Tag Archives: details

Stage 83: Victoria

Melbourne to  Cowes (Phillip Island)
Date: 12-07-2014 Time: 04:20 h Σ Time: 464:53 h
Distance: 95 km Σ km: 9863 km Temp: 10/15°C
Up: 271 m Σ Up: 83114 m Down: 308 m
Calories: 2175 kcal Σ kcal: 210716 kcal  
Conditions: Rain – rain – rain.

The rain set in during the night and never stopped all day, until we reached Phillip Island. And it was a cold and wind battered rain in Melbourne. Day temperatures 20°C below normal. The ‘Melbies’ seem to be unimpressed by such conditions. There were quite some runners and cyclists on the trails this morning. We also passed two sport events, which took place this morning; a women run and a triathlon. So we were not the only ones sent into the cold …

Today was a race against the time. 96 km in the cold headwind to Crib Point, from where the ferry should start at noon to take us to Cowes on Phillip Island. The next would go at 4:30pm, if we miss the noon one. I was riding with Eric and we advance quickly. However, we missed a turn in Melbourne, but thanks to Garmin and Google Maps on the smartphone, we found our way to Beach Road and reconnected to the route. At lunch at around 63 km we saw a bit of a sun through thinner clouds. But soon it was grey in grey again and continued to drizzle. 30km left to the ferry port. We arrived there at 11:50am just to be told, that there will be no ferry today, as the weather was too bad. What!? We were cycling all morning in bad weather, how can a ferry be ‘grounded’, if we can ride under such conditions. Nevertheless, Andreas was already there and soon we were on a train back to Frankston, leaving our bikes behind. From Frankstone we had to take a bus to Dandenong, from where another bus would take us to Cowes. Five and a half hours later, cycling clothes were almost dry again, we arrived at camp, just in time to setup our wet tents and enroll the wet sleeping bags and matrasses. No time to dry anything. Dinner was almost ready, although Mark was sick today and most of the other staff members were busy getting back to the ferry port to collect bicycles and remaining cyclists, who were not with us on the public transportation. It was 3 am the next morning, when Max returned from the last trip to Crib Point. Big Thanks to all that all the bikes were ready the next morning, to continue into another day. Due to the late arrival in Cowes, we were not able to visit the ‘Penguin Parade’, a beach 12 km away from our camp, where the penguins come to the beach at dawn.


Stage 82: Victoria

Torquay to  Melbourne
Date: 12-05-2014 Time: 03:58 h Σ Time: 460:32 h
Distance: 106 km Σ km: 9768 km Temp: 13/18°C
Up: 328 m Σ Up: 82843 m Down: 306 m
Calories: 2204 kcal Σ kcal: 208541 kcal  
Conditions: Cloudy and grey. TdA found a nice way and bike trails to avoid the busy roads and highways to Melbourne, and cut the former 144 km to just 106 km. However it had 62 direction changes, which made navigation a bit more complicated.

Arrived in Melbourne, the end of the Great Ocean Road section.

Can you imagine a day for me without photo stop? Today was the first day nothing attracted me to further explore and document. It did not rain, but it felt wet on this cloudy, grey morning. Even the beaches were deserted and grey in grey. Riding through industrial areas or farm fields did also not reveal new things. Thus I kept a high pace. Riding with the Garmin GPS made navigation easy. Although we did not get a track, the device always gives you an idea where the next turn will be. So I was riding very fast from point to point, even closed up with the usually fast riders, who left earlier than me and guided them to lunch, which was at 74km. I arrived first! A first of a kind. Other riders arrived soon after. I was getting cold in my wet soaked jersey and sweater, so I left lunch after a shorter break than usual. With only 34 km to go I continued with my high pace. Shortly before camp Chris closed up with me. He had left earlier, but at one point fell behind me, when he couldn’t immediately find the right turn. He finally passed me, when I had to stop at a traffic light, which he gracefully avoided. We arrived at the caravan park within a few seconds from each other. Since he immediately stopped at the reception to get a cabin and I continued straight to the camp ground, I was awarded to be the first seen to arrive at camp at that day. Only 3:58h for 106km on my MTB, a new record for riding in unknown terrain! It was just 11am, when I started to pitch my tent. Remember, just 3 days ago I had covered only 11km by 10am, however, with a lot of scenic stops and photos. The known as ‘slowest’ fast rider, was today the fastest fast rider! Maybe I had some extra boost from last nights birthday party or it was the inhaling of ‘enriched’ air riding past the big oil refineries, that gave me a real energy boost.


Stage 81: Victoria

Apollo Bay to  Torquay
Date: 12-04-2014 Time: 05:20 h Σ Time: 452:17 h
Distance: 96 km Σ km: 9662 km Temp: 10/29°C
Up: 862 m Σ Up: 82515 m Down: 859 m
Calories: 2113 kcal Σ kcal: 206337 kcal  
Conditions: 3rd day on The Great Ocean Road. What a perfect cycling day! short, not too hot or cold, dry and very scenic.

Now we know, why we had a rest day in Apollo Bay after just two riding days! If we hadn’t had the day off in Apollo Bay, we would have had to cycle all day in the rain. So we only had a wet rest day and a sunny and dry cycling day. How better can a cycling tour be organized?! Thumbs up for TdA!

The morning was cool and misty, but the sky promised good things. After having rain for the last 24 hours we were so glad and happy that it stopped during the night and we could pack our stuff under clearing skies. The mist and the sun gave the coast line a fantastic appearance. Just like the ‘Big Sur’ in California. Cycling was a pleasure, almost no wind and the grade of the climbs wasDSC_0451_02 very gentle. The Great Ocean Road changed its face again. Well cut into a steep coast line with switchbacks and many lookout points. What a great work by the returning First World War soldiers; built by hand between 1919 and 1932. I stopped at several parks along the way and went to a waterfall and had another ‘meeting’ with koalas and parrots. One parrot landed on my helmet and inspected my zoo. It started a fight with my spider, which lost an eye in the battle with the bird.

Torquay, the end of the Great Ocean Road was reached early and I had enough time to dry the wet and moist clothes and camping equipment from the day before. Tomorrow is the last riding day of this section, ending in Melbourne, with another rest day.


Stage 80: Victoria

Port Campbell to  Apollo Bay
Date: 12-02-2014 Time: 05:20 h Σ Time: 452:17 h
Distance: 96 km
Σ km: 9566 km Temp: 11/18°C
Up: 1550 m Σ Up: 81653 m Down: 1577 m
Calories: 2516 kcal Σ kcal: 204224 kcal  
Conditions: Another day on the Great Ocean Road that invited for side trips. Cold, misty and hilly, but still good tailwind. 2 steep climbs (8-13%)
(I added 10 extra kilometers with side trips)

A misty, cold morning awaited us for the second day on the Great Ocean Road, with the supposed to be highlight of ‘The 12 Apostles’ . I added 2 additional lookouts on my way to the first major scenic attraction, the Loch Ard Gorge, where the clipper after the place was named, shipwrecked in 1878, loosing all 52 lives on board. There are many stunning lookouts at this place and time went by very fast. The next stop was the 12 Apostles, a cliff formation in the sea, from which only 8 are still standing, the other 4 vanished over the years in the rough weather and sea conditions. It was already 2 hours into the cycling day, and we had only 11 official stage kilometers on our odometers. Remarkably the 2 French riders, who usually are building the spearhead to camp, were also on a sightseeing mission and with me and Henry at the very end of the pack. Unfortunately the weather was not as good as yesterday afternoon, low hanging clouds, misty and drizzling, getting us wet and cold, and making photos very difficult. I took another breakout and followed the Gibsons Steps down to a beach. This is when I lost contact to the others and cycled on my own to the first Coke Stop at Lavers Hill, where I met others in a Café warming up with hot coffee or chocolate. At this point we had already 1000m of climb through lush and green rain or eucalyptus forests. A new Australia for us! A nice downhill brought us to lunch. The weather started a bit to improve. After lunch the downhill continued to sea level, leaving us with 500m meters to climb up again in the National Park, before we had a final 10 km long descend to Apollo Bay. A stunning view opened in front of us, when we left the forest, with a deep blue sea and white beaches, surrounded by green hills and blue sky and sunshine; Apollo Bay; what a difference to the steep limestone cliffs we had earlier.

