Madura roadhouse stood in a thick and shady grove of gum trees at the end of the only real downhill we have seen since Norseman. This is Madura Pass. On top of the pass are green gums that end quite suddenly with a grayish, lavender scrub brush that seems to extend into the distance to the horizon, but really will drop off soon into the ocean. That morning, as we took our first stretch break, two cyclist appeared out of the bush. They were Phillipp and Valeska. They are on a considerably longer trip than we are. We were pleased to find out that they had as little sense as us and were going into the wind as we were.
For the next five years they will bike around the world. Thus far, they have biked across Europe and Africa from north to south. They and their bikes looked as if they had gone trough a crucible of hard travel, and they carried nothing but what they absolutely needed making ourselves look somewhat ungainly by comparison.
Judging from our style of bikes (our road bikes to their mountain hybrids), it was like comparing racehorses to hardy welsh ponies. They did not travel as quickly as us, but they also went longer and with fewer stops, and they could keep this up indefinitely. We, on the other hand, had been stopping every 20 km to stretch my knee, and Anthony had become quite used to this.
We met up with them in Madura, lunched with them, and they headed off towards the hottest part of the day. Conversely, we decided to take two easy days to Eucla in order to keep our steady pace with no rest day. Then we had a mishap in communication, and we had to pull out Plan B.