Today we started early to catch the 07.13 V.Line train west from central Melbourne to get us out of the urban area. The trains came with a special bike area and no pre.booking or payment was required. With a train going out of the City at rush hour it was nearly empty.
After leaving the train we went into Baccus Marsh town for breakfast. The town was very much small town Australia. Then on quiet backroads to the south of the main freeway heading west.
Temperatures during the day were gradually rising getting much higher than yesterday at 40C under searing blue skies. We also experienced near gale force northerly winds often as headwinds. With little time to adapt after an English winter the summer heatwave temperatures today were a shock to the system for all of us.
The ride out of Baccus Marsh and for much of the day was notable for the frequent sightings of birds including white cockatoos and many types of Parrots. We also often rode along roads lined with gum trees.
Signs warned us of a hill ahead with serious grades not suitable for heavy vehicles. This lived up to its advert with grades up to 19% and climbing over several miles to 1500ft. We had lunch at the top from our supplies. One driver stopped and asked us if Peter W was ok, lying out flat exhausted a few hundred yards down the hill from us. We told her that was fine, quite normal.
After a few miles we turned on to a road going due north into the gathering northerly headwind for 9 miles. Peter W got part way and then lay down beside the road and was given a lift by a kind local in a Roadside Rescue vehicle!! all the way to the hotel in Ballarat.
The rest of us stopped in a caf? as near as possible to the chiller cabinets and then continued in the gathering heat with more and more frequent rest breaks in the shade. We continued on really quite byroads which were very good cycling routes with signs warning of wild Kangaroos and even once of wild Kolas. We didn't spot any and decided they must be very sensibly sleeping in the shade.
We eventually arrived at our comfortable Best Western Hotel in Ballarat at 7.15.
49 miles for the day and 2782ft of climb with 20% maximum grade.