Completed my first 210km Around the Bay yesterday!
Was riding solo but latched onto a few small groups down to Queenscliff, only stopped at Geelong before the ferry. Got to Queenscliff at 11:15 and made it onto the 1pm crossing.Really enjoyed the road from Sorrento up to the hills around Mt. Martha. I quite liked the hills, seeing people helping pace each other up, a few guys with the hand on the back of some women helping get them up was really nice to see.
I was pretty nervous about the Oliver's Hill descent with a few spots of rain coming down, but luckily there were no bikes or cars to share the road with when I did it.
Road from Frankston (my last rest stop) back to Melbourne was not the most enjoyable, except about 10km before the end when I realised I was going to make it - unscathed and without a puncture. That cross-wind was chaos - a pizza box flew out in front of me!
Only saw the one crash near the start on Geelong highway - couple of guys in neck braces with an ambulance, not sure what happened. lots of flat tyres along that road though, bit of debris in the shoulder wasn't there! Had a group of about 15 of us from St Kilda Marina to the finish line, got in at 6:35pm to support from family and a couple of friends!
Was also a bit nervous about riding with lots of other cyclists, but found people to be really good. I was also impressed by motorist safety. As I was often alone, I sometimes thought people wouldn't see me or would 'take me on' and try to zoom out in front, but they were generally very patient.
The only gripe I have is that there was nothing still open or going on at the 'festival'. I understand that people finish much earlier than I did, but there were also hundreds of people who finished after me. Considering some of them probably had tough days with punctures, mechanical issues, or just generally not being as quick or skilled at riding than those who came in earlier, it's pretty disappointing that there were literally people dismantling the finishing barricades and taking sponsor's signs down as I finished. Nowhere really to get food or look in the cycling tents, no massages, nothing. It was scheduled to last til 8 but there was just nothing when we finished, and they ran out of medals (which they are presumably trying to get more of). A huge anti-climax to what was otherwise a great day.
Will be back next year!