A blog about cycling...especially the long distance stuff

Monday, 30 December 2013

10,000 km - Done

Today I pedaled my ten thousandth kilometre for the year! My wife joined me for the milestone which was a lovely moment, and fitting we should do it together! I'd set myself a target of 10,000 km last January, not so much as a New Years resolution, but more a specific cycling goal. So today, at the finish of 2013 I have ridden 10,026.5 km...with two day's to spare!

This was an interesting challenge. Most of my previous goals in any sport have required commitment over a shorter time period. I found the sustained nature of this challenge made it easier in some respects, but harder in others. On one hand, I could afford the odd 'bad month' provided I was able to make up the time later. At the same time, it was hard in that it works out as having to ride a minimum of 27 km a day, every day...for the whole year..so any slack time meant more work later. As it turned out, I lost a lot of momentum over winter - and I found switching jobs always contributed to that lost momentum, so had to really dig hard for November & December to make the total distance:

A lot of the distance came from commuting. Over the course of the year I had a couple of different jobs, and the closest to home was still 31 km away - so riding that both ways at least a few times a week would mean lots of km's done. I supplemented this with fairly regular weekend rides in the warmer months, and 1 long tour from Adelaide to Melbourne. When I got behind, it felt better to break down the 10,000 into smaller weekly targets and focus purely on hitting that. Losing momentum is your biggest enemy...it's really hard to get started again when you stop, so the key for me was making it part of my daily routine - then your body actually starts missing the pain when you stop pushing yourself hard. I also got plenty of motivation form cycling forums where plenty of others had set similar goals.

Melbourne's Eastern Bays: The path is great for slow training. Take the road to ride quick.

Apart from the physical challenge I've had great health benefits returned from being active. I weigh less now than I did 10 years ago (I also changed a few bad eating habits mind you), and after a cholesterol warning from my doctor at the start of the year, look forward to my next test results to see how much its all paid off.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring news articles I read all year, was the news that bicycles outsold cars in Europe last year. And not just in the big cycling countries with a long history of bicycle friendly services, like Holland, Denmark and France....but we are talking just about ALL of Europe. Most articles I've read about this tend to cite financial recession as the main driver for this, but I wonder if this keeps up long enough, we might even see an impact on not only our population's health, but our planet's too?

All the more reason to get off your ass. Have a happy New Year! And good luck with setting tough, but possible goals...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Swan Hill to Melbourne - Day 2

After a deep but all too short sleep it was time to fuel up again and get moving. The breakfast at the B&B was just brilliant: Fresh fruit, croissants, coffee and some scrambled eggs with salmon in a Brioche. That ought to get me going! Yesterday I burnt 7500 calories and its hard to replace that.

The day started with a nice downhill section towards Daylesford, a pretty and undulating area of mixed forest and farm land. I missed a turn off at this point, and ended up on the A300 to Daylesford instead of a quieter minor road. Thankfully it was a short error and made little difference to the day. Daylesford was heaving with day visitors, and not as pretty or charming as Maldon...but grabbed a nice coffee here and topped up the water, as this was actually the last town to pass through before the western edge of Melbourne on my route.

About 10 km out of Daylesford I reach the high point of the trip at about 700m. The hill climb was mostly pretty gentle so this didn't seem too bad. Nevertheless still a comforting thought to know its all downhill from here, and I could feel the expected Northerly wind picking up behind me which was definitely making a difference.

The highlight for the day though: Glenmore road, which is nestled between the Brisbane Ranges national park and Weribee gorge. The road is single lane and almost entirely traffic free here.

The start of Glenmore road from the West

As you head east, it drops very steeply into this stunning valley filled with farms, young orchards and livestock. Steep enough in fact, to need to move one's butt over the rear tyre and behind the bike seat, to shift weight off the front of the bike.

Descending Glenmore Rd

Out the other end of the valley there is just a slight hill climb and a few kilometers further on I got my first glimpse of Melbourne, and home, from the top of  the Weribee grasslands area. From this angle, it almost looks like Melbourne is surrounded by grass plains.

Melbourne just to the right of centre here

An hour or so later, blasted home by the wind over the final section, I arrived at West Melbourne and home. I really flew the whole day today, not stopping for lunch, just a few water swigs and some dried fruit after the coffee in Daylesford. 1 big 155 km push. It was great to be back...and be greeted by my brilliant (and tolerant) wife & our cats.

