Once again it was hot, hot, hot today for the 68km ride from Heathcote to Castlemaine. In fact, it was hotter than yesterday but riders took the challenge in their stride.
The route was an undulating journey through some fine Central-Victorian bush including some of the most scenic views of the ride so far. A highlight was the historic Redesdale Bridge over the Campaspe River. Completed in 1868, the bridge is one of the oldest iron lattice-truss bridges in Victoria.
In Castlemaine riders are treated to a royal welcome, with cakes and biscuits baked by Castlemaine North Primary School, extended hours at the Wesley Hill Market, extra departures of the steam train, jazz at the Old Castlemaine Gaol and bicycle films followed by live entertainment at the Theatre Royal. For a cool retreat, Buda Historic Home and Garden is running a shuttle service for riders to indulge in wine and treats while they browse the famous art collection and lush garden.
Tonight the bar at the campsite should also do a roaring trade, due to the heat, the mood of celebration and the fact that the Great Vic’s favourite band, 80s Enuf, will be performing their crowd-pleasing collection of 80s hits. Last year it seemed half the campsite danced the night away in front of the main stage and we’re geared up for another stellar performance tonight.
Volunteers are a vital part of Bicycle Network and never is that more obvious than in the staging of the Great Vic. From serving breakfast, to setting up showers, marshalling traffic en route, to driving the support vehicles, without them the event simply couldn’t happen.
Bicycle Network’s goal is to make sure our volunteers are able to make a significant contribution, gain valuable experience and make a real difference to the riding community. In addition we make sure our vollies know that they are valued. The riders don’t need much encouragement to say thanks to the vollies for all they do, but on International Volunteer Day Bicycle Network did remind riders to show the vollies how much they are valued.
Tomorrow is the final leg of this year’s journey, with 58km downhill ride to Bendigo. At the finish line riders will have completed 533km in a week. We’re expecting scenes of celebration with friends and family and for satisfaction to shine through any tiredness from the week’s extraordinary activities.
View all of Bicycle Network’s photos of the ride on Flickr
Follow the ride live on Twitter: @bicycle_network #GreatVic