Cycling Holiday Photos. 1st installment.


This is the first installment of photof from the cycling holiday mentioned in the previous 2 posts. Enjoy!

Swanpool

Hume and Hovell Monument

One of the many, many Hume and Hovell Monuments dotted throughout the region

Painted Fence

Painted Fence

Bike Art

Bike Art opposite the Swanpool General Store

James Reserve / Lima East environs

Eddie the Golden Retriever

Eddie the Golden Retriever – the pooch belonging to campers next to us, not a particularly obedient dog, and loved putting his dirty paws anywhere clean but very likable

Flipping pancakes without a spatula

Flipping pancakes without a spatula

How to dry a hat

How to dry a hat

Climbing a slippery slope

Eliana and the daughters of the campers next to us climbing a slippery slope and getting very dirty in the process

James Reserve

James Reserve, nestled in the valley along the Moonie Moonie Creek about 15km from Swanpool

Flowers at James Reserve

Flowers at James Reserve

Meal time discussions

Meal time discussions

Eliana on a big-ish rock at James Reserve

Eliana on a big-ish rock at James Reserve

Split rock at James Reserve

Split rock at James Reserve

Native or not?

Native or not? I suspect not.

Our James Reserve Campsite

Our James Reserve Campsite

Mountains around James Reserve

Mountains around James Reserve

Lima East area near James Reserve (previously filename: james-reserve-environs0674.jpg)

Rocks near James Reserve

Rocks near James Reserve

Sabbath Breakfast at James Reserve

Sabbath Breakfast at James Reserve – pancakes, pears and custard

Lima Falls

Rebecca, Eliana and I

Rebecca, Eliana and I – between the rain at Lima Falls.

Lima Falls

Lima Falls

Lima Falls

Lima Falls

Lima Falls

Lima Falls

The girls at the base of the falls

The girls at the base of the falls

Great Victoria Rail Trail

Selfie with Wim and Ron

Selfie with Wim and Ron at Cathkin

Yea station

Yea station

Yea Goods Shed

Yea Goods Shed

Alexandra Railway Crane

Alexandra Railway Crane

And that was it, for now


Note: photos will be added in a  later post…

Last Friday I left home early in the morning and found the James Reserve near Swanpool in Victoria where Rebecca, Eliana and I would be camping for the weekend, got camp set up, put a new mountain bike tyre on the back rim of my bike, took it for a test ride, then waited for the girls to arrive, which eventually they did.

Sabbath morning we went for a bit of a walk after breakfast and I tried to explain to Eliana what it meant to have a sense of ‘wow’. Later we went for a drive around the area and were greeted with rain, rain, and more rain. Wow! But it was good to have a Sabbath out in nature without any artificial stimuli. After the rain stopped Eliana decided that it would be fun to climb up and down the earth embankment on the other side of the creek with the girls camped next to us. If the level of mud she collected on her clothes was any indication then she really enjoyed herself.

Sunday we woke early, had breakfast, packed up the girl’s camping equipment, and while they headed home I headed to Yea to ride to Alexandra with 2 Strava friends on the Great Victorian Railtrail. By 8am we had started the ride, and we passed through the Cheviot tunnel, then down to Molesworth. From there to Cathkin proved interesting as the recent rains had made the trail somewhat boggy. From Cathkin the trail was better, AND uphill to within a few km of Alexandra.

We stopped there for a while, had some sustenance, and then started to head towards Yea. For the first few kms back I went ok. But then I seemed to run out of energy which didn’t matter too much until the climb out of Molesworth. But by then the lack of energy really took it’s toll as I ever so slowly slowly pedalled up the 10km or so to the Cheviot tunnel. By the tunnel I was exhausted, thankfully there was some downhill most of the way to Yea from there.

At Yea we discussed the ride, and it was suggested that I might have been dehydrated or not properly fuelled for the ride, both of which I had the opportunity to test later on my holiday.

