Have your own small business? Involved in a group of people that you would like to take on an eventful weekend away cycling? Looking to do some team building in your work place and can get Corporate support? Consider a well organised friendly ride like the Port to Port.
Our experience has been after taking away many groups of mixed company we have witnessed the development of many riders increase their cycling repertoire. Last weekend was the ninth Mallee Family Care Port to Port that we had participated in as team number 20 Powercor Peddlers. Port to Port is a 2 day bike ride through scenic national parks, starts in Mildura and runs through Swan Hill and on to Echuca. As we ride we get views of Hattah National Park, rolling vineyards, orange groves through the Almond Plantations and views of the mighty Murray River as we pedal over the 400 klm course.
The ride leaves the Mildura riverfront bright and early on Saturday morning and heads down the Calder Highway. We ride through to Red Cliffs which is a usual change over for the teams that are riding relay amidst the avenue of Jacaranda trees that are in blossom making a picturesque moment of colour. On the road to Hattah are rolling rises and usually accompanied with cross winds making the need for good team riding essential.
This is one of Bendigo Teams strong points where cycling etiquette in sharing the road safely and the same time making best place on the road to keep a solid tempo in the testing conditions. Thinking back, over the nine years, memories flood back to past rides and of the people and their contributions that have joined us on the road creating their own cycling history. The funny moments of interacting with other teams and the close camaraderie cycling brings and the competitive spirit that can bring out the best and the worst. The stark landscape of broad acreage farming makes for some tough conditions that can be challenging if you were by yourself but having team members and support lessens the impact.
A quick stop at Hattah to refuel the drink bottles and energy intake of food and some 60 odd kilometres covered, there is left turn to head to Wemen and a lunch break which is a compulsory stop. Then it is on to the Murray Valley Highway with the Murray River over our left shoulder. This next section can be the toughest for the weekend being hot and windy at times and quite open. Another compulsory stop at Boundary Bend where all rider’s are off the road together. Next major stop is Swan Hill and a well earned overnight break where we are treated to drinks and BBQ all part of the ride.
The next morning is finding where you sat on the seat the day before and did not feel so sore. Leaving Swan Hill we ride through Lake Boga and catch a glimpse of World War 2 history and the Catalina seaplanes. The ride continues, passing through the lakes region of fresh water and salt water to Kerang. Then another left turn and depending on the wind it can be a hard haul to Cohuna for another compulsory stop which makes the ride more relaxed knowing all riders have the same commitment to have a rest. 60 odd kilometres to go with another compulsory stop at Torrumbarry to get the ride back manageable and safe in the amount of road covered before entering into the Echuca finish.
Congratulations all round are shared with an individual sense of achievement whether it was all the way or ridden as a relay. Points to remember when getting involved in any such rides, Proper, Planning, Prevents, Poor, Performance. Have a plan and try to achieve it, taking into account a contingency that conditions may either be favourable or not. Have support and back up this is invaluable and cannot be over stated. Get set up right on the bike for tackling new horizons of cycling experience, with the mindset “if others can take the plunge so can I!” Being in a group allows for the highs and lows that accompany long distance riding to be absorbed as the group usually has a light hearted member that keep conversation to distract your thinking from the thought of any suffering.
There is a great sense of achievement increasing your cycling capacity whether it be small to large steps that all add to the journey.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing