Wow.. huge weekend of racing up hills. Not for me, but I was able to tag along with my buddy Trevor Coulter who was racing in Master 6+ in the Tour of Bright. It is usually the logistics of organising such a weekend that is my undoing, so when Trev had transport & accommodation all sorted, all I needed to do was get a couple of days annual leave from work and home duties and I was in. There was also a moment when I thought, maybe I could pin a number on, but in the end that sounded all too hard and opted for a part soigneur role, part touring cyclist & part photographer. A much more enjoyable and relaxed combination for sure.
We arrived at Bright around 1:00pm on Thursday and checked into the Porpunkah Bridges Caravan Park and met up with Frank Nyhuis for a reconnaissance ride around tomorrows time trial course. Frank is racing in Masters C and is in really good form and was riding full blast. Trev too is peaking after a great handicap last week at Broadford and his Tour of Tassie. I was huffing and puffing just trying to hang on which only vindicated my decision to not race.
The morning of the Time trial, I managed to sneak off and ride up Buffalo. It was a magic ride with the sun out, blue skies, great views and the wind whistling thru the trees. I made it back in plenty of time and to step up camp at the Porpunkah round about to see if I could get some good shots.
Stage 1: Time Trial
Trev’s Masters6+ were first up kicking off at noon and I was still out there taking pics till around 4:00. I estimate that I must have done around 700 squats as I tried to catch the action coming at me from both directions. Laurie Tennant too was very busy; not only holding up the Porpunkah sign, he was recording time splits of every rider in and out of the round about & writing them down into his trusty spirax notepad.
The M6+ was an all star field with some of the who’s who of racing. Wayne Hildred from Bright Velo was the local favourite. Justin Mollison back to racing after recovering from a serious accident just weeks after winning last years event. The other place getters of Mal Dow, Ross Hodgson, Noel Jacobs and Frank Donnelly too were all back. Gerard Donnelly just moved into the M6+ category and was looking to add a ToB victory to his lengthy palmares. To say Trev was little anxious would be an under statement.
Big Jim Timmer-Arands took the Time Trials honours by covering the 13.5k course in a time of 19:12 which is an average speed of 42km/h. Ross Hodgson was 22 seconds back followed by Gerard, Wayne Hildred and then Frank Donnelly. Trev stopped the clock on 20:31 giving him 8th place, however the time deficit to Big Jim was 1:18.
Toni Horne, would have been a top 10 finisher, missed the start and conceded more than 2 minutes before turning a pedal. He was sitting in 28th position with over 3 minutes he had to make up in the next 2 stages.
Men’s A Grade were up next with Matt Clark opened up proceedings setting the standard with a mark of 17:30 which was not beaten. Flick Wardlaw won the Anchor Point A Grade women in a time of 18:50
Shane Miller won the Masters A Grade time trial in a time of 17:34 which would have given him 2nd place in the Mens A Grade. John Cain was top dog in Masters B Grade and all round nice guy David Phillips took the honours in Masters C Grade.
Stage 2: Towonga Gap
Another beautiful morning set the scene for the stage 2. I made it to the start, took a few happy snaps and then headed to the top of Towonga Gap to catch the hill top finish. I bumped into Nigel from Eastern Vets along the way and enjoyed his company as we meandered the 14km climb just in time to catch the end of Masters 6+.
The race was decided in a 4 man sprint with Toni Horne winning by a bike length from Graeme Spratt, Wayne Hildred and then Gerard. Doug Renyolds 5th, Ross Hodgson 6th & Trev pinching himself in 7th place.
After the issues with timings were finally resolved (there were rumours Laurie’s spirax notepad was required) Gerard moved into the GC lead with a 2 second lead over Wayne. Trev was very happy with his race and moved up into 5th place overall.
In Womens A Grade, Miranda Griffiths looked pretty comfortable when she crossed the line for win. Teresa Fabey was 1:37 behind in 2nd while Sam De Ritter dug deep for 3rd place narrowly ahead of Jo Hogan.
