Left home at 6.40am for the 90km trip up to Seymour. I passed a sign on the side of the road that said 7.20, but the next frame said -3. Luckily I had all my cold weather gear. Signed in at about 7.40 for a 8.00 start and went and got all my gear ready. Just made it to the start line where I wished John (work colleague) a good ride and the race was on. We split up immediately. Then I noticed Whad as we took off which was surprising as he had put his name down for the Frankston ride. Agreed that this was a better ride for today as you can do Beach Rd anytime and IMHO it's pretty boring.
Whad rode with me which was much appreciated and as we arrived in Nagambie after 43kms I noticed the 200km group come in with John amongst them. They continued on as Whad and I had a comfort stop. I thought this is looking good I've already covered more than a quarter of the distance and John has only gained about 5kms. Next stop was Murchison and again saw the 200km group just leaving the first checkpoint. This is great I thought as they had to head further north to make up the extra 40kms. At this stage I was traveling pretty well and we picked up Liz who had been doing the 200 but had lost her husband who had taken a wrong turn to Heathcote, so she joined us.
We set off for the return journey at about 30+kph clip which was a bit on the fast side for me. Whad and Liz continued on but they missed the turnoff back to the biggest bike eating bridge I have ever seen. It must have been 300-400 metres long with gaps in the planks that would nearly have swallowed a motor bike. Fortunately they realised their error and came back. I had gone 500 metres past by the time they returned. This was going to cost me in the race with John.
We rocked into Nagambie and got our brevets signed before heading off on the next leg. Liz found her husband, but he wanted lunch so Liz stayed with Whad. They took off again and I continued on my own. It was on this leg that I nearly had a meltdown. (cont). I was feeling pretty weary and was just plodding along when another rider came up behind me and said Hi. Scared the bejeesus out of me. Anyway he was riding with a group of four and had decided to chase me down himself (didn't have to try too hard). He rode with me for awhile until the rest of Team Tooborac turned up. After crossing another bike eating bridge we arrived in Longwood for the last checkpoint. The general store was closed so the local pub obliged with a stamp on the brevet cards. What I wouldn't have done for a beer, but couldn't hang around as I had a race to win. Although it was probably all over and I was ready to concede defeat.
I was invited to join Team Tooborac for the last 40 kms and with the slight tailwind we moved along at a fairly good pace. On through Avenel we went with 20kms to go. They had set up a secret checkpoint and we stopped to get our brevets registered and some lollies etc. I asked if John had come through and just as we left he arrived. How good is that? After being apart for about 100kms we were just minutes apart. I thought my goose is cooked as there's no way I can beat him to the finish. (cont)
He passed me in the next 3kms or so and I was resigned to defeat. I thought what the heck I don't want him to win by too much so cranked up my speed to about 40kph and set out after him. I was feeling pretty good now having gained a second wind after a feed of snakes. I wasn't going to do any good catching up but I thought if I could keep him in sight with only about 10kms to go I might be able to sneak up on him at full pace and pass him near the end. John slowed to talk to a some riders in the 160 and was oblivious to my presence. He took off again and I jokingly chastised the riders for not holding him up longer. Then a stroke of luck. John and his riding partner went up the wrong road. I followed but he had ventured further on and when I realised our error quickly turned around and headed off in the right direction with him a few hundred metres behind. This was to no avail as he caught me again in the next couple of kms.
With about 4 kms to go Team Tooborac arrived and a couple of them said hop on and we'll get you past. And they did. I passed John about a km from the end but by this time I was totally cooked and John just breezed to the finish a few hundred metres ahead of me.
What a great day in paradise. Said hello to Vicjane, had a chat with some of the other riders and managed to get a photo of Team Toobarac and was invited to join some of their Sunday rides. An awesome day, great weather, friendly people and a great flat route. Would recommend it to anyone. Arrived home at 5.30pm and went and had a nice hot shower.
Stats for the day.
Riding time 6:34:32
Max 48.5 (no hills)
Pretty happy overall as I've been off the bike (except BBC ride) for nearly a month with a cold and work commitments.