What a great day! We had a lazy 130kms to do today from Benalla to Albury. Everyone was looking forward to a bit of a recovery ride today before we hit the big climb days for the final 3 legs of tour.We had a big peloton of 6 teams with us and the pace was really nice, thanks to the boys in the "engine room" today. I was quite comfortable sitting mid pack today and getting as much recovery as I could before I am in a world of hurt on those mountains...
My team had "sunrise duty" this morning, so that meant we were up extra early to help Mark with his first cross for the morning to channel 7. I was FREEZING! Temperature got down to zero and was shivering uncontrollably in my undershirt, jersey, wind vest and tour jacket. People were huddling around the exhaust from the power generator that was running the catering truck just to try and get thaw out a bit. The only downside was the fumes it was producing, but some people saw this as minor issue considering how cold it was...
Despite the temperature, the view from the breakfast area was very picturesque.
As the sun came, we got ready to roll. This tour has been full of 'firsts' for ,e and this morning wasn't any different. I rode for the first time in a snow jacket... 95% of the peloton road in a snow jacket for the first 20kms this morning... And the people who didn't, said that they should have.
40kms into the ride, we arrived at St. Bernard's primary school. This was the biggest welcome we have had all tour. The kids were out of control... 650 kids lined the entrance to the school gate as they wait inked for us to roll by and give them all high fives. As soon as we had stepped off the bikes, we were swamped with students. We led them into the assembly hall, where team office works was about to start the Stickman presentation.
You may be able to see a few TdC riders sitting amongst the students in the crowd. We like to get in amongst them to help feed the right information to them, to help the presenters on stage. The kids were great! They wanted to know everything. We were answering question after question, and signing autographs, one after the other. We were running out of time to fuel up for the next leg of our day. I quickly smashed 2 choc chip muffins and rolled to the line to leave the school. Again the kids lined the exit, to give us a memorable fair well.
Next stop was lunch and today we ate lasagne, chicken, lamb, vegetables, pita bread and pasta salads... Yum! I am not coming home any lighter...
The boys eating lunch. Kris, the caterer, always finds an awesome spot for us to eat.
We the lunch area and made our way to a Lexus dealership in Wadonga for some sponsor time. The guys were great and we picked up another rider here for his first ride back on the bike since recovering from him battle with cancer.
The final stop for the night in Albury wasn't too far away at all. We regrouped in a local park so we could meet some kids from Camp Quality. This is an awesome organisation the TdC supports for kids and families battling cancer. We kicked foodies, threw frizbees, played cricket and had a chat about some of things they like to do in their spare time. I was a really awesome afternoon to see just who this money is going to. Yet another reason to keep riding and raising money! They were true little inspirations to meet.
Final stop around the corner was our hotel. Fantastic accommodation tonight! What more could you want than to park your bike next to your bed every night...?
I spoke to my best mates today on the phone and it was great to Adar some familiar voices from back home. I have some huge days coming up for the final 3 legs of tour, and it was really nice to know that I have the support from my network back home. I can't wait to see you all!
Well, that's about it from me. I have some big mountains to climb, starting tomorrow, and I'm going to need all the sleep I can get! Wish me luck!
Here are some photos from yesterday.
The whole tour group in our fantastic pink kits!
My team, minus Jodi. Team Salmat.