Monday, September 19, 2011

The GREAT OCEAN ROAD and Amy's Gran Fondo

At the last moment I had the opportunity to ride the Gran Fondo, a bike ride of 120 kms along the Great Ocean Road and out the back from the coast in the Otway Ranges. The event was organised by the Amy Gillett Foundation which was formed from family and friends of Amy. She was killed in Germany while out training with the Australian women's road cycling team when a driver ran into the bunch.
With fine, clear spring weather forecast, it seemed that we would have perfect conditions for this great ride.

We left the seaside resort of Lorne at 8.00 am and for the first 40 kms we rode where the two blues of sky and sea meet. To the left of us was Bass Strait and a cloudless sky. The weekend before was the opposite with rain and hail. How fortunate we were that the weather Gods were kind. As we rolled into Skene's Creek we faced a right hand turn and 10 kms of climbing to the top of the Otway ranges.
My pace was fairly slow however the advantage in that, was the opportunity to take in the view of this beautiful part of Victoria's country side. The terrain then gave way to rolling hills for next 50 kms before the last 10 km climb to the actual finish line. The great part was that after crossing the line we had another 20 kms back to Lorne, all down hill. With speeds of 50 to 60 kph, it was a welcome relief from the the tough grinding inclines earlier in the day.
Meeting my fellow riders from our group back in Lorne, many heroic stories were told and retold. I'm sure the stories will continue until our next epic bike ride.

We were on our way to the staring point at Lorne by 7.00 am for an 8.00 am kick-off.
With Bass Straight to the left and the Otway Ranges to the right, this 120 kms ride was to have its many challenges. The whole circuit was closed of to traffic therefore offering a very safe environment.
A little bit of France in the car park.
At the starting line, I joined just under 3000 other riders for a pleasant (Ha!) 120 kms at Lorne.
One wonders if these two ladies were amused by the antics of the hordes of Lycra clad men and women of all shapes and sizes invading their seaside village!!!
Here's a little video clip of the coast line and the Great Ocean Road.


  1. Whats with the oncoming car in the video? Thought the roads were supposed to be closed? Nico

  2. This makes me think about The Argus Cycle Tour in S Africa which is held annually in March. This year they are limiting it to only 30,000 riders,so you had better get your entry in quick :) Think they decided that 40,000 was getting a bit too bag to handle!! I rode it 9 times when we lived there, I never sadly made the 10 rides to get my special one off number. Diane

  3. Diane - I cant imagine what its like to ride with that many riders on the road. I read some of the history of the Argus after your comment.
    The recent winds were amazing, even more so that some riders actually finished.

  4. Wow! loved watching that video - I feel like I've actually been on the ride. So good that you had such a wonderful blue-sky day.

  5. You are welcome Dianne. You photos of France not only give me pleasure but also bring back memories.

  6. Leon the seeding is fantastic in the Argus, only as a first time rider is it difficult if you have not qualified in other rides around the country. Or as an international rider in a race in your own country. It is just so organised, the groups of about 800 go off in 5 minute intervals with the fastest naturally at the front. They use both sides of a double carriage way at the beginning so there is no hanging around and you have to be there with your group well ahead of time. It works like a dream. I managed one year to do a sub 4 hour and I was very pleased with myself. But the fastest was 2:27:30 by Robbie Hunter in 2008. Probably the best professional that S.A has ever had. Diane


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