Many fellow tourers may tutt tutt at doing such big distance so quickly and 'not seeing anything' - and I actually agree completely! Though I did see something and as always I had no time off work. Getting out and doing this felt a lot better than talking about it. I'm also well on my way now to completing the 10,000 km cycling goal I'd set myself for the year, with only 550 km to go and 3 weeks to do it.

Day 2 ride profile
You can grab my day 2 route and .gpx file here.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Swan Hill - Melbourne Day 1

This was a mini tour with an ambitious itinerary, not much time, and cobbled together at the last minute when a relatively forgiving weather forecast emerged! The plan: get a train to Swan Hill after work on Friday, start peddling south Saturday morning, travel light, and emerge on the Western edge of Melbourne on Sunday afternoon before a strong Southerly change and thus tricky headwind was forecast.

'Bianca' configured for speed touring
So on Friday I zipped down to Melbourne's Southern Cross Station on 'Bianca' straight out of the office & grabbing the only vaguely "carb heavy" looking food on offer at the railway station to eat on the train. This was a fairly grim tasting pesto pasta salad. It was at least filling...but next time I'll take a packed dinner!!

The train north to Swan hill takes about 4.5 hours and bikes can go in the rear of the train.  Frustratingly, you can't book the bike and there is limited space. Its luck of the draw..but only an idiot would take a bike out to Swan Hill....right? I'd arranged a late arrival at a budget hotel conveniently on the main road south out of town in Swan Hill, and they were wonderfully accommodating with the bike and an early breakfast as well.

A beautiful morning dawned with the deafening squawks of local parrots ensuring everyone was up. I was rolling south nice and early with a very long day on the cards and an eagerness to make an early dent in the kilometers before the sun reached its full power.

For the first leg, it was a flat 55 km run down to Kerang passing a series of lakes on the way, that promised both motorised water sports, and bird life in the wetlands, as their prime attractions...

This reminded me of the great classic Aussie movie "Castle..."

Feel the serenity
The shoulder on this section of road is a bit patchy in places and the traffic fast with a few trucks...but most drivers were really courteous and overtook nice and wide. Winds were light and I made great ground here! After Kerang the volume of traffic eased off a lot as well...but the sun was beating down and there was no hiding from it (see below). In the flat and barren land there were odd moments of beauty to be seen. At one point 2 very large eagles soared down to land on a fence line close to where I went past - they looked very well fed!  The midday heat resulted in mirages from all directions, and farmers tall stacks of hay looked like a distorted scene from a low budget sci -fi film! Or maybe I just hadn't had enough water...

I'd set my new helmet camera to take a picture every 4 seconds, and in bright conditions, the pictures aren't bad. The really cool thing for touring with this is having a photo journal taken for you "in the moment" without you having to stop all the time. Here are some sample pictures from the cam:

Not quite the outback, but hot and exposed nonetheless

Not much of a shoulder here.
 It's worth noting in still mode, you can sometimes pick up the license plate no. 
Forgetting I had a camera running already...

I passed my mid point for the day along here somewhere but wanted to stop out of the sun so pushed on to Serpentine for lunch. When I supplied at Kerang I'd checked with some locals when the next water point was and was told there was a truck stop here that would have to do. This turned out to be good advice, it was a welcome relief to be under air con and even more so to wash the sun block out my eyes! Being a truck stop, food choices were poor and yet I somehow still spent $27 on lunch in there...what?! I was also an alien to them...they just could't fathom why anyone would cycle from Swan Hill. I half expected then to start throwing salt over one shoulder and cross their chests! But jokes aside the banter was fun and it was welcoming place that was hard to leave.

But leave I did. South of Serpentine I was on a smaller still road and saw a lot less traffic, enjoying taking up as much space as I wanted. Around the 160km mark I started feeling most unwell, a sort of queasy exhaustion. I'd drunk a lot of water, I think it was more the bad food options at lunch and the sun. At this point, the demons of self doubt started creeping in as to whether I could make it. After this carried on a while, and pace kept falling, I found a tree that offered a bit of shade and pulled over for a carb gel. I keep these only really for emergencies and they work wonders if not overdone. I was back in the game half an hour later and the road entered a more forested area...shade, bliss...awesome!

This section south of Bridgewater was a highlight of the day. The land took on more variety with increasing patches of hills and patches of trees teeming with life.Finally, at the top of a final hill section the cute "frontier" town of Maldon merged in the trees...and oh what a relief!