In B Grade, Jay Phillpotts and Sam Gifford were locked in a tight battle with Jay prevailing. Mitch Neumann rounded out the podium for 3rd.
In Masters A, Alex Davey had a classy win to pip Michael Gallager by 5 seconds followed by Alex Gardner, Cam Clamp & Arron Knight.
In Masters C, Frank Nhyuis was looking to repeat his BawBaw tactics by getting into a break and building an unassailable time gap. He teamed up with Craig Keene, who was looking for sprint points and they were soon joined by Rod Upton and Dave Tennant.
Frank was keen to drive the break hard to keep the bunch at bay, however he did not count on Ironman Triathletes, Steve Guy & Brad Jones, who not only bridged to them but then rode away to take first and second respectively. Frank tried valiantly to latch on, however this effort cost him dearly as DT was able to secure 3rd place with Frank in 4th.
We bumped in to Carey Hall earlier on in the day and he was up in Bright specifically to contend the SprintFest. The Australian Champ was the fastest guy in Bright last year which was a very nice little earner for his efforts. Multiple grades this year with Shannon Johnson & Luke Parker going head to head as were Nicole Whitburn & Jenny Macpherson.
Stage 3: Mt Hotham
Another picture perfect day for the Mt Hotham. I drove up and found a spot to take a few pics. Plenty of other doing it too. Pretty hard to take a bad shot in these conditions.
— ClassixRacingTeam (@ClassixRacingTM) December 2, 2013
The A Grade men were first up and it was Ben Dyball taking the victory well clear of Robert Powell. They were then followed by Chris Hamilton, Brendan Canty with Matt Clark the overall GC winner in 5th.
Miranda was definitely the “Queen of the Mountain”. She received maximum points on all climbs and was almost 2 minutes clear of Jo Hogan and Flick Wardlaw.
Alex Davey dropped a chain early on in the climb and thought he was out of the Masters A Grade race. However he ground his way back into contention and notched up his second win for the weekend. Aaron Knight, Cam Clamp & Michael Gallagher raced shoulder to shoulder Aaron getting 2nd and Cam 3rd. However Michael’s consistency over the 3 stages earned him the overall win for the Masters A.
In Master C Grade, attacks started almost immediately as they hit the base of Hotham. Once again it was Brad Jones & Steve Guy who were in the thick of it as they broke away over the Meg.
Steve Guy, the 556kg elite runner/triathlete then put on an awesome display of power and rode away with it to win his first road race. In the last 1km Dave Tennant & Dom O’Loughlin were trailing Brad by about 30meters. DT was able to bridge across to Brad & the race was on for 2nd. Brad held on for 2nd, DT 3rd with Dom in 4th.
In Masters 6+, Roland Eldson must have been saving a bit in the tank as he was able to win the final stage from the impressive Toni Horne. Behind was Gerard and Ross still giving it their all with Ross winning the battle for 3rd, however Gerard won the war by taking GC Honours.
Trev felt great and did manage to snag a couple of KOM points early. His plan was to keep an eye on Frank and try to protect his 5th position overall. However there were a number of contenders vying for a top 5 result including Doug Renyolds who jumped up to 4th after coming 5th on the stage. Toni also moved up the GC ladder into the coveted 5th place and must be ruing the time lost in stage 1. Trev’s 8th place on the stage slotted him into 6th place on GC. A sensational result.
- Justin Gassner (Men A Grade) via Peleton Cafe
- Keith Leonard (Men B Grade)
- Nick Liau (Men C Grade) via The Climbing Cyclist
- Cam Clamp (Masters A) via Peleton Cafe
- Shane Miller (Masters A Stage 1)
- Verita Stewart (A Grade Women)
- Von Micich (B Grade Women)
- Rob Merkel (Masters C) via Peleton Cafe
- Pelton Cafe Photography
- Brian Mango Photography
- My Pics
The radar looked clear, however the windscreen wipers told a different story as we headed towards Broadford to Northern Cycling‘s ”Ex-President Mountain Goat Classic” handicap in honour of Warren Smith. And as has been the case the last couple of times we have crossed the Mt Macedon ranges, we arrived at the Glenoura CFA in bright sunshine and perfect racing conditions.
