22 October 2011
Hearide Stage 1 complete!
The day began with much anticipation, and indeed trepidation in some quarters! Everyone had finally arrived - the final couple of riders arriving at 10.30pm Friday on a delayed flight from Melbourne. After breakfast, activity turned frantic with the vans having to be packed up, bikes undergoing final preps, and the official photo op. We rolled out accompanied by a group of six local riders. The weather, though overcast, was mild, with little wind. We left the suburban streets quite quickly behind us, and soon were on the climb to Mt Barker. The climb of about 14km was the first test, and all passed with flying colours. Mark had a little mishap by rolling into a kerb while not paying attention - but he got back on the bike with little further fanfare. There was only one puncture en-route, and we were most taken in by the constantly changing, spectacular scenery. The winding roads from Crafters down to Aldgate were shrouded in green foliage of trees surrounding the route. Then there were the kilometers if newly sprouted vines on the way to Strathalbyn, then the open fields descending to the Murray pontoon, followed by stunningly pink salt water lakes surrounding the road in parts of the final stretch to Meningie. The ride took us about 6 1/2 hours in total, of which about 5 1/2 was actual riding. Once in Meningie we had a joint recovery session in the waters of the Albert Lake, before reviewing what was a very successful first stage of riding. Tomorrow we head to Robe - at 188km, the longest stage of our ride. Rain is focast early in the day, but NW/NE breezes should push us along to Robe quite nicely. We plan to leave at 7am, for what could be a long day!