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Day 2 Footbiking the Great Vic Ride

January 7, 2010 2 Comments

I woke early and sat up, peering over the bag between us to look at Linda (sister-in-law).

Linda who had been awake only moments before looked across at me and gasped. I stared at her too.

“Winda, you’re wips are aww swowwen!”

“What the – ?”

Yes, Linda’s lips were swollen… and so was my whole face. But where Linda had the sexy botox thing happening, I looked like a pale watermelon withlegs!

Times like these the mind does a quick panicked once over of every possible scenario…

Dehydration? Wind burn? Bee sting? Wasp bite? Spider bite?(yikes!) Allergy to the camping pillows? An allergy to my sister-in-law that has remained dormant for the past 20 years??? Some unidentified, highly contagious, tropical disease that we were about to die from?

Fortunately we’d bought a 4L bottle of water the afternoon before and we were able to wet our camping bathtowels and lay the coolness on our faces. The swelling began to subside… much to my relief!

We got dressed for the day – on the ride you don’t have access to the showers in the mornings (blearh!). We both cursed the fact and hoped we wouldn’t B.O. (body odour) anyone to death during the day.

We filled our water bottles and got our gear together for the ride. Then as I struggled to get my contact lenses in (the skin around my eyes was still swollen) Linda raced off to the breakfast tent with instructions to bring me back some fruit.

She came back about 20 mins later laden with food and a huge grin…

“You’re sure you only want some fruit?” She waved her chocolate muffin in front of me, the plate of bread with butter and strawberry jam sachets, a banana, apple, tub of yoghurt and bowl of cereal precariously held in the other hand. I took the apple and packed the banana in my backpack.

After Linda finally got through her meal (I should mention that she’s as skinny as a rake handle!) we packed our bags. As we only had 66km today we weren’t worried about leaving a little later.

We dismantled our tent, packed it and loaded our bags on the luggage truck – a BIG thank you to the guys on Luggage Truck 2 for helping us get our bags on top of the huge pile in the truck!

Deb and Linda at the GVBRAnd we were off. Today’s ride was from Portland to Macarthur – 66kms.

The course proved to be fast and mostly flat. There were a few nice steep climbs close to Mt Eccles which I thoroughly enjoyed (did I mention that I love the hills?). I’m ashamed to admit it, but I experience this peverse pleasure when passing cyclists on the uphills… especially when most of them could easily pass me on the flat. The only challenge I had today with the wet roads was losing traction as I kicked up the hills, but as we had started later we were amongst slower riders who were also having challenges with the hills.

On going up one hill I passed a young couple struggling on their bicycles and as I passed I heard the man say to the woman, “See, Monica! And yesterday you were mocking the scooter!”

I thought, ‘Yeah! No one mocks this scooter, babe!’  And pumped my legs faster leaving the mockers behind for dead.

When we turned right onto the Princess Highway there were three Police Officers slowing traffic to keep it safe for the riders. My ‘up and down’ motion caught their eye and one of the Police Officers yelled out, “What happened to your pedals?!”

I said, “Someone nicked them!”

He replied, “Maybe you should call the Police!”

A group of us laughed as we turned onto the busy road.

On the Princess Highway we were directed to travel in a single file and stay as far to the left as possible…

Unfortunately, not everyone adhered to that information!

I got stuck behind two rather large cyclists who sat two abreast, chatting away, oblivious to the world around them. The cyclist on the right (closest to the traffic) kept drifting out into the traffic lane – sometimes half way in the lane! I thought it was only time before a semi collected him. As they were only sitting on about 18 to 19km per hour other cyclists had to overtake. The overtaking cyclists were screaming out ‘passing!’, ‘passing on your right!’ and ‘stick to the left!’ and one party did yell ‘oh! get over for (expletive) sake!’ but this only had a momentary impact on the pair. I looked for an opportunity to pass as well, but with traffic roaring alongside us I decided it wasn’t worth the effort or danger, so I tucked in behind the larger of the two (fortunately the one on the left) and drafted for a while. It turned out to be a good thing as a headwind had picked up.

Eventually we turned off onto some nice little back roads with no traffic and I was able to get around the pair.

Linda and I were then able to ride side by side for a while and chat.

A cyclist pulled up beside me to have a chat as well. Apparently I was getting a reputation and had earned the title ‘Scooter Girl’. The man turned out to be Ian Trevaskis, the author who does a bit of freelance journalism on the side. We spoke for a while and he asked if he could do a piece on the kickbike for the cyclist magazine, Australian Cyclist. I readily agreed. He was fascinated with the kickbike, and being a keen cross country skiier, could see similarities in the movement.

Eventually we parted ways and came into the lunch spot.

Lunch was delicious – cheese, tomato and basil on thick bread – yummmmmmmm! It was so big I could only eat half of it, so I stored the other half in my Reservoir Dog (backpack), donated the choc-chip cookie, cheese block and crackers to Linda which she stored with some more fruit (more Chipmunk behaviour) in her tool bag.