All up a small but dedicated bunch of around 30 riders were competing for a prize purse generously boosted by Woodards Real Estate. Paying down to 8th, plus fastest and first un-placed female meant that the odds of getting a return was a handy 1 in 3. Not that we are in it for the money.
There was a slight twist to this race with the handicaps not only issued on time but on the distance. The club’s handicapper, Bruce Logan, did an extraordinary job and set up a spectacular race where every rider had a chance to get in the results.
Unfortunately, or not, I was fulfilling my club duties and was assigned to driving the lead car. My job was to guide the 20 minute bunch of four riders around the 57km circuit. However, four quickly became three as Mark Collins found the early hills a little too much.
After around 15km of racing, the rolling hills near the traditional Broadford finish line saw David Watts drop off the pace which left John McKinnon and Stephen Saunders to soldier on as a duo.
From the rear view mirror it looked like John was doing it easy and was nursing Stephen through the hills and encouraging him to do turns when he could. The lads were working well and managed to keep it together after the completion of the big loop (33km) and the first of two of the smaller loops (12km) and now had to catch the remaining back markers who were doing one less small loop.
Ian Buckingham was riding well and was able to latch on to John and Stephen as they came thru. Sites were now set on the green socks up the road of Terry Duggan.
It looked like it would be a formality with 3 guys working together to pull back Terry. However it was the School House Rd climb which proved the difference. Terry spun his way up the hill seated, while the chase group splintered with Stephen, the sole survivor, muscling his way up & over the climb.
Terry opened up a considerable gap which Stephen now had to close down by himself. It was agonising to watch as Stephen slowly but doggedly reduced the margin over 5km of chasing to catch Terry inside the last km.
Stephen rolled past Terry within a stone throw of the finish and it looked like he would power away for the win. However, Terry still had some fight left and managed to grab Stephen’s wheel as he came thru and make it a sprint for the line which he narrowly won by half a wheel. It was an amazing effort by both guys.
Meanwhile Trev Coulter, who just got back from a Cycling Tour of Tassie, was in a 3 man chopping block group defending a 2 minute start on the 4 man scratch group. Scratch caught chopping block at around the 17km mark which then went on the catch the remains of the 7 & 10 minutes bunches at 37km.
The pace had been lifted a few notches and Trev was still there doing his fair share to help chase down the back markers. 2nd time up School House Rd, Agostino, still in the big ring launched a big attack in a bid to whittle down the size of the bunch. Trev’s anticipated the move and was quick to respond and managed to make the break.
Shayne Kirby & Michael Borowski also made it across and managed to catch Ian Buckingham inside the last km and were racing for third. Shayne won the close sprint for 3rd with Agostino 4th, Michael 5th and Trev 6th. Ian Buckingham held on for 7th with Darren Roberts in 8th. First un-placed woman went to Christine Foster.
Warren Smith’s 4 years at the helm of the club was recognised and he in his proficient style handed out the trophies, medals and envelopes to all the place getters. Hell of a nice bloke and one of the reasons as to why I joined the club. As always Northern Cycling put on a great race on a challenging circuit and with good handicapping had something for everyone. I was so lucky to be in the right place at the right time to see the action.
Thanks to Tony Quick for providing the following race report from the 10 minute bunch.
Woke up to grey clouds, rain showers and a reasonable degree of chill in the morning air. After completing my usual race morning routine and preparations I headed out toward Hume Hwy where conditions didn’t get any better and looking as far as the eye could see in all directions it didn’t look like improving. The Northern Cycling FB post showing dry Broadford roads and the local weather forecast for the day did give me some hope that a dry race was still possible, only time would tell.
