GOR Great Ocean Road – Day 1: MOUNTAINS (Adelaide to Langhorne Creek, SA) 14 March 2007

We’re off, headed for Melbourne, 1000K/660 miles away, at about 8:45 am – Jim, Patricia and I – with Irena and Marty driving the jeep, through NE Adelaide (at sea level), and then up into the Mount Lofty Range. highest pointAs we rode (me sometimes as slow as 2mph!), I thought of my cousin Bob, who is a road cyclist and mountain biker, and often rides up into the front range outside of Denver, just for fun! Pat had badly stubbed her toe (maybe even broken it) the previous morning, and it was all black and blue and swollen; but she was determined to ride up the mountains, and luckily, it was much better riding than walking.

It was ‘bloody hard work’, as Jim would say…as usual, I was at the back, sweeping the rear, but kept on going none-the-less 🙂 We rode 49.25 miles yesterday, climbed well over 2000 feet, at an average speed of 11.3 mph – not bad considering that over 18 of those miles were climbing uphill, with an average 8% grade! This was already the highest point of our entire 12-day tour at about 700 meters. (That’s the view from Mount Lofty on the right.) Mount LoftyOne of the prettiests parts of the ride was just over the highest part of the mountains, through the alpine town of Aldgate, nestled in crooked ravines under lots of trees. The long downhills later were fun – long sweeping gentle curves going about 30mph (Jim even more), past beautiful stands of some kind of red and grey gum trees, cows, horses, sheep, even llamas, and through beautiful almost alpine-like towns.

We stopped for lunch at an organic market and had the most delicious meat and veggie pies I have ever tasted. Then even though Irena has a bum knee right now from a late season skiing accident, she couldn’t resist the pressure and joined us for the last 12 miles or so while Marty drove on. IrenaThis last bit took us into the oldest commercial wine country in Australia – Langhorne Creek, where we stayed at a beautiful B&B/winery called Peachabella. It was a huge old converted house, with a large bedroom at each end, and a huge living room-dining room-kitchen between, with a large bathroom. Marty’s uncle Ian and his fiancé Cathy drove over the mountains and joined us for dinner – a gourmet meal from the owner’s daughter, a chef trained at the French Culinary Institute in NY – and they took Marty back home to Adelaide. What a great first day of our ride!