A rest day after 2 short, but loaded cycling days. The little town (~1000 citizens) is a surfer or water sports paradise and a tourist attraction. Young people everywhere. Prices very high! After dinner I had an ice cream at the most awarded ice cream place. 2 scoops in a waffle, costs: 7.60$, but the ice cream what unbelievable good.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is not so good. Hope the showers do not realize and keep us trapped in our tents. Nevertheless, I’ll use the day off to publish more of my photos …


Stage 79: Victoria

Port Fairy to  Port Campbell
Date: 12-01-2014 Time: 05:28 h Σ Time: 446:57 h
Distance: 98 km
Σ km: 9470 km Temp: 12/28°C
Up: 773 m Σ Up: 80103 m Down: 779 m
Calories: 3818 kcal Σ kcal: 201708 kcal  
Conditions: A perfect cycling and exploration day! A manageable short distance with room for extras, so no hurry and exhaustion, and finally very scenic.
(I added 18 extra kilometers with side trips)

This day was meant to be a treat, after the past hard days. Not only because it was short (just 98 km, without extra tours), but more important because someone seemed to have ‘hacked’ the ‘iWind’ application and modified the program to provide us with a fine tailwind. For me a day of joy riding. Almost no effort to get along, thus no hurry at photo stops or limited with side trips; which I had many today. Although my net cycling/hiking time was 5.5hours for the 116km, I arrived at camp just right in time for dinner at 6pm, with an elapsed time of 11 hours. I already spent 2.5 hours in the Tower Hill Crater Lake National Park with hiking and game watching, before I continued. It was worth the 8km detour and additional climbing. Koalas, Emus, Kangaroos, Birds in a stunning scenery, which I almost had for myself the first hour before the park officially opened. I informed Andreas, that I will be all day exploring off the beaten track, and nobody should wait at lunch for or sweeping me. I arrived at the 28km ‘marker’ – The Pavilion Café’ – at around 11:00, just right for a brunch! The other riders found it closed when they stopped there hours earlier. So I had another 7 hours to complete the final 70+km before 6pm. On the Great Ocean Road there are many sightseeing opportunities, besides the 2 mentioned on the whiteboard. So I followed my Garmin and the map I got from the Information Center in Port Fairy. It was a breathtaking afternoon. The sky cleared up and the sun painted the steep cliffs and the sea of the Great Ocean Road in fantastic colors. The time flew by and it was already 5pm when I left the last lookout point. From there I did not return to the main road, but followed the Port Campbell Walking Trail, a 4.5km hiking trail to town. It wasn’t a problem to ride it with my MTB, except for the final drop to the beach, which was via a very narrow and steep steps, cut into the rocks. So I had to walk my bike down to the beach which was right next to the campsite.

Tomorrow is another ‘short’ day, with many options to extend it.

I will sort out my photos tomorrow, as we will have another rest day after just 2 days of cycling and before we leave the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne!


Stage 78: Victoria

Nelson to  Port Fairy
Date: 11-29-2014 Time: 06:21 h Σ Time: 441:28 h
Distance: 134 km Σ km: 9372 km Temp: 5/25°C
Up: 632 m Σ Up: 79330 m Down: 633 m
Calories: 2647 kcal Σ kcal: 197890 kcal  
Conditions: The 5th day into strong headwind.

