Day 1 of 9 days of riding and camping. we claimed our sleep easy tent, hung the bunting and parked our bikes.
I was gobsmacked to see cattle trucks arriving in the campsite.... the people that came up from Melbourne in buses... this was how their bikes came up!
Queuing became the norm. Queue for breakfast, lunch and dinner, showers, toilets, to wash your dishes and to leave the campsite in the morning to ride! The stats showed that 42 volunteers would serve dinner each night and 500 people each 30 mins would be served.
Each day we rode from a new location, through the gantry to cheers from the smiling volunteers. The school groups in the first few days learnt how to keep to the left and call out when passing and general road rules. The rest of the rabble also learnt how to ride in big groups and the art of communication improved as the days went past.
We rode past Bonnie Doon, over the weir wall. We rode up mountains and down mountains. Infact I found that there was a lot more hills than I expected and challenged us daily.
The beast did me proud. I got my new gatorskin tyres and had no punctures.
We had views of the mountains that we rode up and down
I experienced ALL weather conditions. over 33degrees on a climb with a torrential downpour for the descend complete with marble sized hail stones. Fog came into camp that night and we had stunning thunder storms with lightening displays that caused the school kids to scream.
The towns we stayed in pulled out all the stoppers and welcomed us with open arms. Moyhu was the smallest but the most impressive to me. They had bikes down the road to welcome us, a street festival with music and food and wines.
We encountered gravel roads unexpectedly. Sadly our first gravel road was a detour due to a tragic accident. Our second gravel road was the rail trail just before Yarck and then all the way to Alexandra... about 30km all up. My gatorskins did me proud..... the bike store made a killing that day with inner tube and tyre sales.
On the second night I ate the butter chicken, bad move. I was up from 11pm-2am experiencing something that no one should before they have the biggest mountain to climb. No it wasn't gastro but I rode up the Tawonga Pass with no fuel in the body and feeling like hell. My friend didn't leave my side and I made it up eventually.
Several days later I did feel a lot better and I was able to enjoy my holiday a lot better!
This is the SAG wagon. It wasn't something I was going to catch, and I am proud to say that I didn't take the SAG even when I just wanted to curl up and be somewhere else.
With the day of modern technology brings forth the issue of keeping in touch with loved ones and charging your garmin to record your riding statistics. This was the table in the campsite each afternoon. The volunteers had a system happening and for a few dollars you could leave your devices in safe hands.
Mansfield was our rest day and I spent the day recharging my own batteries ready for the last few days of my ride.
The worst bit of a trip? the massive pile of washing!! I rode 530km in 7 days of riding, I hope to be able to do it all again!