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Monday, January 9, 2012

Port to Port.

Back in November, a few lairs joined up with some new recruits and headed to Mildura for the Port to Port, a 400km Relay held over 2 days.
Here's an account from one of the lads.

Port to Port Ride 5 & 6 November – Mildura/Swan Hill/Echuca

It was early on Friday 4 November that our intrepid group met at Leigh’s house only to find that our fearless leader had somehow engineered an accident for his good wife Jill which prevented him from joining us on the ride. Our team consisted of 7 riders:- Ewan, John, Steve, Myra, Adrian, Doug and Jack with Ewan’s wife Donna driving the support vehicle. We set off about 9:00am heading for Romsey to collect John and then wended our way in a leisurely manner to the Big 4 Mildura Cross Roads Holiday Park where we would spend our first night. Dinner was at the Pizza CafĂ©, a fixed price pizza and pasta meal, which was pretty ordinary.
On Saturday morning, bright and early, we packed our bags into the trailer and set off to the start. We had decided that we would ride as a relay of two teams; Team 1 - Adrian, John, Doug and Jack and Team 2 – Steve (not blog Steve. Blog Steve),Myra and Ewan with Donna following whichever team was riding in the support vehicle while the other team raced ahead to the changeover point. We watched teams of varying sizes, some with as many as 25 riders, heading off at intervals.

At last it was our turn and all seven of us started out with team 2 dropping off at the caravan park to complete packing. The day was already warm and the reports were for a hot, sunny day so we were well smothered in sun-screen. Our changeover points were set for approximately 30km or roughly one hour of riding. Each team had four riding sessions scheduled for Saturday and all went smoothly except that the day became progressively hotter.

Occasionally we linked up with other groups of riders to form a bunch for a few kilometres and time flew by quite quickly. Before we knew it Team 2 was rolling in to Swan Hill where we enjoyed a free BBQ and a beer or soft drink. Our camp for the night was the Big 4 Swan Hill where some of us had a swim in their pool. After a pub meal in town we hit the sack for an early start the next day.
Sunday was supposed to be hotter than Saturday but we woke to a pleasantly overcast morning with a strong westerly breeze. On Saturday, at the end of the day, we found that Steve had broken a spoke on his bike and we had no means of fixing it. He became the support driver for the ‘resting’ team with Adrian joining Team 2 and setting off first with Myra leading the charge. With a good tailwind and by joining a fast bunch Team 2 set the standard for the day by averaging 35km/h or so and hitting 45km/h on some stretches. All the riding this day was fast and comfortable as the predicted high temperatures never eventuated. The only hold up occurred at one of the compulsory stops where we arrived quite early and then had to wait for what seemed far too long before being allowed to continue.
Both teams decided to ride the final leg into Echuca and we rode as a group for the last 30kms smoothly taking turns and knocking over the kilometres with ease. At Echuca we lunched and showered before collecting our medals and heading home delighted with our efforts and determined to do it again next year but this time riding the whole way instead of in a relay.
Thanks to Leigh for organizing the Team and Donna for her fine efforts behind the wheel - driving the whole distance at about 30km/h without a real rest was a real challenge.

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