Great Ocean Road Otway Classic

I was fortunate enough to have a lend of a friends beach house down in Torquay for last night and today, so drove down last night, making the early morning start for the bike ride much more civilized.

I awoke to a very crisp, cold morning, so was glad I’d decided to wear my full length Skins tops and bottoms. My major reasoning was sun protection (26 degress was forecast), but they also helped to stave off the cold earlier in the day.

With over 3000 cyclists entered  in the 145km event I was doing, and also many more in the 60km event, the start area was an awesome sea of cyclists. I do find it a little nerve-wracking in a huge group of cyclists such as todays starting chute.

This event (organised by Supersprint) was very well organized and marshalled, and the start was the first evidence of this with us getting away on time, and being let go in reasonable size groups to avoid congestion on the road. The first few kilometres were just “go with the flow” getting out of Torquay and onto the country roads. One poor cyclist was unfortunate enough to puncture on the first corner, less than a kilometre from the start. There were many cyclists who punctured along the route, which was surprising because there was very little glass and the road surface was pretty good. I was fortunate enough to survive the entire day with no punctures or other mechanical issues.

There were about 16 people from my work doing this event, as well as a few of my workmate Voj’s friends as well. I started off with Voj and his mates, and stuck with them pretty much through to Lorne. We were smart enough to stop at each refreshment stop (approximately every 25km), but just for a quick bite to eat and a stretch. We stopped for slightly longer at Deans Marsh (74km) to replenish our water supply and a toilet stop, and because it was just before the dreaded big climb.


I’d been hearing about this climb (see below) for a while, and it sounded scary. Actually it went pretty well, I won’t say it wasn’t hard, it certainly was, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The evil little extra climb at the end was a bit nasty though, because you start a little descent and think you’re done, and there’s this extra hill you weren’t expecting.

Now the descent – that was hair-raisingly exciting. If you haven’t driven this road it is not only a fairly steep descent, but is also very windy, including a few hairpins. It is definitely what the Tour de France commentators would call a “technical descent”. Again the event organizers were fairly smart, stopping cyclists and cars and letting the cyclists go in small groups, then a break of a few minutes, then cars, then a break etc. Also, all the cyclists I was “going down” with were fairly sensible so we made it down safely. This was a buzz – definitely the highlight of the ride.


The descent took us down into Lorne (one of my favourite places I have to say, we holidayed in Lorne many a year when our kids were little), for the “lunch break”. We had a breather on the lawns at Mantra, it was nice to lie down on the grass and have a stretch of the back and neck. Voj and his mates decided to go and have something to eat and a coffee at a local cafe, but Wal (workmate) and I both wanted to keep going (I was worried if I sat down for too long I’d stiffen up), so we did.

I have a new respect for how hilly the Great Ocean Road is, you don’t really notice it in a car, but to be honest I found the hills along the GOR harder than the ascent out of Deans Marsh. The first little place out of Lorne is called Big Hill, I guess this should have been a warning! So Big Hill, the hill at Aireys Inlet, and the big hill out of Anglesea (which seemed to go on for ever) were the worse. The hill out of Anglesea was made a little more unpleasant as there was a fire somewhere and the air was smoky and we were riding through ash. Wal dropped me on this big hill, so I rode the last 10 or so kilometres alone (well not alone, but not with anyone I knew).

Anyway, very glad to finish, feeling very pleased with myself for completing it. The major stats from the Garmin were;

  • Distance – 143.22 km
  • Time – 5:38:07 (ride time, excluding stops)
  • Average speed – 25.4 km/hr 

 I met up briefly with Wal at the finish line, then headed back to the beach house to refresh and pack up. I headed over to Mum and Dad’s in Geelong for a cuppa and then drove home.

I think I will sleep well tonight.

Oh, and congratulations to all of yesterdays Trailwalkers, you guys are legends!


8 Responses to “Great Ocean Road Otway Classic”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    I find those roads pretty hard going in the car so riding over them is a major achievement! Well done 😀

  2. Jaykay Says:

    Sounds like you had a fantastic ride Andrew. I’m trying to imagine the hills on a bike and which ones they were. Like Kathryn, I’ve only ever driven them.

  3. sassycil Says:

    Hi Andrew. Well done!
    YES, WE DID!!!!

  4. sassycil Says:

    oh, and btw, I purchased my own copy of Dietgirl (like them to reference as needed).

  5. Em Says:

    Great work, that decent looks TERRIFYING!!!!

  6. Audrey Says:

    Sounds like a fantastic ride, well done. I’m a bit daunted by your comments about the hills along the Great Ocean Road… remember our date for May 2010? Didn’t we agree to do the GOR marathon?

  7. great ocean road tours victoria Says:

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  8. Mark Says:

    Hey mate. Good read. Thinking of a last minute join up with mates for this years otway classic – though I’m only really a “commuter” rider and most distance ever in one go is about 60 ks – how much training did you do prior to this ride? Think I’d make it?

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