I woke up to rain. Breakfast was porridge, standing in the food tent - I
skipped the other stuff, whatever it was, as I would have had to sit in
the rain to eat it. All the while, volunteers were trying to keep rain
from sagging down the tent, and were spilling water over the front of it.
Packing up as quickly as possible (wet tent and all), I managed to ride
out at 7:30. The soaking sand-shoes and kitchen gear all went on the
bike, and I tried to ensure that all the contents of the duffel bag and
backpack were relatively dry.
The sun peeked through a bit before we hit the bottom of the Great
Dividing Range, but hid again as we climbed up the long 15 kilometres.
There were lots of dead, half-eaten animals - mainly kangaroos, but also
a wombat along the roadside. Someone, presumably Debbie, had also planted
signs every so often telling us that there was only so many kilometres to
heaven or asking us if we'd thanked our legs lately.
Morning tea was at the lovely old Springwell homestead. It's owned by the
Litchfield family and was erected in the late 1800s and early 1900, and
has been around for 6 generations of the family. They are basically
cattle barons and, on one nearby property, it is said that you could
travel for 116 km without leaving the one person's land.
The house is a marvellous old colonial mansion, with wide verandahs, a
rose arbour, ornamental statuary around the house grounds, a pond with
water lilies and bullfrogs and a tennis court. There are also several
outhouses and a workers' quarters. The Cooma CWA provided a massive
selection of cakes and tea which was most welcome in the blustery cold
conditions. We weren't allowed into the house, and the ladies were in
fact a bit horrified when they found that we had invaded the verandah in
search of shelter from the rain.
Lunch was 20km later on the other side of the range, at Cooma. It
consisted of a horrible roll with ambiguous contents, a pear (good), a
fruit juice and a small packet of chocolate biscuits (even better). From
there it was a relatively easy 45km to Bredbo (The town motto being
"Bredbo, not bloody Thredbo"). The road was mainly undulating downhill
with a couple of bigger rises near the end. Rain followed us all the way
there, but was clearing and stopped by early evening. Apparently, the
ride this year has been given the nickname "The Droughtbusters". I
managed to get the tent up between showers and let it air a bit.
Bredbo consists of little more than a pub and row of tourist shops along
the Monaro Highway. I went up to the pub for a quick drink and had one of
the local Bredbo Bunny pies - ok but not special. Then I had to go try
some pancakes from the Bredbo House of Pancakes, which was ok. I had
banana and maple syrup crepes which definitely spoiled my dinner.
I have found that the back of my head is badly sunburnt - must be from
the first day when I thought it would be uglier weather - and it has
started to blister. Even so, I'd rather this than having to come out of
Charlotte's Pass in the sort of weather we've had since then.
At the briefing we were told that the woman who had the accident on the
first day has died, after 2 days in hospital in a coma. We were still
given no more details, although we know she had a husband and kids