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Pre-ride Day of GVBR on a Footbike

November 27, 2009 2 Comments

After a 5 and half hour drive to Portland – the first port of call on the Great Vic Bike Ride, we arrived, Kickbike in the boot and Linda’s (sister-in-law) bike on the back.

The drive there was filled with music, laughter, Snakes and Subways (hooray!). We only had one incident where Ed (brother-in-law) and I had to physically restrain Linda from jumping from the car to visit Ray’s Camping Store. Since discovering camping was our accommodation for the ride, Linda has visited every known camping supplies store in Victoria (and I’m only exaggerating slightly). Ed and I only had a moment’s notice of Linda sighting the store in Warrnambool that day… her shriek of “Rays! Rays!” and subsequent salivating over the dashboard as she leaned forward, hands splayed on the windshield… warned us, and Ed put pressure on the accelerator and we were soon past that beckoning haven of tents and camping equipment.

Portland Camping Great Vic RideArriving in Portland around 3.30pm we only needed to follow the other vehicles packed with bikes to find our camp.

Parking at the back, we approached a very nice volunteer who told us to just go in, find a spot and pitch our tents.

So Linda and I made a couple of trips with our bags… and nearly keeled over with the weight…

Every rider was allowed to take 20kgs of ‘stuff’ with them – including all of your clothes and camping equipment. You could have a 20kg bag or 2 x 10kg bags. I had a 19kg bag with clothes and some of the camping equipment, and Linda took 2 x 10kg bags – one with clothes, the other with our tent and some food items.

We pitched our tent (with much more decorum than we had in Linda’s Living Room the night before!) and decided to go through our luggage and send back the ‘non essentials’ with Ed to lighten the load. So we dumped the umbrella (dumb move), 2nd pair of shoes (dumber move), some bras (still to this day I wonder how much they weighed!), some other items of clothing, our inflatable matresses (incredibly dumb move – choosing those pathetic light foam ones instead), and some toiletries.

After delivering these back to the car and plastering Ed with an abundance of good-bye kisses and hugs, Linda and I waved goodbye as he drove away. Poor guy had another 5 and half hour drive back home to Melbourne. Thanks Ed for getting us to and from the ride – you’re a gem! xx

As we wheeled our bikes to the camping ground entrance (a large oval) we passed two guys unloading their bikes from their car. One remarked, “It’s the Great Vic Bike Ride, not the Great Vic Scooter Ride.”

Linda cast him a withering look (don’t mess with my sister-in-law, buddy) and I simply smiled… I was sure there would be more of this over the next 9 days. One of the simple pleasures of riding a footbike in an area where they haven’t been seen before, and your potential as an athlete hasn’t been recognised is that you do tend to land a bit of… shall we say, fertilizer??? The good thing about fertilizer, though, is that it helps things to grow!

Back to our ‘home’ we secured Linda’s bike and stored my Kickbike in our tent. Now we wondered what we were supposed to do next as we hadn’t been briefed about what to do when arriving at the campsite. So we took off to find the information tent for more… you guessed it, information.

Wandering around the oval, dodging bikes, bodies, tents, toilet trucks, shower trucks, and a funny flying football that kids were throwing around, we finally asked someone who didn’t look as lost as us where we needed to go. He pointed us in the direction of information – and we were able to see a map of the campsite and pick up our lanyards (green for vegetarian meals) which we would get tomorrow night. This pre-camp night we needed to get our own meal.

Linda and I decided to walk into town to get some food and grab some water for our ride tomorrow. We had decided to steer clear of the water supplied by the ride, because feedback on the taste did not make us overly enthusiastic about drinking it. Thunder and lightning overhead and a cold wind stirring up caused the maiden voyage of our She Shell waterproof jackets from Ground Effect (thank you Ground Effect, I can honestly say that your She Shell is one of the best investments I have ever made).

Hmmmm… where does one go for food in a medium sized town when nearly 2000 people (and potentially 5000) suddenly arrive?

The pizza shop of course! And these were real pizzas – well worth the hour waiting for our vegie pizza minus cheese to come out… but it was cosy inside and we met some really nice people in the pizza shop!

We made it back to our tent… leaning into the gale force winds…

And the storm hit – I really don’t know how we didn’t get blown away!

It poured rain and the wind gusts smashed our little tent. One part one side of the tent buckled in so low it enveloped Linda completely! I stared with horror while Linda nearly killed herself laughing over the next 3 minutes… these Stewarts really are a strange clan!  🙂

Finally we prepared for the next day – I filled the 2 litre bladder of my Ground Effect Back Pack – the Reservoir Dog – which I absolutely love. It has more than enough room for my pump, tubes (1 deep rim for the front wheel, and a 16inch tube for the back), money, tissues (you never know when nature may call while you’re out on the road), hydration gels, apples and dates, bottles of Gatorade or Powerade and of course the 2 litres of water. And no, before you ask – I just love Ground Effect’s products; I’m not sponsored by them… yet???  LOL

We finally settled for sleep – and fortunately we had camped near one of the toilet trucks so its generator’s hum blocked out any snoring that we were warned about from nearby tents. Looking forward to the 50km start tomorrow…

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Comments (2)

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  1. Karen Toll says:

    Very interesting, very funny. Keep them coming…Please!!

  2. John Varrill says:

    Funny and entertaining story so far. Looks like the trip might not have gone well, in part because of the gear that was not taken: umbrella, second pair of shoes, and inflatable mattresses. Still, it would be interesting to hear what happened.

    John V. in the U.S.

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