It generally takes me longer to write and recollect these days than it does to turn the pedals. Much like the road itself my mind considers what line to take, where to deviate, what to ignore and what to focus on.
One detour I will mention briefly is the inspiring ride by Jesse Carlsson to Adelaide. JC read my previous ride to Adelaide story and thought it sounded like his kind of holiday. JC rode the same route as I did but managed to cover the 900km in a brief 38 hours. This in turn became inspiration for me which I'll get to later. Did I mention he completed it on a single 75" gear?
In the month leading up to the TDU I'd done next to no riding. I got blown all over the road riding to Ballarat in ridiculous winds and my confidence in riding the planned route to Adelaide was diminishing.
I'd been 'extremely' prepared this year. I'd told The Boss and yourselves my planned route and I even stuck to it. The Boss also knew where I planned to stayed the first night, I'd even gone so far as to book a room at the Apollo Bay pub. Yes, my planning was at an all time high.
The morning I woke it was to a roaring northerly, which when you are headed south west is as good as you'll get. This was in stark contrast to my double headwind epic to Warrnambool which I use as a measuring stick for what is possible, probable and painful.
I'd packed the bare essentials and I should reiterate that I was riding solo, without support vehicle and certainly without camera crew for a few reasons. Few people would be daft enough to ride 250km x 4 so putting the invite out there generally gets a lot of talkers but rarely takers. I wouldn't put anyone through a similiar agony of sitting all day long in a car to watch me roll along on the shoulder. I'm also a firm believer that the abscence of an escape option removes any idea of quitting.
My bare essentials weighed 6kg, half of that was camera equipment.
The morning I departed, The Boss made a fare of bacon rashers and a pile of pancakes, doused with maple. It'd be all the fuel I needed to get me at least to Geelong.
The ride to Geelong isn't worth talking about. Hot, flat, windy and the constant flashes of traffic whizzing by. Half the days distance was covered when I reached Geelong and re-Fueled.
Here's a shot of my weapon of choice. Llewellyn Columbus Max with Campagnolo C Record. I'll guess she tips 11kg on the scales on a good day.
After lunch I knew the days ride was about to really begin.
Exiting Geelong I had my first brush with a bogan. A similiar story you've heard or experience before. V8 Commodore blasts past with passenger screaming an intelligble exclamation at you. I caught them at the lights and asked them if they were going to the beach also. See ya there man!
At Torquay I took a detour to the World Famous Bell's Beach.
The surf was definitely not 'up' so I waded in and cooled the legs.
All along the 'GREAT' Ocean road you will see signs like this.
and scenes like this.
As I was filling my bidons yet again beachside in Lorne I heard my name called, and had a good chat with some FYXO followers about where I was headed. After a good chat and chance to rest the legs I start the climb out of Lorne along the twisty Great Ocean road.
Need I say more.
At around this point I hit the metaphoric wall for an obvious reason.
Seeing today was the 'easy' day and I'd had a comforting tailwind to this point I'd taken the hare approach. I didn't eat a large lunch and ate only two bananas later in the afternoon. It was stnking hot and I drank a lot of water, but without electrolytes. 20km from Apollo Bay I did my best Floyd Landis impression. There was no doubt I was going to get to my destination, but the speed and grace with which I did it was gone.
By the time I'd reached Apollo Bay, I was a shell of skin and bones. The next series of tasks are the hardest part of self-supported rides. Prepare for tomorrow when all you want to do is fall in a heap. My first stop was the supermarket where I bought tomorrow's breakfast and tonights fluids. As a rule nothing is open before 7am particularly in country towns and I wanted to be rolling by then so unless you want to ride for countless hours on an empty stomach and ruin any chance of getting to tomorrow's destination, this is what you MUST do.
Back at the Apollo Bay Hotel, as I waited at the bar for the key to my room I had a drunk tyre kicker quiz me about my day. Do you get a lot of punctures with those skinny tyres? zig zaging across the floor like a plastic bag in the breeze.
After a short shower I changed into my shorts and tee and headed downstairs for dinner trying to avoid bending into positions which bring on the crippling cramps. Then I washed my bibs and jersey in the sink before wringing them out and hanging them to dry. Two flights of stairs and I was in the bar but I was so exhausted on this day that I couldn't eat. I slowly made it through half of my chips and parmagiana. Not even a pint of 'black gold' helped restore my energy.
I gave up on eating and headed to bed. The room was stifling hot with no air-conditioning and no ocean breeze. At about 2am a cool change rolled through after I'd counted 3477 sheep I finally managed to get some sleep.
This particular night I had salubrious accomodation. Oh yes.
This part of Australia is truly amazing and is a must 'ride'. Enjoy the rest of the photos from the day one and see you tonight.