Saturday, 12 March 2016

DAY 3 & 4 | Melbourne to Sydney Cycle | Ride For Josh


I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go. I jumped out of bed, had a shower, chucked my clean kit on and hit the road. Only 3 or 4km into the ride, I noticed my knee was beginning to ache again. After a bit of searching around on Google, I came to the conclusion that it was the angle of my cleats (little things on the bottom of my shoe that allow me to clip in to the pedals for improved efficiency) that was causing my knee to twist in an unnatural way. I adjusted them accordingly and continued.

I noticed a laundromat and a supermarket right next to each other, so I figured this would be a good place to wash my clothes from yesterday, then get some fruit for breakfast while waiting for them to dry. After taking a ridiculous selfie or two, I hobbled back onto the bike and headed towards the Hume highway. 

Although the scenery along the Hume isn't all that exciting, it feels very safe as there is a huge shoulder on the road (the same width as the regular car lanes) and the terrain is quite flat which makes for easy riding. Also the fact that there's hundreds of motorists driving past at all hours of the day gives me peace and of mind in case anything were to go seriously wrong with the bike, or if I injured myself I could always hitch a ride to the next town.

As I exited Benalla, I went past Winton, Glenrowan and then Wangaratta. As I was approaching Wangaratta my knee was becoming almost unbearable so rather than risk permanent damage, I decided to book an acupuncture session to try and relieve the pain. I'd never had acupuncture before, but it seemed like an appropriate treatment as the pain wasn't muscular, but deep within the joint. Unfortunately I was wrong, and despite acupuncture, cupping, infrared therapy and a massage... The pain remained.

After the session at AcuHerb I got a phone call from my dad, who had just purchased a car in Sydney and was coincidentally driving back to Melbourne along the Hume Highway. He said he wanted to cross paths with me at some stage, and although I probably should've had a break I was so excited by the thought of human interaction that I pushed on another 40km to a small town called Chiltern. He insisted on shouting me dinner and a motel room for the night, but there was nothing available in Chiltern so I dismantled my bike, chucked it in the back of his car and we drove to South Albury (which is a much bigger town). Yes, I "cheated" and got driven 30km closer to my destination, but in the grand scheme of things I'd be silly not to accept the offer. 

We arrived in South Albury (which is technically just across the border and into New South Wales - woohoo!), ate some pasta for dinner and had an early night. Although today was the shortest distance I've travelled on this trip, it was by far the most difficult.

DAY 3 -
Benalla to Chiltern (79.6km)
Elevation gain: 402m
Average speed: 21.8km/h
Total distance travelled: 304.3km



DAY 4 - (rest day)

This morning I got out of bed and could barely walk to the bathroom. That was my body giving me a clear indicator that it needed a break, and considering I was in Albury with my dad I figured today was the perfect opportunity to take a rest day and let my knee recover.

My mum informed me that she had been calling community radio stations in all the towns that I would be passing through in the next few days, telling them my story and asking if they'd be interested in talking about my ride. To my surprise, I got 2 phone calls after breakfast and was being interviewed live on the air!

I spent the rest of the day relaxing in the sun and doing some water walking in the pool. I also went down to the shops and made myself a DIY knee repair kit - including a brace, an ice pack, some "joint pain relief" supplements, lectric soda, Mim's Magic balm and a packet of Nurofen. If this doesn't fix me, I'm not sure what will. Topped the day off with some pizza and garlic bread in bed, now this is living!

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DAY 2 | Melbourne to Sydney Cycle | Ride For Josh


I didn't get the best sleep as it was raining quite heavily throughout the night and I couldn't help but worry about the forecast of thunderstorms for the following day. I woke up at around 8:30, packed up my sleeping system and headed into the town centre to find a supermarket and get some breakfast. I knocked back 2L of orange juice, a punnet of strawberries, a punnet of blueberries, a quarter of a watermelon and jumped back on the bike.

For some reason I decided to ride along the "High Country Rail Trail", which I later found out was designed for horses and mountain bikes. That was definitely not one of my smartest decisions. I had to trek through about 20km of mud and rocks on my skinny little road bike tyres before I got back on the highway. I'm honestly amazed that I didn't get a single puncture.

When I eventually found my way back onto the highway, I rode through a few small towns such as Molesworth, Cathkin and then Yarck - from the famous "WHERE THE FARK IS YARCK?" bumper stickers. There wasn't much to do in Yarck so I continued riding through Kanumbra, Merton and Woodfield, before coming up to Bonnie Doon and the (not so) mighty Lake Eildon crossing. She's definitely seen better days. I couldn't help but sing "we're going to Bonnie Doon" to myself as I rode across the bridge. Fans of the great Aussie movie "The Castle" will know what I mean.

After Bonnie Doon, I made a slight left at Maindample and travelled across an extremely boring stretch of road with no where to stop for food and water. I noticed a pain in the lateral side of my left knee becoming worse and worse as I kept riding, which made the final 30 or 40 kilometres in to Benalla a real struggle. 

