I rode the Mallee Routes last year on the Long Haul Trucker. I've done a few miles since then and upgraded the bike so I was really looking forward to this year's edition despite the fun associated with a putting the bike on a plane. Lancefield Lairs Andy and Glo and Steve came too, so it was always destined to be a good weekend. Even the drive up was a laugh riot. We considered the 300km ride, but settled for the 200km. It turned out to be a good choice. Though the weather was fine and warm, there was a stiff wind blowing.
We set off at the entirely unreasonable hour of 6am, zooming down the flat straight road to Warracknabeal then onwards to Birchip. Pushed by favourable winds, we averaged a brisk 25km/h+ as we knocked off the first 120km in well under six hours and stopped for a leisurely lunch. Cruising.
Then came payback time. The grind towards Sea Lake was not directly into the wind, but it still knocked the average speed way down and at times we were pushing to make 15km/h. And then we turned directly into the westerly. We spun into Woomelang for a break in the pub where three people were watching the ALF Grand Final. Tiring as we pushed small gears into the wind, we rolled-over the wheat-topped sand dunes to arrive back into Hopetoun for dinner and a few beers by 6.00pm, well within our 12 hour goal. The second 80km had taken more than five hours.
Another highly enjoyable ride, once again as much for the delightful company and the conversation as for the delightful small towns along the way and the Mallee scenery.
(Photo by Steve.)
4,663km so far this year.