Day 8 is 166 kms down to the coast at Kiama. A day that began with pelting rain in the chilly southern tablelands town of Braidwood and turned to hot, biting sun as the Tour de Chance hit the coastal side of the Great Dividing Range en route to the seaside treasure of Kiama, home of the famous blowhole.
Gravity finally began working but was not for the faint hearted with some of us hanging on tight as we achieved 70-80 kph on steep downhill descents, a major feature of the run into Nowra.
A flat tyre, pot-hole or stray wallaby at those speeds can have a traumatic outcome but after 8 days in the saddle and over 1,100 kms cycled we just wanted to get to the finish line as quickly as possible
Before the downhill, the Nev Hedge Hill Climb Challenge had to be settled on the first and steeper half of the 2.2km 14% haul up from the Endrick River outside Nerriga, 60 kms on from the historic town of Braidwood.
“Nifty Nev” set up as bookmaker to the Challenge, framing a market and taking wagers
The race quickly became a match in three between Eric Miller, Terry Goodman and Tim Smeallie, all at relatively short odds in Nifty’s market.
Eric pulled away to an emphatic victory from Terry and Tim. The hard luck story of the race was Steve Hickey, who dropped his chain twice, while TdC founder Tim Powell, chased the field in as Lantern Rouge.
Protests were lodged on the grounds that Eric, who joined the team the previous night, was “fresh legs” and thus should have been apportioned a time penalty for joining the ride that day, but to no avail – it was first alprazolam past the post. Eric was a “winner” for the bookie, all proceeds going to Fighting Chance.
Nowra provided a refreshing stop at The Cup and The Spoon café on the Shoalhaven River.
With weary legs restored, the riders headed for a coastal and less trafficked route to Kiama, gaining a sea breeze, occasional wonderful views and avoidance of most of the horror of the Princes Highway.
Unfortunately the motorway climb into Kiama, was steep, long and busy, and all was going well, even though Glenn Dobson, with head down and legs stubbornly grinding up the hill, ran into the back of a broken down car half way up!
The final day will start with a good flat coastal route before heading up hill and down dale to Audley Weir, where riders and crew will reconnect with family and friends – and dismount.
But first, a final blowout dinner in Kiama. And pass the Voltaren, Neurofen and Savlon!
Tour facts : The ride, when it concludes, will have been longer than the Rhine River and we will have climbed one and half Mt Everests (12,500m plus), generated sufficient kilowatt hours to power an average Australian house for three weeks and seen enough extra calories consumed to feed two people in Eritrea for a year.
The KONA Group is helping to make a difference to the young people with extreme disabilities at Fighting Chance so please donate at https://tourdechance2016.raisely.com/glenndobson
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