Today 80.07km
Trip total 552km

A cold morning again today — but Yass is renowned for being cold and windy! I left with thermals on under my jersey, but after the first nine kilometres of dirt roads had to stop to remove them, sweat was pouring off me!

A day of rolling hills and green paddocks, sheep and windmills. The wind had finally dropped, and once the early chill wore off it was a beautiful day of riding.

Harden closed off the main street from about 4 pm until midnight. This must have come as a great surprise to the locals who had spent the entire afternoon doing laps of the town, not game to actually park their cars and come and say hello or have a beer. Brown ute, gold commodore ute, laser with P-plates. Over and over again they drove up and down the street…

Also parading up and down the street were the Australian Light Horse regiment. This was formed here in Harden-Murrumburrah, and they’ve taken pride in the fact and kept a museum going to celebrate it. Half a dozen mounted men in soldiers’ uniforms, and a gun — or ammunition — carriage went up and down the street to cheers and shouts.

The final-night party was in the street, at last we had a band that played something different — no more Brown-Eyed Girl! An original Blues band, I can’t remember their name, they just fit in perfectly with the surroundings and the mood, a great change from mindless, bland, middle-of-the-road American pop.

The party ended all too soon, on the stroke of midnight the council cleaners started pushing through the crowd to empty bins and sweep the streets, and the local copper started trying to move people along. He’d been looking nervous all night, probably not sure what to expect, but definitely looked to be enjoying himself once he could tell everyone to go home and stop drinking in public. At least half the riders attempted to go back to the pubs — the pubs that had advertised that they would be open until 2 am. Unfortunately the pubs had pulled a swifty — although they were still open, they weren’t letting anyone in the doors after midnight! The mood quickly degenerated when this became apparent, and most people gave up in disgust and headed home.


Yass Harden