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Day 3 (Dederang - Bright via Tawonga Gap, 58 km ... big hill)

Ride Guide Map

Elevation map for day 3

We woke early and packed efficiently, focussing our minds on the fact that today was Tawonga Gap. 7 km of serious uphill. The big "mountain test". Krista and Sophie headed off while David and I loaded luggage onto trucks and gathered our wits about us for the days' ride. We took the time to soak in the real beauty of the Kiewa Valley and David began his on-going musings about purchasing "a small shack" in the area - by the end of the trip, he had a plethora of strategically-located shacks across Victoria ! It took quite a while to catch up to the girls, and it was very very pleasant to absorb the magical surroundings and to engage in conversation with a warm sun on our backs, a light breeze, and wonderful riding conditions. We lunched at Mount Beauty and the anticipation of Tawonga Gap gradually built up. The girls set off as I braved the water-bottle line. They had already decided that they were walking up the hill, but a 7 km uphill walk pushing a bike is a fairly demanding task and they were very ambivalent about the challenge.

David and I set off about 20 mins after the girls. All of a sudden, we arrived at the foot of the hill. You turn the corner and it just starts. I was really happy to find that my new low gearing allowed me to ride the gradient with relative comfort - it was very hard work, but it was doable. And so we did it. Grind, grind, grind - a bend, another bend, and on and on, a spring, a look-out - and finally the top. David and I had an icecream, and then, in a fit of motherliness, I decided to walk down to find Krista, take her a soft drink, and walk with her for the last little bit. I passed a very cheerful, excited Sophie who was powering up the hill with a group of people, and eventually got to Krista who was stoically making her way to the top. It was very very satisfying for each of us individually and all of us collectively to make it unassisted to the top of Tawonga Gap, and the downhill spin into Bright was exhilarating.

Arriving in Bright was a bit anti-climactic - the campground was so spread out that it was virtually impossible to find Sophie and David to celebrate our achievements with, so we made our way to our motel (luxury !!!), grabbed some fish and chips for tea, and had a wonderful long sleep.