So I started early so I could get to Lavers Hill with plenty of time and not worry about exhausting myself. Since I'd seen them from the air the day before I skipped the diversions to Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles (Hmmm, maybe I will have to go back next year...)
And then I noticed the regularly spaced bump coming from the back. The bump that got faster when I did. So I asked a passing rider to look at my back tyre and sure enough there's a bulge. <expletive deleted>.
So I stop, pull the wheel off the trike and the tyre off the wheel hoping that its a problem with the tube. <expletive deleted>. Something's caused a fracture/tear inside the tyre and there was a blowout coming to a trike near me RSN. There was also a noticeably degraded patch on the outside - my theory is that something external damaged it there causing the fracture that pressure from the tube proceeded to worsen.
Sigh. Call in for pick up. There goes my time advantage, and caused my 1st pickup of the day. I had spare tyres available but it meant retrieving my luggage from the truck...and of course my luggage was right at the back and at the bottom because I left so early.
Once that was fixed I started climbing the horror that is Lavers Hill. 20Ks of hard road climbing about 400m and it was really hard. I almost gave up but two of the WA boys (Great, scarily fast, bunch of guys and I'll write separate posts about them later as I remember stuff), Dennis and Ramon came past just at that moment and wouldn't let me. They stayed with me, encouraging and mocking me by turns as needed, and got me to the top. Thanks guys, I needed that.
It took me a while to recover at the morning tea stop and Phil advised me to call for pickup when I got to the base of the next big hill since I'd be really far behind by then.
But nothing was stopping me from riding down Lavers Hill. Wheeeeeeeeee! Yeeeha! Hoowah! What a rush!
I'm sure the scenery coming down there was as pretty as the scenery going up but all I remember is the road and indulging my perverse sense of humour by singing some of the early verses from the late Harry Chapin's "40,000 Pounds of Bananas".
[Aside: This is very similar to my tendency to play Mike Oldfield's "Five Miles Out" if the plane I'm riding on is flying through turbulence...]
Eventually I got to the base of the next hill, and sure enough Oppy was waiting with the truck to ferry me to the top. Just as well, all the other riders reported that hill as being worse than Lavers Hill on the way up.
The ride down into Apollo Bay was kind of like the ride down Lavers Hill. :D Although I do remember seeing the ocean the 1st time and going "ooooh" briefly before I focused down hard on the road.
The run from Apollo Bay to Lorne along the Great Ocean Road again was beautiful but very hilly as it curved around the rocky coastline. Unfortunately my endurance was gone with the climb up Lavers Hill and I had to pull out fairly early. I arrived in Lorne feeling frustrated at "only" riding 80Ks of the day.
Dinner that night, the last of the tour, was a hilarious social event and almost worth going on the tour in its own right. It was also a major lightbulb moment for me.
I remembered the training ride two weeks prior to the tour when I felt smug about riding 80Ks. Suddenly everything clicked into perspective - the 80Ks today made over 750 in a week and were, overall, a lot harder than that training ride. I've achieved a lot this week, and can be justly proud of my efforts, so long as I realise I can do better with more training.
So, overall a good ending, and a sterling silver lining, to initial frustration.
Distance: 755.07 (So, just shy of 80Ks)
Time: 39:38 (Just under 5 hours)
Average: 19.37KPH (flying down the hills doesn't really compensate for tortoising up them)
Max: 63.9 KPH (I wasn't crazy enough to let the trike go when I couldn't see far enough around the bends)