SS5000K: 5000km in 3 days.

Day 1: Newcastle to Ceduna

It was time to stretch my legs and take my Super Tenere for another IBA run with a social agenda, lunch with friends in Mallacoota Vic.  A three day 5000km ride seemed in order.  As I understand it it’s our metric version of the SS3000M or three back to back SS1600K’s with and extra couple of hundred k’s thrown in to round the number out. Last time I did an SS3000M I didn’t know about the SS5000k’s and was few k’s short of that, it felt like an omission.

Time planning was short, I spent a few hours trying to work out something that made sense that would see me arrive in at the check in at Mallacoota without having to ride too many k’s after lunch to get home.  After half a day of trying to sort out routes to squeeze the k’s in I decided to keep it simple. An out and back to Ceduna with a dog leg detour.  To make day 3 simple and unrushed I decided to do the heavy lifting in the first two days.

So up early for a 3am start at the local servo. I met a couple of the local long distance riders there who were there ready to go for an early morning ride after signing my witness forms and seeing me off. Sadly there was no premium unleaded to be had there, so the start location was moved to the Shell at Wallsend. No biggy.

The New England Hwy route through Branxton, Jerry’s Plains, Denman  Merriwa, to Gilgandra has become very familiar to me this year. The ^&%$ roadworks traffic lights are still there just before Denman and I was stopped again! The only time I’ve ever got green there at night I was nearly run down by a semi that didn’t care about the red light his end.

A new fuel strategy saw me fill from a jerry just past Gilgandra for my first stop in Nyngan. I as going to just fill the front tank and use that and the remaining 10l jerry to get me to Broken Hill. My maths isn’t that good so I put 5 litres in the empty jerry and I’m glad I did.  The wind came up and I needed every bit of it!

At the Shell at Broken Hill I was very pleased to see a familiar face. Liz (a long distance pillion) had seen me ride in and stopped to say g’day. Small world really. Leaving Broken Hill, this is still there, waiting, waiting, waiting……..

And the obligatory Border Crossing shot at Cockburn.

I was running off my ride plan for my recent ride to Ceduna and beyond on a CBR250R but my goal for the day was 2000ks and some spare change in 21 hours. I usually reset on dusk in Port Augusta but the sun was still high so I rode through, kept going through Kimba and stopped to reset at Wudinna (filling from the jerry can parked in the servo).

At that stage I was running about 10 minutes ahead of my goal time. Because of the late decision to do this ride I didn’t have time to fatten up before I left so I made the decision to eat more. I usually lose 1 – 1.5kg per day riding at IBA pace. I had two plain hamburgers. I shouldn’t have.

From Wudinna it’s only a short run to Ceduna and I arrived smack on Midnight, 21 hours (minus the 12 minutes wasted changing servos at the start).  The secret to the day for me was that except for an unscheduled self care break at Yunta and taking my time at Wudinna the four fuel purchase and jerry can strategy worked really well in keeping my stopped time right down. Sadly the Etrex went flat at Gilgandra so I can’t analyse that day it properly.

One thing of note in SA at the moment, it’s very dusty.  I seems that it’s crop stripping time, my eyes, nose and throat copped a hiding and you could smell the “organic” dust and see it in the lights.

2000ks or so on day 1. A great day’s ride through familiar territory.

Day 2: Ceduna SA – Broken Hill NSW – Wentworth NSW – Wagga Wagga NSW

Up at 4.30am AEDST  and left Ceduna at 5.15am, 15 minutes behind schedule.  My plan for the day was pretty much to run it on Google Maps time. That means to leave every destination at the time Google Maps said I should arrive.  On wide open rides that works for me because the times seem to be pretty close to the overall average speed I mange without pushing too hard. I allowed some time for a self care/meal stop and had set my target to arrive at Wagga Wagga via Broken Hill at 11.25pm.  Leaving late meant I had to be more efficient.

Back through Wudinna, next time I’ll stop for a photo of that Granite Sculpture. But! I had some time to finally take a pic of the Big Galah at Kimba

And here again for the second time in three weeks or so, almost deja vue.

Heading south past Iron Knob it struck me again how much I love being out here on a bike.  Here’s the view – you had to be there ?.

Moving on back through Port Augusta it came to me that I’ve ridden through here 10 times this year and never stopped for longer than to get fuel and maybe some food.  Then I stopped on the road up to Horrocks Pass to take a pic.  It’s a lovely part of the world here.

Riding up Horrocks I took the opportunity to unsquare the tyres. I rode through Wilmington, Orroroo and this time didn’t miss the turn to Peterborough. I took a couple of layers off at Yunta. The temp was in the 30’s and it was only about midday. Lots of hydration required there and at Broken Hill.
Back in NSW! I usually forget to take a pic here, or it’s dark when I go through.


