The final day of the ride was more relaxed than the first two.Only 60 km to travel on mostly flat country, and as long as we got to Warrnambool in time for the train to Melbourne, everything was wonderful.
So we headed out again in the pre-dawn darkness. It was overcast, so sunrise was more of a process than an event, but eventually we could see where we were travelling.
The first stop was London Bridge, a stunning rock formation. A few years ago the span linking it to the mainland crumbled away requiring the rescue of some tourists from the remaining outcrop.
We stopped for some time here and many photos were taken. One of the riders was 10 year old Zander riding with his dad. Although they are both very fit people who regularly do triathlons, completing this ride was a remarkable achievement for such a young child.
A few kilometres on and another stop at some more rocky sculptures at the Bay of Islands.
From here, the Great Ocean Road goes inland a few kilometres to cross dairying country. This isn’t always so pleasant. In places the smell of manure was so potent that I thought I was having some issues of my own.
Some farms have constructed tunnels under the road for the cows to go from paddock to dairy at milking time. It is quite disconcerting to see a mob of cattle heading four abreast right at the road, only to disappear into the ground.
By this stage, the fatigue was starting to kick in and it felt like my legs had lost all strength. I was fine on the flat but going uphill, even the slightest slope, seemed a huge challenge. At one stage, I literally roared in frustration and told myself out loud to keep going and don’t be such a wuss.
We regrouped at Allansford, about 10 km from our final destination at Warrnambool Railway Station. Allansford is a centre for cheese making and has quite a large cheese factory. There was some kind of agricultural Field Day happening in the show ground giving the town a festive appearance.
We stopped and rested on the green grass at the cheese factory. Some laid down, but I knew that if I did that there was a chance I would not get up again!
The fast group had been on a loop to add an extra 20 or so km just to keep them out of mischief. One of them told me that they had averaged 40 km/hr around the loop. That was about the speed I was going down Lavers Hill. These guys are definitely in a class apart.
Adina was not in that group. She was representing Bikes 4 Life, a group that takes bikes that are being thrown out in Sydney and Melbourne, refurbish them and then send them to developing countries. Their representatives in the recipient countries then teach the people how to maintain the bikes so that also helps them to develop skills as well as having their own bikes. Adina is a bit out there, as you might guess from the photo. What is not clear from the photo is that she did the ride in bare feet.
Eventually we wound our way into Warrnambool and arrived at the station, exhausted but proud of reaching our goal.