Actually cooled down enough to throw the sleeping bag over you in the early hours but still very warm very early. Breakfast queue looked horrendous but actually pretty quick and even with my standard degree of stuffing around was able to be on the road by about 7.15. Lovely riding through the valley up to Tunnel Gap but biorhythms weren’t quite in tune or something and conscious of what the day had in store took it pretty easy.
The ride down through Dederang and along the east side of the Kiewa is cycle touring at its best, and once again the heat and humidity only really bad on the climbs. Another sausage sizzle at the lunch stop and after downing the best part of lunch – the biccies and cheese – rolled on the last 10 km to the start of the climb.
Now I’ve done Tawonga Gap twice before and actually enjoyed it, but today was just brutal. Set out with the plan of having even more stops than I normally would but ended up doing a PB for stops. Apart from a very few little spots where you picked up a breeze, the heat was just relentless and you just have to stop to shed heat from your core. Absolutely nothing left in the legs by the time I got to the top and not sure how much more I could have climbed regardless of the number of stops.
They sent us off on the descent to Bright in waves as there had been a number of crashes and it worked well – had a great run down and SO thankful to have the new rear brakes. They had warned us last night of the chance of storms this afternoon, and was getting progressively darker on the descent and got the first few rain drops just before turning fr the last 6 km into Bright.
60 seconds later I was getting pelted with hailstones the size of marbles and torrential rain – now THIS is how you bring your core temp down! Once it settled down to just rain and I was thoroughly soaked riding through the puddes on the last little bit into Bright was like splashing through warm bathwater with all the heat coming off the road.
Trevor and Doug had been in for some time and Trevor had managed to time his tent erection to perfection, having the inner laid out and exposed to the elements just as the storm hit. Had to wait for the next few rain bands to go through before being able to get my tent up, discovering in the process that my normally very waterproof bag and managed to leak a bit. After the obligatory milkshake and coffee weather had cleared up a bit, but the next storm band has arrived and driven us back into tents – and its just hammering down now. Don’t think its hailing but don’t really want to open the tent fly too far to check! Just hope it lets up soon so we can get dinner and drinks – Beer O’clock is going to be VERY late today!