I spent most of the day in the mountains and temperatures were a little cooler than of late only getting to 25C.The morning and early afternoon were bright and sunny but clouded over later with afternoon thunderstorms leading to the first drenching of the trip.
Yesterday I did a 24 mile climb. Maybe I need more exercise, so today's big climb was 33 miles!
After breakfast in the room I left soon after 7.00 and rode up the valley. The first 15 miles was very gradual with 600 ft climbed to Harrietsville. Then the more severe climbing started with one hairpin bend called the Meg being well known locally and recording 19% grade on my bike computer.
Traffic on the climb was a little heavier than yesterday with a car every 10 minutes! The road wound its way up through the Eucalyptus Trees. I stopped for a snack from the supplies in my panniers and listened to the noises of the forest including Parrots and laughing Cuckaburrors.
The climb went on and on and I eventually reached St Bernard's Pass at 4650ft where I stopped for a picnic lunch. The climb wasn't over yet though with more ups and downs to a high point above Hotham Heights Ski resort of 5830 ft and 33 miles climbed. There were outstanding views near the top across the Alpine ranges with Mt Buffalo and the Horn which I scaled yesterday visible in the far distance. Hotham Heights was a ghost Town with nothing open during the summer.
The descent involved many frustrating ups and downs rather than going straight down a valley. Thunderstorms were building up over the mountains and the roads route took it seemingly just round the edge of the storms so I just got a few drops.
About 5 miles from Omeo as I crested a hill on dry roads I saw what looked like mist ahead. It was in fact a torrential downpour of rain. The sharp boundary line between soaking wet road and totally dry road was a few hundred yards ahead and stayed fixed for several minutes. Eventually it seemed to ease a little and I continued but the rain built to a torrential downpour with thunder rumbling around. There were a lot of coathangers in the motel which came in handy.
The hardest ride for me since Yosemite in June last year. 67 miles and 6791 ft of climb.