Roadtrip Down Under 2.0

Day 01 – Canberra-Jindabyne

With the anticipation rising of the daughting 167klms from Canberra to Jindabyne the newly formed Strongher crew hustled together for an early start. This years crew super domestique ( she who hath no name), team captain Lois, last years returnees Sarah and Penny, newbies Kelsie, Andrea, Cat and me (Diane). Funny funny 5 from Perth. Nicknames not established but will be formed over the next 8 days for sure.

The day was very sivalised with frequent stops for refuelling. There was plenty of get to know you chit chatter…not even the climbs were quiet.

The lunch stop at 110k was greeted with pleasant relief and a little dread for some knowing the remaining Klms to go.

There was plenty of road kill to dodge and weave ( even though dead) sad face.
We were greated with the typical Aussie landscape – simply beautiful – can’t get enough….

I must say the last 60k was a challenge with still 500m of climbing. The crew knuckling down for the last Klms. Although there was plenty of enthusiasms and energy left in some (not me). There was some pleasant relief with the downs.

Now we are off to consume a boot load of food yeah yeah the best bit.

Thanks for following us.

cheers Di

Day 02 – Jindabyne – Corryong

Starting with shattered legs from 165kms 1st day, shattered legs, a later breakfast than planned and a slashed tyres we embarked on an epic 145kms ride from East Jindabyne to Corryong with 2,910m of climbing, through Australia’s Snowy Mountains.

The day started at a cool 14′ & deteriorated to a high of approximately 35′. After the first major climb we were still smiling & happy, ascended 1225m. Then a glorious 17.5 km switchback descent, with only a small berg halfway down. It was over soooo fast. Then this writer was in the bus to witness the rest of the ride of pain AND glory from the support vehicle.

The intrepid ladies pedaled through another 1700m of climbing in temperatures that rose from an okay 25′ to 35′ plus the heat off the bitumen was much more. More testing climbs of at times 10%, hot foot and the first puncture of the day to our mighty team leader, Loes, who collected a rock on one of the descents, but true to a cycling great stayed upright, a change of wheel & she chased everyone down to take her lead again.

There was no where to hide in this ride, even hills in the open sun right into Corryong. Although hot & weary everyone recovered really quickly to get to the local pub for a few cool Aussie Beers & a big feed. Loes awarded the first award of the trip to Andrea,.. Conquerer of the Mountains. She destroyed them all as though she riding on the flat.


Day 03 – Corryong-Albury

Today’s ride report is by Cat
Mountain view hotel good bye. So pretty.

In the words of Loes ” this ride will be peanuts” what us Aussie heard ” this ride will be penis”
So like a penis the ride started flat ….good for most of us as we were all a little cooked from yesterday. My feet alone sooooo didn’t like the ground heat. Thank goodness for the swimming pool!

Ang was off to a fabulous start , she miss placed her Garmin, stopped and started her strava in which she had to chase us all down. Ang is a gun on the bike but I’m sure to start off with a bang like this was a true heart starter and not nice. There was some ups and downs but more flat stuff. Which my 80kg body was super happy with. I decided to tell a few dad jokes about cows as we went past a few in the paddocks. My dad jokes were recieved like a kick in the nuts (straight back to the penis ride)

Anyways the down hill parts were more my cup of tea , none of theses hair pin corners or steep decents. We had a little hit out on one of the long down hills which was a little fun….We pulled into the next town which was about the 80km mark of the ride and stopped for food , drinks and pain killers.  We all enjoyed the break… The morning started out just perfect in temperature but by 11 it was starting to warm up….

We stuck together as a team, Ang and Kelsey shared the work up front with loes. CJ help us along the way with several stops for us to top up with water and food. It was super awesome to finally arrive, myself Dianne and Sarah were very very very pleased to pull into the hotel.

