I think today's actual ride time was 6:45, but I can't be sure since the Garmin Etrex hasn't been reset after the last two day's riding, and I think that I'll keep it to record the total trip distance. Of course the Edge was almost dead, so I didn't turn it on this morning. Maybe it'll charge from having the Solio unfurled in the sun all day.
At about 10 kilometres into the ride we hit the aptly named Devil's Hills - 5 kilometres or so of winding road with a nice switchback right where we all thought that the top was, as we were climbing up to that point. It was 283 meters high at the top and it's a good thing that the climb was early on, as doing that in the full heat of the day would have been nasty.
Morning tea was another 14 kilometres at Booral Public School, with some very nice chocolate cake. To get there we rode past the Girvan estate, owned by the property empire behind the Domain section in the Sydney Morning Herald, if I understand correctly. The story we were told was that the grandfather built an apartment block, right in the middle of this country estate, as a means of bringing the family together. There's 7 floors, one for each of the children, where they could live with their families. By the time it was built, there was an irrevocable falling out, they never moved in, and now only he lives there. It's built with a commanding view of the estates, and is a real eyesore.
After morning tea, the heat really built up and, by lunch at Stroud Road, I was feeling a bit tired. Unfortunately lunch was a crappy kransky on a roll - not well cooked. I had most of it, and an apple and an orange and fruit juice and the banana stored from breakfast, and felt rested after a while in the shade.
I climbed up to afternoon tea, a gradually increasing set of undulations along The Bucketts Way. We stopped at a fire station in this nice set of pines which captured the breeze. Another banana, a Gatorade and some watermelon set me right again and I carried on. The final water stop was a few kilometres from Gloucester with a nice view across to Gloucester Tops.
Today has honed me in the technique of riding with a full load. Don't get up and push on the pedals to breast a climb - instead sustain the momentum from previous descents to keep momentum for as long as possible. In general, don't stop pedalling as you'll just have to pedal harder to make up for dead time. This works well on undulations as you can get most of the way up the next ascent before having to work too much. Once you find the momentum dropping off, work the gears. Use them all, as that's what they're there for. Up longer, steep hills, I found myself in low gear and creeping up slowly before I'd climbed too far. However, I could sustain that pace for quite long periods.
After I got into camp and setup the tent inner, and hung things out to dry, I went over to the river and had a brief dip. It was nice and cold. Then I went into town to try and find somewhere to get on-line and hopefully upload the track logs off the Edge (and try to charge it somewhat via the USB interface). Unfortunately, Gloucester only has the library and something called Gloucester Online, both full, and it was coming up to closing time.
At least the pressure is off somewhat for data storage on the Edge, as the total distance I need to store on it is now 90 kilometres less than I expected, at a total of about 360 kilometres. Assuming that I can find somewhere to upload the data in Wingham or Port Macquarie, there'll be no problem recording the route on the Edge.
Sitting at the Perenti Cafe, writing this, a woman on the ride called Valerie - hailing from somewhere in west London - asked if she could share my table. She asked what I was doing and, when told that I was writing a diary for my sponsors to read later, handed me $20 for the MS Society. That was very nice.
The Solio is only showing a quarter charge. Maybe it wasn't getting full sunshine the way that it was strapped to the back of the bike. I was worried on and off about it staying properly unfurled so that the charging functionality was activated, but each time I checked, there was no problem. It looks like I'll have to depend on the Etrex tomorrow.