Day 97 – Portland to Lavers Hill

Today was warmer but still a bit wet. If any cyclists amongst you are in the market for a new rain jacket, I thoroughly recommend Showers Pass. I’ve done my fair share of wet weather riding on this trip and so far, have not been let down. The wind wasn’t overly helpful either: it occasionally seemed to be behind me but at other times hit me straight in the face. I think it balanced out fine.

I reached the Great Ocean Road at about half way which was very nice. The scenery became interesting and the number of trucks dropped to zero.

I actually didn’t see the 8 apostles, it turns out you can’t quite see them from the road and I figured that as four of them have gone walkabout, it probably wasn’t worth it… That’s actually not true; I’ve done my research and it turns out there were only ever 9 of them (not 12) so only one has gone missing. Perhaps the early Aussies had difficulty counting past 7?   No, but honestly, the coast (despite the weather) was pretty stunning all the way along and with 40 kilometres still to go and the sun setting, I didn’t fancy the detour.

Wildlife today was more exciting than most days. I saw what I think was a wallaby fairly close up and also saw an eagle whose wingspan was greater than mine (arm-span). I think that’s probably the biggest bird I’ve ever seen fly, so the fact that it followed me for a while was a bit disconcerting.

Despite the rain, my feet managed to stay dry today – that was until I reached a flooded section of road and had to cycle through about a foot of water. It wouldn’t have been as bad if it had been warm.

The ride today was long and finished with a 20-kilometre climb. It’s been a while since I felt as good as I did today and I took a strange amount of enjoyment from the challenge the gradient offered.

It’s probably worth pointing out that when a cyclist speaks of ‘feeling good’, they mean a slightly different thing to what most others would. It does not mean the ride was easy. In this instance it means exactly the opposite. With burning legs and an aching body, riding through the relentless rain and fading light after 200 kilometres was slightly surreal.

To be honest, it wasn’t massively different to what I went through in Croatia on Day 14 (those who followed my blog early on will know what I’m referring to). The odd thing is, whilst that was one of the worst rides I’ve ever had, today was one of the best… And I really can’t put into words why that is.

I have since returned to a relatively ‘normal’ mind-set and am just hoping that my shoes will be dry in the morning.

Distance: 129.4 miles / 208.2 km
Riding Time: 8:55:06
Av. Speed: 14.5 mph / 23.3 kph

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3 comments

  1. Slightly off track, but sort of relevant. I was listening to BBC news the other day and the coverage of Haile Gebrselassie retiring from competitive running, one of the questions put to him was secret to his success. He responded by saying run with your mind not your feet. So I have attempted to apply this method to my daily cycle along the coast road, and you know I think he has a point. I need to practice a little more, but I actually think he is on to something. Those of you who are well trained in these matters will be thinking where have I been for the last 50 years, but it your never beyond learning. So there you go Tom, cycle with your mind and not your legs and you will be sorted. Glad your feeling in great spirits.

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  2. Great work today Thomas, well done. It was racing here today too, although I didn’t see any wallabies. Hope the sun shines tomorrow and go well. Will

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