On the weekend following the Oppy I was undertaking the Wangaratta Wahine 1000K (volunteers ride) in the company of ride organiser Chris Rogers and Jim Chant, both of who were doing the 1200k option. The weather was great, quite mild during the days and nights which was fortunate as severe winds had done considerable damage in some nearby areas only a few days before. The ride was a series of loops out of Wangaratta. The only issue I had on this ride was that the sealed bearing in my Kysrium front wheel started to fail and emit all sorts of grinding and squealing noises every time I built up a little speed when the road angled down. It could only be suppressed by slowing down to about 5kph before resuming normal speed. It held up sufficiently to complete the ride in just under 66 hours
Chris and Jim at Yarrawonga
I then rode a 100k permanent on the next weekend to keep things ticking over.
Then good mate Steve Xerri's Rock to Lock 200 was on up at Lancefield. This was a ripper ride. I spent the bulk of the ride in the company of Steve, Leigh Paterson and Frank Zgoznik. The weather was great, the company was great and course was great.
I followed up with the Blackgate Saunter 150k from Geelong which was toughend up by a fair bit of wind and plenty of climbing around Torquay and in the Barrabools.
Finally a trip over to Victor Harbor SA where I got in one training ride then moved on to Belair for a few more rides in the hills before the start of the Geelong Flyer 1000 from Blackwood on Anzac Day. 21 starters was a good turn out for Peter Donnan's well planned ride. The first part of the ride was foggy and damp but the day cleared before we reached the first checkpoint at Milang. Then a strong westerly wind was pushing riders along up to 40 kph at times on the way to Wellington checkpoint which was then followed by the ferry crossing of the Murray River.
Joel on the ferry crossing the Murray River at Wellington
It was tougher going for the rest of the day as the wind shifted more southerly and even a bit more rain greeted me around Kingston on the way to the sleep stop at Robe. The second day was warmer and a little humid but Millicent, Mount Gambier, Nelson and Portland checkpoints came and went. The traffic for me was the more challenging part of this days ride. I found myself more mentally than physically tired when I arrived at Warrnambool a bit after 9 pm.
Arriving at Nelson on Day 2
Morning light at the Bay of Islands on Day 3
The final day had stops at Port Campbell, Beech Forrest, Apollo Bay before the finish at the 24 hour cafe in Geelong. Again it was warmish and humid and a howling northerly was a real challenge atop the Otways.
I pulled in to the finish with an elapsed time of 63 hours and thoroughly enjoyed a pizza and a good chat with Howard Dove who had finished just before me.
Special thanks to my family who traveled with me on the Flyer, be it they were in the car.