From Yea I travelled back to camp and made myself some soup / noodle / veggie concoction which tasted great. The next day I packed up camp and travelled to Mountain Creek Campground near Mount Beauty and set up camp.

From there the 4×4 track beckoned so I took the bike for a spin towards the Eskdale Spur. As there were a number of creek crossings I chose to use the bridges on the parallel walking track for the creek crossings where they existed. Even still, I had to traverse at least one creek where there was no walking bridge. About 5km into the ride I decided enough was enough – those hills just seemed to be getting steeper! And so turned and headed towards camp. At one point a stick jammed itself into the rear derailer which caused a failure of one of the many vital components. Not to worry, it was mostly downhill back to camp.

The next day, Tuesday, my plan was to ride along the Trappers Gap Road from the campsite until it stopped going up hill, which was about 8km, and then return back to camp. But first I had to make the vital component that failed the previous day not-so-vital.

Wednesday, and this was to be a real challenge. The plan: ride the ascent of Mt Buffalo. I decided to have a high protein breakfast to start the day – 2 x Nutolene sandwiches, an Up-n-Go, and a banana. And before the ride I had 600ml of water. So dosed up on carbs, protein and water I started the ride from Eurobin Creek Picnic Area. This ride should have been harder than the railtrail ride, but overall my energy levels were better than the railtrail ride and more consistent over the 20+ kms of climbing probably helped by the more regular sips of water along the ascent and the banana and Up-n-Go I had at the Mt Buffalo Chalet. And I guess the promise of 20km of downhill roll on the way back spurred me on somewhat too. I suspect I need to pack some low-GI snacks and plenty of water on long or hard rides in future and not be reluctant to actually partake of them enroute.

After completing the Mt Buffalo ride, I headed back to camp and as I had heard that there was going to be rain I decided that it would be better to break camp while everything was still dry, and so packed up and travelled to my parents-in-laws for a few days to see if there was likely to be any more fine days before the weekend.

There’s riding’ in them thar hills


Today is the first day of a couple of weeks of annual leave and my plan is to head for the hills for a holiday. As with most recent holidays, the plan with this one is to spend as much time behind bars (bicycle handle bars that is) as possible. But it seems that the weather may dictate to a large degree whether that happens as the forecast is for quite a lot of rain.

Here is plan, subject to change without notice…
* Ride on the Great Victorian Rail Trail on Sunday with some friends.
* Some Kiewa, Buckland and Ovens valley rides on country back roads and my old friend the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail.
* Higher altitude alpine riding – possible to / around Falls Creek, and an assault on Mt Buffalo.
* Some bush riding around Chiltern.

Of course the weather will not be the only variable that decides what I do – my energy levels, level of motivation, and various unforeseen influences will play their part.

Cycling Holiday Day 2 – GVRT – Yea – Bonnie Doon


Buying that packet of ‘Shapes’ savory biscuits that was on sale was not a good idea! I had a funny stomach most of the night and had to visit the ‘porcelain bus’ a few times to empty the bowels. And inspite of the 40km ride yesterday, I didn’t sleep very well. So I started getting ready about 6am, planning to depart Yea at 7am. When I left there was a fairly thick fog, but once I got through the Cheviot tunnel, about 9km from Yea, the sky was clear. There was a threatening sky around Molesworth, with banks of cloud rolling through the valley, but about 30 minutes later the sky was clear blue and it styed that way until Bonnie Doon.

Fog

Fog

The ride from Yea to the Cheviot Tunnel was across the Yea River flats, and so there were a lot of bridges. And then the climb to the tunnel began, which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but it was hard enough. The Cheviot Tunnel is one of the key features of the Goulburn Valley rail trail. It was (is) the only tunnel on the line / trail and was made using handmade bricks made from local clay. The tunnel is 201 metres (660 feet) long and is the longest rail tunnel in Victoria, although whether you would still call it a ‘rail’ tunnel could be debated as no railway runs through it today, only the rail trail. It is estimated that there are approximately 657,000 bricks in the tunnel.

