Cycling Holiday - Day 3. Bright to Beechworth

Norm and I spent a couple of years on the Gold Coast and had a heap of fun racing bikes on the dirt and the road. We were young, had no money and no real vision of what next week would bring.

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So it was the perfect time to discuss starting a family. We were young, with little finances in order and married—a perfect mix of naivety and youth.  

Six months later, I found out I was pregnant, and I had stopped road racing and instead watched Norm.  He would race A grade and always be there in the end for a sprint, and on this particular day, he got caught up with another rider, went over the bars and scraped himself all over the bitumen.  I was distraught and was the last person to see what had actually happened as a result, too afraid to see the damage for myself.

By the end of the day, he had been checked out with X-rays and cleaned up in emergency and was clear to go.  From this day forward, Norm stopped racing and said that he was committed to being a father and never wanted to do this to his future child or me again.  I told him that I was okay and thought that he should continue racing as it was something he enjoyed doing, but I couldn’t change his mind, and that was that.  

Norm stopped racing his bike.  

We became parents, and eventually, I got back into racing a few months after giving birth, both road and mountain bike.

But again, the opportunity came our way, and we moved back to Geelong, close to family and a new start with our cycling connections.  However, we just didn’t reconnect with cycling. Perhaps it was just our time to do other things? I worked, rowed surf boats, played footy, umpired footy, did fun runs, and used the bike for leisure as well as commuting to work—eventually becoming a personal trainer, which is how I got back on the bike.

One day we were running with friends at the You Yangs, and the following week we were riding our mountain bikes, and then the next week, we entered into a race, and then the next week, we had brand new mountain bikes.

This excitement all started in December 2005, but the big jump back into the race scene happened in January 2006.  In my first race back, I just loved it and wanted more.  The desire to improve was instant, and so began the journey of turning myself into a ‘racing’ cyclist for the longest non-stop stint I have ever focused on one thing - 15 years!

Nothing ever stays the same, right? This leads me to now, May 2021, where the focus is purely on having fun, enjoying the journey, being fit and able to do and be anything I want with not much ego attached.  It’s just what I needed, this little holiday, to get back to some simple pleasures of just WHY I even started riding my bike, to explore and find out where that road might take me.

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Day 3 - Bright to Beechworth

76 km

Temp: 13 degrees. Cloudy.

99% sealed rail trail 1% bitumen road

506 VM gain.

Moving time & Speed: 3 hrs and 27 mins / 22 kmph

Total Time: 4 hrs 3 mins.

Best Part: No cars on the rail trail,  mid-week winter quietness for other users as well.

Worst Part: Backtracking over the 30km of rail-trail we had already done last night, not something I like doing.

Most Memorable part: Oh the leaves, everywhere, all the brown tones, with loads of bright reds and yellows.  Tunnels of leaves, so beautiful.

 

My STRAVA record of ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/5276503328

Norm’s Ride With GPS link to the ride: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/67016206


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Breakfast in Bright $55

Snacks at Everton $15

Dinner at Brewery $60

Accommodation at Velo Bright $135

Snacks bought at Supermarket $20

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Total for Day 3 $285


YouTube footage of our day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRvmpsyMOxM

Last night was amazing. Spa time, G&T’s with Deb, great conversations with her family and a long chat and soak in the spa before getting to bed around 11:30 pm.

Our start tomorrow was all about the coffee and a good breakfast, then check out and be on the bike by around 10:00 am.   

We were in no rush today with only 75 km to ride, all on the rail trail.  

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Our morning caffeine was at Sixpence coffee, then onto Breakfast at Ginger Baker.  There truly is nothing better than a lazy breakfast after a big epic day.

We departed on time at 10:00 am, riding back to Myrtleford the way we came on the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. https://www.ridehighcountry.com.au/rail-trails/murray-to-mountains/

 

The flatter terrain, sunshine and no sign of rain was a welcome relief to ‘just ride’ and enjoy the simple task of pedalling the bike.

There was nothing special about our route except for the magnificent autumn leaf-covered paths, so I turned on some tunes early today to zone out for a bit.

As we left Myrtleford, the path started to creep upwards, which made for something to think about and a point of difference.  For me, this part of the trail, from Bright to Taylors Gap, was tough to ‘tour’ on, a little bland. 
Though the railway cutting down from here was heaps of fun. 

Our first and only stop of the day was at Everton, some toilets, a bit of hot food and a drink top-up.  We chatted with other day cyclists who wanted to know more about our setups and the concept of staying in motels to holiday on the bike.  They had chosen one spot in Bright and were making day trips from their base.  We found we got to chat with many people along the way, interested in how and what we were doing.

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Now the fun bit of the day started, the gradual climb up to Beechworth. Who doesn’t love a good rail trail gradient climb? 
The ascent was around 17km, with an average gradient of 2%—the perfect climb.
The tunes went on again to find that beat in line with my cadence.

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When we arrived in Beechworth, the trees and their leaves were insanely red and stunning. 
The afternoon light filtering through the canopy encompassed me with a feeling of pure happiness. 
Even though today was short and the trail not that engaging, the landscape delivered the goods.  How amazing is nature?

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Our arrival in Beechworth was at 2 pm, so we opted for lunch at the Beechworth Bakery before checking into our motel.
Wow, so early; what does one do when you are dry, early and have a few hours of daylight up your sleeve? 

I mentioned earlier that racing used to be a massive part of my life, and each time I had ever visited Beechworth had been for racing.  I knew of a few places to look at and enjoy but had never indulged in them myself.  Today, I said to Norm that I was keen to go for a walk around the lake, so we did. This was an enjoyable way to finish off our day.  
It made me a little sad to think of all the places I had raced, but never really got to explore and enjoy.

 A quick early dinner at the Bridge Road Brewery ordered a yummy vegan pizza and salad, and I had a cider. 

What a lazy day, so good to have a short one, and both Norm and I said that when you are riding for a week-long journey, it’s imperative to break it up with days like today.

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The weather was perfect.

The climb at the end was well-timed for change of pace and scenery.

Thank you, Autumn, for your colours.

Beechworth is a beautiful little town at around 600mt abs.

We were pleasantly surprised with the yum factor of our vegan pizza.

The Armour Inn Motel had the comfiest beds yet.  I slept the best on this night.

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So far, our routine has stayed the same.

Daily post-ride unpacking, washing, drying and maintenance of the bike etc.

We have not added more air to our tyres yet and just wiped the chain and a very light lube each day.  Everything is running well.

As happens in a bike packing holiday where you carry what you need, and no more, space is tight, and packing becomes better each day.  Norm and I were getting our saddlebags packed like pros by now.

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Would I choose to get to Beechworth differently next time?

Yeah, maybe, but the whole idea was to use as much rail-trail infrastructure as possible, so we had a theme.

The concepts I am enjoying most though, and Norm is the same, is the simple act of riding from one place to the next with the goal of transport, with a sense of adventure and all the while just enjoying being a tourist.
I dislike a car trip for holidays, but this is an awesome alternative!

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