So it was 210 km for the day, only the third time for me I've cracked a double ton and the first in hot weather. The ride profile says it all:

Special mention to the Rendevous B&B in Maldon. What a great place! French couple Marie & Didier clearly love people and love their job and gave a very warm welcome. The bike was no problem and they mentioned they get plenty of cyclists. Didier also used to ride. They cook outstanding french food and have a well stocked bar. A great place to treat yourself if you can swing it. I was a wreck when I got here and left nicely refreshed.

Some further info for anyone else riding this route - water:

Between Swan Hill and Kerang there were only 2 places you could buy water and basic supplies. Beyond Kerang...there was nothing definite I saw. Make sure you are well stocked before leaving town south, its a long (80km) dry, hot and very exposed section of road with not much shade or relief from wind. The only definite water points I saw from there were at the next town Serpentine where there is a truck stop and a small service station. Between Serpentine and Maldon you could get water at Bridgewater or Newbridge.

I carried 4-5 litres...probably not enough in summer. I emptied that twice.

A brief point about my route choice:

I planned to enter Melbourne from the Western side and this route choice leads up to that. Its a fairly direct route, and uses mostly minor sealed roads. I did not focus on avoiding hills.

Day 1 route and .gpx is available here.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Contour Plus 2 - Review Part 2 - The device config file

In my last post I mentioned that the Contour "Storyteller" software isn't available anymore from the Contour website. Well you don't really need it, and there are a few nifty tricks you can do with the camera configuration just by editing the camera's configuration file.


Before you start, make a backup of the file:
  • Plug your camera into your computer, and browse to the contour drive that appears
  • In the root folder, you should see a file called "FW_RTC.txt" which is the configuration file. 
  • Make a copy of this file on your computer

Ensure file is not "Read only"

Now, going back to the contour drive on your computer, right click on the file and make sure it's not "read only" - uncheck this box if its checked before you start.

Explore the file

Open up  "FW_RTC.txt" on your device. This first part of the file, tells you what you have configured the programmable switch buttons 1 & 2 on, when you open up the back of the camera :

And this part of the file, defines what parameters you can enter, for each of the options in the settings above:

For example, if I wanted to change program otpion 1 from "A" - 1920x1080 30fps (NTSC)/25fps (PAL) to "G" 848x480  120fps (NTSC)/100fps (PAL) I simply change it to:

You'll notice I also change the 2 update settings to "Y" - this ensures the device firmware gets updated next time you power on the camera. If you leave it on "N" nothing will change.

To save your changes, just save the notepad file. Make sure you eject the device properly from windows before you unplug it. And you do this at your own risk! Make sure you test it before you need it....

Option for travelling

A good option if you are travelling,could be to make a couple of copies of the configuration file with the various settings you prefer, then just copy the one you want to have active onto the device whenever you need it. For example, have a couple of different microSD cards with you, and use one for HD video in low light, and a different microSD with different settings for other shooting conditions.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Contour Plus 2 Camera Review - Part 1 - Out of the Box

I recently purchased a Contour 2+ helmet camera, and thought I'd review impartially, and in detail how it fares. I'm going to do this in a couple of parts, first of all talking about what you get for your money, and then in part 2 after a bit more use, I'll look at the software, and some results from using it.

First of all, you need to know that Contour have gone bust. This is a great shame, and its probably bad news for anyone who brought a camera recently, and needs support. Parts of their website  are still up, but there are no official links available to download the "storyteller" software (which does not come with the device in it's packaging - more on that in a  minute) and there is also no support available on their website.

Contour devices are still being sold however! And consumers need to be aware that there some risk with buying one of these - if it breaks, you'll have to negotiate with the store you brought it from with regards to a refund. On the plus side, these camera's have dropped in price if you shop around, and you can get a quality product for a bargain. So first of all, here's what you get for your money.

Opening the box

It's an impressively tidy package, and the build quality of everything seems pretty good:

The Contour 2+ Comes with:

  • Waterproof case: Looks solid & genuinely waterproof with a good seal - though I haven't tested it underwater yet. The case adds quite a bit of weight and if you were mounting it on the side of a cycle helmet, I think it would pull your head to the side too much. I'm not going to use this on my helmet.
  • USB 2.0 cable
  • Rubber lens cap
  • Gigastone 4gb MircoSD card + SD Adaptor. It;s worth mentioning 4GB won't last you long (maybe 1 hour of full HD video recording). I purchased an additional 32GB micro SD separately.
  • 2 adhesive mounting points + 1 spare adhesive pad for the rotating mount (see below)
  • 1 Safety cord
  • The Camera


Out of the box you only get 2 mounts. The mounts are basically just rubber sliders with an adhesive back (made by 3M) that you stick to your helmet. I'm not sure I totally trust the adhesive backing to hold for long, and especially not if the the camera is in the waterproof case. The problem is that bike helmets don't actually have any fully flat surfaces on them. The mount does flex a bit, but I can still see a few small air pockets after attaching mine (and waiting overnight before use to let the seal form, as recommended).

