Distance 81km

Last chance training before the Audax Australia Alpine Classic! An early start — early for me, 07:30 — up and out and flying off down the hill to sea-level. Tears streaming from my eyes in the cool morning air, then around the corner and start the climb up the Deans Marsh road. Far less traffic than last time a few weeks ago, but the roadside is still a solid carpet of bottles and cans.

Half an hour later, plus a few minutes, and I’m at the top of Benwerrin — 427m above sea-level — and can pause for a drink and to consider my options. Will it be on to Deans Marsh, back down and up again, or around the dirt road to Erskine falls? I chose option number three; the road is still corrugated, but either I’m more used to it, or someone has lightly graded it in the past week or two….

A brief sighting of the semi-mythical Otway Panther; resolving itself into the far more prosaic fox running across the road. Then back onto the bitumen for the grin-inducing run back down through the hills to Lorne, the sun just starting to break through the clouds and shine off the ocean as I came into town.

Breakfast at a café in town, then back up the hill to house, only to meet Jo on her way out for a ride to Wye river. Will I or won’t I go too? Oh all right! Back down the hill and off along the Great Ocean Road we went.

An hour out along the coast to Wye river, a five or ten minute stop to watch the waves crashing on the rocks, then back on the bikes for the ride back to Lorne.

Amazingly, the motorists we met all seemed quite well behaved, only one neanderthal blasted on the horn to show off to his mates. Eleven to twelve o’clock seemed to be tour bus time, we must have seen five large coaches and a dozen mini-bus tours on the way home!

Highlight of the day was the parrot that shot out of bush beside the road and flew along in front of me before heading off into the scrub — I’ve never seen one before but it might have been an Orange Bellied parrot, either rare or endangered! A browse through the bird book shows that it could equally well be one of two or three other grass parrots that also live along the coast — oh well, it was something I’ve not seen before!