Not beating the queue

(109 Km)

Monday, 25 Nov, 2019

Mt Gambier - Portland

Today was the biggest ride and we wanted to be ready. We had learnt from experience so were up at 5:30 and ready to go to breakfast a little after 6am. But then we saw the queue. So we kept packing up and the queue kept getting longer. And longer. In the end, I joined the queue and Simon went and made our coffee. It seems that all 4000 cyclists wanted to be on the road early. The queue moved fairly quickly but for all our efforts to get going early we were on the road at 7:40, hardly worth the early morning effort.

It was another overcast morning and lovely riding along undulating roads through the forest. We hit a steep pinch which forced a few people off their bikes and there was a lovely view over the Glenelg River at the top which forms the border between SA and Vic. We had noted that the route passed through the little town of Nelson so we skipped the rest stop and headed onto the picnic area where we enjoyed our coffee in a sheltered spot out of the rain.

Back on the road the rain continued intermittently but it was fairly easy riding. We decided to avoid entering the Kentbruck rest area for lunch and set ourselves up at the edge of a pine forest overlooking the crowds. I headed down to pick up lunch whilst Simon boiled the kettle for tea.

It was another 60kms to the campsite, making for a long afternoon on the bike. The last 5kms seems particularly long and eventually we were cycling into Portland and our campsite along the foreshore. We were late enough to avoid the worst of the shower queue and then headed into town for a well earned beer. The pubs were heaving with fellow cyclists and we found a lovely bar and steakhouse with an open fire in the courtyard. Perfect for a beer and tempting to stay for dinner. However, we knew that it was penne and meatballs on the menu back at camp, just the thing after a long, long day in the saddle.