrol pump so that I could take a selfie using the timer on my camera. Hello 🙂
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Old mate at the shop also pointed me to a delightful alternative route to Texas. I have come to enjoy gravel roads this trip so was happy to take this route instead of the main road. The only traffic were a couple of farm utes and tractors heading out to the fields. Other than that I enjoyed the scrunching of my tyres and the screaching of cockatoos. I must do some more gravel rides because they are just that bit nicer than the roads.
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And then the NSW leg of my NSW Loop (which wasn’t quite a loop) was over as I crossed the Dumesque River back into Queensland. Back to the state where you don’t pay extra for gravy with your pub meal.
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It’s barely past 10:30am when I roll into Texas with 70km under my belt. I doubt Paul has even left home yet to pick me up. Largely because I told him not to bother rushing. And I’m correct. He’s just had a haircut and is packing a bag. I tell him to meet me up the road at Oman Ama, 60km (37 miles) away from me. It’s a 280km (174 miles) drive for him. Google Maps tells me that he will take a little over 3 hours to reach me. The race is on. Who will reach the tiny township that is home to a sole petrol station first.
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I hardly take any photos now. I am on a mission. I might have biked 70km this morning but I am determined to get to Oman Ama first. I don’t know why. There’s no prizes and nothing to prove. But I can be like that from time to time. I smash out the kilometers retracing my pedal strokes from the first day of this trip. It’s hot under the midday sun but still I push the pedals. I don’t take any real rest breaks for the next three hours. Just a few quick snack breaks to grab museli bars from the lunch box bag and eat while I pedal. Paul calls me from Oman Ama petrol station just as I reach the highway. I come second by just 2km (1.5 miles). I let him come pick me up because I’m out of water and he has a cold bottle of orange juice for me. Resistence is futile.

 

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