We awoke at 5.30am to ready ourselves for a 6am breakfast at the beautiful Lindenwarrah Estate. A quick feed and some much needed pep talk saw us jump back on the bikes at 7am and head towards Mt Buller. It was obvious from the moment we woke that the sore legs and stress of the heat from yesterday was going to play a big part in today’s 170km ride.
We headed out in a calm 25 degrees with a slight tail wind towards Swanpool. The pace early was a consistent 35km with many down hill sections to ease the pain. It wasn’t long before the riding on some of these dead country roads would slow the pace as did the weather when it started to very quickly heat up.
We faced riding in mid 30’s again; the tail wind as our savoir. There was always going to be more planned drink stops today than yesterday due to the fatigue and weather.
42 riders sitting side by side carried on, led by our ambassadors; the ex pro cyclists. These strong men helped lead the bunch with a steady pace. We made it to Swanpool for a longer than normal drink stop and some much needed shade. Our massage therapists swarm to us at every stop as do the bike mechanics and doctor to see if there are any problems = none here yet, touch wood.
We soon headed off to Mansfield where the Produce Store had set up a much needed lunch break for us in the Parklands just out of town.
You can see the exhaustion in the riders, but it is certainly a great feeling riding through these towns where the people on the street start clapping as we ride by.
We relaxed for 45 minutes and headed towards the top of Mt Buller which was approx 50km’s away. We had caught our mojo back at this stage, as we knew we were not far from reaching the bottom of Buller. Some spirits were high but it was obvious again the heat and kilometres were taking its toll on the riders. You would support the guy beside you or travel up to your teammates for some words of encouragement. Their were a lot of drooping heads but before you knew it someone was giving you a pat on the back to get you back in the zone. It’s all about helping your mates through such debilitating days.
As we reached the start of Buller their was a quick auction: To “buy” one of the ambassador’s to ride in your team to try to get the fastest time up Buller. We raised a further $4000 just from the riders bidding for them.
As we ascended Buller, the group quickly split up. The road starts off fairly steep and then levels out before punishing you for the last 3kms. We have had some riders smash some serious records and considering the conditions these blokes have ridden in, it is quite amazing.
I finally arrived at the top in 1hr 3 mins, checkout the video of today’s highlights for the days ride. Chain Reaction Challenge Victoria 2013: Day Five Video
Metres climbed: 2317m
Time on the bike: between. 6 hrs and 6.5hrs