Four years ago my good friend, Michael S. picked me up from my place and drove me, my bike and bags to Hickson Road Reserve for the 2013 Sydney to Melbourne Alpine 1200. In 2017 Michael came out early once again, this time no bike. The bike was swapped for a bag of camera gear, a drone and a bucket of batteries and chargers. We were going to Melbourne to take photos of this great event.
Riders and volunteers started arriving at Hickson Road Reserve in Sydney, friends and family came down to wish the riders good luck and Sydney put on a gorgeous sunrise.
Nervous excitement was evident on many faces, bits of banana on others. There was plenty of milling around as bags were packed into the truck, riders did final checks of their equipment and set up the GPS navigation devices. I can't recall if I was more nervous 4 years ago as a rider or today behind the lens, hmm, definitely more nervous 4 years ago.
We got out of Sydney as soon as possible, off to the first checkpoint at Mittagong which was 126 km and 631 m above sea level.
The smiling checkpoint volunteers at Mittagong signed brevet cards and offered food to all the riders. The fantastic support of volunteers was going to be repeated at checkpoint after checkpoint.
With riders signed in and fed, the next checkpoint to visit was Marulan via Bundanoon. "It's all down hill from here."
Next stop at Tarago, 289km. The descent into Tarago is a pleasure, not only because food is only minutes away, but also because of that lovely S.
Phillip Pearce cooked up fantastic meals at Tarago, all done for riders as they sit on seat benches that were padded. Phillip didn't forget a thing, how he fit two microwaves and the rest of the equipment he had there (including emergency lighting) into his BMW is beyond me. Phillip, Ed, Grant, Matt and Chris (not pictured here) worked with incredible efficiency.
Some riders had already left, others were yet to come into Tarago and the light was beginning to fade. It would soon be dark and photography was beginning to get a little difficult away from town lights. Michael and I set off for Canberra to where the riders would be sleeping tonight. But first we had to make a visit to a service station and get a pair of reading glasses for me. I had lost my pair somewhere in Mittagong. I bought a pair at the bargain price of $2. The plan was to get into our accommodation and start editing the days photos, starting to edit at 11:30PM, with terrible glasses and an early start on the cards. That idea didn't last long.