The Mawson Trail – always different, always something unexpected, always an adventure. We had organized by various methods to leave our cars in Kapunda and ten of us were ready to start the trail in Nuriootpa. Derek, our main support driver, took this photo of us at the start.
The first couple of kilometres were along Murray Street in Nuriootpa – there was a wide bike lane and the traffic was light. Then we crossed the Sturt Highway and immediately we were out in the bush. A couple of heavily-laden cyclists overtook us while we had a drink in the shade.
The trail turned left on to Carrara Hill Road. We noticed that the touring cyclists were going straight ahead. We hoped they knew where they were going but they were already too far away for us to call out.
The track was sandy in places – Murray took a spill but was soon back on his bike.
There was a crest at Heintze Road and then a bit of a descent to the corner of Carrara Hill Road and Marble Quarry Road. Derek, Wayne and Kenji the dog were there to meet us and check that we were all OK.
Simone and Karen were feeling tired – the track was hillier than I had remembered and the sandy terrain was challenging in places. We said goodbye to Derek and headed up another incline.
Soon, as we faced another hill, Simone and Karen decided they were beat. I used my satellite phone to contact Derek who luckily had enough mobile reception to know that we needed help. Derek and Wayne were soon on the spot to give the girls a lift and transport the bikes. It’s disappointing to have to opt out of a ride, but it’s important to know when you’ve had enough.
When Simone saw the next hill from the car she knew she had made the right decision. Soon we turned onto the Murphy Track. This section had been a bit muddy last time I rode it but was in reasonably good condition on this occasion.
Meanwhile it was getting towards mid-day and was around 33 degrees. There was not much shade now. Di and I needed a food break so we stood in the shade to eat. We didn’t dare sit down as there were some very large ants in the vicinity.
Our support drivers met us next at St John’s Catholic Cemetery about five kilometres out from Kapunda. Some of the graves dated from the 1840s.
Then we were off again on Reformatory Road.
From the top of the hill there was a lovely view towards Kapunda and an enjoyable roll down towards the Light River crossing.
We were all feeling the heat and the males of the group were ahead of us. On Mary McKillop Walk they decided to head off on the Kidman (horse) Trail. We saw Murray disappearing off to the left so I phoned Des. Fortunately there was mobile reception and soon the breakaways were back with us. The Kidman Trail sign is a bit similar to the Mawson Trail sign (well that was their story…).
There was one last climb, a view across to the Kapunda Mine and a welcome recovery coffee and snack at the Kapunda Bakery.
We had cycled 24.7 km and climbed 155 metres. With the heat and uneven track it had seemed like more, but that’s part of what it is to be on the Mawson Trail – always a challenge, but always worth it. A special thank you to our support drivers Derek and Wayne, who made a big contribution to such an enjoyable day.