The mount pictured above rotates so you can adjust the camera angle, and so far this rotation hasn't "slipped" on me. The Safety strap however, is not long enough to attach to the helmet (It's designed for goggles) but I'll make my own which will be easy. Note also the safety strap that comes "out of the box" only fits the adjustable mount pictured above. On its own, it looks like this:

Although its an additional $AUD 65-100, it's probably worth buying the bike mount kit. I cant see the mounts that come out of the box lasting forever, and if its wet, I'd mount the camera on the handlebars in the heavier case. Here's what you get with the separate bike mount kit:

Finally, a few useful links.

To the owners of contour, if you want these removed I will do so immediately on request. But it seems unfair to consumers, that the products are still on sale, yet your can't download the software. or even read the instruction manual, from your own support web site. The software (Contour Storyteller) is essential for configuring the device. For video editing, you can use either contour software, or any other video editing software. I will post more information about the software soon...

You can download both the instruction manual, and windows installer for Contour Storyteller from dropbox here .This is not my own link...it was found with a search engine and I take no responsibility for the content on there!

All in all, I'm enjoying using this so far. I immediately have noticed a difference in driver behaviour as well...if a motorist notices the camera, they tend to be more likely to behave with their driving.

I'll follow up with "Part 2" soon.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Gale force fun & broken bikes

Since I last posted, it’s been a bit of a torrid time on the bike, with a whole bunch of “mechanicals” and some not very fun times dealing with constantly windy weather. The wind has been really unrelenting of late, I can only recall 1 calm day in the last couple of weeks, and this week is no exception, with a only the briefest window of a couple of hours on Friday morning forecast to not be blowing a gale! 

This has definitely been getting me down. Last week I managed to ride a lot anyway, racking up 700 km in about 10 days -  but the legs were pretty shattered. I'm at 80% of my goal now, with 2000 km to try and cover before new year. If the wind eases, I think I can still make it – but if it stays like this I’ll be hard pressed to pull it off. I'm still a good way behind target…as illustrated by the red “target” line in my cycle geek graph:

2000 km to seems like a ridiculous amount for a month and a half. So mentally I'm taking it one week at a time: 280 km a week will get me there, which sounds much better!  I'm just going to focus on that…
I’ve also had a string of break downs on both my bikes. On my tourer, a converted Specialised Cyclecross, I had a cracked rear rim, replaced the chain & rear cassette, replaced the hub,  and had a bolt holding the rear rack shear off, leaving half the bolt still stuck in the frame. I've got all that fixed now but she was out of action for 3 weeks. I have now replaced the rear wheel with a much stronger 36 spoke wheel which should fare better for my next tour. It always was a bit dicey trying to get by with standard wheels when riding with a heavy load, and that led to most of the break downs above. I was very fortunate that I got back to Melbourne OK from Adelaide in one piece though,  those break downs out in the countryside would have been disastrous!
Meanwhile on my commuter bike, a couple of weeks ago I rode of this piece of metal:

It looks like a broken piece of a machine part….and it somehow managed to go right through the tyre, both sides  of the tube, and also punch a hole in rim. A couple of days later a spoke broke on the same wheel as well.

Fortunately I wasn't too far from work when the later happened…but for about 10 days I was without both bikes while they got fixed, and that put me even further behind on my target. To top things off, last week the front derailleur cable just snapped right off on this bike, so the commuter bike is back at the shop…again! I guess so many km’s in one year will cause this kind of wear, but it’s unfortunate timing.
Not the most positive or riveting blog post I must admit…but frankly it’s been really tough keeping going lately!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Ride to Work Day 2013

Its been a fair old while since I've posted on here. I have been riding a fair bit, but lost momentum over the tail end of winter when I switched jobs. Pulling another excuse: It's been bloody windy lately! If I want to make my 10,000 km target for the year, I'll need a really big effort in Nov/Dec with just under 3000 km still to cover. It's not impossible...

