On Sunday 20th March we had a group of 19 Ghostriders travel up to Yea to sample the Great Victorian Rail Trail from Yea to Tallarook and back again. To our great delight we were blessed with absolutely perfect riding conditions – fine and cool with completely clear blue skies.
We began at 9.30 am by congregating in Yea’s best bakery for the first coffee and cake of the day. This was the perfect way to carbo load before the demands of the 78 km ride that lay ahead.
By soon after 10 am we had all made our way to the Yea Railway Station to begin the ride. It was an impressive sight to see so many riders getting ready to start the ride (see the attached images). We began in high spirits and were soon cruising along through iconic Australian landscapes of rolling green hills and scattered trees.
Soon after leaving Yea we began the first (and only major) climb of the ride. This is a rather gentle slope but it does continue for several kilometres, ensuring that the early chill of the morning was soon forgotten. Once over this climb the trail settles down to a regular series of small climbs and dips. At about 11 km from Yea we split the riders into two groups. Twelve riders had decided to do the full ride and seven had decided to picnic along the way.
The first glimpse of the Goulburn River comes at about 16 km from Yea and for some distance the trail follows the impressive river. We passed the large Trawool Resort at around 25 km from Yea and also a smaller Devonshire teas café a couple of km further on. The main group completed the 39 km ride to Tallarook, arriving at around 12.30 pm. We then settled in for a nice lunch and a long chat before saddling up for the return ride.
Although 78 km does not sound like a long ride, the combination of regular climbs and the gravel surface does ensure that it can be quite tiring. It is probably equivalent to at least a 100km or more on bitumen. On the return leg we started to pick up some riders from the smaller group and we shared the final section of the ride together.
My tired legs were glad when the final climb was summited and we were able to downhill most of the final few km back to Yea. We all arrived safely at the station at around 4.30 pm and shared an icecream together before the long drive home. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable day with wonderful riding companions.