The overriding feeling from today’s ride is “gosh, that was long and hard”. 197kms, and 2000ms of climbing makes for a big day. But the riders did a fabulous job and handled it perhaps not with ease but without falling in a heap.
As usual, the start was in the early morning pre-dawn darkness, with a confusion of riders, bikes, support crew, cars, trailers, vans and lights. But everyone got in the right place at the right time (other than Shep’s bags) and set off on time.
CMI Toyota are proud sponsors of Mercer SuperCycle.
There was a gentle couple of kms to warm up before the first hill of the day out of Apollo Bay. This was a 10km fairly gentle climb up to Maits Rest, for a nice stop in the rainforest. From there, we descended back through the rainforest out into the beautiful Aire Valley (and lots of cows).
Then we had the climb of Lavers Hill to face. 12kms with a lot of 9% gradient (for the non-cyclists, 9% is steep over a sustained distance). Both peloton 1 and 2 managed it without too much of a problem, with the incentive of coffee at the top. After a stop for coffee at Lavers Hill, and with most of the hill climbing behind us, a certain rider in peloton 2 decided that 2kms down the road would be a good place for a rear wheel flat. This means that his bike was put in the car and he got a rest for the next 30kms, as rear wheel flats can’t be quickly (ie in 2 minutes) fixed or replaced without a bike shop worth of rear wheels.
We were treated to incredible coastal scenery just past the Twelve Apostles on Day 3 of Mercer SuperCycle 2018
The pelotons enjoyed the descent down to the Twelve Apostles, and then wrestled with the tourists for a bit of space in the car park for a drink stop. It is quite amazing how many people were there on a Tuesday in March.
From the Twelve Apostles the road started getting flatter, and the wind started going more easterly, becoming more of a help than a hindrance. The views that we could catch from the road were fantastic, especially with the waves being driven by the wind as they were.
Lunch was by the sea in Peterborough, with some gorgeous pies and pasties from the Peterborough General Store Cafe. There wasn’t much time for enjoying the view as we still had 80kms to go and wanted to get there before dark.
After lunch the ride became a little bit of a grind as fatigue set in. Leo helped by getting the music cranked up, and the banter managed to continue. Peloton 2 is taking a group of some strangers and some friends and making a great group out of them. Fortunately the wind continued behind us, which made things both easier and quicker.
Enjoying lunch in Peterborough thanks to the Peterborough General Store and Cafe.
Quick stops at Nullawarre (“The Last Town on the Great Ocean Road”) and Warnambool, before the last 30kms to Port Fairy.
It was long and it was tough, but we got there. After a lovely dinner at the Port Fairy Football and Netball Club we can look forward to 178kms tomorrow to Mount Gambier (with a tailwind).
(and happy birthday Fuzzy!)