Wow what a truly magnificent day! Today was a rest day for me, so I sat in the lead vehicle all day, but the scenery was amazing! We left the Pinnacle Valley Resort and headed back through Mansfield on our way to Yarra Glen and the Chateau Yering. We had decided to leave earlier than planned as it was the longest day of the ride, 187km, with a number of rolling hills and climbs.
We had breakfast as the sun came up over the hills and the number of kangaroos around the resort was amazing. They certainly don’t shy away from hopping by you either! We decided that a team photo was in order today as we were saying goodbye, half way through the day, to Danny Frawley and Stefan Whiting, who were riding with us until lunch.
The riders had a fantastic pace and before we knew it we were back in Mansfield 26km away and with a quick toilet stop we were back on our way. The weather was incredible and they had a tailwind to help them up and over some of the rolling hills. I was really wishing that I was out on my trike at this point! It would have been fabulous!
When we arrived at morning tea we were in Bonnie Doon and about 1 hour ahead of schedule because we had left early, but the riders were keeping up a fabulous pace. It was a bit different riding today because we were on main highways for a bit of the ride so there was a lot of traffic to contend with, but our drivers Bally and Tony (lead and rear vehicles) as well as Jodie in the Hampton Cycles van did an amazing job of keeping the riders safe!
We stopped in Yea for lunch and I must say it was the earliest lunch we have had on the ride so far! But it was here that we had to say goodbye to Danny and Stefan and even though they were only with us for a day and a half we all felt like we had made some great friends!
After lunch and leaving Yea we cut up through a wonderful forest area and the riders even had to deal with a dirt road for about 1.5km. But then it was back onto the bitumen of the Kinglake – Healesville Road.
We eventually had a couple more toilet stops and water topping up before we hit an amazing downhill area of about 5km which the riders descended at their own pace. We did have a complete idiot in a red 4 wheel drive almost take out a few of the riders and even us in the lead vehicle. I will never understand people like that! But at least everyone got down safely where we regrouped to finish the final 13km together.
We arrived at Chateau Yering about 30 minutes before we should have on the timetable and all the riders did an amazing job today! Our MS Ambassador Steve van Ruyven who was “hoping” to do 700km of the 1000km has literally smashed that goal! Last night he thought he was at about 640km I think he said, well today he did the entire 187, so he is well over 800km already!
Tonight we headed into the Yarra Glen Hotel for another wonderful meal and met up with our last celebrity rider Michael Roberts another AFL Legend, fondly known to most as Robbo. Robbo is going to join us for the last leg of riding tomorrow, into St. Kilda and the Catani Gardens.
After dinner we all headed back to Chateau Yering for the last presentation of the Monjon Yellow Jersey and the final Muppet award. And for a first in history the Muppet award was awarded for the 3rd day in a row to Greg!(No need for another picture, just look back over the last 2 days!) Those ears are going to be a permanent attachment to his head! The Monjon Yellow Jersey went to ‘Nugget’, Chris Hally, who has acted as a leader throughout the trip and supported a number of the riders not only by helping to push them uphill, but as a mentor as well. A truly deserving winner and the perfect person to lead us to the finish!
So if you are around the St. Kilda area drop over to the Catani Gardens around 1pm to welcome us all home. It will have been a great accomplishment to ride over 1000km in 7 days!