Went down to Melbourne the weekend before last for the 250km Around the Bay in a Day ride. Drove down from Sydney on Wednesday and came back the following Tuesday. Driving was easier than packing the bike into a box, risking it getting damaged in transit, unpacking at the other end and repeating the process. Plus I found the drive quite relaxing and got to see parts of Australia I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Once in Melbourne did the usual touristy things – shopped quite a bit, ate a lot and caught up with some family members. I can highly recommend The Italian on Flinders Lane and Jim’s Greek Tavern in Collingwood if you’re looking for a nice bite to eat!

RBLB1079-12x17The weather forecast for the big ride was looking OK (“partly cloudy”) until the BOM forecast on Saturday morning added in ‘the chance of hail’ so at that stage I wasn’t even sure that I would get out on the bike come Sunday but thankfully the Saturday afternoon forecast was more forgiving and so the ride was on. Gave the bike one last clean on Saturday night, reciting the mantra that “a clean bike is a fast bike”, laid all my food, clothes etc… out in preparation and set the alarm for 3:45am.

Too excited to sleep, I got up at 3:30am, had a shower, ate 4 crumpets, checked the latest weather radar, and headed out to the start line at 5am with a detour for a cappuccino to get that much-needed caffeine fix.

The 250km riders were all due to head off at 5:30am in waves according to your estimated speed (30-35km/h, 25-29km/h etc…) but in the end it seemed to be every man for themselves. It was pitch-black when we started so lights were a necessity, however not too many had one and this resulted in many, many near misses with witches-hats and bollards that were acting as lane dividers during the early part of the ride.

It took a while, but after the first 40-50km the bunches broke down in to manageable groups and we were on our way. It was a cold day, starting off around 9 degrees celsius before warming up later in the day to around 23 degrees. We had an incredibly strong headwind (~45km/h) on the way down to Queenscliff via Port Arlington, with a little tail-wind on the way back to Melbourne from Sorrento. There was intermittent rain, but nothing torrential and certainly no hail which was good! I guess you could say it was just your typical Melbourne day.

The ride itself was quite fast, with actual ride time of approx. 7hrs 30minutes (elapsed 9hrs 40mins which included waiting for the ferry and the ferry crossing itself), for an average speed of around 32km/h which I was quite pleased with. Only had one mechanical in the form of a puncture about 50km in to the ride, but apart from that everything went well.

Everyone seemed in good spirits, and Bicycle Victoria managed to raise over $800,000 for The Smith Family to assist disadvantaged Australian kids. Picture above of me crossing the finish-line before getting a much needed leg massage! Stats for the ride are here. A big thank you to all those who sponsored me for the ride, and also to all those volunteers that help make the ride possible.

In other news, the loss of Steve Jobs earlier this month to pancreatic cancer is a loss to society generally. He really did change the way much of the world communicates, listens to music and interacts with technology. He made products not only that were ground-breaking and innovative in their design, but so intuitive to use. His legacy will live on for many, many years to come but i’m afraid we won’t see someone as visionary again in my lifetime. Let’s hope i’m wrong. RIP Steve.

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