Yesterday was a big one for me. Pushing up those hills and navigating through difficult terrain and dense vegetation for over 70km left me tired. This is one of those days when I give everything I have and ride to my limits, thinking I’ll rest soon. It’s definitely not a sustainable pace.
At 8am I pack up slowly along with the group of backpackers next to me.
A man approaches, a cyclist camping here. It takes me some time to explain I’m riding on dirt tracks once again. Once he has understood what I’m doing he comes back and give me $5 to buy myself a drink in Cooktown. He calls me a hero, that is a first. Different than ‘Crazy’. A little bit later, while I have my face close to my phone to study the maps and route notes, a lady approaches. She met me in Ravenswood. She is happy to see I’m still in one piece and going strong, it’s nice she stopped to say hello.
I’m a little confused with the route ahead, and being tired does not help. Finally I head off and go through a cattle station. It is magnificent. The hills, the greenery, such a change of scenery from Central Queensland.
But I’m very slow, my breakfast is already too far away and digested.
The road is undulating a little until Black Mountain Road which leads to Bump track. It used to be a track for moving supplies from Port Douglas to the range, with bullocks doing the hard work, gaining 500m altitude. Even the first car could not do it and horses were towing the cars uphill.
The track has a rainforest feel. Narrow, shady, humid. I love it. It’s well preserved and good for cyclists, horses and mountain bikes.
At the bottom of the range, the road is flat to the highway along the coast.
I get to the turn off to Port Douglas where I want to spend the weekend. I’ve been to Port Douglas many years ago when I was a freshman in Australia. My heart resonates with this place. I’ve been dreaming about it and I’m very much excited to see the white sandy beach and relax.
In the back of my mind I know that I have some mail is waiting for me in Mossman. I was due to pick it up long ago but I’ve made much slower progress than I thought I would. It’s only 15km away on flat road and I plan to go to the post office and return right away. After 6km riding in heavy traffic on a road with no bike track, I give up. The noise of those heavy machines passing so close to me is terrifying. I want to run away everytime I hear the sound. I feel like a cow. My instinct is working, busy avoiding danger. I can’t take it anymore. Not today, the letter will have to be re routed.
I head back to Port Douglas, take the turn off and start recognising it. It’s familiar. I know where I’m going.
The first thing I need to do once I reach town is to book a service for my bike. Breaking the chain twice in a week is not normal. Something is not right.
The next thing is to find a campsite. To my surprise, it’s all booked up. There is even a waiting list for the campsites. I have never been in this situation before.
I want my warm shower though. I smell like a pig and look like a wild dog.
The only solution is to try the backpackers. It’s not that bad. Different. It does not feel natural, the noise, the business, the modern features. A jump in the swimming pool does help it though. And a beer.
Tomorrow on my to do list is laundry, planning the next leg by calling locals and land owners, contact the media and update the blog. Enough to keep me busy. I might need one more day to chill but I might chill in Daintree village instead. More quiet, the crocs are watching too.