RACV Great Vic day 8: Alexandra to Healesville

Photo by Stephen Lightfoot www.sportsfoto.com.au
Photo by Stephen Lightfoot www.sportsfoto.com.au

The Black Spur with no cars – the riding doesn’t get any better in this part of the world! For those unfamiliar with this famous roadway, it’s a winding climb over the misty Mystic Mountains from Marysville and descending through magnificent mountain ash and tree ferns to Healesville. That’s what 2014 Great Vic riders were treated to today.

The only spanner in the works was the weather. At 6.30am, the heavens opened and the Great Vic campsite was smashed with a deluge of fat raindrops. You might think that at that early time riders are still snoozing in their tents but in fact that’s peak hour on the Great Vic campsite, with riders loading their already-packed luggage into the transport trucks, washing up their breakfast dishes, purchasing a pre-ride coffee or setting off on the just-opened route.

Riders stoically bore the drenching, taking some shelter under trees for the heaviest showers before zipping up the rain jacket and setting off for the day’s riding. The torrential showers continued for most of the morning, throughout the ride to the lunch stop in Marysville and for the beginning of the ascent of the Black Spur. At the same time the air temperature was warm, making it a steamy experience inside the rain jacket.

Fortunately the rain stopped in time for the first of the descenders and in fact the road was dry by the time all but the very first came down the mountain. The overwhelming feedback was that the day’s ride was a challenge but superb.

The road closures were expertly managed by Bicycle Network in conjunction with authorities. Riders arriving before the advertised opening times were held at the lunch and rest stops and then released in waves. Riders who didn’t make the set cut-off times were transported on to the campsite by coaches and their bikes by trucks. Many riders got the timing just right and reported no waiting at all or very little.

Tired but satisfied riders are now keeping the bar and canteen of the Healesville Sports club – which is hosting the campsite on two exquistite sports ovals – very busy indeed.

Official 2014 RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride photos, such as the one at the top of this post are available for sale at www.sportsfoto.com.au.

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