Today was National Ride To Work Day and it was just the motivation I needed! I was really impressed at the amount of effort and scale, that went on to make the event a cool day. On my route from the west, the punt was free, and full of atmosphere. With shared tales of woe battling the northerly gale enroute.

On the city side of the punt, a coffee van was set up

...with free goodies: juice, water, & these very tasty buns

The accordion player there was playing a lively sea-shanty style tune that made me think: they should combine ride to work day with "talk like a pirate day"? For punters taking the nautical route to work, its a perfect fit. As for everyone else: Ya lilly livered land-lubbers! Daaargh.

In any-case, for my commute I'm very fortunate to get views like this at dawn and dusk:

I hope to keep blog going a bit more with summer just around the corner, so see you soon...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Summary

Just a sum up here, mainly for anyone else planning a similar trip.

Route and Statistics


Route / Distance / Elevation Gain (map links on http://bikeroutetoaster.com )

Day 1 route map / Distance: 153 km / 852 meters / Blog post
Day 2 route map / Distance: 156 km / 99 meters / Blog post
Day 3 route map / Distance: 137 km / 114 meters / Blog post
Day 4 route map / Distance: 156 km / 438 meters / Blog post
Day 5 route map / Distance: 110 km / 176 meters / Blog post
Day 6 route map / Distance: 111 km / 867 meters / Blog post
Day 7 route map / Distance: 112 km / 931 meters / Blog post
Day 8 route map / Distance: 105 km / 315 meters / Blog post

Total Distance: 1040 km
Total Elevation Gain: 3792 meters
Nights Camping: 5
Nights in Motels: 2

This was a much easier tour in terms of distance, length of days, and hills than my last. But this was also my first with a fully weighted bike, so it was a good learning experience. I enjoyed having shorter days on the last 4 days which had good scenery, and there were plenty of side trip options available, or if it was summer...the beaches would get more of a visit!

My gear all performed really well , especially the bike with no major breakdowns and just the 1 puncture. My only gripe was the rear rack, I don't think I'd trust the Topeak rear rack again, the fitting looks and feels too flimsy for serious touring. I'll look into fitting a Tubus rack next time to match the front. One addition that would have been super useful is a dynamo to generate my own power for charging gadgets, I'll be looking into that more in the future for sure!

So that's it for now. I had an amazing time, was suitably challenged, and got to see plenty of this beautiful country! I'm sure it wont be long before I start planned another interstate ride...

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 8

I quite enjoyed the last night in the tent, and some wind meant it was dry and dew free in the morning. Breakfast featured a mish - mash of whatever was left from the food bag, and I was on my way nice and early. The road out of Aireys Inlet soon heads back in land and over a few small hills before hitting Torquay. Surf was up here, and it was a good place to sit and have a breather.

From here it was time for busy roads. I'd tried in vain to plan a decent low traffic entry route into Geelong but couldn't find and good information on easy to navigate options...so just stayed on the A10! By this time, I'd done 50km and also passed a trip milestone of 1000km, so stopped for some food to celebrate and to get ready for the last stretch.

To get to Melbourne from here, you either have the option of a zig-zagging series of back roads going through Lara and Little river...or heading straight down the M1 motorway, on which bikes are allowed. I've ridden those back roads a lot and it was too indirect for me today, so opted for the M1.

This turned out to be awesome...the shoulder is wide and fast and not too full of glass and gravel...I was flying down this stretch, usually between 33 - 42 km/h...helped along by that Westerly at last, and got to my turn off for home in no time! Home by lunch!

I'll do one more post later on, with trip data. Thanks for reading, and your words of support on Facebook all! Especially Carla! What a beautiful country, and seeing it from the seat of a bike makes it all the sweeter.

Day 8 stats

Distance: 105 km
Average Speed: 26 km/h
Soreness of bum: 10/10

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 7

Looking out the window at dawn, revealed pretty much nothing. Well, nothing but fog...and this:

Which turned out to be an Alpaca, and just about the last thing I expected to see first thing in the morning. (A small fib. The last thing I expected to see, would have been Darth Vadar riding a unicycle playing the bagpipes...but an Alpaca would be a close second, I promise!) It was very cold and wet, and the day started with a suitably cautious descent down the other side of Lavers Hill, with bike lights all on. The road undulated but was mostly 'down', dropping all the way to see level again at a tiny village called Glenaire. On a bike, this is a little bit of a shame...only because the road then goes back inland and back up a similar sized hill again!