I was so relieved to arrive in Benalla and after a huge day on the bike, couldn't be bothered with setting up the tent etc. so I decided to book a room at the motor inn. I stuffed my face with some amazing Thai food, then went to the room for a shower and some rest. It felt great to be in an air conditioned room and sleep in a comfortable bed. Overall day 2 was long and exhausting, and I was quite concerned about the pain in my knee but I was hopeful that with a good night's sleep I would be feeling fine in the morning.

DAY 2 -
Yea to Benalla (130.2km)
Elevation gain: 1,009m
Average speed: 22.7km/h
Max speed: 53.6km/h
Total distance travelled: 224.7km

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

DAY 1 | Melbourne to Sydney Cycle | Ride For Josh


After months of trying to prepare myself mentally and physically, the day has finally come for me to 
set off on a 1,000km cycle journey!

I started the day with my favourite smoothie that consists of 10 bananas, a generous sprinkle of chia seeds and water. Usually after I finish this smoothie I am bursting with energy, but today I felt sick. In the lead up to the ride I was reasonably calm but all of a sudden it dawned on me that I was about to hit the road with nothing more than my little pins to get me all the way to Sydney. Not to mention that hundreds of people had already donated money to the cause and were counting on me to follow through with this. There's no turning back now, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't shitting myself.

After a few hours of procrastinating and triple-checking that I'd packed everything I need, I jumped on the bike at around 11:30am. As soon as I was out on the road, that anxious feeling just disappeared and I was able to enjoy the ride. It also helped that the weather was  ideal for cycling... Not too hot, not too cold, and little to no wind.

I rode through Belgrave, up and over Mt Dandenong, past the Silvan dam, down some sketchy dirt road in Mt Evelyn and up to Lilydale. From here I had a leisurely cruise through Coldstream, Yering, and eventually through the breathtakingly beautiful Yarra Glen area which is full of green rolling hills and picturesque wineries. 

From Yarra Glen I made my way past Dixons Creek, towards the most challenging section of today's ride - the long steep climb through Kinglake National Park. After I got to the top of this monster hill, it was pretty smooth sailing with only some slight ups and downs through Castella and Glenburn. The final 30km through Murrindindi and eventually into Yea was flat, with virtually unchanging scenery.

Upon arrival in Yea, I saw a nice patch of lush green grass in the town centre and decided to kick my shoes off and lay down for a while. It felt great to arrive at my destination for the day at 5pm, leaving plenty of time to relax and sort myself out. Eventually I decided I should figure out where I'm going to sleep, so I headed to the local caravan park. 

For $20 I got myself a patch of dirt to roll my bivvy bag out on, access to showers, a swimming pool and some power points to charge up my electronics. The kind lady at reception noticed that I was wearing cycling gear, asked me where I was riding to and when I told her I was riding to Sydney to raise money for my fiancé's brother who is battling with brain cancer - she instantly refunded me and insisted I stay for free. She also gave me some gold coins and laundry detergent to wash my stinky clothes. Score!

After setting up my bivvy bag/sleeping mat/sleeping bag, I locked my bike up to a nearby tree and walked down to the local Chinese restaurant. I smashed some tofu & mixed vegetables, fried rice and spring rolls. It was great to have a full stomach and feel satiated. After dinner I came back to the caravan park, dried my clothes, and now I'm sitting in the laundry with my phone plugged into the wall while writing this blog post. Oh, and there's an adorable black and white cat that keeps walking in and meowing at me so I just meow right back. 

On that note, I think it's time for me to crawl into my body bag and get some sleep. Overall it's been a perfect day with no real dramas, so fingers crossed the rest of the trip is the same!

Sweet dreams xx

DAY 1 -
Tecoma to Yea (94.5km)
Elevation gain: 1,230m
Max speed: 56.2km/h
Average speed: 23.6km/h

Follow the journey on my Instagram page:

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Monday, 15 February 2016

Ride For Josh

Hi there! 

My name is Michael Mitropoulos. I'm a 24-year-old music producer and DJ, currently living in Tecoma, Victoria with my lovely partner Jade. 

In the first week of March I'll be setting off on a 1,200km solo bicycle ride from my house in Tecoma to the Sydney Opera House. I am hoping to raise some money for Jade's family to help pay for the ongoing medical costs associated with her little brother Joshua's battle against cancer. 

Sunday, 20 December 2015

It's Okay Not To Drink

I used to love beer. I mean, I really used to love beer. So much so that I got a Melbourne Bitter stubbie with “TRUE LOVE” written across it tattooed on my right thigh. Due to a series of incidents and a major change of perspective, I have since gotten a big black “X” straight through the middle of it, and today marks 1 year since I decided to go completely sober. I’m writing this blog post to show how drinking affected my life, and hopefully deter those who may be on the same path of destruction that I was on.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Why I'm Bananas About Bananas

Please excuse the lame title, I couldn't help myself.

Ah yes, the banana. An edible fruit (botanically a berry) which grows from several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus musa family. Personally I eat a minimum of 10 bananas per day, sometimes up to 30. I'd like to share why I believe that this beautiful tropical fruit is the single most important food for someone following a high-carb, low-fat, plant-based diet.
© Mike Metro

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