Some people blow across the Nullarbor Plain in a couple of days. Our four MyPOWER cyclists spent a month experiencing every inch of its mesmerising expanse. It’s hard to tell if it drove them crazy, because they were probably a bit crazy to begin with . . .
I’d like to introduce my little friend the Nullarbor Plain. We hear whispers around town of what she’s really like. She can be hot like the desert in the day and get to almost freezing at night.
Her winds can blow like a fire hose onto a burning house. Her sands can be adulterous to our sense of direction. Her roads are as straight as the horizon for as far as the eye can see. Her wildlife capitalises on barren conditions that don’t seem life bearing.
People who’ve crossed her tell us she’s boring, belligerent, brash and brutal – and that’s just the Bs.
Our first five days on the Nullarbor, we experienced the brute of her fiery red sands and blistering sun, each day over 40ºC with no wind for respite and no shelter for cowering under.
Scrambling for a way to cool down, I feel sorry for the one concrete picnic table we found, as four of us lay under it, almost boiling its top off with the evaporation of our sweat.
But these days didn’t last and we found the weather turning like a Lazy Susan. Suddenly we were covered in storms, with wind gusts of 80km/h and temperatures dropping to 15ºC.
We constructed temporary shelters out of our tents and spent a day cringing in our sleeping bags. Surprisingly, though, the conversation between the howling winds, the pelting rain and the nylon of our Kathmandu tents was more captivating than any footy match I’ve ever watched.
It’s amazing that the biggest challenges we endured both physically and mentally were affected by the polarised weather systems we experienced.
Spending so much time on the road and being at mercy to the moods of Mother Nature is motivating and inspiring enough in itself. Maybe it was the delirious headspace we were in, maybe too much time spent on our leather saddles, or maybe from eating cold tuna and pasta for dinner every night – but for us, we wouldn’t trade our experience crossing the Nullarbor for all the money in the world.
Having all grown up in Sydney and travelled up and down Australia’s east coast, none of us had previously experienced the real outback. Our first taste of it was delicious.
The most permanent and vivid memory of this 16,000km trip so far is the rugged beauty and simplicity of the Australian outback. It entices you to reach into yourself and find what really makes you happy. I won’t tell you what that was for me, so get out there, breathe in that fresh desert air and you’ll work it out for yourself.
People drive across the Nullarbor in two days. They tell us it was the two most boring days of their life. We cycled across it for nearly four weeks and it was some of the most stunning, spectacular, surreal and stimulating landscape we’ve ever seen. And that’s just the Ss. – The MyPOWER team.