It was beautiful riding however. A mixture of thick rain forest, with just the odd outpost of farmland every now and then. Some of the gum trees were huge, and they then gave way to a massive beech forest at one point. The summit of this second big hill is less obvious, but about 12 km out of Apollo bay, its pretty much aaaall downhill to the town, and this time, for good. Apollo Bay was bustling considering its the off season, and it was no trouble finding a wifi enabled cafe to post the last couple of days worth of blog entries...and of course, drink some coffee!

From Apollo Bay, the Great Ocean Road stays more true to its name, hugging a steep rocky coastline, and as a result, with few flat sections. None of the hills are too big however, and in most places there was just enough shoulder on the side of the road to make it feel reasonably safe, considering the windy road. There was the occasional scary driver, and I twice saw speeding convertables, complete with passangers probably wearing all the clothes they own - they looked cold! Also I saw the only other cycle tourist I'd seen since Mt Gambier. This was a couple in their late 50s/early 60s, with fully laden bikes like mine. You dont have to sit at home in anarmchair all the time when you get old! Love it. My own legs felt great today too, and I kept a good pace going all day. However I do have pretty bad saddle sores though...and could only get limited relief from "the magic red stuff" (Lucas Paw Paw cream. Very handy stuff for riders! I can just see Carla and Vicki nodding sagely if they are reading this...)

Originally I'd planned to stay at Lorne, but it seemed a bit too far away from Melbourne for tomorrows final day of the ride, so I decided to push on a little bit more up to Aireys Inlet where there is a camp ground. My tent was heavy and soaked with dew from 2 days ago so it was nice to arrive with just enough daylight left to dry off the worst of it.

Down on the beach next to town looked like a good place to catch some waves, so I warmed down with a walk and loved watching the surfers on their final runs for the day. It looked like a pretty righteous way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Last day tomorrow. All that's needed is a small stretch on the coast, then inland to Geelong and either down the M1 motorway (Cyclists are allowed as far as Weribee) or, a zig zag route inland which is quite a bit longer. In the meantime, it's time for me to tuck into the 'emergency' food...freeze dried Lamb Fettucine. Not sure what to expect here, but I'm sure it won't be as good as last nights pizza!

Stats for today

Distance: 112 km
Average Speed: 23.5 km/h
Beard Status: Not sure I will be let in the house tomorrow.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Adelaide to Melbourne - Day 6

It was a clear  morning when I set off, getting only few meters before realising the rear tyre was flat. Its always a little bit more of a mission to change a tube when the bike is loaded, but as I hadn't even started, worth taking the time to figure out the cause of the puncture - as well as fixing it. Running my fingers through the inside of the tyre revealed a tiny sliver of wire that had gone all the way through. The old tube already had 2 patches on it, so I just replaced the tube and then put everything back together. I carry 3 spare tubes and a patch kit when touring.

After that, I was rolling! No noticeable wind initially, and it was nice to leave the A1 after 5 km, and join the B100...The Great Ocean Road! Traffic was lovely and light and I was able to ride on the smoother tarmac in the middle of the lane. And it was pure bliss to not have to dodge trucks all day.

The really nice scenery started after Nirranda South where the road joins the coast. There are lots of places to stop here, and the coast is beautiful, wild and rugged.

Around lunchtime I got to the Apostles and was talking to a group who just finished a 100km coastal walk. They were weary and elated and it was nice to talk to some people in a similar mindset. We helped each other out with photos.

Incidentally there is not much good food available at The Apostles Cafe, for anyone planning their own trip in the area, Peterborough looked to have lots more choice.

After the Apostles, the Great Ocean Road heads inland, at first over small foothills before then winding its way up a grueling ill climb to the town of Lavers Hill.  Showers came through and the temperature went down...but this is no bad thing for climbing. I got a great rhythm going for a good while, staying on the seat in low gears and keeping a slow steady pace. But the hill kept going, and going...with loads of false summits! By the time I pulled in to Lavers hill, I'd been climbing hard for about an hour and a half and the legs were totally pumped with lactic acid. Despite it being a very cold and wet afternoon I was drenched from the effort.

So Lavers Hill seemed like a good spot to call it a day. I think tomorrow the road drops right down to the coast before another big climb...better eat up well tonight!

Day 6 Stats

Distance: 111km
Average Speed: 22km/h