Sunday, September 19th, 2021

Terra Australis: Day 6


75ms & 2200m climbing
Time: 4.05
Place: Bright – Beechworth

On paper this looked a straightforward day, with high mountain climbs and a bit of bitumen, but it was still a struggle. The major hill for the day was only two kilometres into the race – the ascent of Mount Porepunkah. The 14km climb wasn’t particularly steep but it went forever and we struggled for rhythm. Off the descent we had picked up a few teams and I drove it on the front for about 15 kilometres, touching 50kph for stretches, trying to minimise the time lost to our main rivals. The momentum was snuffed out by a steep climb at about the halfway point which sucked the energy from all of us, and then again when we made the climb up to Mount Stanley. The climb started harmlessly enough but then we hit a section of `hike a bike’ that was steeper than anything we had seen to date. At one stage Jess nearly toppled backwards while carrying her bike, and lots of people (including me) were struggling to keep their footing.
The run into Beechworth was a grind and it took forever to crest the ridgeline that had dominated our view for the latter part of the day. We glanced over our shoulder with about 10kms to go and saw teams approaching so put in another effort. There were a number of farm gates that I would sprint ahead to open and then close. Those gates provided enough of a challenge to put some extra seconds between us and the chasers, which we managed to hold off.
The end of the last full day of riding (tomorrow is a three hour stage), and the accumulated fatigue is starting to set in.


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