The first 20 km were quite nice to ride, although it contained most of todays elevation gains. It was again quite cold and since riding through pine tree forests it stayed cool for a while. However, the forest had a big benefit; it sheltered us from wind. This changed soon, when the ‘French TGV’ past us in high speed and stirred up the air. From that time on we cycled all day in wild turbulences. The ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign was permanently illuminated at my handlebar dashboard. I formed again a peloton together with Lydia. Shirley and Dan joined us for the last 40 km to lunch. Chelsea and Doug managed to find a nice, sunny and almost fully wind protected spot. Good to warm up a bit in the sun. The ride through the forest felt as if riding through a Canadian or Scandinavian forest, except there were no moos crossing the road. I started solo again after lunch as we were now officially riding along the Great Ocean Road, which started right after Portland. However not yet very spectacular or scenic, thus I rejoined Lydia for sharing to break the wind until the camp in Port Fairy, a nice little town with a special flair.

Hurrah! Another rest day! A well deserved, after a 670 km ride into the wind.


Stage 77: South Australia / Victoria

Beachport to  Nelson
Date: 11-28-2014 Time: 06:30 h Σ Time: 435:07 h
Distance: 122 km
Σ km: 9254 km Temp: 7/34°C
Up: 587 m Σ Up: 78698 m Down: 550 m
Calories: 2735 kcal Σ kcal: 197890 kcal  
Conditions: Wind, wind, wind.

Everybody was happy to leave the ‘storm center’ of Australia and headed eastwards into the wind. In the morning I cycled with John and we shared the work to break the wind for the other. I warmed up myself with a nice breakfast stop in Millicent, with banana bread and a pot of tea. In the afternoon I cycled with Lydia, who joined us in Adelaide for the final stages to Sydney. In Mt. Gambier we decided to detour to the Blue Lake, a crater lake which changes its color, twice a year. We were told at the information center, that it is a huge climb up to the crater and lake. Well, huge in connection with elevation gain has a different meaning for Australians. It was only 60m up within a few kilometers; nothing for an Indonesian ‘certified’ rider. The circumvention of the lake on the rim was stunning. I’ve never seen a lake as blue as this one. Definitely worth the extra 7 kilometer, even on an already long and wind battered day. The camp ground in Nelson is away from the sea and sheltered from wind. We got kangaroo/wallaby visits at dawn. Some of them seemed to be used to humans and stayed right between us.


Stage 76: South Australia

Kingston S.E. to  Beachport
Date: 11-27-2014 Time: 03:58 h Σ Time: 428:04 h
Distance: 89 km
(92 km)
Σ km: 9125 km Temp: 5/25°C
Up: 131 m Σ Up: 78111 m Down: 137 m
Calories: 1552 kcal Σ kcal: 192508 kcal  
Conditions: A shorter cycling day with an early arrival. The wind in Beachport was blowing all day and night

Short enough to ride solo into the SE-wind and still arrive early in camp. This morning was kangaroo parade; more than 50 spread over a few 100 meters. They outnumbered the cows on the fields this day. Even an Australian rider said, he’d never seen such a large group of kangaroos. Only a short 3 km extra to see the Woakwine Cutting, a 1 kilometer long cut into the terrain, 34m at its deepest point, to drain a swamp and gain more land. Beachport was reach before lunch. Camp was only separated by a road from the beach. It wasn’t easy to setup tents in the blowing wind. The majority decided to rent cabins or apartments for a saver sleep. After all tents were setup, the caravan park owner offered us to use a more wind sheltered campground. A few of us, including me, took to offer and relocated our tents to the new ground, with little wind that rattled on our tents. I used the afternoon to ride along a scenic route, with a salty lake (7 times saltier than the ocean), nice beaches and the second largest jetty in Australia. In the evening we had wine tasting and dinner in Gerald’s ‘shelter’ and a photo slideshow on his TV.


