IP Day 41 – Mount Beauty to Beechworth

Wednesday 4th May, 2022

101.8 km +1425m
Moving 5:17 Elapsed 8:30
Max 57.6 kph Avg 19.3 kph

We got away at about 7am. We must have ridden on snacks, as our aim was to have breakfast in Bright – about 30km, and with a climb over Tawonga Gap in between.

We had just a 3km warm up before hanging a left at Tawonga South. It wasn’t a bad climb – but it was still 7.5km and a gain of 500m.

We found a cafe and tucked into breakfast. We had a tentative date with Emily and Jake – we’d all but finished when they finally made it after checking out of their accommodation. After coffee/tea with them, we got some rolls made up at the bakery next door, and finally headed out of Bright an hour and a half later!

We had 5k to Porepunkah, a right there at the roundabout (well, otherwise we would have ended up at Mt Buffalo!) … and then about 20km before turning right (5k short of Myrtleford) and doing this great big circuitous route that misses Myrtleford, and goes up through Stanley instead, then back down to Beechworth.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that there is actually a sealed rail trail all the way from the Tawonga Gap Road through Bright, through Myrtleford, and along a branch trail to Beechworth. Sealed! It’s partly the GVT – Great Valley Trail – east of Bright, and then the MTM – Murray to Mountains.

Rail trails are slower, for sure, but this one is sealed! It is perhaps 3km longer, and while there’s a bit of a climb from Everton to Beechworth, it’s nothing compared to the road up to Stanley. My opinion is that it would be an ideal break from having to be constantly traffic vigilant. The IPWR route makes use of bike paths/shared paths through the major cities; I honestly think that using (and thus promoting) a sealed rail trail would be a no-brainer.

It wasn’t on our radar at the time though, so we were on the ‘official’ route. We had a few kilometres along Happy Valley Rd before turning left. It was 11km over to Mudgegonga – a locality on the busier Myrtleford-Yackandandah Rd.
There was a ‘lovely’ little (unexpected) 10.6% pinch on that road.

We sat in the grass at that intersection to eat some lunch. Bloody hell, there was some traffic, with quite a few trucks, screaming past. We had to negotiate a few kilometres of that (heading back west towards Myrtleford) before the turn-off to Stanley.

We hiked it along there like we were time-trialling. The less time we were on it, the fewer trucks we might have to deal with. I think we got lucky with a bit of a lull, and the fact that it was the perfect gradient (flat to slight downhill) for a tandem.

Relief at turning off there onto a quiet road was replaced after 4km of average climbing with a WTF?! 4km section that hit 13% at one point. Marc described it on Facebook as ‘ooof’, but my thoughts were less repeatable. I don’t know what that says about relative mental states, levels of tiredness, output, expectations, or what. He says now ‘I didn’t think it was that bad.’ He was all “We’ve got this – it’s nothing like yesterday.” But I was pissed off with that climb.

Pretty close to the top, we stopped at an orchard stall where we bought some apple juice and apples.

This is a most unflattering photo of me, and the only reason I’m posting it is to show how buggered I was!

We had another gradual climb of about 1km

We had a further 1k up to Stanley, but at least it was gradual. There wasn’t much there, but we found a public toilet.

Then it was 9k of mostly downhill into Beechworth. It was pretty yeeha, but I really don’t know that that fricking climb was worth it.

As we pulled up at the motel reception a couple walking out made the mistake of asking where we’d ridden from. “Today, or the whole trip?” (our usual response!). We chatted for quite a while, then checked in, got washing done (after a bit of a debacle with getting change from reception for the washing machine!).

Pizza for dinner around the corner at a Pizza restaurant/takeaway and that was the day. One step closer to the Cabramurra climb. We were in 7-day forecast territory now, and Monday was looking to be the day. It would be raining and close to zero degrees up on the range over the weekend, nicer weather on Monday.

Tomorrow, Tallangatta.

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