2023 Indi-Pac Day 18 Report

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Rest – check. Resupply – check. Out early doors – sort of. I’d planned earlier but t’was yet another case of faff’tus interruptus. 4:16am will just have to do.

One thing was certain though, I had a real fire in the belly to get to Melbourne, today!! No-thing or no-one was going to stop me! I really felt like I had to – my way earlier than planned finish yesterday meant that I had no chance of getting to the Rapha store in Melbourne within business hours today to go shopping for cold weather kit. The new plan was to call in a favour from a dear friend in Melbourne who would pick up some items from Rapha that I would order and pay for over the phone at some point this morning. I would then relieve her of the merch at a reasonable time tonight to avoid putting her out again tomorrow.

Mmmmmm, involving civilians in the plans of ultra distance cycling mentalists with 2.5 weeks of cognitive impairment under the belt, and shite phone coverage to boot, could end up any which way.

Fingers crossed.

A quick note on the required cold weather gear. I had purposely packed kit that would cover pretty much all conditions, with the exception of freezing and below temperatures. The plan was to check the forecast for the Victorian and NSW high country at or around Melbourne to ascertain clothing requirements. It turned out that cold weather was indeed on the cards with the possibility of snow. I’d need better gloves, an additional thick layer and thicker waterproof pants.

(Another quick note for the rules bandits – this is a ride, not an official race remember?)

Out into the foggy morning which soon cleared to unveil some incredible coastal and hinterland scenery………and some hefty climbs.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Highway to nowhere.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Turn off to the 12 Apostles…..next time.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Day 18 daybreak.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Day 18 daybreak. Take 2.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Up diddly up.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Ahhhh, pretty.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Ahhhh, pretty. Take 2.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Up diddly up. Take 2.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: More up diddly up.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: and a bit of down diddly down.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: and a bit more down diddly down.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: up…..

Tuesday April 4, 2023: More pretty.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Looking out to the Great Southern Ocean / Bass Strait.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: More up.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: and down.

About 7k’s out of Apollo Bay a lady cyclist coming towards me pulled a U’y and wordlessly careened off in front……….WTF!

Ah ha, I’d read about the Apollo Bay welcoming committee. This lady must be their scout…..their eyes and ears.

Fuck it, I could really do without the distraction!

I soon chilled out though as I battled to keep up. A nice chat will break up the morning nicely and I’ll use the time off the bike to call in my Rapha order.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Part of the Apollo Bay welcoming committee.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Part of the Apollo Bay welcoming committee. Take 2 with water glimpses.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Oi, wanna race?

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Battling to keep up with part of the Apollo Bay welcoming committee.

Anyway, I was oh so glad I stopped:

  • Great banter with the mystery cyclist (aka Heather), Bernadette and Heather’s partner who’s name evades me.
  • Bernadette came bearing snacks. A little on the healthy side ūüėČ but I took them off her hands, just in case.
  • I now have contacts / a place to stay when I come back with my family in the future to holiday.ūüėȬ† (Apollo Bay really is a beautiful part of the world).
  • I was able to contact Rapha, Melbourne and put in my order. (I would have struggled later as my phone coverage became pretty sketchy).

Tuesday April 4, 2023: L to R, Some sweaty hairy bloke, Heather, Bernadette.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Rolling down the main drag of Apollo Bay.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Apollo Bay Beach.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Apollo Bay Beach. Side on view.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: This is gonna be a rather scenic ride.

Connections made on the Great Ocean Road

About 10k’s out of Apollo Bay I was joined by a cyclist who was actually heading the way but did the whole Heather U’y thing and joined me. His name was Jeff, an avid cyclist who was holidaying with friends over the Easter week in Lorne and was out for his daily morning ride. He had actually met Matt Smith earlier in the morning where he had learned all about the Indi-Pac for the first time. He was in awe of it all.

He was only going to ride with me for a little while initially but we ended up riding together for over 3 hours along the coast to Anglesea. We got to know each other pretty well and the conversation got quite deep at times.

I have since tracked down his Blog; https://jeffbarnesmelbourne.com from which I have copied his intro piece which sums up the man I rode with pretty damn well:

I’ve always been inquisitive. It comes in part from living on the most isolated continent in the world. A lost day in a plane from almost everywhere. To me It’s never been enough to simply accept why we all do things differently.

From the day that I left school and foolishly believed I was ready to judge the world, I’ve been snooping about. Breathing it in. Mesmorised and intoxicated by the sights, smells and unfamiliar noises beyond my own front door. I am happiest on my bike because there are no filters. Life slaps you around the face. Strangers are more curious than scared of a guy silently wobbling along on a loaded bike.

I am definitely out of my comfort zone in these unfamiliar places yet feel wonderfully alive. Take a journey with me as I try to make sense of this weird and ever changing world.

Enjoy the ride,

Jeff Barnes.

A kindred spirit to be sure.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: My new mate, Jeff.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: I was pleasantly surprised by the very well behaved drivers on the Great Ocean Road. Very familiar with cyclists perhaps?

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Cracking views….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: More cracking views….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Rolling into Lorne.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Rolling into Lorne. Take 2.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Rolling down the Lorne main drag.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Anglesea.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Fellow bikepackers….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says.

Message from Jeff on my Maprogress Page.

Jeff dropped me at a bike shop in Anglesea which he had very kindly rung ahead to, to see check it was open, as I had no phone reception. My rear disc brake had been making a very worrying sound.

Turns out all that was required was a simple adjustment……..thank Christ…….I had been trying not to think the worst. With a sigh of relief I headed next door for the best coffee of the ride to date and a plateful of Cannoli with vanilla custard that would give the ones from the Philly Italian market a good run for their money.

Happy Days.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Coffee n’ Cannoli.

From Anglesea it was a 7 hour slog fest of closed roads and infuriating fly by the seat of my pants route adjustments, to the outskirts of Melbourne. By the time I came across the second stretch of bike path that had been shuttered (the original Indi-Pac route of 2017 has not been updated to take into account these changes) my brain was fried and I was just about in melt-down mode.

We love him because he’s a Victorian…..

The time was ripe for a Super Hero.

As I was fumbling around for my portable Bat Signal, my phone rang…..it was 11pm.

“G’Day Mark, everything ok?”

It was Indi-Pac veteran, organiser of the rider WhatsApp group and all round fucking legend, Luke Jeffery.

“Nah mate, I’m fried. I have no idea where I am.”

Long story short, when it became clear that I simply couldn’t follow his directions, he dropped everything, took a few hours off work (he was working the night shift) and drove out to meet me with his bike. He then proceeded to chaperone me for the 30k’s through the centre of Melbourne and out to the suburb of Kew where I was to stay with friends (the Rapha pick up friends).

I finally arrived well after 1am for beers and a massive bowl of Lasagna.

(What a bloke!! Get him up here, I wanna boof him!)

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Somewhere near Geelong, I think.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: As the sign says….

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Somewhere near Geelong, I think.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: You can almost make out the red glow of Melbourne, top left.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Bike path on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Tuesday April 4, 2023: Bike path on the outskirts of Melbourne……….Boo!

Tuesday April 4, 2023: My Knight in shiny his vis!

The Day According to Strava:

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