Day four and we are at Lake Nillacootie. The usual breakfast scene presents itself; a list being looked over for those riders names that have not arrived yet, Simon doing a video story, selfies, stories of wombat encounters, food being devoured, punctures making themselves present overnight, in house barista making coffee... a good start. The coffee intake increased by one each day, it'll be four today.
Hamid, Soufiane and Wolfgang arrive separated by a few minutes, while other riders leave for the final 183km ride into Melbourne.
Today's far shorter course, rail trails set away from the road (wake up NSW, you need these), higher amounts of traffic on road and suburban sections inbound to Melbourne offered a few less photo opportunities. But the day wasn't going to be any shorter than any of the the previous three. A definite highlight for me personally was the blood plum slice I ate at a bakery in Yea, almost as good as my mother used to make. A highlight for the riders was the gravel section of the rail trail, although I did'nt actually hear anyone say that.
The end of the four days was a lap of the newly refurbished Brunswick Velodrome, a great venue to host the celebrating riders and families.
Wolfgang and Hamid turned up together and got straight into the re-hydrating. At 11:30PM, 89.5 hours after leaving Sydney, Soufiane arrived. Congratulations to all the riders for completing an amazing four day ride.
A big thanks to all of the riders for putting up with me popping up beside the road, laying in gutters, standing in the tall grasses and up on hillsides calling down to them. I didn't make it to Melbourne on my ride attempt four years ago, so I thank Howard and Bec for allowing me to experience the full ride through the lens of my camera. Thank you to all of the volunteers that fed Michael and I throughout and a big thank you to Michael for driving me from Sydney to Melbourne, all the back tracking and return.
I hope to be back in four years, on a blue bike.
PS. If you are interested in a calendar of some of these photos, please follow this link.