24 October 2011
Stage 3 on the Road to Melbourne
Phew, this one wasn't easy. We checked the weather forecasts and had an incling, but the conditions today were really challenging. When we awoke this morning it was wet and drizzly. A few riders found punctures even before we rolled out of Robe - we left late hoping the conditions would ease, but no chance. It was wet, a southerly wind, which I gauged at 30 plus knots at times (I sail as well) made it very difficult. When we rolled into Beachport, 50km from the start, we thought morning refreshments would be set up somewhere on a beach in the blowing gale. Relief! We were guided by our guardian angel, Michael, into a coffe shop, with dry towels, and mugs of cappuccino's. This made rolling out for the next stage just a bit easier: the rain had stopped, but the wind was still blowing straight onto our faces. One more puncture had to be addressed before we rolled into Millicent for lunch, set up in a sheltered courtyard, once again thanks to the ingenuity of our support crew. The tuna sandwiches were yum! Then the local press caught up with us, initially intrigued by Bernie's weird costume once more. The trainee journalist had a great chat to Marg, hopefully gaining more publicity for www.headride.com. The final fifty kilometers took an absolute age to come to an end. The incessant wind made communication difficult, the traffic approaching Mt Gambier adding extra challenges to staying in formation - our ave speed today was just 23km/h for the 133km total distance, stretching the cycling time to 5hours 30 minutes, which together with our late start meant we didn't arrive until after 5pm. A hot shower and massage were some consolation for the days hard work. Forecast for our ride tomorrow Is improved, I.e dry, but the wind is set to continue to blow in our faces for one more day. Tomorrow we expect to be past the halfway point to Melbourne by the time we cover the 155km to Port Fairy.