Words: Christopher Stack | Photography: Caz Whitehead | Date:
From 6am the first of 33 teams started arriving at Little River, 50km West of Melbourne. This tiny town is infamous for two things; having a band named after it, and wind. It’s still too dark to put faces to names and nervous chatter fills the car park. As the sun rises and the fog slowly lifts, teams mingle for coffee at the Rapha H Van, perched aside the century-old Little River Mechanics Institute Hall. An espresso calms the nerves and heightens the senses before the teams roll out towards a very tough day on the bike.
Along the relatively unassuming back roads, teams unfamiliar with the area are lulled into a false sense of security and press on, hard. The locals, however, proceed with a wry smile knowing exactly what lies ahead. The locals know that something known as ‘Godzilla’ awaits. To everyone else it’s that 15% climb after that 15% descent. Energy levels are quickly exhausted.
Shortly after cresting Godzilla thoughts turn to the whereabouts of the halfway mark. The welcome sight of the H Van in the small town of Meredith comes 90km in. Most teams opt to stop and refuel. We eat, we drink, and momentarily forget about the next 90 odd kilometres between suffering and glory.
But the wind threatens to extend the time between suffering and glory, the last 30 kilometres blasting our legs and faces with invisible energy. Riders who still have strength give whatever they have left. Riders who have nothing left hold on for dear life. Over the train tracks, a left, then a right and we arrive into a sea of blue and purple caps swilling cold beer and devouring sweet tacos, and stories begin to unfold. Everyone has their own version but no matter how different the stories, there is one thing in common amongst every storyteller: A smile.
|Team Name||Start Time||Finsh Time|
|1||Lemonade Scone Ladies||07:15||14:40|
|12||les maîtres de vélo||07:39||13:32|
|15||Little Red Musette||07:45||13:22|
|19||Elwood Old Spokes||07:49||14:34|
|20||Totally and Utterly
|26||Five Humans and One Terminator||08:02||14:34|