Wet! Wet! Wet! Not to mention windy!
Nonetheless, hundreds of hardy cyclists huddled under the Eastern Park rotunda awaiting the 8am start of Ride the Bellarine.
There were at least five Cycling Geelong members spotted – David F and Coralie (100km) and Rod, Geoff and Caroline (60km).
The start was delayed till around 8:10 by torrential rain, but undaunted, the 100km riders closely followed by those cycling 60km set off.
They were almost out of sight when the clouds re-opened – hail, this time, mixed in with driving rain. Those of us volunteering at Eastern Park felt great sympathy – not only for the riders but for numerous volunteers marshaling on street corners. (How did you get on, Heather?)
The wind at this stage was south westerly. This helped the riders on their way to Drysdale and St Leonards.
There were a few mechanical incidents. A couple riding a tandem walked back to the start after ‘a part fell off’. (A brother, who works in a local bike shop had serviced the bike – but forgotten to tighten a vital component.) Despite the rain, problems were few. It was reported that there was no rain on the Bellarine Peninsula.
By the time the 60km group were headed back to Geelong, the wind was southerly, giving them a push home. The first cyclist returned at around 10:30 – a fantastic effort for a solo rider from Birregurra.
By then the Ocean Grove Rotary Club had set up their barbecue trailer with sausages and hot soup.
By 11am, there was blue in the sky and the roads were drying.
This inaugural Ride the Bellarine raised funds for the eradication of polio (still endemic in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan). All Geelong district Rotary Clubs worked together to create this new event on the Geelong cycling calendar.
Well over 200 cyclists participated, with only a small number of those who had registered failing to show up. There was also a small army of volunteers, including at least two Cycling Geelong members.
If you have a personal story of your involvement, please send us a report.