That's a wrap! Last Sunday, the final riders crossed under our big blue arch in Torquay to conclude our greatest Great Vic yet.
We started our journey 10 days and over 650 kilometres earlier on a beautiful day in Robe, South Australia. Here, over 4000 riders from across the country descended on the local football oval, tripling the population of the town, and setting the tone for one heck of an adventure.
Over the next three days we enjoyed the very best of the Limestone Coast, with some stunning stretches of road leading to pit-stops in Millicent and Mount Gambier.
And the South Australians could not have made us feel more at home, with both towns rolling out the red carpet for the Great Vic (careful, we'll be back!). The Little Blue Lake stop on the way into the Mount Gambier campsite will be remembered as a Great Vic highlight for many years to come.
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But it was now time to head back where we belong, and after crossing the Victorian border on Day 4 we rolled in to one of the most amazing campsites in the Great Vic's 36 year history.
After 109 kilometres of riding, the Portland foreshore took any remaining breath away from each rider as they rolled down a short sharp hill in to camp.
Even more exciting for many of our Great Vic veterans was the very rare opportunity to ride your bike through the campsite, as this unique site was over one kilometre long and featured a road down the middle.
But it wouldn't be the Great Vic without some wet weather, and we got plenty of that to wake us up on an early and chilly morning in Portland!
The next 85+ kilometres from Portland to Port Fairy would be challenging for riders as the weather started to work against us. But as we've seen time and time again, there is very little that can dampen the Great Vic spirit, particularly with a rest day in "Australia's most livable community" ahead.
Port Fairy lived up to its reputation, and outside of pretty (chilly) beach walks and the bustling establishments in town, the campsite kicked off that night with a talent show for the ages. Congratulations to Abbey who took home the trophy at only six years of age!
The route stole the show from here.
We stopped at waterfalls, traversed magical bays, cruised passed some of Australia's most iconic landmarks and struggled up a big hill on the Great Ocean Road route from Port Fairy to Peterborough to Beech Forest.
Some lucky school kids even got to ride a leg with Australian professional cyclist Simon Clarke, fresh off riding the Tour de France earlier this year. Simon is a treasured member of the Great Vic alumni who is always welcomed back to inspire the next generation!
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Lost internet connection this week but gained precious time with my daughter. ♥️💕😍 What a win! Just spent 5 days riding and camping with my daughter and her school at the Great Victorian Bike Ride. I loved being with her 😍 and getting to know her friends. And, yes, it helped that I could keep up on the bike 😉😂 . . . . . #lovemykids #offlinebutonline #priorities #thefutureisbright #gvbr #greatvic #plentyofhills #cyclinggirls #ridehappy #damnshesfast #trimoms #trigirl #sbr #bicyclenetwork #
The temperature drop was felt from here on as we cruised through the picturesque Otways. But things heated up on the Main Stage in Deans Marsh when 80's Enuff took to the stage and had young and old sharing the dance floor as the Great Vic rocked out like never before.
There were a few weary heads the next morning for our final and earliest start to the day, which would include a rare road closure along the Great Ocean Road that most riders could have only dreamed about until now.
The party continued in Torquay to welcome and congratulate riders on the completion of the 36th Great Vic Bike Ride.
Bicycle Network General Manager of Events Rebecca Lane said the 2019 Great Vic was not only the longest at 650+ kilometres in the events history, but according to many longtime participants, it has lived up to the promise of being the greatest ever.
“We must say a massive thanks to the communities along the route who have been fantastic to us as well as the 350 volunteers and 150 support staff. Memories of wonderful scenery and a community spirit that needs to be experienced to be believed will stay with us forever,” she added.
We hope everyone enjoyed the 2019 Great Vic Bike Ride as much as we did, and look forward to seeing everyone in 2020 for a very special route that takes in the famous Art Silo Trail and the fan-favourite Grampians.