RACV Great Vic day 7: Mansfield to Alexandra


Simon Clarke Day 7Day 7 concluded in the lively little town of Alexandra, which turned on a terrific selection of activities and food stalls for riders on the closed-off main street. It couldn’t, however, provide sufficient internet connection to upload our photos from the day or even our blog post. So, sorry for the delay, here’s our report.

Well rested, riders set out from Mansfield bright and early for a short, mainly downhill ride to Alexandra in warm, sunny weather. It was an easy ride on paper but it quickly became eventful as the day rolled out.

After crossing Lake Eildon on the rail trail bridge, the route stayed off-road on the Great Victorian Rail Trail for the rest of the ride through to Alexanadra. This 130km rail trail stretches from Tallarook to Mansfield with a branch from Yarck to Alexandra. It was an ideal path for today’s ride.

The looser surface of the trail was a bit of a shock to riders on skinny-tyred road bikes but plenty of riders enjoyed the rail trail for the waterside serenity of Lake Eildon and quiet of the bush. For the skinny-tyre brigade, punctures proved a bit of a problem and their bike handling skills were tested on the unsealed surface.

One rider penned a poem to try to capture the experience:

“Rail trails make it easy ‘cause it’s flatter terrain,

But the dust and dirt are no good for my chain,

I can’t wait to be on the road again.

Rail trails are quiet and peaceful with no trucks or road trains,

But so many punctures are driving me insane,

I can’t wait to be on the road again.

Rail trails: the scenery is just too pretty to explain,

But the extra 17km of gravel just fills me with distain,

I can’t wait to be on the road again.”

The rail trail surface didn’t dampen the excitement of the Northcote High School team, who had a cycling celebrity join them for the day. Returning to the Great Vic, where he was discovered as a talented junior rider, was ORICA GreenEdge professional rider, Simon Clarke. With serene professionalism and a charming camaraderie, Clarke chaperoned the awed students through the course, generously sharing his experience and answering their questions.

Regardless of the conditions, riders remembered our fellow traveller lost during this ride, Trevor Pearce, by generously giving out waves. The local Mansfield Mt Buller Cycling Club also added their tribute by giving a wave for Trevor before setting off for Friday’s ride.

Alexandra was a fun town to relax in and campsite was a convenient short stroll from the main street. An outdoor stage hosted two live bands, who entertained the crowds with classic rock covers. Riders spread across the makeshift mall enjoying the roast beef and egg and bacon rolls served up by the local sports and services clubs. The pubs made sure that no rider needed to go thirsty.

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