Day 1 – We Gorged Ourselves on Gorge Road
After a night of tossing and turning, the alarm chimed just as I fell into a deep sleep. Oh for the love of Merckx! I climbed out of my compression tights and into my knicks. Pulled on the Tour de Kids Plus 2012 jersey and after a light breakfast, we were off. It was only a short run from Carl’s place to the caravan park, but it was blowing and cool enough for a set of warmers.
We arrived at the caravan park and the guys were still doing some work on their bikes and eating breakfast. It would be the only time on the trip that I was the first one ready to go. We had a chat, watched some pigeons attempt to increase the pigeon population, watched a duck try and walk through my rear wheel, god I wished I had got a photo of that, but at least Carl saw it as well, and basked in the sunlight.
Eventually, everyone was ready to go. Tony gave us a brief run down of how he wanted things to work, and away we went.
Now you might recall in an earlier post where I talked about the riders, Dave got the nickname Dangerous Dave. This little clip might explain why.
From there it was mostly incident free. Carl and V left us after a while and the ride really felt like it had started. My terrific hosts were leaving me and I was now just part of a group of 7 on a long ride to Geelong. It felt a long way away. The ride up Gorge road was great. It has the name for a very good reason. You wind along next to a running creek (maybe even the River Torrens), with steep walls on either side of you. Here is a small clip very early into the ride.
Then, all of a sudden, a nasty kick upwards. Ouch, it was hard yakka. I sat on Ashley’s wheel to the top where Matt was taking photos over Kangaroo Creek Reservoir. It was a great view after a nice solid climb. We waited for everyone to get to the top, then rolled off for a short run to the white van. A quick stop and we were rolling again. Ups and downs and loads of great views. The first real stop of the day was at Cudlee Creek restaurant and Tavern. I took the opportunity for a nature break as the was plenty of climbing ahead of us. The sign tells the story, the day after the Crows got knocked out of the AFL for the year.
I was starting to wonder if the climb up Norton Summit 2 days earlier was the smartest preparation for this ride. Carl had spoken of Fox Creek and the nasty climb going up there. It is one of the big issues I have when I ride in new areas, not knowing when or where or how hard a climb will be. We veered off Gorge Road onto Cudlee Creek road, and not long after, we turned off that as well, and on to Fox Creek Road. That name again, it must be close. In actual fact, it is a long gradual climb until you hit the main climb, then she ramps up and it is very hard work. Matt was first to the top, so gathered the KOM points. Ashley pulled a gap on me on the way up that I couldn’t bridge. Matt was at the top taking photos. He got one of my favourites of the trip. Me busting my arse near the top.
Dancing on the pedals like Contador after a general anesthetic. It is hard graft dragging my sorry carcass to the top of any hill. Again, we waited for the guys at the back and then it was a thrilling run down the hill into Lenswood. It was time to borrow a jacket. The support van had gone missing. Apparently Wendy had missed a turn, and she wouldn’t be able to forget about it for some time.
A few more bumps, or, boomps, as Matt calls them, in the road and we roll into Balhannan. I was the first to the bakery. A ham and salad roll never tasted so good. Washed down with an iced coffee milk.
After lunch it was more terrific riding. The scenery was great. There were enough hills to make it challenging, but the run down them was great. We stopped next at Langhorne Creek.
Tony busted out a few more corny jokes. I had my first Isotonical water drink of many on the trip. Then, it was a race with the weather. We managed to cover the last 33kms in 57.5 minutes. Considering we had done over 1000m of climbing, it was a great pace. Remember, this isn’t Team Sky I am talking about. It was a cracking pace, and we beat the rain by about 10 minutes.
I had a lay down to stretch out my back that was sore from an incident about a week before. We then went over to the pub for dinner. It was terrific to sit around and tell stories and have a laugh with most of the crew. After a big feed, it was off to bed for another restless nights sleep.
Day 2 summary coming soon.