Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Great Vic. A bike ride... Part VIII

Day 4 - 2nd December 

Bright - Moyhu

Last post for this ride I reckon! It's been nearly a week since I ended the ride and it's really becoming hazy in my mind.
Tuesday 2nd December.... 45th anniversary of my birth.
Packed up wet tent, had breakfast early, loaded gear in truck rolled out of Bright at 6:45, the air was cool, sky was blue through a veil of mist, road dry, skin tingling from the coolness. Perfect day for a ride.

The ride along the Great Alpine Rd to Myrtleford. The most beautiful scenery, riding through a valley full of old tobacco drying towers, hopps gardens, grapes and various other crops. 84 km of downhill cruising, you can peddle along at a comfortable speed of around 30km/h.
The camp at Bright

I stopped in Myrtleford for a breakfast birthday treat and a chat with some other riders then slowly made my way back into the growing throng of riders and was soon turning left into Snow Rd headed, in a round about way to Moyhu. The road continued downhill and the landscape and foliage began to change as we descended the hill. We arrived in Moyhu before lunch time. It was quite a contrast from soggy Bright. Dry yellow fields, a very small town nestled between the eucalyptus on the banks of the King River. I think we're still in wine country but the field we camped in was rutted from the hooves of cattle.
Moyhu camp, drying our wet gear out

Birthday treat

The people of the town had converted their local park into a kind of mini carnival ready for a street party to welcome the riders.  The streets were decorated with bikes of every kind and in all kinds of condition.

colourful decorated bike Moyhu

Frightening reminder
It was a very hot day so I shouted myself a sorbet icecream. Riding back into town I was told we can swim in the river, just a kilometer down the road. Fantastic! I get to cool off and don't need to cue for a cramped 2 minute shower!

King river swimming hole

I had some pretty good company for dinner, unfortunately I've forgotten my new friends names, A fella in his 50s along with his daughter and her fiance, we had a great chat for an hour or so before dinner then the crowds started to appear and I decided it was time to make room for people to sit and eat their dinner. It amazes me the people who do these rides! Families, people of all ages and ability, it's fantastic to be amongst so much good spirit, enthusiasm and zest for life. This had been a good day, right up until I finished my dinner.

After dinner I started to feel a bit off, the feeling became worse all evening until I couldn't bear it and went to the sick bay. I just wanted to vomit but couldn't.
At the sick bay I was treated for dehydration, they stuck a saline drip in my arm and jabbed me with anti nausea something or other. It didn't work and by 2am I was spewing my guts out in the middle of a paddock.
Didn't get much sleep all night but at least I got rid of the nausea.

Day 5 Moyhu - Mansfield

The longest ride on this trip, this day was scheduled to be the most challenging ride day. At first I thought there's no way I can ride. I had intended to sleep in and just ride the sag wagon all the way to Mansfield but something compelled me to pack up my gear and get going.
I left camp reasonably late and experienced what it's like to ride at the back with the stragglers and the goof offs. I say goof offs because there were quite a few school groups toward the back and they didn't show any of the discipline I'd become used to with the front riders. The boys were all over the road and there were a lot more people to contend with. People were riding at very different paces and there were so many of them that there was constant need to overtake, It was much harder to avoid collisions riding at the back.

I was feeling very weak but determined to go as far as I could... By morning tea time I was spent! I'd peddled just 24km and I felt like I was going to have a seizure! I'd reached my limit. I pulled up on a patch of grass and felt reasonably content that I'd given it my best. Most of the next 50 km would be up hill. I was in no condition to do that so I decided to end the ride there.

When the road headed uphill at the Mansfield - Whitfield Rd I sat comfortably in the 'Sag Wagon' (the bus used to ferry all the little engines that couldn't). While in the bus I broke into a fever and had the shakes. I dozed and woke and dozed and all the time we were climbing. As I looked out the window from time to time I could see exhausted riders pushing their bikes up the hill. When we reached the top of the hill there was a road block. That's when we heard the news that a rider had been killed. A man in his 60s had lost control and fallen in front of a truck. Very sad.

End of ride odometer reading

I spent the rest of the day in Mansfield staggering around with a fever, I tried setting up my camp when I eventually found my gear but was in such terrible shape I ended up back at the sick bay, sleeping on the sick bay floor, fever, headache, etc... Apparently it was a virus which was starting to spread through the camp.
My family had been calling and Mum and Dad decided they weren't going to let me spend the night shivering and sweating in my tent so they drove 2 hours to come and get me.... Can't say I was disappointed to have a bed to sleep in that night.

I didn't mind missing the final days ride so much but would have liked to see a bit more of Mansfield. This had been an amazing ride through beautiful country. The Great Vic Bike Ride was the most incredibly well organized event I've ever been to. I've never ridden in a large group before and the experience was a little overwhelming. All up I cycled 420 km. I'm glad I did it! But now I've got to go and take care of my sick kid!

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