The good news is that you’re probably three quarters of the way from Adelaide to Melbourne, and easily two thirds of the way across Australia, but the bad news is that Melbourne is still five stages away. But you can only ride what lies ahead of you, and stage 382 has a bit of a downhill feel to it.
Having said that, the rollout is uphill all the way to Pomborneit North at two miles. It’ll feel good to get that out of the way because those one hundred and fifty feet of climbing represent a quarter of the ascent on the entire stage.
I half expected to find a Pomborneit South further along the Princes Highway but if it exists, it’s not on this stage. As the road hangs a long right hander through the town, so it begins a long lumpy descent that carries on, albeit with multiple interruptions, all the way to the finish. Pombernait North sits at over nine hundred feet: the finish sits at under six hundred: but the fact that the stage also climbs almost six hundred confirms just how lumpy it is.
The significant hills come at nine miles, twelve miles, fourteen miles and seventeen miles, but each has a descent on the other side that more that matches the gradient going up. Communities are in short supply in this part of the outback and the only ones of any significance after Pomborneit are Stoneyford at seven miles, host to the first of the subsequent climbs, Floating Islands Flora and Fauna Reserve at eleven miles and Pirron Yallock at fourteen miles. The rest of the stage up to Colac is pretty much open scrub.
In the heart of Pirron Yallock, the road crosses Pirron Yallock Creek, and it’s perhaps surprising that the crossing happens halfway up the climb at twelve miles rather than at the foot of it. There’s a further crossing, this time of Mack Creek, part way up the next climb at fourteen miles so maybe it’s just a feature of the stage that the landscape is that way.
However Colac Caravan Park at eighteen miles is a sign that greater civilisation ahead. It lies a mile out of town, and as the highway descends into the town, with Lake Colac on the left of the road, the gradient gathers pace. The end of the stage is on a left hander that hugs the water line and the finish line is level with the eastern shore of the lake on the way out of town.
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 614 feet / 187 metres
RGT Magic Road: PAyPXXyAmbZb
Max elevation: 919 ft
Min elevation: 608 ft
Total climbing: 615 ft
Total descent: -810 ft
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