Rain, cold and hills. To some this may sound an unappealing combination but today was actually a great day of riding. Overnight rain didn’t eventuate but was cool and overcast start to the day. Had planned a radical move of heading off without a morning coffee fix but with only one in the queue at the coffee cart just had to make a brief stop. Turned to the east after pulling out of town and fund we had a tail wind. Luxury! Although clagged in still well worth the stops at Loch Ard and 12 Apostles – the best jam sandwich construction site I’m likely to find for some time.
Early climbs were pretty gentle, though the fast descent to the Gellibrand river saw a crash not far in front of me and had to spend a few minutes waving riders to slow down while things were got under control. Met up with sister Sue and her husband David who had trekked overland from their home a way from home near moonlight head which made a nice break to the early part of the Lavers Hill climb. Possibly the most enjoyable climb I’ve had up this bit of road – normally warm enough to need numerous stops but the cool temps were perfect for climbing. Mind you, there were a number of space blankets in evidence as many had headed out as if on a summer ride with little or no extra clothing.
The occasional drizzle turned to steady rain not long before lunch. Trevor had texted of the existence of coffee and pancakes at one of the cafes past lunch spot, and found Robyn already there tucking in. Made for a very nice break. Was now completely socked in and the ambos were using the cafe as a warm up point for a couple of potential hypothermia cases. Back off for the last part of the climb, and by the time we reached the turn off for Gellibrand the rain had really set in. Sensational descent – while wet, the cyclist traffic had thinned out and with the added confidence factor of disc brakes had a great run. 430 m descent over about 13 km with only one climb part way.
Surprised when I arrived not to have received the standard text from Trevor on where we were camped and couldn’t raise him on the phone. Had actually stopped raining and was keen to get set up before it started up again. Thankfully bumped into him – he had no phone reception though mine was working fine. Found myself a relatively isolated piece of recently mowed and soft – though not quite boggy – paddock to set up in. Robyn wasn’t far behind, and in the fullness of time we wandered down to the bustling metropolis of Gellibrand.
Now if some of the establishments in Port Campbell left something to be desired in terms of catering for the ride, Gellibnd was the complete opposite. The football / netball club was doing good business on camp, and the hotel had laid on half a dozen food stalls and really gone all out to get it happening. Had a sparkling and a cider and sampled some food and had to head back while we were still capable. Stupidly lay down in the tent for a few seconds and nearly slept through dinner. Light has now just about faded and the sky is surprisingly clear – hopefully we don’t get much rain tomorrow – really looking forward to doing Turtons Track. Just hope the water has stopped dripping out of my riding shoes by then.