You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Around the Bay in a Day’ category.


The Spring racing season has begun.  An English horse called All the Good came galloping in ahead of the rest of the pack at the Caufield Cup on Saturday.  To say it was an upset is a bit of an understatement.  The odds were fifty to one.  The horse is owned by a company called Godolphin, based in the United Arab Emirates.  I’m sure the Sheik can use the money.

I am ashamed to say that I have yet to attend one of these horsey events, not even the Melbourne Cup, the race that “stops the nation.” I did make an effort to expand my horizons when we lived in Hong Kong, but that occasion was prompted by an invitation.  Still, I did the whole thing, getting the form and placing bets (on horses I liked the names of), promptly losing whatever winnings came my way.  I just couldn’t see the point.  Perhaps if I rode a horse, I might be more interested, but I doubt it.  I ride a bike and I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a cycling race unless the riders were all naked….or wearing burqas.

The summer cycling season has begun.  It was kicked off yesterday by the big event of the year– “Around the Bay in a Day.”  16,450 riders turned out.  I was not one of them.  I do have some good memories, like the sunrise over the Yarra, but I was very nervous among riders who were all attempting to go at different speeds.  Negotiating a safe space among cyclists, cars and ‘utes’ (pick up trucks) is quite demanding for those of us whose vision and reflexes are, shall we say, a little rusty.

Cyclists can be as boorish and unpleasant as motorists when they get obsessed with speed.  Last year, the day of the ride turned quite hot and the wind was in my face much of the way.  I was overdressed for the weather and glad to see the city come into view.  This year, the warm front broke early Sunday morning, so the temperature was cool.  Wind is another matter.  It seems like there is always wind.

Two members of our recumbent cycling group headed out before dawn to take on the challenge.  Last year I chose the wimpy 100 km option, from the town of Sorrento back into the city of Melbourne.  The full ride requires a ferry ride across the mouth of the bay from Portsea to Queenscliff.  It is 210 kms (130 miles).  Bike Victoria offers an optional detour of another forty kms for those riders who just can’t get enough time in the saddle.  That makes it a tidy 250 kms.

Each of my fellow recumbent riders took off well before five in the morning and headed in opposite directions around Port Philip Bay.  They are both strong riders, well able to keep up and even pass some of the hot, young lycra-clad cyclists who barrel down the coast road every Sunday morning.  Steve passed an entire peloton of riders wearing BMW T-shirts.  John R, who was worried about his knees, averaged 27 kms an hour (riding time) over the 250 km distance.  Not too shabby.

John had an early lunch while he waited for the ferry.  By this point, the chocolate icing on his dessert had melted, so he had a chocolate chicken sandwich. Nice touch, John.  I almost wish I’d been there.  The picture below is from a previous event.  John K, the guy in the middle, is far too sensible to do this kind of thing.

Steve on the left, John R on the right with their high-tech, home built recumbents.  John K in the middle with his one-of-a kind special.

Advertisements

I have made a few blunders in this blog, but I never thought I would have reason to update a forty year-old obituary. I made reference to it in the post I wrote about my 100 km ride in the “Around the Bay in a Day” cycling event.

Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a dip in the turbulent waters down at the very end of the Mornington Peninsula the morning of December 17, 1967.  He swam out a few hundred yards, then disappeared.  He is presumed drowned, although his body has never been recovered.   Given the nature of the waters, which have taken down half a hundred ships, the absence of a body is not altogether surprising.

What is surprising is that the matter surfaced in our local paper yesterday.  This was apparently triggered by the release of four, highly confidential pages that were in Holt’s briefcase in his car at Cheviot Beach.

Doug Anthony, one of the prime minister’s former colleagues decided to reveal to the press that Holt was deeply depressed just two days prior to his disappearance.  He was distressed about intrigue and treachery in his own government’s ranks, particularly by his friend and treasurer, Billy McMahon.

