Friday 14th March
Another early start however, I’d found a great coffee shop opposite Flinders Railway station, but the caffeine hadn’t kicked in before i reached the platform – right platform, wrong train! I made it to the Melbourne Tri Club swim a bit late, however, it was a technique session so I was able to slot in. Down here they like to use fins when doing technique work so I had to adapt but it was still a good session. Round to the local Cafe for coffee and brekkie.
I took a tram to St Kilda and had a wander along the sea front. Some great views of the City. Unfortunately news began to filter through that the F1 had been cancelled. It was upsetting to see spectators in full merch with sad faces leaving Albert Park carrying full cool boxes and unopened crates of beer. I was due to go on Sunday.
On the way back from St Kilda I picked up a hire bike from Bike Now. Really friendly and great service. It was only 35pounds to hire a carbon road bike for a day.
It’s a good job that I’m an early bird – at the meeting point on the sea front at 6am for the Tri Club Saturday Long Ride (after saying g’day to the youngsters at the hostel coming in from nights out!). It was still dark! Around 30 of us rolled out in one group on a mixture of road and tri bikes. No pace groups and we weren’t the biggest peleton on the road. A straight out and back route with various turn-around points to allow for rides from 30km to 130km. I went for the 85km option. We had a head wind for the 40km out and a tail wind all the way back. Not having a decent breakfast showed as my legs started to fall off in the last 10km but a 30kmh average made it worthwhile. The post ride Cafe served an amazing omelete and awesome coffee.
If you are ever in Melbourne and want to hang out with a very welcoming and friendly group of triathletes look up Melbourne Tri Club.
By 10.30am I was back at the hostel, showered and ready to be a tourist. Melbourne aquarium is worth a visit.
Aus cuisine is a mixture of all the cultures that have settled here. The variety and quality is great. I had one of the best pizzas ever.
With no F1 to fill Sunday I took a bus tour to the Grampians, about 3hours drive West of Melbourne. Unfortunately, our Tour Guide showed no sympathy for those travelling in F1 tops. The first tune on her playlist of the day was The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. Listen to it via Google / Spotify and you will understand why. Smiles all round set the tone for the day. Lots of great views, chatted up a bird and saw the first roos of my trip. Yes, they are wild ones.
Melbourne done, time to move on.
On Monday morning I collected my home for the next month and set off towards Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road. As it was the first long drive of my tour I broke it up with a few stops along the way to take in some natural wonders.
After an overnight stop at Warmambool I set of for the 600km drive to Adelaide. I took the coast road and began to get a sense of the size of Australia.
The 30degree temperature was not what caused my sweaty palms though . . .
I found a campsite beside Semaphore Beach in Adelaide. Not a bad spot to sit and eat my dinner.
Wednesday morning swim was at the Adelaide Aquatic centre. There is a 25m pool in the back right of the pic and a childrens pool in the back left, with a 50m in the foreground. I had a lane to myself for an hour. I could get used to this social distancing thing.
On my way to the local library to write this post I passed this sign.
At the moment I have felt some impact from the Corona virus precautions being put in place; F1 cancelled and the pool I was going to attend some training sessions at in Perth has closed. I have a sense of being in the eye of a storm. There seems little point in coming back to the UK as there are far fewer cases here. If I’m going to have to implement social distancing, being in a hot, sunny location on my own, in a campervan, where I can currently move locations, seems a good option. For now I am going to carry on with my trip and adapt as I go.