Back on the kickbike and only 16km out a group of ‘real ones’ passed me. ‘Real ones’ are what I call the male ‘elite cyclists’… you know the ones: they wear team colours, have shaved legs, are tanned from their long rides, have diamond calves, ride bikes worth more than my car and basically look super hot in their lycra! This group congratulated me, one honked his horn, and another said, “I’m going to marry someone like her.”

I thought ‘See what a kickbike can do for you! It not only carries you 550km around the south coast of Victoria, it can also get you hitched to a lycra-clad hottie!’ So sweet!

When we arrived at the Macarther campsite, Linda and I found an area for our tent. I sat down in our spot with the bikes to eat the rest of my lunch while Linda had the near-impossible task of finding our bags amongst the other 500 pieces of luggage dumped on the ground.

A cyclist came over and said ‘hi’, squatted down beside me, checked out the kickbike and raised his arms in a gesture of amazement.

“How – ?”

I smiled, “It’s like riding a bike – at first it’s a challenge but when you get the fundamentals and put the mileage in, it’s not as hard as it looks.”

“You’re amazing. And you’re doing the whole ride on it?”



“Thank you” I laughed.

“Good luck” he said and with a wave, left.

Linda staggered back, hefting two of our bags, which we dumped beside our bikes. Then we both went back to find the ‘big’ bag and carried it between us back to our spot.

We laid our tent out and thus began the laughing and chatting associated with two totally inadequate tent-erecting individuals.Obviously our lack of expertise showed as we received several offers of help, including the man I had chatted with a short time ago. We declined each offer – afterall isn’t putting up the tent half the fun of camping!

After our tent was up we attempted to call our husbands with updates but mobile phone coverage was shocking in the area, so we decided to walk into town, try for better coverage and get some water for tomorrow. Fortunately, our sandshoes were dry – so no more thong torture… my dead blister twinged with relief! In town we found a sausage sizzle, so I had two sizzles without the sausages… basically two pieces of bread with a bit of tomato sauce.  Linda, wisely decided to wait till dinner time.

Finally we got through on our phones and chatted with hubbies – then my phone beeped with a low battery.

“Don’t worry – there was a sign back at camp for mobile phone charging and they’re open till 7pm.” Linda assured me.

So we headed back to camp to find that someone had crossed out the 7pm on the sign and changed it to 5.30pm. I looked at my watch: 5.40pm… bummer! I would have to wait until the service was offered again at a future campsite, keep my phone switched off and only use it in an emergency.

We lined up for dinner behind some 500 other people – which sounds like a drag, but the line moved very quickly. There was an abundance of volunteers serving up the meals, all very efficient at piling your plate full. The meal again was delicious – chickpea curry, rice, thai salad, and pita bread. Linda scored a Mango dessert and gobbled it down in two seconds flat. It’s funny, I’d read on a forum before the ride that the meals would be pretty ordinary and this particular person had recommended eating non camp food. By now you’ve probably guessed I love my food – indeed any event is highlighted in my memory in regards to the food served – and I can honestly say I was enjoying the meals so far! The food was hot, tasty and there was plenty of it.

As the weather turned colder we headed over to the shower trucks hoping there was no line up. How lucky were we! We only waited a few minutes before we got to the head of the line. Yikes! I stared with horror at the flimsy shower curtains on the front of each cubicle that flapped open and closed with the wind that whipped through the open door of the truck. Linda couldn’t disguise her groan as she saw the same thing.

But I must admit it was gorgeous under the warm stream of water and the sudden flashes of bare skin fell away to oblivion. It was also clean in my cubicle and as I was wearing thongs my tinea-phobia was held at bay.

There had been a note in our camping guide as to the shower routine. We were to: turn the water on to briefly wet ourselves, turn the water off, lather up, turn the water back on to quickly rinse, then turn the water back off again. In the warmth of the shower I had one clear thought: screw the shower routine! I certainly didn’t hear any showers being turned off and on around me, and I most certainly didn’t follow the routine either!

It wasn’t until I was towelling off that I discovered that the backs of my legs were sun-burned. Then when I got dressed and finally got to see myself in a mirror… OMG! Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer had nothing on me. My nose was glowing, as were my cheeks and chin. Fortunately, I had worn a Ground Effect Cycle Shirt which has a fairly high collar so the back of my neck had been protected. (Thank you G.E. – your design wizards are my heroes!)

Linda fortunately had avoided the sunburn as her makeup has sun protection, and she wore leggings. I made a mental note to put suncream on tomorrow.

Back in our tents we settled down to sleep, and that’s when we heard the noise. The tent directly behind us was obviously a love nest… and the female party, a ‘moaner’. So Linda and I spent the next half hour (very impressive) stifling giggles like a pair of teenagers…

Gee, we really do need to get out more!

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Comments (2)

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  1. John Varrill says:

    It’s good to see the reports of the first two days of the ride. Hope to see more reports soon! Very entertaining!

  2. Karen Toll says:

    Interesting and funny, thanks for the 2nd day. Did you ever find out what the swollen lips and face were from?! Keep them coming!! PLEASE…!

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