Stage 75: South Australia

Lake Albert to  Kingston S.E.
Date: 11-26-2014 Time: 07:59 h Σ Time: 424:38 h
Distance: 148 km
Σ km: 9036 km Temp: 8/24°C
Up: 320 m Σ Up: 77980 m Down: 319 m
Calories: 3127 kcal Σ kcal: 190956 kcal  
Conditions: The headwind battle continues.

Nevertheless of the headwind, Henry and I decided to take a 7 mile gravel detour along the shore of the lake. It was a cloudy, fresh morning. Somehow someone forgot to tell the birds that we were coming to see them, thus there was little extra, besides rabbits, flies and cattle. With 10 km more in the legs we returned to the main route. It was a long day, but the wind was in many sections not as strong as the day before, thus I decided on another deviation from the route at 131 km. A parallel road, closer to the ocean with a beach access to the Granites. Here I had a short swim in the cold ocean and a ride along the beach. With 16 km extra I arrived late but not last in camp. The beach was directly next to the campsite, with pelicans on the sea and a seal on the beach.


Stage 74: South Australia

Adelaide to  Lake Albert
Date: 11-25-2014 Time: 07:34 h Σ Time: 416:39 h
Distance: 158 km Σ km: 8872 km Temp: 6/27°C
Up: 1340 m Σ Up: 77660 m Down: 1453 m
Calories: 3641 kcal Σ kcal: 187829 kcal  
Conditions: One of the hardest day so far in Australia. Cold morning. A climb out of camp and strong headwind for the last 80 km.

This was a tough start into the 7th section – The Great Ocean Road – especially for those who just joined us in Adelaide. Not only the distance was a challenge but also the climbs and the cold headwind. We had 2 choices on how to get out of the camp. One was a scenic ride up and along the ridge of the surrounding hills, the other shorter through the valley, but with a steep ‘walk the bike’ gravel section. I opted for the first, to get a chance on a look over the plain and Adelaide in the morning sun. Traffic was not as bad as assumed. Most of the cars were heading into town and only a few in my directions. The climb through the eucalyptus forest  was easy, compared to what we had in Indonesia. However after 5 weeks of cycling more or less flat, the climbing muscles needed to be reactivated again. After the first major peek, both routes joined again. Soon we reached a town, easily being recognized as a German settlement by its name: Hahndorf, founded in 1839. And it really was. There were several hotels and restaurants with German beer, like Hofbräu Haus or Beck’s and schnitzel. Bavarian banners all over the place and lederhosen. I stopped at Otto’s bakery to get some good bred rolls. I immediately recognized by the available bred and cakes, that the baker can’t be German. And I was true, only the name of the place remained, the rest was typically Australian. Nevertheless I bought an apple swirl (Schneckennudel mit Apfelfüllung) for 3.70$ for a second breakfast, later on the road. With the fast downhills to lunch a bit of time lost in the climbs could be recovered. 90% of the 1300 m climbs were already done by lunch, at 83km. But, whoever thought the remaining 76km in the plain would be a walk in the park was taught different. I strong headwind for the rest of the day made travel really slow and cumbersome. I managed an 18km/h average, which meant a 4 hour battle against the wind. It wasn’t a question of ‘if’ I would reach the camp, but ‘how long will it take me’.  Camp is nicely located at Lake Albert, a huge freshwater lake, with pelicans and other birds around. Unfortunately due to the late arrival on this long cycling day, not much of it could be enjoyed for long. After sunset the temperature was already to cold for staying outside, thus everyone returned to the tents and the camp died down sun in silence.

Tomorrow is another long day, with 148km and probably all day into the headwind.

I was always feeling a bit cold, even with my jacket and the temperature reaching upper 20th. This was mainly because of the strong wind, that chilled not only me. Many fellow cyclists went shopping the last days to by warmer clothes, sleeping bag, etc. because it is unexpectedly cold, or we are not used to it anymore, after 5 weeks in the outback oven.