In addition, the husband of Mr. Holt’s last mistress, a Portsea neighbour, was rumored to be going to divorce his wife and name the prime minister.

This morning, a rebuttal in the “Age” cites Mr. Holt’s press secretary claiming the PM never intended to commit suicide.  That he was, in fact, looking forward to the summer holidays.  ‘He was a resilient personality and, at the time of his death, he was in good spirits….’

Stay tuned.


It doesn’t seem like much on paper. Sixty-six miles. You cover that in an hour on the highway at cruising speed. I have been doing my preparation, getting out on the bike every other day for the last couple of weeks and clocking from 30 to 50 kms on the bike path. Yesterday, however, it was a different story.

The event is called “Around the Bay in a Day.” It began 14 years ago with about 2500 riders. Yesterday there were some 14,000 cyclists. It is a fund raising event for a charitable group called “The Smith Family,” which raised nearly half a million dollars last year for disadvantaged children. I don’t know how much they raised yesterday but there were a lot of corporate teams in evidence.

I wasn’t up to 250 kms, or even 210, but I didn’t think 100 would be so hard. The official start for the 250 loop was 5:30 AM. Those of us who elected to ride the shorter distance were supposed to be down in front of the Arts Centre by 5 AM to load our bikes on tractor trailers and hop the busses that would take us to Sorrento. That meant riding downtown since no public transport starts at that hour. I was up at 4 for the ride downtown on mostly deserted streets.

I’m not exactly a night owl, so it was the first time I witnessed daybreak in Melbourne. There was a beautiful light reflected by the Yarra when I came across the bridge. Hundreds of other riders were busy removing their pedals and turning their handlebars, preparing their bikes for for the trucks. I chanced upon another rider from Essendon, a ride marshall. We exchanged greetings, then I never saw him again.

Sorrento is very close to the narrow straits between Point Nepean and Point Lonsdale called the Symonds Channel, otherwise known as The Rip. A huge amount of water wants to go from Bass Strait to Port Phillip Bay and back every day. There are about a hundred shipwrecks in that body of water. For the around the bay riders, this would prove to be a frustrating bottleneck, as the ferries could simply not keep up with the numbers of riders.

A prime minister by the name of Harold Holt kept a summer home in the town of Portsea. He had been prime minister for two years when he went for a swim one December day in 1967 at Cheviot Beach. According to friends, he swam straight out a couple hundred feet, then disappeared. His body was never found. The beach is now closed to the public but there is a swimming pool in Melbourne named after him. No one ever accused Aussies of not having a sense of humor.

We began our ride around 8 AM. Not long after the start we were seeing streams of riders coming our way, heading for the ferry crossing. They seemed to be riding fast, high on testosterone and their light carbon-frame bikes.

It was tricky riding along with so many cyclists, hard to find the right pace and not feel bunched up. I saw two casualties on my ride back, one shortly after the start. Contending with cars, trucks and the sea of cyclists surrounding you was not an easy task. I wanted to keep my pace in the 25 km range, but it didn’t happen. With stops, it took me six hours to reach Alexandra Gardens. My actual cycling time was five.

Despite the prediction of a mild day, it was one of the hottest rides in the event’s history. It got up to 33 Celsius, or 91.5 F. There was a wind coming at us from the North that seemed to pick up strength the further we rode. The one long hill we had to surmount was not steep, but it was very, very long. When I hit the downhill, however, I was grateful not to have done the ride in the other direction.

I rode back through the city on my last legs, collected my lunch and sprawled out with the thousands of other riders. Thank God for trains, I thought. I won’t have to ride home. I seemed to be surrounded by youngsters, but the mean age of the long distance riders was forty. Dorothy Quinlivan was 75 years old. She set off from Melbourne at 4 AM for her very first ride of 210 kms around the bay. Good on ya, Dorothy. In another thirteen years I just might be in shape to join you.

Flickr Photos

Categories

Blog Stats

  • 40,603 hits
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 141 other followers

Top Rated

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Categories