update Stu&Gillie’s Tour de Alps 2011

Dear Friends,

Day four: Guys Forest to Khancoban (via Corryong) Route Map

The day was spectacular. After a rest day it felt so good to get back on the bike, knowing that we had some pretty impressive country to cover in the next few days. We had originally planned a recovery ride of 70km but detoured through Corryong at the promise of good coffee to clock up an additional 20km, (complete with a couple of flats between us).

We stopped at Corryong Secondary College to hang out with Helen Marshall (Senior Home Eco Teacher) and a Melbourne rated coffee. She also gave us a personal tour of their recently developed Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden.

Climbed over to Khancoban and ate a late lunch, satisfied that we had eased our cycling legs/arms back into it.

Day five: Khancoban to Jindabyne  Route Map

I knew I was in trouble 20 minutes into the ride out of Khancoban. The road went straight up hill and I was into the granny gear. The hill would continue for another 20km and kept me wishing for some kind of reprieve. It appears that New South Welshman road builders like to build roads straight up rather than following contours! The ‘Welcome to Kosciusko National Park’ sign could have read ‘Welcome to the Pain Park’. Up we went, down we went, up we went some more, and down we came again. It was like two steps forward, one step back, but each climb painfully steep.

At Tom Groggin station we refueled before the final ascent of 24km to Thredbo village. This bit of road the steepest of all making the Mt Macedon climb look like a flat piece of road. The only sweetener was reaching Dead Horse Gap at 1542m, realising that the final 4km to Thredbo village for arvo tea was down hill.

We finally crawled into Jindabyne, absolutely spent, by 5pm. I was knackered…again. “Hardest ride ever” Tripp, S. quoted Facebook 2011.

Day six:  Jindabyne to Bombala Route Map

Ambitious plans to ride from Jindabyne to Cann River, a distance of 200km, turned out to be our ‘bitten off more than we can chew’ day. The Monaro plains are beautiful in their bleakness. Rolling hills at altitude, devoid of trees except for the occasional cluster here and there. Looks like hard country with little rainfall. Riding in this kind of country you become acutely aware of things around you. As we neared Bombala I could not get over the number of blue tounge lizards smashed on the side of the road. Poor things! What’s going on!?

Logic prevailed when we reached Bombala after 110km and 1.5 km of vertical climbing, the local hotel accommodation was looking pretty appealing. We recognised that we would be doing ourselves no favours by pushing on to Cann River. The Globe Hotel offered a hot shower, friendly hosts and good food, and all the more authentic for the 1am revelers below our window. They were the local shearing crew celebrating after they had just ‘cut out a shed’.

Day seven: Bombala to Cann River Route Map

Had an easy start to the morning with leisurely breakfast and coffee, and didn’t roll out of town till 10am. Other than a couple of steady climbs first up and another flat tyre it was pretty much down hill for the 90km from Bombala to Cann River. Beautiful riding through state park and crossing the border back to Victoria. By breaking up our ‘bitten off more than we can chew’ day into two parts we were setting ourselves up nicely for our next big one on Day 8.

Once in Cann River and settled in for the evening, we got to stand on the balcony of the big old hotel that I had always looked at every time we went past as a kid on route to family holidays in Merimbula.

Day eight: Cann River to Metung Route Map

Another big one. 5.50am we were on the road into a fresh and misty East Gippsland morning. The day broken up in our minds to make it more manageable! First stop after 74km was Orbost and in that section 3 solid climbs through stunning rainforest. The temperature had risen steadily through out the morning and by Nowa Nowa (another 36km along) we were drying out with little shade and the traffic had picked up. Hydrated, the next stop was to be Lakes Entrance after 24km, followed by the final 22km to Metung.

The last stretch was on super pleasant, back country roads, much more of what we had become accustomed to. Upon arrival in Metung we went straight to the local hotel, overlooking Bancroft Bay for some light refreshments. Well deserved after 157km. This was the start of two days R&R.

Day nine: Rest day Metung

Day ten: Rest day Metung

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1 Response to update Stu&Gillie’s Tour de Alps 2011

  1. Thanks Stuart and Gillean. Written in a wonderfully descriptive and accessible style. WhAt is with the blue tongue road carnage??

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