(Ship) Wrecked

To say that my cycle training over the last couple of weeks has suffered a bit, is a little of an understatement. The week before last, I literally did just one training ride through the week, which was a failed attempt at a threshold session on Zwift. It lasted under an hour. The long work commute had really wrecked me, and I ended up just getting home and crashing into bed most nights.

One saving grace, was that Easter was upon us, and the family had planned a weekend away in Warrnambool, a seaside town around 200 km away from home. It’s located on a particularly beautiful, windswept and treacherous stretch of water, that has become known as the Shipwreck Coast. This 130 km piece of coastline, which officially goes from Port Campbell to Port Fairy (which places Warrnambool pretty much in the middle), has claimed around 638 ships, of which, less than half have been discovered.


Lochard Gorge along the Shipwreck Coast

My father was particularly interested in the wrecks of the Shipwreck coast and had many books. In particular, I knew the story of the clipper –  ‘Lochard’, which was wrecked just off Mutton Bird Island, not far away from Warrnambool in 1878. There were only two survivors, plus paradoxically, an undamaged huge porcelain peacock, bound for Melbourne, which is now on permanent display at a recreated period village known as Flagstaff Hill, within Warrnambool.

My plan was to ride to Warrnambool on Good Friday, which I knew would be into a headwind, but luckily as it turned out, it was not particularly strong. So I headed off just after 7 am, aiming to be in Warrnambool by 2 pm to meet Jen and the rest of the family.

The ride went well, and although I’d had a dodgy week, I felt strong. As much as I could, I dodged the main highways, and went inland (although I did go through Colac), through Cobden, and then into Warrnambool. It was dry, overcast, and a great riding day, and I finished on time, clocking up just under 200 km, still feeling fresh. There’s long gaps between water stops, but given it wasn’t a hot day, and I was riding well within myself, I simply found a house with a tap out front, and filled up.

Lunch was just a bunch of energy bars, so I could keep moving.


Warrnambool, is the finishing destination for the famous Melbourne to Warrnambool bike race…the oldest one day cycling race in Australia, and the second oldest in the world, starting in 1895.

The second day at Warrnambool, I did a reasonably short recovery ride, around Tower Hill, which is a local extinct Volcano, and through the gorgeous local town of Koroit, which lasted for just a couple of hours.


Shirley lying down next to the memorial at Woolsthorpe

On Sunday, after a breakfast of eggs (of the chocolate variety) and mocha hot cross buns (which are now officially my favorite food), I did a ride north to Woolsthorpe, and on some back roads, getting thoroughly lost, racking up 100 km in the process. It wasn’t quite meant to be that long, but it was a really great ride, and with the tail wind on the way back, felt great.

I had planned to ride back to Geelong on Monday, but I backed out (a strong easterly had kicked up, which is very unusual, and disappointing…can’t the weather just do what I want?), and instead I crammed the bike in the car (I’d left the keys to the roof bike rack at home) with all our luggage, and decided instead to take Ena out for a gravel ride on the Bellarine rail trail.


Ena taking a rest at Drysdale

Look, the rail trail is just a flat path, not very exciting, and not challenging, but it was a really cracking ride. I felt just great, and it was a lot of fun. I’m not sure if it was the break, the extra calories, or a mental thing, but I ended up having just a great time by the end of the Easter holiday.

The week following Easter, I took a rest day on Tuesday, and then did some indoor training sessions right up to Friday night, and this morning (Saturday) I rode up the Alp d’Youies (the You Yangs ride) for a 75 km round trip. It felt good, but admittedly, I didn’t push hard. Reason being, is that tomorrow I have a 125 km gravel session up through the Brisbane Ranges with my friend Byron, which I am really looking forward to. It’s an early start, as we both need to be back early (we’ll be meeting at 5 am). Hopefully the rain will hold off.

Next week, ANZAC day is Tuesday, so I’m looking at what I can do to make the most of it, nothing planned as yet, but I’ll leave any details to the next post.

Just one last item, through the week, Lochie Kavanagh completed the Indian Pacific Wheel race. As in my last posts, this is the 5,500 km race across Australia. Lochie is the youngest rider at just 18, and had completed the ride with just three months of cycling under his belt. Not just three months training, I mean three months riding, ever! (he completed the Three Peaks ride, a 250 km one day ride through the Victorian high country the week before) What a fantastic effort, and incredibly inspiring. He’s lost two front teeth in the process, but I’m sure a lifetime of memories.

What I loved in the interview was Lochie talking about how much he hated the Nullabour, his philosophy of living in the moment, and smashing the back of falls climb in under two hours…just awesome.

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