Gears & Beers: the 2019 Pilgrimage Ride to Wagga Wagga

Gears & Beers: the 2019 Pilgrimage Ride to Wagga Wagga

The Curve Crew traditionally ride to the big cycling events of the year rather than drive - kicking off with the 'pilgrimage' ride to the Tour Down Under in Adelaide (800km in 2 days). This year, Kate and JB (Princess) decided to ride to the Gears & Beers Festival in Wagga Wagga NSW, starting with a train ride to Bairnsdale, East Gippsland. 

What's this all about?

We took the train to Bairnsdale from Melbourne the night before and stayed at the caranvan park. In the morning we loaded up on nutrition at McDonalds where we met another cyclist who was riding from Perth to Sydney. Funnily enough he told us all about Curve and how inspiring Jesse and Sarah are, not realising we were part of the crew. 

Day 1. Bairnsdale to Mitta Mitta - 234km, 2,884vm

The day was more of less one big climb, with a very long descent at the end. It was slow going at the start while we faffed about going from rail trail to the main road and back again. We didn't get much faster as the climb got steeper and the sun came out to play.

Climbing in the sun

The heat was making it hard to chew and swallow food, so we had to stop for longer than we'd like at both Sifts Creek and Omeo, trying to cool down enough to get some food in. Kate just about to have a bonk-breakdown as they crested the climb into Omeo. Fortunately some chips and a chocolate milkshake saved the day, with 130km still to go. 

Bonk, sweat and tears

The road between Omeo and WTF Corner is magical. It winds and bends around the mountains on and on, barely changing in elevation. However, it wasn't long before we were climbing again, sometimes very steep and slowly. We barely saw another car after Anglers Rest. The road was surrounded by dense bush, there's no phone reception, it was getting dark and there were strange noises coming from the forest. Finally we stopped climbing and began a ~40km seemingly endless descent. It was pitch black but we had good lights and used the road reflectors to guide us around the bends. 

Descending in the dark.

We reached the Mitta Pub after closing time. Luckliy we had called ahead to let them know we were running behind. The publican generously gave us a hot meal and a pint of beer before showing us to our beds. 

Country hospitality

The day started out pretty magical with views of low cloud at the base of the mountains and a nice climb out of Mitta Valley. 

Day 2. Mitta Mitta to Wagga Wagga - 226km, 1669vm

Due to the lack of research before heading out, we weren't confident we could get enough food in the route we had planned, so we diverted via Tangambalanga (we were hungry). Getting to Albury/Wodonga was simple enough, but navigating through the towns and finding the best way to Wagga Wagga from there was a bit of a headache. Lesson: do some research before you set out and avoid big towns/cities that will just slow your progress. 

Tango in Tangambalanga

Using Google Maps to navigate, we followed some smaller country roads for the last 100km to Wagga Wagga. One of them went right through the middle of a farm - luckly no one came out threatening us with a shotgun. But we did have to stop into a homestead for water. The old guy there told us if we kept riding to Wagga we were definitely going to die on the road. Luckily, we didn't, and we made it to the Wagga Wagga pub pub in time for a beer beer. 

Don't call Wagga Wagga, Wagga

with us

We're always planning big rides. Get in touch if you'd be interested in joining in on the next pilgrimage ride.

JB rode a Curve titanium CXR with G4T 45mm wheels, Kate rode a titanium GXR with G4T 35mm wheels.
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