Recovery time now


Day 04 – Albury -Wangaratta

Today’s road trip took us across the scenic lands of the Pangerang people, the traditional indigenous owners of the area surrounding Wangaratta.  Whilst the ‘hump day’ ride presented as a recovery on paper, a persistent headwind and high humidity made for another challenging day on the bike. For Kelsie D (aka “put in in the big dog”) another personal challenge was accepted, not to half wheel the ride captain whilst riding on the front. To her credit she made 5km before owing the bunch Australia Day beers.

With the promise of ‘real’ coffee at the 40km mark, the ladies started the final climb of day in to Beechworth. The climb is titled “Rising Sun Full Climb” with a 5% average gradient and is just under 4km in length. After deciding to TT off the front (why!!?) just prior to the climb (ignorance is bliss sometimes) I was set to take this one easy. That is before Lois decided to ‘tap’ past me and I just ‘had to go’ with her. Needless to say, I arrived in Beechworth suffering. Lois told me ‘it would make me strongher’!

At Beechworth, we ate sweet treats and drank coffee/electrolytes at the welcoming local Beechworth Bakery to recover. Beechworth is an old gold mining town with a notorious bushranger history. On approach, the bunch rolled past the fortified stone walls of HM Prison Beechworth renowned for its famous inmate, bushranger Ned Kelly.

Powered with the sugar hit from the Beechworth Bakery, the last 40 clicks to Wangaratta whizzed by. I was impressed by a large church entering the town and after a quick google for this post, I learnt Wangaratta is a ‘cathedral city’. It is also a gateway to the wineries around Rutherglen, where the delicious Rutherglen Muscat is crafted. To end another epic Oz day RoadTrip, the hardcore bunchies downed a nightcap of this sweet nectar knowing there was a hot headwind brewing to start tomorrow’s action.

Day 05 – Wangaratta to Nagambie

I awoke before dawn to the sound of trucks shuffling past our motel which was situated close to the major highway that ran though Wangaratta…The thought of Day 5 loomed before us.. We had gotten over our hump day of the trip yesterday and everyone is starting to feel the effects of fatigue. I didn’t sleep well and certainly didn’t feel refreshed or ready to get back on the bike.

Our morning routine had been well practiced by now and after packing our bags into the bus, a quick breakfast in Loes and CJ’s room and a packed lunch for on route and we were off.

The ride started slowly, myself and Anjii (aka ‘Mind Games’) took a back seat position in the peleton after spending the majority of yesterday’s ride on the front. We settled into a steady rhythm with the knowledge that it was going to be another long day in the saddle.

Sarah (aka ‘Maap Ambassador’) set the pace with Loes (aka ‘The Pro’ or ‘Dutchy’) as we headed south west out of the town ship along the busy major highway. With only 10km under our belt we ran over some debri which passed under some of our wheels and finally sliced though Cat’s (aka Dad Jokes) tyre. Our saviour CJ came to the rescue and a new tyre was fitted and we were off once again.

After another 5km, we came to the historical town of Glenrowan. A town made famous with the story of Ned Kelly, and if you didn’t know this before you entered the town, it would soon become evident. Every shop, restaurant or building made claim to the hero – Ned’s burger House, Ned’s Pub, This is where it happened and the list went on. We stopped to take some happy snaps at the over sized Ned Kelly Statue with ‘Dad Jokes’ wearing the winners jersey from the day previous. Penny (aka Trouble Maker) earned herself a new nickname by stumbling off her bike, the first ‘stack’ of the journey, in such precision that she became ‘flying ninja’. A well respected title which she will certainly hold onto for years to come.

Back on the road, there was slight confusion with our route which lended us to take 3 or 4 revolutions of a large roundabout before we decided to take the longer yet more senic route through Winton which would keep us off the major highway but increase the distance by 20km….. Which doesn’t seem a lot unless you have already ridden 130km.

Within another 5km our 3rd mishap of the day reared its head. A huge pothole was unannounced and flying ninja went straight over the top of it. Whilst her ninja abilities kept her upright on the bike her tyre was less fortunate and we stopped to change it in record time.