Arriving at the Glenaoura CFA Station race day volunteers were being briefed, usual queue at the registration table and competitors chatting about their mark, bunch strengths, weather conditions, course challenges and those hills. Considering the additional prize money put up by Woodards Real Estate competitor numbers were low but still included some quality riders like Shane Kirby, Ag Giramondo, club champion Michael Borowski, Phil Bramich and Trevor Coulter to name a few.
With my race numbers pinned on, bike prepared, refreshments and food on board it was time to warm up before heading to start line with seasoned campaigners Ian Ravenscroft and David Brown, Seymour CC regular Warren Osborne, new members Terry Dwyer and Christine Foster to form the 10 minute bunch.
Heading out for our first and only lap of the very undulating Broadford-Glenauora, Broadford-Sugarloaf Creek and Pyalong-Seymour Rd circuit David Brown got everyone organized into rolling turns and keeping together up the many ascends.
The opening 26km of the big loop went relatively smooth with everyone doing their share of the work, block and cross winds, passing vehicles, a brief rain shower and even an encounter with a stray sheep did little to interfere with the bunch tempo. We passed our first limit rider approaching the floodway and climb on Broadford-Sugarloaf Creek Rd and once we turned onto Pyalong-Seymour Rd the cross block wind put pressure on the bunch with a few turns being missed here and there as riders struggled to maintain the tempo.
David Brown punctured in the first 2km’s of the School House small loop however the bunch continued to work together as we plunged down to the floodway and started the climb up High Camp-Seymour Rd for the first time. Rolling turns continued into the wind as we made our way back to the start finish line recovering and re-fuelling whenever the road went downhill. As we turned left onto Pyalong-Seymour Rd we caught sight of a fast approaching bunch passing the CFA Station, the catch was imminent it was just a question of whether anyone in our bunch could make the jump.
On the climb toward High Camp Rd turn off for the last time we passed several limit riders and Dave Watts from the 20 minute bunch but with couple bunches riding the shorter 41km course it was difficult to determine how many more riders were up the road.
A small bunch containing scratch and couple other riders from 2:00 and 6.30 marks scorched passed about 1km from High Camp Rd turn off and Christine jumped out from the middle of our bunch in pursuit and to her credit she bridged 80mt gap to get herself on the back just before the turn.
I hesitated initially but decided this was probably my best chance for high place finish, provided i got over the School House climb in reasonable condition. With my head down biting the bars and heart pumping out of my jersey I managed to close the gap to about 40mts and then realized I still had to get over School House climb so it was time to sit up and conserve energy.
As I watched the scratch bunch crest School House climb about 100mts up the road a fast approaching Pete Knight from 6:30 bunch caught and passed me about 30mts from the top with Ian Ravenscroft and Warren Osborne not far behind. Pete wasn’t stopping to take on passengers and opened up a good gap after the turn into Pyalong-Broadford Rd but I’d recovered enough to bridge and gave him the nod that I was ready to work to the finish.
A couple km’s before the last left hand turn into Broadford-Glenauora Rd, a strong rider on a notable Specialized Tarmac thundered past with Ian Ravenscroft locked on his wheel and then me and then Pete. With the number 5 pinned to his jersey I knew he was from the scratch bunch so it was a good but difficult wheel to hold and eventually Pete then Ian dropped off by the time we turned left to head for the finish line.
It took all my effort to keep on this wheel as we passed couple more of the limit riders on the approach to the line and without knowledge of how many riders had finished before us I decided to use what little energy I had left to come around the outside and sprint to the line. 11th overall and pretty happy with that result on a course suited to the climbers.
It turned out the ‘freight train’ (rider) wearing number 5 was Phil Bramich and to his credit as we rolled on past the finish line we engaged in a healthy conversation about sitting on, racing etiquette, ‘Rookie’ racers and how the knowledge and experience of the clubs seasoned racers can be used to educate new members. Thanks Phil.
My love affair for the Corporate Games started 4 years ago when I was asked to help out a couple of work mates to fill a relay team in the Open Water Swim event. My boss generously paid the entry fee & Rick, Warren, Melissa & I managed to come in 3rd. It was my, and I am pretty sure it was the first swimming medal for all of us. We were all wrapped.
