The day four ride up the Snowy River valley and beyond to the NSW timber town of Bombala took the riders to the limit, the 2700 metres of climbing and 162 kms of road compounding the heavy schedule of the first three days.
The effort was rewarded with some of the finest riding country imaginable, soaring forests, rushing streams, birdsong, the odd kangaroo and wildflower in bloom, the clear fresh air and an almost complete absence of traffic. There were about 10 vehicles over the first eight hours of a 10 hour plus day, but perversely the team struck two red lights as part of road works traffic management – go figure!
On a parcours suited to the Tour de France, there was similar action, with the Pod 1 group looking like a breakaway determined to bring on a “selection” among the leaders of the General Classification. The following bunch of the main peloton was splintered, riders struggling to stay as a cohesive group. The Tour de Chance is ride and not a race, but it hurts just as much no matter what you call it.
The terrain and flora changed as the ride crossed into NSW at Delegate River – the Sydney parochialists were heard to cheer – with a drier trend and the country opening out into more rolling farm and timberland. A less testing environment for the riders but still some hard pulls before they bombed into town for a restorative ale. Perhaps two.
Day five is a mercifully short 108kms but the climbing is a healthy 1694m. Chapeau to all for today’s effort and bon chance for tomorrow.
Tour fact : The cumulative kms of the team to date, laid end to end, would stretch from Sydney to Los Angeles. Flying is easier and faster, but a lot less meaningful.
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