• Start: Torquay
  • End: Apollo Bay
  • Day distance: 93.8km
  • Total distance: 1401.81km
  • Average speed: 16.3km/hr
  • Pedalling time: 05:39
  • Total time: 06:25

I didn’t sleep that well, not because I was uncomfortable, far from it, but I was too wired. It took me ages to get to sleep, I remember seeing 12:30am on the clock. I was also anxious about today. Google is fairly good with it’s time estimates, and I can usually add on one or two hours onto the time to allow for breaks and the fact that I bike like I hike – slowly. Melbourne to Torquay was 97km and Google said 5 hours. Today, from Torquay to Apollo bay was 93km and Google said 7 hours. This I guessed could only mean one thing. It was going to be hilly. 

Last night Leiset had put Priscilla into the shed, and when I went in there to get her it was empty. I thought she had been stolen, which is basically what I dream about every night, and my heart dropped to my stomach. But it turns out she meant the garage and she was safely in there next to their touring bikes with two very well worn in Brooks saddles. 

After a huge bowl of porridge with fresh apple I set off a bit later than I would have liked at 9am. I was waved off by Paul Leiset and little Sorosh. It was so nice of them to host me even though they had their hands full with a very strong willed one year old. Having a one year old looks a lot harder than cycling!

I could definitely feel my bum when I first got on the bike this morning but I soon settled in and it was comfy enough for the whole day and I didn’t feel like I needed to get off at all, which I think is a small miracle when I think back to those first few days and how I felt like I had to stop and get off every 5k! I am not feeling quite right, I don’t feel ill, I just feel really bloated and uncomfortable in the stomach area. No pain, I just feel a bit like I’ve been pumped up. Hopefully it will just go away soon, my clothes feel tight and uncomfortable!

There were a few hills on the way out of Torquay as I made my way down to the coast. The first one was a bit of a shock to the system and I realised just how flat the last few days had been. I was quickly back in first gear. It was great to be back next to the ocean and it was a beautiful day, a bit fresh to start off with but that’s the price you pay for clear skies!

I went through a series of small towns today, the first one was Anglesea – so many towns named the same as the UK. And the next stop was Aireys Inlet. Paul told me last night that the lighthouse there was the lighthouse from Round The Twist, a great Australian kids TV show from the 80s/90s. Have you ever, ever felt like this, when strange things happen, are you going round the twist? (If you have the theme tune stuck in you head for the rest of the day, you’re welcome.) I was more excited than I thought I would be about seeing the Split Point Lighthouse, it was a bit of a trip highlight!

The whole day was rolling hills, but nothing too difficult, I just crawled up the hills and then enjoyed my chance to cruise down the other side. A couple of times the road left the coast for a bit to go over a bluff or around a cliff and I was in some nice forested areas which made a nice variation. I definitely think I had the advantage by going west, firstly I was right next to the coast so I got the best views and I could stop easily to take a picture, coming from the other way you have 2 lanes of traffic in the way. Also I think the uphills are longer the other way because I got a few chances to roll without pedalling for quite a few kilometres. 

A short distance after the lighthouse I saw a big group of tourists gathered on the side of the road, I assumed there was something to look at so pulled over and joined them. It was the Great Ocean Road arch, which I would have most likely missed had the tourists not been there. Everyone was really nice and despite there being a total language barrier I had lots of people come up to me an offer to take my picture, with the universal gesture of creating a rectangle with your hands and wiggling your index finger up and down. 

The next town was Lorne, I stopped to buy a cheesy bread roll for lunch and then noticed there were a whole bunch of nice looking places I could have got something nicer from! It was a lovely seaside town, worth stopping and spending a bit of time there, but I felt like I had to keep on moving. After I left the lighthouse my eta on Google was 4:15pm. 

The rest of the day was a great ride, the massive hills that I was fearing never materialised and the road just continued to gently rise and fall, it went in and out of the sun and the shade and it alternated between hot and cold. Every time I thought it was warm enough to take off my jacket I would go downhill and freeze again, so the jacket stayed on all day. I saw hundreds of other cyclist today, no exaggeration. Most of them going the opposite way, and all of them on road bikes dressed head to toe in Lycra. There were a couple of huge groups, maybe because it was the weekend. I didn’t see any other cycle tourists, but all the cyclists gave me a cheery wave and a g’day as they passed. I got overtaken a few times, and I overtook no one. 

I was getting pretty tired when I was about 5k away from Apollo Bay, I think I’ve found my upper comfort zone is about 85km, and I was so hungry. I have a slight pain in my hip which I am hoping and praying is nothing. I found the hostel – one of the main reasons for wanting to get to Apollo Bay, because I wanted to sleep inside! – and I was so happy to see that I had, for the first time, beaten Google. Not only did I arrive at 3:25pm, it only took me 5 and a half hours of pedalling, not 7. Oh Yeeeeaaaah. 

There was no one around and I had to sit for half an hour on a comfy couch to wait, which was not a problem. I had a quick shower and walked down to Food Works, a very pricey supermarket. I had a craving for pasta and cheese so I got enough stuff to make extra to have for lunch tomorrow. I need to start eating more than jelly snakes during the day. I had a huge plate for dinner and because I was so hungry I ate like it was about to be taken away from me, which did my bloated stomach issues no favours!

The hostel was quite busy, but luckily I have a 4 bed dorm all to myself. I’ve been hearing that it’s now school holiday time in this part of Australia and the kids are off for the next two weeks. I doubt this will affect me too much. The Great Ocean Road had some traffic but it wasn’t too bad at all,  I was passed by a car pulling a trailer full of sheep, then immediately behind that was a Porsche! I think I am doing it at the right time of the year, I imagine in summer it gets pretty packed down here, and it would be soooo hot.

I love staying with people and I love chatting, but I am enjoying a bit of silent relaxation tonight. I am in the communal area as there is a lovely fire going, but I have my headphones in so no one talks to me!


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