Our team was known as the Wombats and has since been in hibernation as Warren & Melissa started a family. Two kids later and they were now ready to take the plunge to see if we could emulate past glories.
Some things change, however many things remain the same. Melissa still doesn’t like wetsuits, swimming freestyle & swim caps (unless they are tied to the back of your swimsuit). Rick has sporting a new BlueSeventy wetsuit and swimming PBs in the pool. Warren was looking fast in his Zoot suit and all revved up after listening to a few Seekers tunes with the kids.
It was a miserable rainy day with a southerly wind chopping up the water. Warren drew the short straw and was to lead us off against the 5 other teams. He gave it everything however by the time he made is around the 250 meter rectangular course we were well back in the field.
Melissa was next out and true to her word she went with breaststroke which was working effectively thru the choppy water. Occasionally Melissa would freestyle for a bit and we anticipated that she would break into butterfly and backstroke to round out the medley.
Rick too swan well, however by this stage the lead teams were already finishing off the race and I had not even started my final leg. The pressure was now off and it was now more of a reconnaissance swim for the 1km individual event which was up next. In the end we finished 4th out of 6 teams and were pretty happy to have been part of it all.
Next up was the individual 1km swim. While everyone goes off in a single wave, results are recorded for men and women by various age categories. Last year I was lucky enough to win the Male 40+ category and was second out of the water. I feel my swimming has improved a bit and I was looking to go one better.
After a relatively sluggish start, I managed to find my way to the first buoy with only a couple of swimmers ahead of me. The downward leg buoy was pretty hard to pick up and you needed to use the Spirit of Tasmania as a marker to point you in the right direction. One of the chaps ahead of me had a nice high elbow stroke & I knew I needed to make sure he didn’t get too much of a gap.
As we rounded the 2nd buoy, I assume the high elbow guy went wide as he was no longer around. Instead it was a red cap chap from the 30 to 40 age group. I was happy enough to swim off him to the 3rd buoy and from there I managed to sneak past him on the turn and into the lead.
I swam a steady tempo with my red cap friend omnipresent. Leading a race is very unusual territory for me and the only other time it did occur was in the Dromana swim where and I got swarmed at the end. So towards the end of the third lap I was happy to let my friend take the lead.
It wasn’t a cracking pace and I noticed that my red cap friend was swimming too far left of the downward 2nd buoy. I decided to up the tempo ever so slightly and stay on course and that was enough to get a gap which I held to the end. Very happy with the win and achieving my goal of being first out of the water.
With Amy getting 3rd in the womens sub 30 category, ANZ was able to rack up enough points to win the Swimming Championship title narrowly from Deloitte with Novus Captial.
A picnic with the Wombats back at Albert Park in the ANZ Marquee ws the ideal way to load up after out efforts. The love affair continues.
Day 1. Melbourne to Devonport by Spirit of Tasmania
My good mate Justin did the honours of driving me down to Port Melbourne to board the ferry. I know it would seem a bit of a cop out to not ride the 17 odd Ks there but as I only had a recliner seat on the ferry for the trip over and this means no shower and no change facilities I didn’t want to risk getting wet on the way there. It was very early and although it says boarding starts at 17:00 in reality you can’t get on the ship until 18:00. So I sat in a breezy gangway and tried to strike up a conversation with the security guards.
Finally on the boat a bit after 18:00 and the weather was not looking great.
The trip over was pretty rough and we were told there were gusts of up to 100kph. This made walking around very difficult. The ocean recliners are not the most comfortable way to travel and I really didn’t get a great night’s sleep. Mine was the one on the left of the photo.
I awoke at one stage in the night to find the woman from the seat next to me straddled over my chair as she tried to get out from the seat on the right. I guess she was being thoughtful and trying not to wake me!
Day 2 Devonport to Miena 118ks and 1868 metres of climbing
Arrived pretty much on time and the weather had not improved. As I walked off the boat and past the sniffer dogs this was my first sight.
