The GPS had the same tracking problem as yesterday and the day was fine. There
were some trees around as I turned it on, but how much they managed to block
the view of the sky is an open question. It wasn't until about 10km into the
ride that I started getting accurate information. I can dodgey the first bit
as a route using the MapSource map data, but I can't get the route profile
data for that section. Most of that section was a gradual rise up to the start
of the climb over to Batlow.
Cresting the hill
Bago state forest
Morning tea was at a forest clearing at the top of the hill. There was a building
complex just a bit away from us which used to be a prison camp but is now a
conference center for motivation retreats etc. The local Rotary club had a cake
and drinks affair set up for which the water for the tea and coffee was boiled
on an small open fire.
Morning tea at Laurel Hill
Riding through to Batlow we passed lots of orchards under cover, including
one enormous white cover with a red border.
Orchards under cover
Massive hail cover
Lunch was at Batlow. Just before it, as we came down into the town, a local
B&B had set up a fresh apple juice stand. The had a big juicer going
non-stop and were feeding quartered apples into it, core and all - delicious.
The local school had a bike display where all the childrens' bike had decorated
wheels with crepe paper or tinsel, and all the kids were outside in a row with
banners and waving as we went past. It's these little things that make the ride
and my participation in it feel special.
School kids' bike display
I met Ed and Glenn again, both at morning tea and lunch. Glenn was suffering
again whereas Ed and his new bike were feeling fine. I had left morning tea 5
or so minutes before Ed and he got to lunch just behind me. Glen rolled in
about 10 minutes later, as I was about to leave (as was the case at morning tea).
After Batlow there was a brief climb to some more orchards and a section of
road with a good view east to the Snowies. Then there was a wonderfully long
swooping descent to Wondalga which is where I hit my maximum speed. Some of the
road was a bit corrugated but I relaxed my body and coasted over the top of the
bumps. The rest of the ride was reasonably flat with just a few little rises
around Gilmore. I keep the pace high since the downhill had given me such a
lot of momentum and I wanted to make the most of it.
View towards the Snowies
I got into camp at about 12:15pm. The luggage had just been unloaded with the
help of James and friends. He gets into camp each day at such an early time
that he pitches in with the volunteers on the luggage truck - there's not much
else a rider can help with of course but, when you can, you do try and help.
I grabbed my bag and set up in the middle of this hot open campground. All the
edges of the camp under trees and along the creek bank were taken by those faster
than I. Some people were discussing the big collection of tents under a gum tree
and talking about widow makers. Since these trees can drop limbs, you have to be
a bit wary about camping under them. Sure enough, in the middle of the night,
there was a big crack and a limb came down. Luckily it was on a tree up on the
road, but reasonably near an SES volunteer's car.
After setting up, I walked the 1 kilometre back to the main street where I went
to the Woolpack Hotel. At the bar were Grant and Lauren who had just arrived in
town and were waiting for a while before getting to camp since they figured that
it might be a bit early for everything to be set up. We chatted for a while over
a few James Squires in comfortable chairs with a very tasty pub lunch. It could
almost be a civilised Sydney pub that we were in. Lauren had fish and chips, which
turned out to be whole baked fresh Tumut trout. It looked so good I promised myself
that I would come back for dinner (lunch was a bruschetta - also quite good). After
a while I wandered around the rest of the town center, but there wasn't much to
look at so I went back to camp and had a shower, since the amenities were finally
Riders at The Woolpack
At Cafe Big, sitting down to write this journal entry, I found myself sharing a
table with a guy who was on his first ride. He had seen a poster for the ride
at his local gym, gone out and bought a bike and started riding for the first time
in 30-odd years about 3 weeks ago. Apart from some setup issues and a sore bum
he's quite enjoying himself. Later I went exploring and found the Tumut river
just 5 minutes meander through a park to the east. It's really cold and fast
flowing, but incredibly refreshing, given the heat of the day. A local, further
up from the sheltered section I was swimming in, was proudly showing off his
rope and pulley arrangement where he could drag himself across the river in an
inner tube. It looked quite dangerous. Given the strength of the flow I've been
idlely imagining rafting all the way to Gundagai as a nice way to keep cool that
day, rather than riding, since the Tumut ends up meeting the Murrumbidgee just
By the time I got back to camp, it was almost time for dinner, which was spaghetti
bolognaise. The trout appeared to be an even better option, so I headed back to
the Woolpack. It came, in restaurant form, with nicely baked potatoes in a
Beurre Blanc sauce, with small florets of brocolli, fresh beans and sliced
carrots all sprinkled with sesame seeds. Unfortunately I also had some garlic
bread while waiting which took the edge of my appetite. I had a glass of local
white wine to go with the meat, which was last year's vintage and a bit rough,
but ok after it had breathed for a while. Dessert was strawberries and cream.
A layer of cut strawberries with some strawberry sauce drizzled over it, topped
with ice cream, more strawberries, cream and a whole strawberry garnish.
Coming out onto the street again, I ran into James who said that the rest day party
didn't seem to be happening. It was supposed to be in a hall just up the road from
the camp, but the place was all shut up so he was looking for something to do in
town (not much on a Monday night, as I had asked the barman earlier). As I got
back to camp, there was a bush band in the brasserie, but no signs of a big
Bushwacker's Party to match the parties of previous years - more signs of
collapsing management on the ride?
The purple party of the route on the map is the section I generated from
MapSource, since I have no track information for it. That distance is displayed
as the flat first section in the route profile.
Day 3 route map (from Google Earth)
Day 3 route profile