Cycling Tour of the Victorian Winter - Day 4, Daylesford to Bendigo

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Cycling Tour of the Victorian Winter - Day 4, Daylesford to Bendigo

Yesterday’s winds were hard but not impossible.
Hard or difficult, or challenging, can be defined in so many ways.

Was our ride challenging because we felt there was little reward for our pedalling efforts?
It simply was just one of those days where we would have to keep focused on forward momentum, regardless of the climbing and the headwinds.
One kilometre would turn into two, and by the end of the day, we would be further along than we were when we started.

This simple concept was a constant reminder to enjoy the day, to let go of the struggle. 
We are on holiday; it’s not a race. There were no valid time constraints, and if we had to ride in the dark, we had planned for that too. 

So to go back to the concept of the difficulty, it was only that way as we measured it against our expectations. 
As soon as we allowed our goalposts to be changed, to be flexible and adaptable to what the day offered us, then the route ahead indeed remained testing without a doubt, but now we could enjoy the journey again. 
Stopping and take photos or regrouping for a moment, whatever we needed or chose to do, then to get going again with a smile on our faces instead of dread or other negative connotations.

By day four, we had let go of our egos like releasing a helium balloon from the grasp of our hands, watching it float away and enjoying the spectacle.
How good is it when you finally feel the holiday mode take over and time is just time, not a burden anymore?

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As we awoke to Tuesday, we were gifted a mild day with barely a breeze, but there’s always a price. 
Yin and Yang, ebb and flow, highs and lows, you get the drift. 
No wind meant thick fog and wetness in the atmosphere that’s not rain but almost presents like it. 
Not bad weather, but we might not see the sun all day long. 

We didn’t plan where we would get to today; no accommodation booked, and simply the concept of winding up our ride around 4:30-5 pm tonight.

Each day we came up with a loose plan, like a “team meeting” today; we would find breakfast and coffee at 7:00 am, eat and decide any re-routes, head back to the motel, pack bikes and get going by around 9:00 am.
As it was nice and early and midweek, we found ourselves at a local’s cafe, not the posh tourist establishments. 
I tuned into the old fella’s sitting at the front gossiping about everything and anything. I learnt of the furniture removalists from NSW travelling through Victoria with coronavirus, leaving the Ballan BP as a hotspot for infection.  I took note but didn’t worry too much, though deep inside and had an inkling this might impact the rest of Victoria and us before too long.

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Today’s original plan was to travel on the Dry Diggings Trail, have lunch on the way at a nice spot, and then onto Bendigo via the Leanganook track. 
It was apparent now that this was no job for fully loaded bikes in the middle of winter.
We could either halve our distance expectations or re-route using easier roads. We chose the latter. 

I had ridden Porcupine Road before and knew it was a beautiful route to experience the region; it did not disappoint.   

 

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The views were within fifty to one hundred metres of our vision for the first couple of hours but delivered a holistic experience, the sounds amplified, and our focus brought in close. 
It was very cinematic. 

The cries of lambs, the sound of our tyres crunching over wet gravel, the babbling of water escaping the sodden paddocks all magnified in contrast to the silence gifted by the wintery theatre.

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Riding the next 40 km was a sensory experience, farmland, flowing streams, old gold rush towns, historical buildings, tiny miners cottages, exposing a narration of hope in the settlers of this era. I had never taken the time to stop and look and digest it like today, always in a rush, racing or time-bound.  It felt like we were riding through a movie set.

The final wow moment for the morning was riding under an iconic railway bridge, bringing us to our lunch spot in Chewton.  

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How much fun is being self-reliant?  Boiling water and making food, having a coffee and deciding where to next. 

As we headed off to the public toilets, we ran into someone we knew from Geelong; Ben yells out, “Hello Douglas’s” from his car as he is working in the region.  

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Chewton was pretty good for a break, but we were only 40km in, not even halfway.  We discussed a few options to shave off more time as Norm also responded to Roz’s offer of a shower and ends up we had a place to stay tonight and a hot meal in Bendigo. 
So now we had the goal post, we could join the dots.

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Climbing out of Chewton, up to Golden Point Road, onto the old highway, and then the back of Harcourt was a beautiful experience. 
History and views everywhere. 
The following 20km ticked away nicely, and we found our way onto the GDT, travelling alongside the aqueduct for around five kilometres. 

We had a lot of fun; some of the sections were steep and rocky.  Before long, we were en-route to Bendigo via Mandurang South Road and Diamond Hill Road, steady climbs with mild undulations made this section super enjoyable as we were nearing the end of our riding for the day.

As we reached our final destination, the rain started to fall ever so slightly, predicted for the next 24 hours, but I parked that knowledge, hoping the forecasters were not correct on this occasion. 


It was time for a shower, social time and some hot food and banter with a beautiful family, Roz, Brett and Gus.  Thanks for having us.

 

We went to bed in a room with a tin roof, making it hard to tell if it’s raining hard or not.
The water was falling from the sky; the tin roof did tell us that much.

Again we slept and well, and decided to deal with the consequences of rain tomorrow.



STATS:

  • Daylesford to Bendigo 86km
  • Moving time: 5 hrs
  • Elevation: 1245 mt
  • Ave Speed: 17kmph
  • Temperature: 6 degrees
  • Wind: N 10kmph light winds
  • Sleep 9/10
  • Food 9/10
  • Song on repeat: Hokey Pokey...yes, more random playlists from PlaySchool on Spotify.

 

EXPENSES:

  • Bottle of wine $25
  • Breakfast in Daylesford $40

 

HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Mist, Fog, the atmosphere
  • Gold mining towns
  • Porcupine road
  • Lambs 
  • More agreeing on a re-route over lunch - reducing our expectations
  • Lunch at Chewton - and seeing Ben
  • GDT trail and the aqueduct - Wet ‘n’ wild
  • Bed and dinner at Roz’s

 

THINGS WE WOULD CHANGE:

  • Nothing, a perfect day 



My Strava link to today’s ride: https://www.strava.com/activities/5619046379/overview

 

Norm’s YouTube video of the day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeZ-ENAm_3A&t=46s

 

Jess’s YouTube video diary of the trip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxZLl6MuPoA

 

Great Diving Trail Proposed route that we re-routed again today (we will go back later in the year or another time)
https://www.gdt.org.au/

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