Waiting for the start, this morning, the sun all of a sudden rose behind a cloud over the ocean, silhouetting the policemen on motorbikes. Everyone with a camera dashed for the same spot, and I think I was beaten only by the BNSW photographer. I still got a nice shot.
Last night, we had a bunch of hoons drive past the oval yelling anti-bike slogans and throwing things, I think. That went on for an hour or so, after we'd all (I'd) gone to bed. It must be easy for some alcohol-fuelled dick-heads to get up the courage to make loud noises and try and intimidate us. I wonder how they'd go in the cold light of day, and sober. It appeared to me for a while that there must be some concerted campaign, and I wondered when the cops would make an appearance. However, it tailed off after a while without any signs of an incident.
A killer today, today - 83 kilometres. The first 56 until lunch were ok, and I flew along the first 30 to North Haven in 1:30. However, I then stopped to vote there, and spent almost 40 minutes, I think in line. There were more absentee voters than locals (but few riders in the queue).
Once underway again, it was a nice ride westward and over the highway at Kew. Lunch was at Lorne Recreation Centre. The roads were much worse as we got further away from the coast, and ended up as patched, cracking bitumen, mostly covered in cow manure.
After lunch the road almost immediately went upwards. There was about a kilometre of bitumen - very steep, before we hit dirt. There were 13 kilometres of it along the top of the range skirting the Middle Brother State Forest. A treacherous downhill took us to the valley leading to Hannam Vale. I'd always seen the signpost for this on the Pacific Highway, but never took the turn. That's the good thing about the ride - we go places that you've always wondered about.
We headed south on bitumen and climbed a bit before turning right towards the Coopernook State Forest. That ended up being another 8 kilometres of dirt, on what ended up more like a fire trail in parts.
Afternoon tea in the Coopernook state forest
Afternoon tea was in the middle of the forest at a camping ground, provided by the Coopernook Pony Club, at whose oval we were camping tonight.By the time I was thinking about moving on, we had a volunteer telling us that the sweep bus had left lunch about 10 minutes ago. That meant that we were about an hour ahead of it, in my reckoning. Still, that's a lot of people who were riding much slower than on other days, when we heard nothing about the sweep.
The final half of the last dirt section ended up on a steep downhill, that I later found out was called Pinchgut Hill. Again, treacherous with tight bends and a gravelly surface. Then we headed east on the road from Lansdowne to Coopernook. I passed a woman, Sue, who I met on the 2004 ride who was swearing to me that she would walk the last couple of kilometres, rather than catch the sweep. I'm reminded of the guy ahead of us on the sweep, in 2003, coming into Bungendore. There's a certain sense of pride at stake, coming into camp.
Coopernook and district Pony Club
Camp at Coopernook
We're camped in a low-lying oval, with drainage trenches cut around the back. It's on the old Pacific Highway, but there's a bypass around Coopernook, now. That should mean we don't have any traffic noise. Again, nothing on camp in the way of refreshments. That's bad, especially after such a long, hot day again. It ended up that there were a stream of riders going in and out of the petrol station across the road. The girl there said that normally they'd have no more than 5 people stopping on a Saturday. Today, there were a hundred or so, that I saw. It looked like they had to go and restock cold drinks and chips. I ended up going in three times before I felt like I'd recovered. That's $400 - $500 dollars extra custom for them, which they must appreciate, once they recover from being run off their feet.
I still ended up with a headache - heat stroke - and went to bed after dinner, avoiding the final night party. From what I heard, I missed a very decent jazz/blues band. There was a warning came through that a storm was coming up the coast. I'm not sure when it started, but it then rained intermittently all night.