RTA Big Ride 2004 diary

Day 2: Gloucester -> Tuncurry (70KM)
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We had a mass start at 8:00 - I got there a bit early at 7:30 and chatted to people. Judy, who was one of the girls from last night, turned up early as well and we rode together on and off until after lunch. The view to the east showed the hills we would have to climb over to get to the coast.

Mass start - (C) Top Shots
Mass start - (C) Top Shots

View to the east
View to the east

There were two climbs listed in the guide: Brushy Hill (100m over 1.6km) and Belbora Hill (60m over 1.5 km). There was also a long but shallow climb between these. For a fair way we were riding along one hillside or in a valley, with a quite steep hill facing us. There were these specks of cows which looked like they'd fall off.

At lunch, we saw black clouds gather in the west, and a sprinkle of rain fell. We assumed, when it stopped, that it would all blow around. A bit later I hit the highway at Nabiac and almost immediately got a flat. After replacing the tube, I headed along towards the Tuncurry turnoff and there hit a headwind blowing inland. I struggled into camp feeling the 70km was a bit too long for a first day's ride.

I set up camp in blustery conditions and got some food. As is was starting to sprinkle I thought I should put on a jacket or something, and realised that I'd forgotten to pack any. I wen to the MS tent and they had a few of the long-sleeve shirts from last year so I bought one. Then I decided that, rather than head to the beach like some others were doing, I'd go on the dolphin cruise on Wallis Lake. Not long after I booked - and on my way to the transport - it started raining really heavily. We were driven to the boat where we sat in the dry looking out at dejected pelicans in the rain, being given endless cups of tea and biscuits, and thinking how good it was not to be in a wet camp.

Pelican
Pelican

Apparently, dolphins don't like rain. We were told that the trip would be a wasted one if that's all we wanted. Like me, however, I think that all the others from the ride felt that this was a good way to keep dry and do some sight-seeing. We slowly motored out past islands with all private mansions, an air strip and exclusive resorts. Wallis Island is the biggest one. Pelican Island is a speck of rock and sand with an amazing number of pelicans and black swans. It's where they breed and their only predator is the sea eagle so they're very safe there.

Local wreck
Local wreck

Wallis Island
Wallis Island

Pelican Island
Pelican Island

The only water-life we saw ended up not being dolphins but jellyfish. There was a whole school of them towards the top end of Wallis Island.

Jellyfish
Jellyfish

Back at the camp, the rain had stopped, and we thought it might be clearing for a fine day tomorrow. The mozzies and sandflies set in. However, my tent is dry and sealed against them so I'm for a good nights sleep and a dry ride tomorrow.

Ride Statistics

DST  66.44 km 
TM  4:00:23 
Avg. speed  16.5 km/h 
Max.  58 km/h 
Avg. RPM  71 
Max. RPM  117 

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