This year I decided to participate in the RACV Great Ocean Road ‘Classic’ ride, a 145km loop starting and finishing in Torquay, held on Saturday 16th April. The route took in some of the roads that the ‘Wheels on Wednesday’ group have ridden in the past year so I hoped it would all feel very familiar, with a bit of new territory thrown in.
My start time was scheduled for 08:01 and I arrived at the start line around 15 minutes early. Annoyingly I had forgotten to bring my usual bicycle GPS, so I had to use my phone GPS to track the ride. This meant that I couldn’t check my speed, cadence or heart rate during the ride, but I realised that because I had nothing to look down at, Chris Froome style, I could just concentrate on looking down the road and at the scenery!
The weather was pretty dismal, with drizzle but no wind and fortunately not too cold. We set off right on time and made our way through Torquay onto Anglesea Road and then onto Hendy Main Rd. I was feeling pretty comfortable and was soon at the first ‘refreshment’ stop just getting into Moriac, right on 09:00. Time to pick up a banana but there was a big queue for the toilet. I decided not to wait and set off up into Moriac and was surprised to see that there was no-one using the public toilet opposite the coffee stop on Cape Otway Rd, it pays to have some ‘local knowledge’ !
The rain was now starting in earnest so it was time to put on the rain jacket and head off along Cape Otway Rd. This part of the ride seemed to go on forever, past the point where the ‘Wheels on Wednesday’ ride had turned off last time we rode in this part of the world.
I arrived at the next stop at 10:00 ( a pattern was developing 🙂 and eventually we made it to the left turn towards Deans Marsh, arriving at 11:00. I refilled my water bottles, grabbed bananas again and set off to the start of the big climb of the day, up to Benwerrin. I had paid an extra $10 when I registered for the event, to get an official time for the climb, and had received a timing chip from raceresult.com to attach to the bike. I passed the polka dot ‘start of climb’ sign and then the road tipped up!
The climb has three main slopes, with flats between. I had climbed this one last year, as the final section of the Amy’s Gran Fondo ride, so knew what to expect. But I did much better on the climb this time around. I’ve been doing a lot of riding in the past six months and have also been doing spin classes and found riding with a high cadence really paid off, the hill wasn’t a problem at all! My time for the 12km climb was 37 minutes, av speed 18.4km/hr.
At the top of the climb I passed the polka dot sign and then had a nice roll down the 10km winding road to Lorne. The road was wet and some of my fellow riders were racing along at crazy speeds but I took it easy and soon reached the bottom and headed into Lorne for a brief stop and as the weather had now improved a lot, took off my rain jacket and got ready for the last stint along the GOR via Anglesea, to Torquay.
Unfortunately the only time during the year that the GOR is closed to traffic is for Amy’s Gran Fondo in September so we had some cars to contend with but conditions had improved a lot, the road had dried out and even though the sky was grey the views were as amazing as usual and it was a really great experience being able to take in things at a cycles pace, not trapped in a four wheeled steel box with windows!
I made it back onto familiar territory as the Wheels on Wednesday group has cycled back from Anglesea a couple of times while I’ve been riding with them. Soon it was the ride back through the streets of Torquay and I got to ride through the finishing kite and pick up a ‘showbag’ with lots of sponsor goodies. It was 14:06, giving me an elapsed time of 6hr:05min and according to my GPS I’d achieved a moving average of 24.55km/hr over the 145km. I was pleased with that!
An excellent day out. Looking forward to Amy’s Gran Fondo again in September.
Congratulations, Dave. What an amazing ride!