I was up at 2:30am to get to the airport for the first flight to Melbourne. Uneventful flight. Very easy transfer via skybus and train to Richmond, where our bikes got assembled while we had lunch. I then took ages to try to pack my bikes in my miniscule bike packing bags, while Greg realised all the important things he’d left at home – including his heart rate strap and Garmin. So he phoned around to find a nearby bike shop with a cheap Garmin… Then we rode about 40 min through hectic inner city Melbourne traffic to buy a replacement Garmin!
Ready to set off
We finally got to the train to Lilydale at 5pm, which was at least an hour behind my moody pessimistic schedule – and had to stand up with our bikes for most of the way.
At Lilydale, we found the signs for the Lilydale to Warburton rail trail, which was lovely! Well compacted rail and a bit undulating. Our legs felt like rubbish from the flight plus standing on the train, but it was a lovely time of day to be riding, about two hours before sunset.
Then about an hour into the 40km ride we notice the intense black clouds and rain that we are riding towards, as well as diminishing light. I’m spite of our hopes that the rain would skirt around us, we did get a few showers – and arrived at Warburton just as it was getting proper dark at 8: 15pm.
Then next problem was dinner. Most places closed at 8pm. We quickly changed into some dry clothes and walked out to see what we could find. I knew the curry place was open until 9pm, but our West Coast brains were struggling with navigation and we ended up heading further the wrong way down the main road, before realising our mistake. By that time it was 8:45pm so we started running through the dark towards the curry place and the IGA next door that also closed at 9pm.
We arrived at 9pm on the dot. Greg dashed into the IGA to buy beers and I went into the curry place. They had just stopped cooking even takeaway orders, but after I explained that we’d ridden from Melbourne and said we would eat anything they had, the lovely chef said he could put together some lamb madras and saffron rice. It was the best lamb madras I’ve ever had!
Day 1 ended with me collapsing into bed totally exhausted and unsure if we would even ride the next day due to unrelenting heavy rain all night.