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

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Melbourne to Sydney: Day 4

I had an itchy night in the tent after serving myself for dinner to the insect community of Lake Wellington. As I was packing my bag, this beautiful red parrot came down to check out my stuff. I wished it had been around at dusk to take out some bugs for me...too late buddy! I got on the move early.

My first waypoint for the day was Bairnsdale. I'd given 'Bianca' a quick check last night and a couple of rear spokes felt too lose. Bairnsdale has the last bike shop for the next 400km so I was hoping to get that checked out before heading into the more remote area of East Gippsland, and the big hills.

Rivera Cycles were awesome. They tuned up the the wheel straight away while I stocked up on supplies for the next leg. Really glad I did this, could easily have resulted in a busted wheel if left unattended.

From Bairnsdale the East Gippsland RailTrail runs for 97km to Orbost and is a great alternative to the Freeway. Though with limited supply options along the way. It was a bit of a risk taking Bianca down the trail however. Laden with panniers and running on thin 25 mm tires, handling on gravel and sand is poor. The 30-40 kg on the bike makes a big, big difference. I thought I'd at least try, as there were plenty of places along the way to re join the road if it proved to tricky.

The first section is sealed but bumpy, and OK, just. I came off twice, at low speed...as the front wheel would slide in the gravel when trying to dodge the bigger stones. But the track was stunning and lovely having a break from the traffic.

I came across a big group of kids doing their 'silver' level Duke of Ed challenge, and it was good having a chat with with their support team who were like minded. They kindly offered me some water, as so far the day had been another roasting hot one. I was having to carry 4-5 litres...but rain was coming...and it arrived in style!

East of Bruthen thunder rumbled closer, along with menacing looking clouds. I felt rather too exposed and a bit like a mobile lighting rod along the top of the ridge, and when the rain started it was getting trickier to stay on the bike. So at Nowa Nowa...had to opt out and get back on the main road.

Rail trail riding

For the final section of the day the legs felt awesome and I smashed the last 30km to Orbost in the rain, wheeling into the only camp ground in town hoping to get a roof over my head for a wet night. Unfortunately, all the cabins they had were taken up with Telstra workers repairing recent fire damage, so had no choice but the tent. But awesome day all in all...and great to be in the trees again.

Distance: 141 km
Bee strings: 1
Route map to follow

Day 5 Link >

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