Back on the road again, I swapped myself to the front with Loes and powered into the headwind. By now a few nicknames had also been cemented for myself – Big Dog Davies, Easy Tiger and the more recognised ‘Harriette’ for Half wheeling Dutchy on almost every occasion possible – which of course happened again today without my intention and was told off accordingly.

By the time we got to lunch ‘Dad Jokes’ also received a new nick name of ‘Raw Bits’ and she stated without any uncertainty that she was getting in the bus for the rest of the journey. Lunch was inhaled, coke was sculled and we were back on the road for the remaining 65km. The rest of the journey was relatively uneventful….. the ride was reasonably flat but had a nasty side wind which led us to position our mini peleton to protect the less strong riders and we pushed through at a steady and gentle pace with only the thought of arriving at our destination and the hope that there may yet be another country bakery to fill our deserving tummies.

Once we arrived at the small town of Nagambie (which we learned is the birth place of Black Caviar – a famous race horse) we headed straight to said bakery and had our well earnt sweet treats before recovering and then later heading to the local pub for more food and wine, except for poor Dianne (aka Wombie), our token vegetarian who was un catered for at this small town pub and had to eat solo down the road but made it back to us before any of our meals even arrived! Chit chat, sticky date pudding and wine was shared until it was time to give out the day’s winners jersey – given to Maap Ambassedor on this day for her lucky streak – having gone over the debri and the mini crater without any flats and more importantly given her bakery pie for half price!! Well-deserved Sarah – well deserved. Now to sleep and think about tomorrow – our Australia Day version of the Ride – cant wait!!

Day 06 – Nagambie to St Albans

We went to bed the night before knowing that we were in for a 160km day with 1200m of climbing.

It was a long, hard day. You know it’s been a hard day’s ride when everyone’s highlights from the day weren’t ride related – “I saw a skippy”, “I enjoyed the coffee at Nagambie”, “I really enjoyed my peach”…..You get it right? Lots of kms on the highway, lots of wind in our faces, lots of agro drivers beeping at us, and lots of shifting around and ups and downs on the saddle wondering about the true state of our reproductive futures.

But it was Australia Day, so you gotta dig deep, and apart from Skippy our mascot sustaining a black eye in a freak accident, we all found something special and got through it.

We embraced Australia Day by touring the streets of St Albans on the way to our motel, and then wandering through Little Vietnam in the arvo. Our quest to find something ‘Astrayan’ was, however, fruitless -not one lamington could be found.

We finished Australia Day by eating dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, consoled by the fact there were 273 items on the menu. It was over pho, noodles and sizzling clay pots that we finally opened up to each other in a way that we hadn’t before. Harriet Half Wheeler admitted that on Day 2 she was going so slow up a hill that her Garmin went on to auto pause, and I admitted to the group that a baby snake had plenty of time to slither between my and Wombie’s wheel on the same climb. We also lovingly recalled how earlier in the day Wombie had a ‘mental break’ and tried to guide CJ into a parked car.

The day was rounded off by indulging in a night cap at the St Albans Hotel, whose 23 TV screens, pokies and full complement of bikies left us all feeling that Australia Day hadn’t turned out too bad. Happy Australia Day

Day 07 – St Albans to Geelong

The last day of the Roadtrip was short (86km) on paper, but for some it felt a long ride to the coffee. First goal of the day was to get out of Melbourne. It took a while and then we saw some good country again (without a coffeeshop). In Lara we found a good bakery and we’re flying to Geelong and to finish the roadtrip.

Near the Waterfront (start of Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race, Bay Crits and Worlds 2010) we celebrated the finish with champagne. The jersey of the day was the ‘suffer in silence’- and ‘no-complain’-jersey. The proud winner was Diane, aka Wommie.

The roadtrip in a few words:

  • + 1000km in 7 days
  • 8037 altimeters
  • 2 jaws of yellow sandwich pickels
  • no instant coffee
  • 1 jaw of vegemite
  • speed 73,6 km/h
  • slowest speed: auto pause in the snowy mountains
  • best bakery in Beechworth
  • High priority coffee in Lara J

It was an awesome ride and thanks everybody for a great lifetime memory!