Cheviot tunnel

Cheviot tunnel

Cheviot tunnel brickwork

Cheviot tunnel brickwork

Cheviot Tunnel marked a major cycling milestone for me: 500km in a calendar month (so far). The scenery so far on this cycling holiday has really been ‘good for the soul’. Around Trawool is very beautiful, but east of Yea is also beautiful. Here are a few pictures of scenery between Cheviot Tunnel and Molesworth.

Scenery between Cheviot and Molesworth

Scenery between Cheviot and Molesworth

Scenery between Cheviot and Molesworth

Scenery between Cheviot and Molesworth

After the tunnel, there was a pleasant down grade for quite a way, and a bridge (or more, I can’t remember) across creeks. Harvey’s Gully is in this area and was the scene of a derailment in 1911, and the picture I saw of it showed part of the train on the bridge and part of the train in the gully and the locomotive looks like it is upsidedown. I don’t know whether the picture of the bridge below are the Harvey Gully bridge, as the approaches to the gully in the 1911 photo I saw of the bridge looks quite different to the photo below. Also in the near vicinity was a concrete milepost, and a wallaby.

87 miles from Melbourne

87 miles from Melbourne

Bridge between Cheviot and Molesworth

Bridge between Cheviot and Molesworth

Wallaby

Wallaby

Molesworth Station area is now a car park, and had one iddy biddy section of track, which I assume is on the original alignment as it points in what appears to be the right direction.

Molesworth track

Molesworth track

Just to the east of Molesworth, the trail crosses the Goulburn River flats on a number of bridges. The two longest ones had concrete supports when the railway line closed, and some of the others were timber trestle bridges.

Goulburn River flats bridge

Goulburn River flats concrete supports bridge

Goulburn River flats bridge

Goulburn River flats concrete supports bridge

Goulburn River flats bridge

Goulburn River flats trestle bridge piers

Goulburn River flats bridge

Goulburn River flats trestle bridge

Cathkin, like so many other places that had stations when the railway operated, was little more than a few mounds of dirt and the occasional ‘evidence’ of there being a railway in the area. This location was where the branch line to Alexandra diverged, and apparently was quite a busy place when trains where split – 1/2 the train going to Alexandra and the other 1/2 going to Mansfield. I did see evidence of a web designer there…

Evidence of a web designer at Cathkin

Evidence of a web designer at Cathkin

Yarck and Kanumbra came and went, then it was the hard climb to the highest point on the trail – the Merton Gap, at 397 metres above sea level. The climb was long, and most of it I was using the lower gears on the bike. And just when I thought is was about to end, it just kept on going. Man, it was tough! But I eventually got to the top, and then it was a rather pleasand down grade to Merton, where I stopped to buy a fruit juice (Banana and Mango). I wish I hadn’t purchased the drink as after I drank it my energy levels seemed lower than they were before. Or maybe it was just that the climb to Merton Gap had used a lot of my energy reserves. Whatever the reason I found it hard going for the next 15km to Bonnie Doon. The scenery approaching Bonnie Doon was, well, rather than use an adjective to describe it why I just show you the pictures…

Lake Eildon approaching Bonnie Doon

Lake Eildon approaching Bonnie Doon

Pelicans on Lake Eildon

Pelicans on Lake Eildon

Lake Eildon near Bonnie Doon

Lake Eildon near Bonnie Doon

Old farm building near Bonnie Doon

Old farm building near Bonnie Doon

That brought the day’s ride to 62km. I guess I have a certain right to not have much energy after a ride like that!

A great, if somewhat tiring, ride! I would do it again, but not in Spring (swooping magpies gets a bit on the nerves after a while) and would probably not do it while wearing a pack on my back as my shoulders were getting pretty sore by the end of the ride.

For GPS tracking of todays ride, see: