Smacked in the face by a persistent headwind, the landscape appears endless.
Reverberations from the coarse bitumen are felt up the handlebars, with some relief from the countless snaking repairs across the road.
Only the most hardy cattle graze this country.
This is unforgiving country.
And this is an unforgiving sprint triathlon. It's also one of the most unusual locations to find the sprint distance challenge over three disciplines.
Julia Creek sits in the heart of the Outback. About 300km from Mt Isa, it's hot and dusty.
Every April, the town of about 600 people swells into the thousands for the annual triathlon, which is part of the weekend-long Dirt N Dust Festival - and it's awesome fun.
While the distances of an 800m swim, 25km ride and 5km run don't intimidate the seasoned athletes, the conditions do. Sweltering temperatures make this among the toughest of sprint triathlon tests.
Competitors of varying experience, age and fitness face the challenge each year.
Impressive prizemoney also helps lure some big names, who gun for the $2500 open category winner's cheque.
Generous rewards also exist for the age group and teams that place in their sections. Getting on to the podium takes some ticker.
Athletes begin their day in the heart of Julia Creek, where bikes are loaded on to a cattle truck for transport to the start - 20km away at Eastern Creek. Competitors and spectators follow on buses and the usually serene tributary becomes a thriving thoroughfare.
The creek is surprisingly cold for its origins. After this year's recent rains the temperature plummeted to about 18 degrees.
Swimmers head downstream through the murky water before rounding a buoy and heading back to the bridge, which was lined with spectators at the gun.
Once back on the bank, the real challenge begins. The ride back to Julia Creek is tough, challenging and arduous.
Each year, a prevailing headwind, combined with rising temperatures, has the ability to exhaust the strongest of cycling legs.
Sighting the Julia Creek water tower is a sign that the battle is almost won, and after a quick loop through town, the next encounter begins.
Three laps of the main street complete the race. Getting the job done is a struggle against the elements.
Heat rises from the bitumen and the only relief comes from the volunteers handing out water and wet rags along the journey.
There's a brilliant atmosphere in the Julia Creek main street to help get you through. Cheering, whistling, and even the odd singing cowboy on a guitar all help make the Dirt N Dust an unforgettable experience.
And to celebrate getting the job done, you can head to the races.
But it doesn't stop there. As the sun sinks and the dust settles, the town comes alive with a bull ride and after-party.
■ The writer was a guest of Tourism Queensland.
Motels and villa accommodation is available in town, and packages are also available to stay in "Tent City" at the caravan park. Visit www.queenslandholidays.com.au.
More information at http://www.dirtndust.com.au.
Located within walking distance to the township of Eton and the Primary school this allotment offers country living yet close to all the amenities. Only 20 mins...
The owners of this unique property claim it with pride. It is where time slows down, there's time to relax and time to take in the beautiful surrounds. Just 10...
Built in 1987, this vast family home has stood the test of time.... And is now in need of a new owner to provide some much needed TLC. Located only a 15 minute...
Situated on a large, level 839m2 block, this three bedroom home is perfect for the first home owner, the retiree or the investor. Neat and complete with high...
Enjoying a peaceful family-friendly setting, this striking four bedroom residence combines a functional design with open-plan spaces that extend from indoors to...
An excellent opportunity exists to live or invest in popular West Mackay, positioned within walking distance to the base hospital, shops, schools and just 4 km's...
Don't miss this opportunity to own this Lanai Apartment, walking distance to restaurants and shopping set beside the beautiful Pioneer River this apartment offers...
Nearly 800 acres of beautiful Eungella with year-round running creek plus spring-fed creek. 5kms from Chalet. Country ranging from semi-open ridges to mountain...
Have you been looking for a small acreage within 20 minutes drive of Mackay CBD? This spacious 3 acre allotment is just off the Bruce Highway to the south of...
Perfectly located...this lovely home is set in a quiet no=through street and is only a short drive to the CBD, schools and the Mt Pleasant Shopping precinct. The...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.