Thanks for all the encouraging comments, texts and tweets over the last few days. We've been blown away by the support we've had. Today we had a bus load of tourists pass our donation tin around to support us. They'd passed us a couple of times during the morning - I swear they thought we were mad! Some of the tourists couldn't comprehend that we were riding a distance greater than the breadth of their home country. It's also been really encouraging to know that we have so many fellow cyclists from home following our progress and supporting us in spirit.
So, to update 4
This morning we woke at the beautiful coastal town of Apollo Bay with the most difficult day of the tour in terms of hill climbing ahead of us.
Check out this sunrise...
Today's ride took us across the Otway peninsula, and up and over Laver's Hill. Our plan was to complete the major climbs before our regular morning coffee at a cafe at the top of Laver's Hill. This meant 48kms in our first stint for the day.
After a gentle roll out of Apollo Bay we started to head off the coast on some magnificent forest roads.
The climbs averaged 7.0% for about 16kms up to the top of Laver's Hill.
Hard to capture it in an image, but this is pretty Damn Steep and goes on forever!
Along the way we had to look after Chewy (Rob Rau) who pulled a Schleck twice on the way up. Before the tour we nominated Con (C'arn Con! - seems we are forever saying C'arn Con, cos when we're ready to ride off, he's taking a photo, or having a leak, or having a Con-versation with someone somewhere!), anyway we nominated Con and Chewy as the tool managers 'cos we thought they knew what they were doing mechanically speaking. More wrong we couldn't have been....the only bikes with issues have been theirs!
This is what usually happens each night..Con and Chewy on the tools...not on our bikes - on their own!
Playin' with their own tools!
At one of the Schleck stops, The Prof decided that he wanted to try for a new helmet as well, so didn't unclip as he came to a stop....consequently he ended up 'rubber side down - NOT'. A little skin off, but all's well.....Helmet's ok, so Mrs Prof doesn't have to be persuaded that the credit card needs a further hit for Bike bits.
After the awesome climb up through the forest we reached the top of Laver's Hill.
One of the cafes at Laver's Hill served us the Best coffee of the tour so far (In D-man's - the Barrista critics - opinion) however we were a bit bemused at the unusual wildlife activity. Smudge called these guys the Kinky Koalas.
Once we were re-fuelled and we set off for the 38 kms to the twelve apostles. We thought we would have a relatively downhill run to the coast, and indeed we did have a couple of awesome descents, but there was also quite a bit of climbing and after the morning efforts, everyone was feeling every bit of the ascents. In total today we climbed for 35 kms and gained over 1500 metres. Most of the climbs were well over 5% and many between 7 and 10%. Gotta say though, it was truly a beautiful ride. The scenery and the challenge combined to make this a day we will never forget. As Bike Belle (Belinda Hoare) said "It makes Military Rd seem pretty boring!"
After we hit the coast, we stopped at the 12 (7?) Apostles. A photo we just had to get!
From the Twelve Apostles to Port Campbell, then the final 12 kms to our overnight stop at Peterborough.
What a day...not a long ride...but just amazing, and a real tester. Fuelled up courtesy of the Peterborough Pub and some more financial support from the guests and we headed back to our cabins.
AVO (Dotless) joins us tomorrow night and to mark the occasion Chewbacca left a message on his legs.
Fortunatley, Con was able to Con-vince Chewy to continue the shave and we now have a bald Chewbacca.
From the produce of Chewy's shave, we now have a new door mat, a nice new jacket for Catherine and a whole set of cleaning rags and scourers for the rest of the journey! We reckon he lost 2 kilos tonight!
So....after a day of highlights, it's time for bed. We start the long days tomorrow, 153 kms to Portland tomorrow with high winds up to Gale force and then another 153 km day to follow on Friday.
We'll pass the 500 km mark tomorrow, time and kms seem to be flying by.
The S2S crew.