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Another Rail Trail Tale

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Back in May, we did the 54k Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail while training for the China trip but we only did it it in stages.  On Sunday, we hooked up the Tardis and trundled off to Ballarat 1½ hours away for a couple of days with the plan of doing the whole 108k out and back in one hit now that we weren’t afraid of doing such distances.

Booking into the caravan park, the owner was incredulous when I told him our plans and exclaimed, “What, in one day!”.  Yeah, piece of cake I said and about to rue my words.

We’ve had loads of rain of recent and it even thumped down just as we finished pitching the van but the next day turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day around 20c and ideal for riding.  This excellent all weather track is constructed of crushed quartz on a base of sandstone and is great for bike riding except it was quite soft and hence took more peddling effort than usual and something that was going to tax the legs later in the day.

We stopped at the small town of Linton for coffee on the way out and then the long uphill out of the town before reaching the turnaround.  We decided to skip Skipton so to speak and turn about 3k short of the town as it was a boring bit that required opening and closing three gates and the same on the way back and the cycle computer said 50.6k so that was good enough for us.

We felt good at this stage but were starting to wilt by the time we got back to Linton for lunch.  For the final 33k, we topped up tired legs with sangers, lollies, hot chocolate, bananas and muesli bars and soldiered on.  The last 20k from Scarsdale to Ballarat was all mental grit as the tyres dragged through the soft track but the tall radio tower in the distance near the caravan park was our beacon of hope and MP found a sudden burst of energy and bolted into the distance.

A great day but we both ended up completely knackered after such a big ride and the 112k day we did in China on concrete roads seemed so easy compared to this.  Some more pictures here.

About time I settled for a rocking chair and pipe.

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