My plan was to fill both jerrys and ride down through Wentworth and hopefully get to Balranald with one stop filling from both cans.  I whacked Balranald in the GPS and it found a dirt shortcut I had never seen which meant for the IBA certification I’d need to be careful about corner dockets.  I grabbed one at Buronga.

I also decided to get the docket because my fuel economy on that leg allowed me to push through to Hay South. At 584ks’ on the map it would be over 600ks on my odo. So for my own peace of mind I decided not to tempt fate for the sake of 4 minutes and a cold drink on a day which had hit 35 degrees.

I arrived in Hay just after dark after receiving a liberal coating of small bugs. I refueled, cleaned my visor, lights and made the mistake of having two steak sandwiches. Last night’s lesson had not been learned yet. Anyhow they tasted good.  As usual I was warned about the roos at night at the servo but I didn’t see one between Hay South and Gillenbah. I did see one between there and Wagga. Time on the docket at Wagga 11.25pm exactly.  I have to admit that I stopped at the first servo I saw! 1732ks including stops in Google Maps time.  You should try it, it’s fun.

Once again the Super Tenere proved its mettle as a distinguished mile muncher, 3700ks in 2 days, easy!

Day 3: Wagga Wagga NSW – Mallacoota VIC, Newcastle NSW

I set the alarm for 4.15am with the intention of leaving Wagga at 5am on my Super Tenere.  I had a drama with the facilities in the hotel and ended up leaving 15 minutes late again.  I really have to work harder at my longer breaks! The sun cam up heading into Adelong and then it was time to unsquare the tyres on the Snowy Mountains Hwy. It was going to be busy up here today, the Snowy Ride was on but it was my intention to stay as clear of it as possible.

My first stop was Cooma for fuel and tank bag snacks then rode Bombala, Imlay Road (great little ride there) and down to Mallacoota. I grabbed some fuel and headed for the pub and lunch with friends.  No rush to leave as home was only 777ks away and I had 15 or so hours available to get there and still qualify for the IBA SS5000K. Being ahead of time was the whole reason I decided to do the bulk of the riding in the previous two days.

Here’s the main street at Mallacoota, The Super Tenere is in there somewhere.

I had a great time chatting, talking about riding with my friends old and new.  Meetings like this are fun and the chicken schnitzel chips and salad at the pub were great. But I shouldn’t have had them.  When it was time to leave (30 minutes before my planned time) and I was trying to get ready to get back on the bike it struck me that this unusual break in the ride rhythm was a bit of a drama.  I have a fuel stop process, a motel/overnight process  so I do most of that without thinking.  Everything in the same place, everything done in the same order.

I don’t have a stop for a long lunch and chat process and I was still on the clock.. Securing my stuff and the bike meant that when it was time to leave I opened everything looking for it. I put my helmet on 3 times by the time I realized I hadn’t put my beanie on, then my ear plugs. It was a disaster. Anyone watching me would have thought I was a complete idiot.

As fun as the Imlay Rd is I was out of sorts wondering if I’d forgotten anything else and realised I had forgotten to take some layers off (my pre afternoon reset) and was overheating.  I made it to Bombala and had a vision of an Angel sitting outside a coffee shop with a drink and an ice block. I did a U-Turn, ordered a coffee, some water and baked cheese cake and sat down with one of the guys who had left Mallacoota before me and was taking a break. We had a nice chin wag while I got my head and body back together.  I still had plenty of time up my sleeve from my earlier than expected departure from Mallacoota.

The other rider offered to lead the way back through Cooma and on to Canberra where he would see me around the traffic and on to the Federal Hwy.  Having someone take the front for a while is pure heaven on a long IBA run.  You don’t have to think about speed or direction. You can be a little less focused and even enjoy the view.  It was a huge rest for the mind and I really appreciate your help buddy (you know who you are).

During that part of the run despite stopping for fuel along the way I made up at least 10 minutes on the ride plan despite the roadworks.  Back on the Federal Hwy it was white van race day so I did some strategic drafting and made good time to Sutton Forrest for my last fuel stop.

It had dropped to 25 degrees, it was just on dusk so I layered up.  I’ve made this mistake before. As I dropped into Sydney it jumped to 28.  A layer correction and coffee and cake were in order at Macas at Thornleigh. The incompetent Yabby Pump taking orders and making coffee saw a stop I thought would take 8 mins took more like 20! Any time I’d made up and a bit more were blown but I was still not in any hurry, just a touch frustrated with time wastage.

An uneventful ride back home to the local servo at Lambton with a docket time of 10.28pm.  My plan was 10.25.  The one thing I hadn’t planned on was that my traditional end of ride docket purchase, a twin pack Cherry Ripe, only cost $1 on special. Awesome! A perfect end to a good few days on the Super Tenere. 5070KM in less than three days. SS5000K conquered.