It could have been the day of rest yesterday or the promise of a hot day ahead, but the riders were up and at it early this morning for the 87km ride to Heathcote. Maybe they were eager for the next change of scenery on this week in another world or perhaps it was the lure of world-class shiraz that drew them to the wine-country centre of Heathcote.
Before departing, many riders and event crew gathered in a guard of honour to send off Brett Pearce for his day’s ride. The previous evening on the main stage Brett movingly shared the story of his family’s journey to accepting the death of his father, Trevor Pearce, on the Great Vic last year. Brett had promised to ride this year’s event with his father and is here this year to complete the pledge. You can listen to Brett Pearce speaking to ABC radio’s Jeremy Lee about what riding this year’s Great Vic means to him and his family.
The heat of the day built steadily and riders welcomed the extra water stops set up en route. Also lending a hand were primary school children in the little town of Axedale who came out roadside to give high fives and cheers to the passing riders. This lovely display of enthusiasm must have added some power to the legs of many a rider.
Hopes of a restful afternoon were fully realised with the wonderful welcome festival put on by Heathcote. Tractors pulled trailers with hay-bale bench seats to transport tired, hot riders to the cool parkland off the Heathcote main street. There riders could relax in the shade listening to live music, enjoy fresh BBQ fare and a local craft beer and taste local wines, olives and produce. The local pool was a smash-hit attraction, with riders very happy to provide a gold coin donation to join the party.
Tomorrow is the penultimate day of this year’s bicycle-bourne journey through Victoria. We’re off on a 68km treadle across to Castlemaine and a big last night of celebrating with the Great Vic’s favourite band.
View all of Bicycle Network’s photos of the ride on Flickr
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