After three years of doubt and hesitation, I’m ready to face this fabulous event again. My son expressed interest in doing the Great Vic Bike Ride and when the Young Bull throws down a challenge like that, the Old Bull has to prove he has something left in the tank. Also we can enjoy the bonding experience of standing in shower queues together. There’ll be 4998 other riders, so it takes a while to get everybody clean.
The riding itself should be fine and dandy; 8 days cycling 588km across lovely Victoria – a Week in Another World. Is there any Australian state that packs so much variety into a small area? The GVBR organisers have no trouble picking a different route each year. This year we start in Yarrawonga, then ride down the Goulburn Valley to Dookie, Euroa, Murchison and Nagambie, cross the Hume Highway at Seymour, head for the hills around Yea and Lake Eildon, and finish at Marysville, scene of last year’s tragic bushfires. It will bring a few bucks into Marysville’s economy and I expect there’ll be donation buckets being rattled.
It’s not a race, so rolling along at a gentle 20km per hour average should get us there in good time. On the website there are some alarming-looking day profiles (see illustration) but on closer inspection the climbs are not quite as daunting as they seem to be when compressed into the width of a computer screen.
The group camping with 4999 other riders still bothers me a bit. I like a cold toilet seat in the mornings. I have a nice little Macpac Minaret tent, but crawling into it gets harder on the knees every time I use it. The YB is being encouraged to bring his own accommodation. I need a two person tent to myself these days, now that I seem to be expanding. Nevertheless, from my memory of the last GVBR I did, the food was fine, the cameraderie and organisation exceptional and a fine time was had.
One thing I’m hoping to improve on, though. Last time I did the Great Vic Bike Ride I took my eye off the road for a moment, and next thing I knew, my eye was on the road, along with the rest of my face. I ended up in stitches, and I don’t mean the kind that come from laughing a lot.A nice bonus this year has been a phone call from Highly Tuned Athletes. They’re the people who sold me my Garmin Edge 500 GPS computer, a device I’ve been very happy to use and write about on this site. They’ve offered me the new Garmin Edge 800 to test drive on this trip and needless to say I’ve taken up the offer. It’s got a touch screen, but I’ll try not to get too distracted by the lovely display and will keep all my fingers gripping the handlebars at all times.
When it’s all over, I should be able to post some pretty maps on this site. Stay tuned!
For a report on my last GREAT VICTORIAN BIKE RIDE 2007, click here.