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The 25th Anniversary Autumn Alpine Run

Submitted by John_Cook on Mon, 27/03/2023 - 9:04pm

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The 25th Melbourne Branch Autumn Alpine Run
Nineteen of us assembled bright and early (0800) at Officer to ride off on the 25th anniversary annual run. 
Another five joined us at Bruthen so that made it an even two dozen and it was great that we had three lady riders.   First I’d like to thank everyone who came along as it is the participation and camaraderie that makes these things so rewarding and I feel it’s amazing that we’ve managed to do this 25 years in a row despite the interruptions of Covid lockdowns etc.
I’ve generally advertised that this run is not a ride for the inexperienced or easily fatigued as it was always challenging at roughly 550 km on day one with most of that on winding roads.  Somehow I added an extra 50 km this year by varying the route.  Despite that, I feel the variations were worth it.
Ian volunteered to do tail end duties for the entire trip and did a great job.  It was also good to see Holly join us at the start this year.   We started off with a simple 75 km ride along the freeway to Trafalgar and then turned south into the hills.  We took a short rest break at a lookout above Trafalgar. 
We then rode over an earthquake / fault line down to Thorpdale and then east.  I will say I enjoyed the roads and scenery along that section, which was not normally part of the route.  Once past Driffield and Churchill quite a few riders were impressed by the size of Loy Yang power station as we rode past it.  We skirted south of Rosedale and rode via Longford into Sale where we stopped for a decent rest and refreshment break by Lake Guthridge.
Once refreshed and recuperated, we rode the southern edges of suburban Sale and this provided us with views over the Sale wetlands.  We then rode on via Cobains, Eagle Point and followed the Mitchell River to Lucknow and on to the Great Alpine Road.  At Sarsfield, we turned off and explored some more back roads across to Tambo Upper before riding into Bruthen for a fuel and lunch break.
 We met Suzanne, Lynne, Barry, Greg and Neville there and enjoyed a relaxing lunch and rest break. 
We then rode the delightfully winding road north past Wattle Circle before turning off and exploring even more remote roads through some delightful farming areas
and then crossed to the west at Ensay and explored a bit more of Tambo River valley before stopping for a rest and re-group at Swifts Creek.   We then by passed Omeo
Photo courtesy of Greg Gleason)  
and the weather became decidedly miserable and we were riding through thick fog
by the time we stopped at Mt Hotham Village for a rest and refreshment break.  Visibility was all but non – existent by then so despite being at roughly 1850 metres altitude we couldn’t see much.   The sky tempted us with clearing patches as we rode on again, but we had several more very misty sections before we finally found clear skies and rode the steep descent down to Harrietville.  We then rode down the Ovens Valley through Freeburgh, turned right and crossed the Tawonga Gap and rode into Mount Beauty to refuel.
I then rode to our digs in Tawonga via some interesting little back roads and found some interesting sights along the way. 
Once settled in our rooms, some drinks were consumed, lies were exchanged and dinner
and camaraderie were enjoyed until quite late in the evening.
We all assembled about 0800
and rode off in much nicer weather conditions down the Kiewa Valley to Running Creek, turned left and followed the Happy Valley Road
into Myrtleford, where we stopped and breakfasted in a couple of cafés to avoid lengthy delays.   
Once nourished, we rode the Snow Road to Oxley and then south to Whitfield.  As we did this, we started encountering members of the Vespa Club of Melbourne who had been at weekend event at Wangaratta.  At Tolmie, we turned off via Barwite and stopped at Mansfield for lunch.
It was here that the group ride effectively ended as people started thinking of home and rode off in smaller groups.     Several of us made it as far as Yea together.
Thanks to all who came along and made it another great weekend out riding with fellow Ulysseans. 
We did very close to 600 km on Saturday and close to 400 on Sunday.                                                 
Greg Gleason has loaded some video clips 
Greg G
Greg Rees 

Photos have been added here                But I suspect they don't work on phones crying