A few years ago, Audax Australia put on a week of very enjoyable rides starting and finishing in the Victorian town of Bright in the lead up to the Alpine Classic. Sadly, for reasons I'm not entirely sure of, the Semaine Federale en Australié is no more, for the time being at least. That is a shame as events like this seem to take a few years to build a following. In its place a bunch of Audax types has put on a week of regular Audax-style rides, and I've flown up to join in the fun.
One thing about Victoria in summer is that it's hot, very hot. This is particularly noticeable if you've arrived from the cooler climes of Tasmania. After a few days of unaccustomed riding from the airport on Saturday and around Lancefield on Sunday, I decided to take a chance and try the 100km ride on "Bright Monday". There were around 20 other riders on the various distances from 50km to 150km, many of them familiar faces from Audax rides of years gone by.
The pace from the start was a bit of a surprise, we steamed out of town on the Great Alpine Way at around 30km/h, meaning we were in Myrtleford in an hour. Most of the other riders stopped for morning tea at the bakery, but I was keen to push on and get as much of the ride done as I could before the hottest part of the day. It turned out to be a smart decision.
Up and over the hill past the Gapstead winery and down the other side I was feeling strong and was at the halfway point at Everton in a bit over two hours. Turns out halfway was well over 50km, more like 57km. I scarfed down a bite to eat and got back on the road.
It was warm now, even hot and I could feel myself flagging as a gentle headwind knocked a couple of km/h off my speed and the overhead sun meant little shade from the trees alongside the rail trail. Happily once I crested the hill, I was quickly refreshed by the downhill run and lunch at the bakery at Myrtleford.
Lunch over, the full heat of the day was making itself felt. The temperature was in the high 30s and a short rest rest stop was in order at the old Eurobin station where I was able to take my jersey off and soak it in some water for at least some temporary relief from the heat. Some of the following group caught up to me here and I expected their company along the remainder of the ride back to Bright, but I was also keen to keep on track for a decent time for the day and sadly didn't see them again. All up I covered the 115km in a little over six hours, five not counting breaks. For someone who is not all that fit at the moment, I'm pretty happy with that result. I should be a good week of riding, as long as the temperature doesn't top 40!