I’ve got to admit that open door looked tempting. I donned the wet weather gear and headed off.
First stop Deloraine. I was pleased to get off the Midland Hwy (A1) with its heavy traffic and lots of trucks. I was doubly pleased with the carrot cake and double shot latte as well.
Somewhat refreshed I pointed the bike in the direction of Miena. Now although the A5 is an A road I found out late in my preparations it is the only A category road in Australia not fully sealed. So I was somewhat apprehensive about how this would go. I was on a carbon framed bike with 23mm tires on 700c rims. I also found out after having booked my accommodation for the first night that the town of Liawenee that I was to ride through is reputedly the coldest town in Australia. It had a day of -17C this year!
Before I got anywhere near the gravel though I had some hills to contend with. The backpack weighed nearly 5.5kg and this was already starting to take it’s toll on my back. I found that standing up on the pedals on any incline gave the back some respite and this is pretty much what I did for the rest of the trip.
The climb was pretty constant and went on for the best part of 20ks. I wasn’t sorry to see this sight…….
It wasn’t even 12 o’clock at this stage though so I was pretty happy with my progress.
Not too much further along I came to the edge of the Great Lake. The view was pretty well obscured so I really couldn’t appreciate it. What I could appreciate though was that this meant the first encounter with the gravel. It was not so much gravel in places as a greasy mess as it had snowed three days earlier and the trucks had made a bit of a mess of it.
There was initially only about 2ks of this then back to bitumen. I was starting to think my maps were wrong and that they had sealed it after all. But then it went back to gravel, this time for about 20ks. This section was better. Mostly really hard packed and not as wet as the first lot. In fact I think had it not snowed/rained it would have been better than some coarse bitumen roads I have ridden on.
I got into Miena about 1:45 pm.
I was pretty pleased to get off the bike but I actually thought I had a bit further to go when the sign came up that my first day was over. I checked into the pub and to my pleasure I was given an ‘upgrade’. I had booked a fisherman’s cabin but as there was hardly anyone else in that night and they couldn’t be bothered lighting the fires for the cabins and I was put in a motel room.
Kaylee who seems to run the place told me meals were finishing at 2:00 so I said I’d clean myself up and get back for something to eat.
Got the gear off and into something cleaner, back to the bar and ordered this:
I did feel I’d earned it with 118ks under the belt for the first day’s riding. It really was great steak sanger but I’m not sure I’d do the ride just for it.
Lovely night’s sleep and managed to get a bit of my gear dry and bike cleaned up a little too.
Day 3 Miena to Hobart 141ks and 1102 metres of climbing
A couple of Weet Bix and toast with Vegemite and I was out of Miena at about 7:20 am. Only 62ks to Bothwell and hopefully a decent coffee. It was a bit cool but not cold. I was in my new Santini Aqua Zero long leg bibs and top. These had proved pretty good the day before keeping out most of the wet but not all. They were certainly warm.
There’s not a lot between Miena and Bothwell.
Not far out of Bothwell is the Nant whiskey distillery (more on this later) however it was a wee bit early at 9:20 to pop in. I continued on the Bothwell where I found a coffee shop. Or more correctly a shop that served a form of coffee. Even though it wasn’t great I was so caffeine deficient by this stage I ordered a second double shot latte just to keep me going.
Some 20ks after Bothwell the A5 re-joins the A1 at Melton Mowbray. So back on the busy highway and the weather was getting worse. What can be said for the A1 is that for the most part there is a rideable piece of bitumen on the inside of the rumble-strip which does keep you separated from the traffic.
At the 100k mark for the day I was thinking to myself how lucky I had been. Weather hadn’t been too foul, the gravel was better than expected and no punctures. Yep you guessed it at 101k Phsss. So I backed up to the Bagdad primary school and got to and fixed it.
