Day 6 - Geraldton to Kalbarri 157km

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My Stats.
Distance: 161 km's
This was because I followed Archie to the end of the road literally. It was quite nice to turn around and have a tail wind. We got a wee bit lost okay, but the map was in English and Archie is a Scot. Thanks Archie.
Average Speed: 15.79km/h
Max Speed: 46.49km/h
Climbing: 1226metres
Descending: 1179metres
Riding time: A very very long time
Temp Min: Cool to Cold
Temp Max: Hot
Wind: Relentless and near cyclonic headwinds for the first 145km with a brief Crosswind at the 30k mark - from 145 km to the end it was Mother Nature vs The Peloton.
Road Kill: 2 Cats, 1 Echidna, 1 Rabbit, a few kangaroos and 2 shoes.

This morning Kerryn asked me to write the blog, sure I say, can't be too hard, lots of zinc, relentless headwind and a lot of dry barren land badly in need of a drop of rain.

If the dice turns up a great day you can count your lucky stars. When the dice are not on your side then the alternative can be ... Hmmmm interesting.

I expected a warm day with a few crosswinds and hoped for a good strong headwind for some of the ride. I'm sure there are a few other cyclists out there that just love to buckle down into a strong headwind. I relish this with a passion. I love the bursts of wind where I can dig deep and laugh at Mother Natures attempt to slow me down.

Mother Nature laughed and proceeded to began to hurl everything she could at the peloton, and she did this in abundance. The wind was extreme and at times we were barely holding 13kph on the flat. I struggled to get 17kph downhill!!!

Regular breaks were planned for and counted down kilometre by kilometre. Riding hour after hour directly into the headwind did not stop the pedalling force of the riders.

Eventually after 140 kilometres, we ran out of water as we'd missed the water left on the side of the road.

I believe given the strength of the wind the water and table were last seen blowing across a field south of Perth. I could be wrong. I've since learnt the water was actually stolen. The sky had darkened and it was now a race to beat the rain and the last of the daylight to get into Kalbarri.

Mother Nature again laughed. She began hurling stronger cyclonic winds at us and eventually the heavens began pelting rain into our faces. It felt like hail and tasted very salty, surely this was all she had. A few tired battle weary and shivering riders decided around 150 km that tomorrow was another day. I have great respect for those who choose to get into the vehicle at this stage after such an epic a battle.

Onward: The last hour of the ride and Mother Nature decided to up the ante. I could not believe this was possible. We were all soaking wet. But this was nothing. The crosswinds were so strong that all our bikes were on a constant lean, the crosswinds became so intense that we looked liked we'd all had one too many Espresso Martinis.

Eventually we arrived although we didn't know this initially because the rain was so heavy it was difficult to see. I actually thought the road was flooded at one point.

Of course as we finally turned into the Main Street the rain stopped. Incredibly, as a reward we are treated to one of the most spectacular and brilliant rainbows I've ever seen. Tough Days Riding - For me this one ranks Highly!

I can't tell you how incredible proud I was of this group of people whom I have only just met, as a whole as they just sucked it up and got on with the job. For them to show this fortitude so early in the piece was just unbelievable!

Behind the scenes the AllTrails team were rushing to empty vehicles to begin ferrying cold tired and weary riders, fixing bikes and basically keeping us moving to ensure we got in safely, albeit wet.

If anyone out there is reading this that has a rider doing the ride, today showed every rider to have a strength of character that you can be proud of. I'm grateful for the late start from the Bottlemart tomorrow. This gives me time to dry my shoes. As I typed this blog a number of branches came down around the villa and the wind howled.

It is now late and the town has lost power. Mother Nature laughs, but what a day. Best day ever. (Now)

Richard Cooke