Had to zip the tent up about 2am when we got a light shower and the wind showed no sign of abating when got up in the morning. Headed into town for 2nd breakfast and first coffee and back almost to camp before heading off. Now we were on the road a little before official opening, but either they were waiting till the last minute to sign some of the route or we took a non-official start to the ride. Even though I was confident we were heading the right way it was a relief to start seeing the familiar orange arrow signs as we started the first of an endless series of climbs for the day. Always knew this was going to be a tough first day and it didn’t disappoint. VERY strong headwind early made it even more challenging.
After topping out at about 400 metres we made it all seem pretty pointless dropping most of that height heading down into Lilydale. Trevor had already inhaled his lunch when I got there but I thought I’d grab mine and ride on to Lilydale Falls and have it there. Robyn and Melissa arrived about then and we all headed to the Falls Reserve and did the 5 minute walk up to the first falls. Very little water but quite pretty nevertheless. Pretty brutal climb straight after lunch and the legs were already feeling pretty trashed but actually came good after that. As we started to head more east the wind was all over the shop – occasionally at your back, sometimes as very strong crosswind trying to blow you into the centre of the road and sometimes pretty much head on.
One last steady climb brought us into the thriving metropolis of Scottsdale and the legs were feeling all 1200 metres of the days climbs. More joy awaited in trying to pitch tents in a wind that blew Trevors away when he wasn’t looking and was knocking mine flat before I could get it erected but eventually got it all pegged down. Hardly anything open in town so back for beer o clock and dinner. The promised Wagyu beef didn’t materialize – supposedly its just delayed not cancelled – but chicken was quite OK and desert DIDN’T come in a small plastic tub. Had been hoping to do the rail trail tomorrow but information has been hard to come by and was looking forward to finding out more. However the briefing was not inspiring, as BV hasn’t actually ridden the trail, is not exacly sure where it finishes and is not recommending it for those with slicks on (such as myself). Oh well, will put off that decision till the morning.