I've been working up to this ride for ages - and looking forward to catching up with an old cycling buddy from my Uni days who I hadn't ridden with for around 30 years.

We got down to Torquay on Friday late afternoon. It was absolutely freezing, and raining and blowing pretty hard when we went out for dinner.

I was so glad I packed everything and bought arm warmers just the week before!

It was overcast, damp and a bit breezy a the beach for the start.

I made the right decision and wore 3/4 bib, base layer, ride jersey, arm warmers and carried a rain vest just in case.

I was more than a bit daunted by the 145km distance - I'd only ever done 110 previously - and also by the one big hill, Benwerrin at the 80km mark. And then everybody warned me about the roller coaster ride back along the GOR from Lorne back to Torquay for the last 45 or so km.

Not even to mention Omar's horrifying blog post on the weather conditions he had when he did the GOR in March!!

Luckily it didn't end up raining and at least it didn't get colder or much windier.

There were tons of riders - 3,500 or so, and plenty of bunches to tag along with. We motored along quiet, flat, straight country roads. On many of the straight flat stretches the view up and down the road was panoramic with four or five big bunches scattered out across the countryside.

We cruised to Deans Marsh at the base of the climb for water replenishment, fruitcake and a stretch.

The last 10km into Deans Marsh was tougher with nasty headwinds that really started to make us work.

Deans Marsh refreshment stop

Benwerrin turned out to be not such a killer - mostly fairly gentle grades - but I did take a very measured and conservative approach - 

The view from the top - my biggest climb.

The descent was a lot of fun.

Then we worked our way back along the GOR.

Impressive views. How the GOR should be!

There were more than a couple of deceptively steep climbs on the way back and when we started to see signposts showing Torquay getting closer we were happy. 

We finally made it back to town after 7 hours in the saddle - 5 1/2 hours of riding time.

The first beer at Zeally's beer garden watching riders pumping it back to the finish line was great!

If I get an invite next year, I'll do it again. Supersprint and the Vic Police did a great job. They shut down the whole of the Lorne to Deans Marsh road for the big climb and descent. On all the rest of the course 99.99% of the riders were fantastic - I saw no accidents, no tempers, only smiles. The traffic was very considerate and I think we only had one loser yell at us :~)

All in all a great weekend and made all the better by the great company - I had a lot of laughs with Mike and his riding buddies.

 

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Comment by Matthew on May 20, 2013 at 4:08pm

So John, waht's next? You should come to Perth and try the 3 or 5 dams challenge!

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