[Read part one of Cindy-Lee's stunning adventure ride through Victoria’s Gippsland region here if you missed it.]
On the climb out of Yarragon we enjoyed some well-graded roads as we headed towards Childers and the heart of potato country. I enjoyed the challenge of a few more technical descents, and managed a minor Garmin incident that gained us a few extra kilometres.
Thorpdale and the potato country was definitely a highlight as a farmer’s daughter, and the sun even came out for a minute as we climbed some farmed hills and chatted to the happy cows enjoying some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. The sunshine, happy cows and beautiful views didn’t give us a clue as to the challenge that was just ahead.
If you were going to puncture then this was the place: loose rock, 12% gradient, and crevaces in the road that even a truck would need to be wary of (not one puncture on the whole ride—thanks for the tyre tip Pikey!). We were looking for a creek in a pine forest plantation that was our cue to turn, but there were only stone roads as far as the eye could see.
After an extra 10km than mapped in this terrain, we decided to ask some odd chaps in a truck parked in the scrub for directions. We had 30km to go at 3pm and it would be dark in two hours, a real ‘ Wolf Creek’ moment. The locals pointed us towards Boolara and we were out of there at 40km an hour on those loose stone roads! My husband quoted later ’I have never seen you ride so fast on gravel’.
We sped through Boolara and kept pace towards home as the light started to dim. What was meant to be a 10km bitumen road back to Dumbalk and Mirboo was a surprise 20km rail trail in the tempered rainforest. Far from discouraged I was thrilled, exhausted and determined.
Like all good rides we popped out of the forest an hour later, right at dusk and actually hugged each other in relief. Pub please 130+km and 3000m of mostly unsealed roads. What a great adventure!
After passing out around a log fire about 8pm, day two was a little more tame with a southern loop of mostly bitumen towards Foster. We were a little sore and a little tired so coffee was necessary, my fourth for the year!
The bike was a gem, no mechanicals, handled like a boss and not one puncture. Lizard tape gave me comfort all day on mixed terrain roads. Pedro’s bike clean was definitely needed when we got back to the city.
Gippsland was definitely gold, and this ride reminded me why I love to ride, freedom and human powered adventures out of the city (and perhaps a few gravel roads).