I always knew this was going to be a tough but an enjoyable ride, I had done a 200k Audax ride in Gippsland last year and had a ball so wanted to make sure I got to this one, even if my legs were completely toasted from finishing the Easter in the Alice only 3 days earlier. I was looking forward to catching up with some great folk, talk bikes and plan adventures and see some beautiful country side, I just had to haul my ass up a heap of long climbs at the same time!!
We got into Yarragon and had dinner at the pub, I had no idea what I’d packing and forgotten to bring. I had packed rather incoherently after an epic travel day – getting home at 1.30am due to my plane being delayed,which subsequently resulted in missing the train home so had to call on the parentals to bring me home! A full day at school with bonus meetings meant I was there in body and not mind!! A great catch up with Gareth and Leigh as we downed some tasty risotto and got an early night.
Up at 6 for a 7am start and it was frosty and FREEZING. It would have been about 3 degrees! We were off and some front runners charged off down the wrong road! That’s why it pays to be at the back so you can just follow others! Pretty soon we hit a climb, a long and steady climb that took us up and gave us a stella view over Yarragon, albeit a misty fog covering the town, it was gorgeous!!
Al had assured me it was ok I’d forgotten my pump (see, told you I would have forgetton something!!) because he would ride with me the whole way….. The first 2.5 hours I didn’t even see him as he cruised up the road chatting to another rider, no doubt asking him loads of questions about Tour Divide!! Lucky for me (and unlucky for him!) I got to ride with a very funny Irishman who kept me entertained, until I hit a pothole and flatted. I yelled out to my mate who was lovely enough to change it for me!! I tried to help with the inflation process but found myself laughing too hard to really contribute!! Who said chivalry was dead…!! I’d still be on the side of that dirt road if he hadn’t of helped!!
First checkpoint was Boolarra at about the 55km mark, where a few other riders were enjoying Big M’s, toasties and potato cakes. Refuelled, and Al and I set off for the next checkpoint. The weather was perfect, we rode with some other riders for a bit of the journey and met up with them again at the next checkpoint in Foster.
Happy to reach Foster, a place I had never been to, we enjoyed a quiche, donut and iced coffee. The sunscreen was out and fluids taken in!! It was certainly starting to warm up!!
The next part of the ride my legs were screaming at me to go home and recover properly, not participate in such a long ride, but my head was feeling good as I enjoyed the epic scenery and quiet roads. Al and I got came into Mirboo North and the temperature was starting to drop as the sun went down. The last leg back into Yarragon was fun but challenging, the cold and dark set in and it was hard to know how many climbs were left or how long the climbs would last. A mars bar was keeping me happy as we dodged a number of wombats who thought running across the road in front of us would be a fun game…
Made it back to the pub in a little over 12 hours, with about 11hours ride time. The ride was spectacular with the quiet gravel roads, epic views from the hills but what makes these rides so enjoyable are the people you meet and the conversations you have. Can’t wait for the next one!!