IntroductionI first heard about All Trails several years ago from another rider on a Cycle Queensland. Since then, I have kept half an eye on their rides.
Earlier this year, I was looking for a Cycle Holiday to do, and I wasn't particularly interested in either of the Bicycle NSW or Cycle Queensland events. These events are great events and I have had a lot of fun on them in the past, but I am now probably too strong a cyclists to enjoy them. I suspect that I would finish the day too early, and then struggle to find things to do.
Because of this, I revisited the All Trails website, and I saw "The Rock Ride", Adelaide to Alice Springs via Uluru. My first thought was "You have to be f*&cking kidding me", but a week later, I sent of some questions, and a week after that I signed up for it.
I had never been further west that Griffith, and that was a flying visit. Having done cycling holidays before, I knew that it would be a good opportunity to see this part of the country, and to see Uluru.
My lead up to this event wasn't the best, I hoped to get a lot of distance on the road in May, but the weather wasn't the best and I came up a bit short. I didn't go into it unfit, but I felt that I could have prepared better for the event. Further, I was going to break my daily distance record on one of the days. 256km, Glendambo to Coober Pedy. I also knew that while I was used to riding every day, I wasn't used to backing up 170km with a 120km ride, followed by another 190km. While the profile was flat, on the longer days, wind can play a factor.
For those with Google Earth, here is a file of the route that we took. Select Tools -> Play Tour for a good way to view it.
|Day 0 - May 2nd 2008||Sydney||Adelaide||0.00 km|
|Day 1 - May 3rd 2008||Adelaide||Clare||147.82 km|
|Day 2 - May 4th 2008||Clare||Melrose||129.94 km|
|Day 3 - May 5th 2008||Melrose||Port Augusta||65.14 km|
|Day 4 - May 6th 2008||Port Augusta||Woomera||179.98 km|
|Day 5 - May 7th 2008||Woomera||Glendambo||121.98 km|
|Day 6 - May 8th 2008||Glendambo||Coober Pedy||255.26 km|
|Day 7 - May 9th 2008||Rest Day||0.00 km|
|Day 8 - May 10th 2008||Coober Pedy||Cadney Homestead||154.33 km|
|Day 9 - May 11th 2008||Cadney Homestead||Marla||80.82 km|
|Day 10 - May 12th 2008||Marla||Kulgera||179.81 km|
|Day 11 - May 13th 2008||Kulgera||Mount Ebenezer||131.26 km|
|Day 12 - May 14th 2008||Mount Ebenezer||Yulura||189.96 km|
|Day 13 - May 15th 2008||Rest Day||0.00 km|
|Day 14 - May 16th 2008||Yulura||Erldunda||160.34 km|
|Day 15 - May 17th 2008||Erldunda||Stuarts Well||108.05 km|
|Day 16 - May 18th 2008||Stuarts Well||Alice Springs||92.02 km|
|Day 17 - May 19th 2008||Rest Day||0.00 km|
ConclusionThis was an Epic Ride. I went into it with high hopes, but I honestly had no idea really what to expect. I had an absolute ball, it was a ride which on paper can look quiet dull as a lot of people think that there isn't a lot to see in that part of the country. I was very rarely bored on the bike, and I always enjoyed looking around.
Phil and Susan were fantastic, they made sure that everything ran very smoothly. Phil and Susan have organised a lot of rides like this in the past, this was their first time on this particular route, but their experience showed through.
I recognise that a lot of people wouldn't entertain the idea of riding from Adelaide to Alice Springs, but if you were going to drive it, I would allocate at least a week with flexible dates. When driving, a lot of people put the emphasis on the destination, when cycling, the journey is just as important. If you were driving it, there are still plenty of places to stop, even for 10 minutes just to have a look.
It surprised me how well my body was able to hold up to this particular ride, I always knew that it would be hard on several levels. Generally for me, the pace was pretty easy, and the flatness did make it a lot easier.
I met a lot of great people on this ride, I was the only rider who went on it not knowing anyone else, many had either done previous rides (15 had done the Nallarbour Ride last year), or came on the ride with someone else. I was welcomed by all, and I enjoyed riding with all of them.
For anyone who enjoys cycling, I would easily recommend an All Trails event. They are well organised, with good support all the way. The only danger you really have is from being overfed.
I know I will be back for another one.