Maybe I had a tail wind after that. Maybe the break did me good but the speed picked up significantly after that all the way into Hobart. The bike was making some really terrible grinding noises by this stage with all the mud and road grime coupled with no lube since leaving home. I got into town at about 1:30 and pulled into the ABC where my daughter Ellie works. I phoned her from the gates so she could bring the key to her flat out. Ellie gave me directions and I somehow managed to take an alternative route but found the place eventually.
In the afternoon I then went off in search of some chain lube and other bits and pieces.
Day 4 Mount Wellington 47ks and 1509m of climbing
The morning was spent shopping. The Hill St Grocer is pretty famous in Hobart and I went up there to stock up on some food. On the way back I noticed a wallaby hopping up the road and a young bloke in pursuit. He asked me if I could help him. Seems the wallaby was an orphan and the guy was part of some animal rescue. It had got away on him. I managed to catch it and handed the escaper over.
I also sourced a car wash where I hit the bike lightly with a high-pressure spray. I finished cleaning and adjusting back at Ellie’s before I headed off to give Mount Wellington a go.
I had been told it was pretty tough and pretty cold. After turning onto the road up to the mount proper I noticed the temperature on the Garmin dropping by 0.1egree for every 10 metres of ascending. I was starting to get worried when the gradient exceeded the temperature. After about 1000m though the temperature seemed to pick up again. Whilst a bit of a slog up there I didn’t think it was too bad and the view at the top is pretty spectacular.
That evening it was pizza before heading off to the Beerfest down on the wharf. Being Tasmania I think it was more a Ciderfest than Beerfest. I reckon the number of cider makers outnumbered the brewers. Ellie and I used most of our sampler tickets before settling on Pagan Cider as the cider of choice and settled back to watch the Bamboo’s set. Great show with a great sound given the less than ideal outside location of the stage.
Day 4 West Hobart to Tinderbox and return. 63ks and 1107 metres of climbing
A beautiful day on Saturday. I had arranged with Ellie that I would go for a ride and she would have a run. We would then meet back at the flat and make ourselves a great breakfast.
I set off for Tinderbox hoping to do a loop around the little peninsula and back up to Hobart. (see map)
Unfortunately I got to point B on the map and unexpectedly the road turned to gravel on a fairly steep decent. I decided I had had enough of gravel and retraced my route. About 5 Ks back I came across a couple of riders heading in the opposite direction. I asked them how far the gravel went for and they indicated only a few Ks. Probably to about point C on the map. By this stage I reckoned I might be running late for my breakfast so continued on back the way I had come. It really was a beautiful ride in ideal conditions.
Ellie lives in West Hobart so every ride finishes with a nice little climb, some streets approaching 25%. Anyway I was back in time to have a quick coffee before Ellie finished her run and we had a very nice breakfast at home.
This being Saturday we were going to visit a couple of whisky distilleries. We did a drive up the Derwent valley firstly to Redlands Estate and then on to Nant up near Bothwell that I had passed on the second day of riding. Both were stunning but very different. Phil at Redlands went out of his way to spend time with us and explain their processes and what their plans are for the future. Nant on the other hand is very established. The restaurant and tasting room is very up market. We had a lovely lunch there before heading back to West Hobart.
Day 5 West Hobart to Bellerive and return 31Ks and 479 Metres of climbing
Just a bit of a tour of the ‘burbs today as we were heading off to Swansea a later in the day. I somehow managed to miss the cycle lane on the Tasman bridge on the way over and was out in the traffic. It wasn’t too bad at this time of the day on a Sunday. I did find it on the way back and other than the opportunity to take a photo or two it seems a very narrow but I’m not sure it’s better than riding on the road. I suspect it may be illegal for bikes to be on the road over the bridge though.
We got up to Swansea in time for lunch and then went for a lovely walk along an almost deserted 9 Mile Beach.
I booked into my accommodation, went in search of dinner, had a pretty good steak and into bed fairly early.
Day 6 Swansea to Launceston 139Ks and 1300 Metres of climbing
I set off at about 6:45 and had a nice breakfast and coffee at the tavern on the edge of town where I had had the steak the night before. As I was about to set off I realised I had forgotten to hand my room key in and went back into town to put in in their drop box.
