We left Sydney last night at 11pm. Bobbie drove me to the drop-off
point at Darling Drive behind the UTS building. The bike was boxed
up as per instructions, but the handlebars don't turn around much
due to the geometry and the bar-end gear levers. A vollie loading
the bike truck gave me a bit of grief, but I told him that it wasn't
a mountain bike and walked off. I understand that BNSW got a bit of
stick last year about scratching people's precious bikes during the
flooding last year, and that's why they've mandated the use of boxes.
On the bus I chatted for a while with a woman called Sharon who was
there with her partner on their first ride. I shared my experiences
over the last two years, and passed on some useful tips (such as where
to set up tent to minimise noise, and minimise the effort carrying
luggage around camp).
The bus arrived at 6am where we stumbled out into the dark in a cold so
strong that my teeth were chattering. I checked in, keeping the
crumpler with the tools, pedals, a raincoat, vest and arm-warmers.
Then I got changed into knicks and jersey in the public toilets and
found some coffee and a muffin at a local cafe. We were then all loaded
into buses to Charlotte's Village.
Check-in at Jindabyne
Once at the village we had to wait about 10 minutes for the bike trucks
and then we were to set them up and ride up to the pass itself, up a
steep little concrete road unto the main road. Setting up my bike, I
realised that the front brake cable had snapped. I had to wait in line
behind about 20 people (and there must have been a few more before and
later) who really didn't know how to put their bikes back together.
The Pegasus crew sold me a new cable and fitted it for me and I was off.
Mine's there somewhere
The road out of Charlotte's Village
Once up the hill and at the pass, I had time for a few photos and a
half-hour wait until the official mass-start time of 11am. There was
snow visible on the peaks in the distance which I presume have some
snow, year round. The scenery is spectacular with the glacier-gouged
valleys, impressive rock formations and alpine vegetation. It's also
strange to see ski-runs without snow - so rocky and bumpy.
Looking back over the valley
At the lookout
The weather was perfect - 17 degrees, sunny and 42 percent humidity
according to a rider with a special computer. However, that meant
that all my cold-weather clothing was unnecessary so it went in
the panniers. I did have some sunscreen packed away in the handlebar
bag so I put some on.
After we started, it was a leisurely fall down almost to Perisher with
a bit of a climb out from Spencer Creek. We hit the first of the
exhilarating descents at Dainers Gap, then had lunch at Rennix Gap.
Lunch consisted of a sausage on a roll, enhanced with the taste of
dirt, grease and sunscreen.
Finally the was a 12km downhill screamer to the Thredbo river followed
by a decent little climb out of there and then rolling country into
Jindabyne. We passed the service station featured in Somersault, and
the hotel itself, but I don't know where the other locations from the
First views of the lake
The camp was at the sports-ground halfway up a hillside and it was quite
warm by the time we got into camp (about 1pm). I had trouble finding my
bags, but got set up eventually - right near where I told Sharon not
to (the toilets) since they have a noisy generator running all night.
The view from the camp was spectacular across most of the lake
View from camp
The BNSW had a special 15th anniversary celebration where they asked
everyone to wear a jersey or t-shirt from a previous (or the current)
ride: I ended up being the face of 2003. If I find out where the photo
is published, I'll try and include it later. I also found out that I
had forgotten a tea towel, so I bought one on camp.
We were told at the briefing that someone had come down hard on the
mountain and had to be flown to hospital. We have no more details,
although it appears that no other vehicle was involved.
By about 4pm, the wind was picking up and it looked like a storm. That
dissipated, but another set of clouds built up later and about 8pm -
just after I went to bed - the rains poured down. I was listening to
the soundtrack to Twin Peaks, trying to block the generator noise, and
the atmospheric music really suited the lightning and thunder in the