Aug 26, 2013

Distance today = 51.97 km; Total distance = 25,410.02 km; Location = Dookie (11 km east of) – 36 21.153’ S, 145 47.650′ E; Start time = 0825, Finish time = 1647


Early this morning I received a visit from Jo Barnes, who has been following the journey since she heard of it via the Rabbitohs at the beginning of last year. She has watched as I have run around the world, finally passing through her town.

Dave headed home this morning. It was good to have him along, and to see him set a new record for the most run with me in a single day.

The day was very flat, and the weather was the best I’ve seen in a long while. I ran through field after field of canola, which was shimmering with a yellowness that was almost blinding. At times, the deep green of the wheat gave the canola a fluorescent lime colour.

I finished the other side of the town of Dookie, where the Tour de Bois has previously stopped for a BBQ on several occasions. On my way out of town, I passed the crest of a hill which brought back memories from two years ago.

On that occasion, as we headed up a gentle hill, Reefton Humblewood made a break, desperate to win a stage. The peloton didn’t react, as there was no way Reefton could stay away for 30 km to the finish of the day. He disappeared over the top of the hill, about 200 metres ahead of the peloton.

When we reached the crest of the hill about 30 seconds later, we could see for 3 km along a straight stretch of road – but there was no Reefton. No-one can ride 3 km in 30 seconds, so we smelled a rat.

We reached the finish at St James, with Jimbo winning the sprint and Lance a strong second. But there was Reefton Humblewood, standing at the finish line, claiming victory.

As it turned out, he had hidden in some bushes until the last cyclist passed by, then stopped a truck and hitched a lift to the finish. Luckily he had been seen by an official who had driven to the finish, only to witness Reefton getting out of the truck.

Needless to say, Reefton was immediately disqualified and fined by the committee. However, as the officials came to realise, getting Reefton to part with his cash is easier said than done. He spent the rest of the tour riding in the peloton unofficially. If the Tour de Bois had a police escort, the officials would have had him forcibly ejected from the course. Instead, he endured the jibes of fellow cyclists for his despicable act of cheating.

I finished the day in sunny and still conditions, having again reminisced on a memorable day from a past Tour de Bois.