Riders and support staff were up early for stage one of the Peloton Events Ultimate Charity Challenge for 2018 as final checks and packing took place. We were met with stunning weather (a stark contrast to last year’s cold and drizzly beginning) as we rolled out from Mill Park- group 1 at 8:00am and group 2 at 8:20am.
A lumpy but scenic 52km opening stint on relatively quiet roads was the perfect way to let the riders settle in for the long journey ahead before stopping in Healesville for morning tea.
After a quick refuel the road started climbing as we approached the first KOM for 2018. It was a truly beautiful climb despite being caught up in the noise and fumes of 200+ motorcycles trying to pass as we climbed.
Once we had conquered the KOM it was a fairly rapid run into lunch at Eildon in a beautiful grassy area near a stream (with a couple of riders taking advantage of this and jumping in for a quick dip to cool down).
The final stretch was the tough part… only 63km, but nearly 1,400 metres (climbs of 7km at 6% and 11km at 5%) of climbing on tired legs and to add an extra layer to the challenge we experienced delays on our first climb due to a number of crashes in the Targa rally that was being held at the same time. While the riders were able to get through it did result in nearly 100km of additional detoured driving for a number of our support vehicles.
We all eventually arrived in one piece- nearly 7 ½ hours in the saddle and 190km and 3,000m of elevation closer to our destination in Sydney
A special thanks to Orange Sky and Rob for interviewing a few of the riders and explaining the importance of their one on one chats on the orange chairs.
Congrats to Todd Rowson for winning the first “Ingers” Spirit of the Peloton jersey
The first KOM jersey for the ride goes to Willem Van Wyk for a stellar ride and super time (special mention to Tanja- the ride’s only female, who nearly took the STRAVA QOM!)
Lachlan Soper took home the sprinters jersey on count back
A big shout out also goes to Troy and Jamie Hazeldene from the Preston Cycling Club. Jamie at 14 did the entire stage with group 2 and took 4th in the KOM. Troy gave up his day to sit in the support vehicle convoy and ensured the riders were well looked after at all times.
Tomorrow’s sprint will feature double points for the second group as a slight mishap with flags meant only the 1st group competed in the sprint
We finished the stage in a lovely caravan park with stunning views of the creek and a fire pit- making for the perfect spot to cool down after a long day.
Now to recover and prepare for tomorrow’s 210km stage finishing in Bright!
To make a donation to the team supporting Movember, Orange Sky Laundry and Bicycle NSW Environmental Trust click the links below.