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Hi Everyone,


This past Monday I ran out of east-bound road and arrived at the end of my journey, Sydney's Bondi Beach and the Pacific Ocean.


I had set out twenty-five days, and 4026kms/2500 miles earlier from Fremantle, Western Australia and the Indian Ocean.


Due to very limited internet access I wasn't able to update you all more frequently (which you may be happy for). Remember, Australia's roughly the size of the lower 48 US states, with less than 10% of the population.


Since my last, brief update last week, here's what's happened:


The head winds ramped back up, especially as I crossed the barren 200km of the Hay Plain in New S. Wales, the day after my last update. There was a strong high pressure system locked-in off the south coast which created unusual anti-clockwise easterly winds. With nothing to block the strong easterly winds(this is a place where you see tumbleweeds), I was forced to use maximum energy to maintain a depressing 20kph/12.5mph pace.


Five straight days of this was really demoralizing, especially as I'd hoped to finish the last 1000kms strongly, with some big days, as my fitness level was getting pretty high by this point. You have to have a short memory I think, to get back on the bike everyday when it's like this. The increased, accumulated fatigue made my legs feel a bit like lead, especially when starting up again after a stop.


I figure the wind added one to two extra days to the final 1500kms. At least I finally saw some living wildlife; emus, kangaroos and wallabies, and eagles. None of them seemed to be too bothered by the wind.


The last few days before Sydney, the wind started to abate as I left the wheat fields and the plains, and entered the hills of the Great Dividing Range and then the Blue Mts. I put together a few big days here (196k/122mls followed by 225k/140mls), to set things up to be in Sydney on Monday, the 12th.


When I booked my return flight some time back, I, somewhat optimistically, gave myself only 27 days, returning to Singapore on Nov. 14th. I also wanted at least a full day in Sydney to see the sights; so I was now pushing it a bit to make the "crime fit the sentence", so-to-speak.


I only took two rest days, on the 5th and 16th days of the trip. I may have also gotten a bit caught up in that obsession of some east-coast(U.S.) drivers of "making good time", too. In the end, I did make the flight with a day to spare, and got to fly on SIA's new double decker Airbus A380 as well.


The final day and a half were a mixture of good and bad. I was happy that the wind had fallen off, and the scenery had greatly improved over the drought plagued center of the country. I was even enjoying the hills.


Unfortunately, the traffic had really increased, and the roads were perhaps the most unsafe I've ever ridden. Very poor pavement quality and potholes(almost 3rd world-esque), coupled with large stretches of road without a shoulder of any kind, and some huge trucks made this really un-fun.


The only break from this came from the 40kms I spent on the M4 motorway (Sydney's version of I-90). On the final bit through Sydney's CBD to Bondi Beach, I stayed right on the tail of a city bus to blaze a clear path for me as there was no extra space on the side of the road for a bike. Upon reaching the Ocean, I think I mostly felt relief from just finishing these last sections of the ride safely, more than any great elation.


All-in-all, it took twenty-three riding days, and twenty-five days total to do the trip. I averaged 175k/109miles a day on the days I rode.


I got four flat tires, but otherwise had no mechanical issues. Other than the weakness in my hands right now from nerve compression against the handlebars, I feel pretty good, and am looking forward to running again now. My pre-trip issues of neck and knee pain while training, actually improved during the ride. Once your body adapts a bit, it's not as hard as you'd think to spend the whole day on a bicycle.


If you were wondering; no, I didn't have any great any epiphanies during the long hours of riding. I usually occupied my mind with time/distance calculations, listening to my Ipod, the occasional daydream, or thinking about how to adjust my positioning on the bike to relieve some ache or soreness.


Everything really went as smoothly as I could have ever hoped for, and with all of your help, we raised/are still raising quite a bit of money for a great cause. The ride will be a great, life-long memory for me. I, of course, already knew that there's still plenty of good fun to be had after forty, but it's always good to have a success to reinforce it. And, if nothing else, the north(left) side of my body got a great tan.


In the next day or so, I'll get all the needed financial details for all of you who so generously supported me and the Lake Clinic. Knowing that you were behind me DEFINITELY helped me immensely, especially during some of the lower points of the journey. I really appreciated all the messages of support as well.


Perhaps in the next few weeks I'll organize a brief presentation(in Singapore) about the trip.


Gratefully,


Hal (November 15, 2007)