Summary of the third and final Stage of Le Tour de Vic!
Tour Fast Facts
14 hours in the saddle
2 flat tyres
3 climbs; Kinglake, Mount Stirling (Tolmie) and Beechworth.
A delayed start commenced Stage 3 due to the rain. We successfully avoided the rain all day although it looked ominous many times.
It was a welcome change of scenery from the yellow farmland of the previous days. It was Tour Le Towns as we rode through small country towns such as Edi, Moyhu, Oxley, Milawa and Tarrawingee. Moyhu was a tiny town of about 2 shops and 30 homes, but there were countless bikes decorated and placed on the nature strip – it really made it feel like Le Tour!
In Tarra we visited Juls’ great grandfathers homestead and pub. Adding in some family history to Le Tour, we were ticking all boxes!
Out of Tarranwingee and it was a 16km climb to Beechworth (couldn’t be a Stage without a proper climb).
From Beechworth it was downhill to Yackadandah, another 3km climb out then the home stretch to NSW. It was exciting to cross the Murray into NSW and reach Albury.
Jinx of the Day
We were finally on the homestretch to NSW. As we went through the last traffic light, about 3km’s from the hotel and only 300m’s from the Murray, John yelled “I’m calling it early – Brad is the loser who got the only flat”. Two minutes later, boom.
To make it even funnier (to us) Brad was also “the only loser” who knocked down the giant jenga at the pub that night with the local albury boys. Twice. Brad “Two Tubes Two Jenga” Floyd.
Athlete of the Day
Only the four main riders did the final stage. Brad yet again impressed all with his riding and had exceeded expectations all Tour. John was yet again an asset pushing dragging the team through the northerly wind.
Julian “Car Back” Connors had his stellar day though. Juls was improving each day on the Tour and peaked at the end. He was strong on the flats and hills but is also awarded AOD with his calling when on the back of the pack – there is no one else you’d want at the back calling all the cars and trucks, he was awesome.
Tips and Tricks
All four of us absolutely loved the trip, and I think it actually exceeded all of our expectations. I cannot recommend highly enough for others to do a similar trip. As a triathlete so much time and energy is put into sticking to the daily and weekly program it can all too often become repetitive and dull. Planning and achieving something so new and different is exciting and rewarding, and rejuvenates your passion for the sport. Some tips from our experience are:
Plan an interesting route. We loved having the challenge of a climb a day and would structure it similarly for the next trip. The variety in scenery was also perfect.
Balance between a challenge and realistic. The distances and difficulty we covered were the right balance. We all felt so rewarded that we covered 390km’s, were tired by the end of Day 3, but it wasn’t so far that we ever got too tired and over it.
Plan how you will carry your things. We had Topeak bags on the front which worked perfectly and we highly recommend for a short trip. For longer distances you may require larger bags.
Coordinate items between the group. Carrying multiple pumps, tape, multi tools etc. is unnecessary extra weight.
Pack two pairs of undies! We all agreed we would take one kit and wash it each night, and have one set of clothes we’d wear each night. Thankfully I packed two pairs of undies because you needed to wash one while wearing the other! Some didn’t think this through…
Book accommodation with a washing machine. We ensured each place had a machine so we had clean clothes for the next day and saved travelling with an extra kit.
Plan a bike shop in your route. As your tires will deflate from the weight, road and heat it is a good idea to stop by a shop to pump them up. We did this in Mansfield.
Plan your nutrition. We bought food when we could but there are a number of small towns that don’t sell fresh fruit (bananas) or other cycling foods you may want. It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared with nutrition.
The trip could not have gone better. When debriefing last night you know it has been a successful trip when you’re all saying “next year when we do it…” We are already planning different routes or places to see which is exciting. The trip was so successful because we worked so well as a team. It wasn’t a race and it wasn’t even a training camp. It was an adventure. Adventures are there to be enjoyed and experienced. We stopped when we wanted to, when we saw funny things and wanted a photo, when we wanted an ice cream mid ride. We took all day to cover distances you’d knock out before lunch on a Saturday because we looked around and enjoyed the views. And we always rode as a team. I couldn’t have asked for three better guys to experience this adventure that I decided 6 months ago I wanted to do, so thank you John, Brad and Juls.
And finally a huge thank you to AvantiPlus Collingwood. A trip like this requires planning and support from people with experience.
Paul and Jamie from the shop sorted us with bikes, bags, clothing, seats, bike rack… Pretty much everything was sorted by these guys and we wouldn’t have done the trip in such style or comfort without them!
Can’t wait for Le Tour de Vic 2015!