This proved to be a bit more challenging day than I had envisaged. My route was Swansea up to Lake Leake Rd then across to Campbell Town and then on up the A1 to Launceston. There is a fair bit of climbing on Lake Leake road but not exceptionally tough.
I hit Campbell town and ordered a double shot latte and a cherry Danish at Zepps. Not too bad. When I went into the café I noticed a ute out the front with two bikes and bike trailers in it. I struck up a conversation with the owners who turned out to be two guys from Western Australia. They had been doing a series of rides in some out of the way places on the west coast of Tassie. They were heading off to Cradle Mountain to start another one.
From Campbell Town to Launceston I had a full on head wind all the way to Launceston.
Arriving in Launceston I got the iPhone out to get directions to my accommodation at Kilmarnock House. Being a bit tired from the days riding I chose what looked like the shortest route. I didn’t realise this took me up a 22% incline. Just what I needed!
The accommodation was very nice and Elizabeth the owner most helpful with advice and direction.
Day 7 Launceston to Devonport 139Ks and 1300 Metres of climbing
I didn’t want to get to Devonport too early as the ferry doesn’t leave until 7:00 pm. There’s not a lot to do in Devonport and I have heard it described as a cemetery with light. It might be more true than funny.
I had a little bit of a sleep in and then set off in search of breakfast. Unfortunately the first place I came across was the Launceston Hotel. I say unfortunately as I experienced the single worst cup of coffee I have ever paid for at this establishment.
I should have known better and trusted my instincts. The conversation went something like this. “Can I get a double shot latte please? Well that’s not part of the breakfast buffet deal you’ll have to pay extra but there is instant coffee over there. No I haven’t drunk instant coffee after making a New Years resolution about 7 years ago not to as life is too short.
It was at this point I should have walked away. Anyway the ‘coffee’ was like nothing I have ever experienced out of an espresso machine. I was talking to another gentleman from Melbourne after ditching mine and without me prompting him he pointed his coffee out and it was literally undrinkable. I wrote to the management when I got home and suggested if they were going to charge for coffee the least they could do would be to send their staff on a barista course. No reply to date.
Anyway as I had got pretty sunburnt the day before so I went and got some sunscreen then packed up my things and set off. There were lots of bunches of cyclists in Launceston, seemingly the complete opposite of Hobart. On the way out of town I even had the company at various times of three different riders.
It was still early when I got to Exeter. I had a coffee and something to eat before turning onto the road to Devonport. This road carries a lot of heavy vehicles going over to Devonport and the road is fairly narrow. Most of the trucks gave me a wide berth but there is no rumble strip and you just have to ride as close as you can to the edge. There are still a few climbs in this too but nothing too serious.
I was into Devonport by about 3:00. What to do now? I rode around town a bit looking for a pub that might have a beer garden or outside area. I was in my lycra and it was getting a bit whiffy so didn’t really want to sit inside. I bought a stubby of cider and sat on the foreshore for a while.
I got bored with that pretty quickly and rode over to the other side of the water where the ferry was. Made some enquiries about boarding times and eventually ended up at a pub just nearby where I waited and waited. Struck up a conversation with a fellow traveller and then the time passed a bit more quickly.
I had booked a share cabin on the return leg. Got to my room and there wasn’t anyone in there yet. I had a shower and got changed and then went for a walk around the ship. I came back and still no one else in the room. At this point I was getting hopeful I might have the room to myself. Finally the ship set sail and I had got lucky again. Had a very peaceful nights sleep alone in the cabin and arrived back in Melbourne on time.
Day 8 Port Melbourne to Glen Iris. 16Ks and 84 Metres of climbing
I got off the boat and decided I would just take the bike path all the way home other than through Southbank. Riding on the path in Burnley who should I come across going the other way on his way to work but my good mate BraveDave.
Dave and I had a bit of a chat and then I was home by about 7:45 and it was all over.