Lavers hill to Barwon Point
Top speed for a lightweight 77.2
Road kill count
1 brush tail possum
And 1 wallaby
The morning alarm sprang to life at 5.30am only to be shut down for an extra thirty minutes thanks to the lovely Alyssa.
The wonderful woman in Sharky's life celebrates a birthday today and her gift to us riders today was a thirty minute sleep-in.
Happy birthday and thank you Alyssa. Gift no. 1
So after a restful night full of mouldy blankets, electrifying bathrooms and showers that challenges point eight of a person to get wet, a 7.30am roll out it was.
Rolling out through the mist and early morning drizzle that is the gorgeous Lavers Hill the sleepy cows rise to the early morning across fields so lush and green it's hard to imagine they could possibly be any other colour.
20k along a downhill roll where the whir of wheels among the damp spray off the road we hear a call from Paula. 3rd time lucky, or not for this trip, her front wheel flat!
Fixed more quickly than you can say "jack robinson", the team were on the road again, enjoying the work on the rises which quickly warmed our cooling bodies from the downhills.
Another 10k down and our local tour guide and fellow smiddyite, Bryan, prepares us for the wild decent that lies ahead. With grave warnings of road conditions, wet, mossy, slippery and steep, many of the group were a little on edge, with trepidation of the unknown and unexpected. We take the right hand turn to begin the segment.
Gift no. 2
A roll though the most absolutely spectacular forest you could ever possibly imagine. Beech forrest.
Where the road begs you to race up and down its contours, but the breathtaking beauty of the majestic Mountain Ash trees and rainforest that surround us demand such of your undivided attention that to race through such a gift from Mother Nature just does not seem possible. I couldn't tell you how many kilometres of road we rode through the forest but it would seem that I was in there for a lifetime, where 11 riders had spread to enjoy the solitude and tranquility that was gifted to us.
Where a stop sign abruptly halts the fairy tale Beech forest roll we regroup with smiles and eyes glistening in awe of the magnificent world around us.
We take a moment.
Revisit Bryan's earlier brief.
Reminders and cautions for the descent we're about to embark.
11k downhill steep and windy to the bottom of Skenes Creek.
Bang. We're off.
Gift no 3.
Fear and hesitations subside with the grace of every corner and turn. The road is clean open and wide with corners ever so graceful. The view a combination of trees and forest in the cool morning air with windows opening out wide to the view of our crystal blue Australian coastline glistening in the fresh morning sun.
We come into morning tea one by one at the bottom of gift no. 3 at Skenes Creek. High fives and smiles all around like a possy of five year olds all hitting the jackpot in pass the parcel.
Here at Skenes Creek we're greeted by day rider, or as we better know him now, 'day boy' Brad Richardson.
Brad onboard, our tummies fed it's onwards to continue the party that today is clearly becoming. We head off to knock out the 20k or so along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to Wye River at the wish of our birthday girl for morning coffee.
No sooner do we have 10k of undulating pacelining underway when Sharky let's go of one the greatest sharklike sounds you may ever hear. He just spotted his good mate and Aussie cycling legend Phil Anderson flying past in the opposite direction. The peloton quickly pull up and radio to Kevvy in the rear support vehicle who swiftly created a road block in true CHiPS style turning Phil in back in his tracks to join the Smiddy team for the ongoing celebrations.
Coffees done, stories told, photos snapped and jerseys signed Phil wished us all well and bade us goodbye with a special bell ringing send off ceremony. After all, this is not just any day. It's a birthday.
So upon leaving Phil we set out for the next 50k or so continuing along the Great Ocean Road, with views and cycling conditions we could only dream of. Blue sky's, ocean views, waves crashing over raw coastline, rolling and winding roads that leaves a paceline squealing and a breeze sitting on our back the day through. Seriously, can it get any better?!
With the day spent playing and enjoying the incredible gifts our Mother Nature has bestowed on us, our day is quickly getting away from us as we roll into Anglesea for a late lunch at 2.30. However, not without.....another puncture! Yep, Paula's front wheel. With a quick roadside change thanks to the boys, Paula's back in action and hanging with the road crew citing her plan for front wheel puncture intervention for the tassie leg with the help of Brad's wheels. Thanks Brad for Gift no. 5.
Now with only 40km or so to go, we again are on our way. This time with 'day boy' Brad joined with Bryan leading our wheels along the roads of southern Victoria to our final
destination for tonight at Barwon Heads. We arrive in time to again enjoy more gifts of this lifetime, the ocean to soothe our tired muscles, the friendships, the cake and the blessing of a warm shower and clean clothes.
Today has left me in absolute awe of the gifts and opportunities that are laid out infront of us and where my words may not do what we see justice, you can be confident in knowing that today has been spectacular where the opportunity to sit on a wheel in a smiddy peleton is one of the most special gifts from our families and friends you can possibly imagine.
Thankyou to all those who bestow such wonderful gifts upon us - our families, our friends, the road crew, our supporters and Mother Nature. A pretty awesome world we live in.
And here I am wondering who's birthday was it.