Around the Bay in 13 hours 6 minutes and 15 seconds
Around the bay in a day, just with no hybrids or ugly jerseys, and significantly less people. It was the brainchild of our friend Harry Scott and yet despite confirming the date well in advance and convincing us all to come, Harry was nowhere to be seen. Instead he was dancing his heart out at a dance festival somewhere, which he had conveniently forgot he was attending.
Regardless, the ride went ahead and with the addition of a few late entrants there were 11 of us riding; Hal, James, Shifter Dan, Titanium Dan, Nick, Jensen, Ben, Troy, Matty, Sam and me. Elizabeth raced St Kilda crits in the morning and would join us in Sorrento for the ride home.
The ride began with a drizzly exit from the city but the spirits were fairly high. Bolstered by Jensen’s wheelies and general youthful tomfoolery the rain never proved an issue. We made our way out via Melbourne’s glorious west stopping only for Shifter Dan who was thankful for his decision to not run tubs as he got a flat just 20 minutes in. Our route was to take us out through Sunshine, Werribee, Little River, the You Yangs and down into Geelong and despite being 100% sure James had tried to choose the least cyclist friendly route we eventually made through the congestion of early morning traffic and road works and into Little River.
The next 40-50 km however was undoubtedly the best of the ride, long empty roads, dry and cool with enough people to share the load on the front.
Eventually we made our way into Geelong for some breakfast where we encountered the funniest part of the ride; sitting across us outside the café were two blokes that can only be described as everything that is wrong with Australia. Halfway through his first Corona for the morning, about 9 am, one of our new friends called Ben a “pussy ass cyclist”, with Ben retorting that it may have been a tad early to be getting on the “piss”. Unfazed we went in and ordered, after which Shifter Dan, Hal and I sat back down, once again our new friends decided to have a chat, referring to Dan’s upper cheek tattoo as a “pussy ass anchor”, to which Dan offered the following advice, "Shut up, drink your beer and don’t talk to me”, a sage piece of wisdom. Following a few more unfulfilled questions, another couple of brewskis and a round of them guessing what profession we were in - I was a wine taster - a fellow diner threatened to call the cops if the two blokes weren’t told to leave. Our friends reluctantly bid their farewells in a rather tame end to a sparkling introduction to Geelong’s progressive thinking and sophistication.
Our new friends had distracted us from the fact we needed to be at the ferry in just 50 minutes, a challenge we took on. The ride to Queenscliff was along the highway, busy with cars, yet a generous bike lane made for a fairly enjoyable ride; however the ‘Queenscliff Vintage and Really Fucking Loud Car Club’ also appeared to be following the same route.
We ended up missing the ferry by just 9 minutes, not a bad outcome as it gave us a well-earned rest. There was very little chit chat on the ferry trip with most of us ready for a nap while Shifter enjoyed a nice glass of Rosé. Once we arrived at Sorrento it was straight back into it and we made our way towards the back side of Arthur’s Seat, along my now least favourite road, Browns Road, but the traffic thinned and we made our way up the climb. We had been joined by Elizabeth, one of our fantastic young team riders, who had met us at Sorrento for the ride home and she brought a new enthusiasm to the climb, something I confess I had lost countless kilometres ago.
We eventually split up into a few different groups and on one short pinch of the climb Matty and Ben were yelling at me to stop at the top of the pinch citing a ‘broke’ crank. Although not broken, it had slipped on the spline. Unsurprising as both bolts were completely loose but 15 minutes later and with almost all of the grease from the cranks now on my hands we were ready to go. Following a short rendezvous at the top we descended into Dromana and headed towards Mornington and Frankston. Most Melbourne riders will know this is a beautiful road however I seriously couldn’t care less, the heat and distance were getting to me.
We eventually passed through Mornington, stopping to get some food. Some opted just to go to 7/11 while Matty, James and myself chose Maccas with Dominos being the choice for Sam and Ben. I don’t know exactly what was in the McFlurry and chips I had (and nor do I really want to know) but suddenly I was full of energy. Well not suddenly but the 10 kilometres to Frankston were done pretty begrudgingly. And I really don’t know if it was just a mental thing or a physical change but I just flew from Frankston to Mordialloc. Looking back, the fact that Jensen sat on the front of the pack and smashed it at 45 km/h may have had something to do with it, maybe, no one can really know for sure.
We grouped back up at Mordialloc and headed north on Beach Road before we started to split up into a few different groups and head our separate ways. The weather hadn’t been amazing all day but as we rolled back into Melbourne the clouds had cleared and the sun was close to hitting the horizon, a fitting end to another (retrospectively) fun day.
In the last blog, I ended with a list of things we had learnt on the day, an idea I like so much I’m going to do it again;
- Riding down from Bendigo in summer with no sunblock is a bad idea, ask Sam
- Never listen to Harry’s stupid ideas again
- Never go to Geelong
- Jensen found the ride easy
- I complain way more than everyone else
- I think everyone is a bit sick of my complaining
- Shifter is still not old and slow