While it’s easy to get caught up in the unique and very wet way the RACV Great Vic ended, it’s just as important to remember and celebrate what was otherwise an amazing ride.
This year’s RACV Great Vic was definitely one for the history books, giving more than 3,000 riders plenty of stories to share with friends and family.
Gippsland served us up with the full gamut of weather and conditions – muggy, baking hot, persistent showers, topped up with some sunburn, flies and persistent crickets. It was a classic Great Vic experience.
We also enjoyed some of the state’s best riding conditions, campsites, townships, local pubs, bakeries and beaches and were lucky enough to camp in Wilsons Prom for the first time ever.
It was a tremendous afternoon at Tidal River, with many enjoying a swim or game of cricket on Norman Beach before some of the largest raindrops to ever fall (we think) gave warning to an impending storm.
The rain didn’t dampen spirits and the ride kicked off through Wilsons Prom on road that didn’t seem as hilly on the way in as the way out.
The arrival at Foster was fantastic, with a street party put on to welcome riders by the local pub. It was a classic moment that only the Great Vic can deliver – riders and locals gathering together in an excellent showcase of community spirit.
This was on show the whole way through the event, with Yarram and Seaspray also pulling together to welcome riders and help us uncover some hidden gems of Gippsland.
Seaspray was particularly sensational, with the campsite virtually on the shore of Ninety Mile Beach.
It was also here that we revealed that the 2018 RACV Great Vic will be going from the mountains to the Murray.
The next day of riding to Bairnsdale saw us tackle the longest ever day in Great Vic history, clocking in at 111 kilometres.
Bairnsdale was beautiful, but it was there that mass warnings of a 100-year storm started to trickle in. An early start got us to Maffra in almost perfect riding conditions. But unfortunately, it was here that we had to make the call to not go any further.
Before we wrap up the ride for another year, we’d like to recognize the efforts of our 300 volunteers, councils, contractors and stakeholders who despite every challenge the Great Vic threw at us, handled their jobs with enthusiasm, dedication, flexibility, support and helping hand.
To the vollies who set up tents in the heat and rain, fed us, kept us informed, made us laugh, showed us the way and supported us out on the road, thank you.
Thank you also to the councils, contractors and stakeholders all pulled together to make make sure we were all safe and made the best of a tough situation.
We’re truly lucky to have these amazing people as part of our Great Vic family and Bicycle Network team.
We'd also like to thank you, our riders. You backed us and trusted us when things got tough and plans were changed. It was an incredibly tough decision to cut the ride short, and your words of encouragement did not go unnoticed. Thank you for your cooperation and patience. It made our jobs so much easier.
There’s no doubt Glengarry also appreciated the stop in that many of you made on your way home – we heard that the bakery sold out of pies by mid-morning and the pub still served more than 800 meals on Saturday.
When you get the chance, please take the time to return to the towns who gave us so much, in particular Glengarry and Trafalgar who missed out on our company.
We'd also love to see you again next year. To make your 2018 RACV Great Vic Bike Ride just a little bit better we're offering a complimentary winery tour including tastings plus morning or afternoon tea to those who enter now.