Last weekend we had a fantastically fun weekend riding through the Strzelecki Ranges in Gippsland, it was an amazing event through spectacular terrain and the people we met were so ridiculously rad!! We stayed at the Yarragon Motel and met up with a couple of other Audax rider, including the lovely Gareth and Leigh who organised and ran the event. 2 of the other guys we were eating with had ridden the 150k’s to the event from Melbourne….as you do!!!
Met up with the rest of the crew at the Yarragon Hall at 6am where Audax had a spread of delicious breakky including plunger coffee, this is where we met Jesse – 2nd at Tour Divide this year and Liam -4th at TD, 2 guys we facebook stalk all the time and were super excited to meet! They had left work at 5pm and also ridden from Melbourne, in the rain, separately, and arrived in Yarragon at 1am and slept out in the rain. Nuts! Hardcore!!!
The next 12 hours were super hard and super fun. We climbed, and climbed, and climbed, then climbed some more. I got to ride with some other really interesting and cool people like Hugh who had also raced in TD this year. We rode the Giant cyclo-cross bikes through a lot of dirt roads on Grand Ridge Road and got smashed on the top of the ranges by torrential rain, then smacked in the face with a vicious head wind. We were loving it!!! The legs were screaming, I was pedaling like mad trying to hang on to the wheel of these crazy dudes I so desperately wanted to keep chatting to, laughing with and learning from! I did not want to have ride the next 100k by myself so dug deep to stay on!!
Leigh and Gareth had setup a couple of food stations along the way which were awesome, salad rolls, bananas and lollies were a welcome treat but it was hard to stop as it was just too cold! The course was spectacular and the company awesome, we rolled in at the 210k mark after a gnarly descent to be greeted with friendly faces, a massive baked potato, creamed rice, fruit salad and custard and beers. Awesome event!! A big thanks to Audax, Leigh and Gareth, and thanks to Liam, Hugh and Jesse for sharing your TD stories and apologies that you had Al and I constantly barraging you with questions!! Also, apologies for the lack of photos whilst riding, the rain/wind prevented me from being able to get my phone out to take photos!!