Waking up in the beautiful Nagambie region after 222 kms the day before, for most of the peloton getting up and ready to ride was a difficult ask. However, any displeasure at another early rise was quickly overcome with coffee requests at the door at breakfast – immediately attention turned to the day ahead.
Was it a 160-kilometre day with 2000 metres of climbing? Or 140 with 1800m? Rumour and chatter filtered through the weary riders as they finished their lattes and readied their gear. And today, in their midst, a true legend, Simon Gerrans – Grand Tour stage winner, Australian champion and Chain Reaction ambassador – rolling out among the everyday Chain Reaction champions as they set off on the penultimate day - Marysville.
First up, we set a course for Seymour. An easy 25 km peddle as a bunch taking in the early morning sights and sounds that were the beautiful backgrounds around Nagambie. A quick refuel in Seymour and the early morning jitters now a distant memory, Chaddy (Tim Chadd, Event Manager) called 'free play 'and a 30-kilometre sprint to Highlands was on. Tactics were varied and quickly, the peloton split into many groups.
Upfront, team Camlen / Bell lead the charge with a push past our illustrious coach Dave McKenzie and ambassador Simon Gerrans. It became clear the former professional cyclists were having none on this; on the charge, they went! Over the next 20 kilometres, one by one, the punters were hovered up, with a quick final sprint to the Highlands Community centre. The final result – punters 1, pros 0!
The peloton enjoyed a quick descent into Yarck with an extended rest stop to ensure all were ok from the Highlands. Thereafter, the group rode together to the Corner Hotel in Alexandra for a pub lunch – a first for Simon Gerrans… parmas and pro tours usually don't go hand in hand.
After lunch, the peloton rode together, steadily eating up the kilometres for the trek into Marysville. As always, our arrival was met with the fantastic Chain Reaction support staff – refreshments were cold and massage tables ready. The final days stats – 162 kilometres and 1900m climbed.
Most importantly, on Day 6, the Chain Reaction fundraising tally for the 2021 Melbourne Challenge ticked over a new record, now approaching $1.2m! It is a fantastic achievement and an amazing result for this challenge's real purpose, our charity partners, Very Special Kids and Starlight Children's Foundation.
The final day looms, but for now, we enjoyed a big dinner and the presentation of the last set of Competition Jerseys.
- Navy sponsored by Porter Davis went to Andrew Brown of the Camlen / Bell Team and Elliot Gill of the Jellis Craig Team
- Orange leader's jersey, sponsored by Pure Storage, went to Sebastian Catalfamo of the Marshall White Team and Shaun Patterson of the Marshall White Team
- Polka dot,' King of the Mountain' Henley jersey went to Mark Glenn of the Marshall White Team
- Green' Sprinter's jersey', sponsored by Domain, went to Angus Clark of Cameron / Simonds Team
- Black, "Spirit of Chain Reaction" LSH Auto jersey went to Stephen Millington of the KordaMentha Melbourne Team