The sound of rain on a tin roof is a great way to go to sleep, not so great when you wake up to go riding, particularly a long ride. Arriving in Lancefield at 6.30am it was still raining and not easy to get out of the car, but at least it wasn't cold and soon the rain stopped so I forced myself out of the car and got ready. Kerrie and Janine were also there for the 200km Audax permanent, Andy and Trivess rocked up with the plan of riding part of the way then turning for home. As we headed out the rain started again so rain jackets went on though I new I wouldn't be able to keep mine on for long as I would quickly overheat. Sure enough by the time I got to the bottom of "Big Hill" about 7km in I pulled over and stripped back down to my short sleeve jersey and stayed that way for the rest of the ride. Andy sailed up Big hill and is in good form at the moment, riding like someone who has just ridden 10,000 km in a year. We regrouped at the top and continued our way along the Burke and Wills Track as a group for a while, till I felt it was time to do the rest of the ride at my own pace. The surrounding bush was magnificent in the mist and the smell of the Eucalypts was strong in the air till you descend into the more open country heading past the vineyards and toward Mia Mia which is at 38k's. On leaving Mia Mia you come to the first of two climbs on the way to Redesdale in between which you cross the beautiful timber ans steel bridge which apart from the gaps in the boards was even more treacherous due to the rain having made it as slippery as a very slippery thing. At 42k the first control is at the Redesdale cafe and a short stop saw me ready to go again for the leg up the west side of Lake Eppalock, a gradual down hill most of the way. This is a really nice section of road through mostly open rolling hills. It rained most of the way, at times quite heavily but I was never cold and really enjoyed the 30km to Axedale and the next control, 73km. A feed and a drink had me set for the next and longest and also the hardest leg, the gradual climb from the 100km mark pretty much for the next 90km. Janine had sent me a text message to let me know she and Kerrie had a higher IQ than I and were heading for home from Redesdale. Leaving Axedale you back track for a bit before taking a left turn and riding over the spillway of Lake Eppalock, which was quite impressive the last time I rode over it as the water was overflowing after the heavy rain in the weeks prior to the ride. You reach the half way mark after a short stint along the McIvor Hwy and head back for the leg back along the east side of the lake to Mia Mia then working your way up through the hills to Sidonia then to Kyneton. This was a real grind, made more difficult by the strong wind that had increased through the day,I don't know if I have ever ridden this piece of road when it wasn't windy. Happy to be in Kyneton I looked for the bakery and second last checkpoint before heading for home and I finally got the tailwind and flattish road I was working toward all day, except for one little bump, at the 180km mark you turn left out of Boundary Rd and onto Mt. Macedon Rd and climb for the next 5k's before turning left down Straws Lane, past Hanging Rock then with a good wind on my back, hit the home straight(ish)for the last 12km back to Lancefield. I can't say that I loved this ride 'cos it's bloody hard work. It does go through lovely countryside, there is very little traffic and for much of it you are quite isolated, next time I might try and ride it with some company. Anyone want to go for a ride? Steve.