Guest Article: 24 hours of The V

Guest Article: 24 hours of The V

by / / 43 posts

Most 24 hour bike rides consist of teams of riders who trade off shifts and ride, as a group, for 24 hours. As far as 24 hour competitions go, that’s the smart way to handle it. It seems kind of weak, though, doesn’t it? Why bother with getting off the bike every few hours?  Sounds complicated and like it might be a waste of energy, all that swinging of the leg over a top tube. Why not cut out the middleman and just keep pedaling. Its what Jens would do, it’s what Woody would do.

So, while we’re out doing our honorary V-Rides this weekend and next in the Name of The Classics, take solace in the fact that Marcus is in all likelihood much, much dumber than you are. But he also happens to be channeling much more of The V. Here we have his opening account of the 24 Hours of The V, and next week we’ll publish his account of their collective failure or success.

Yours in cycling,


Greetings Velominati.

I thought I should let you know about a Little Ride that I am doing with 14 mates on the weekend. This Saturday we are heading out to ride across the state of Victoria. This ride is known as the “Woody’s Murray to Moyne Bike Ride”.

The distance? 527 kilometres.
The time? 24 hours.

Whilst it is usually ridden as a relay, we are each going to ride the whole thing. We did this ride last year and it involved us spending around 17 of those 24 hours attached to our bikes.

Who was Woody? A Rule #5 Velominatus of the highest order, that’s who. Graham Woodrup was a man who handed out so much V in his life that the factory ran out and he had to move onto Ws instead. He specialised in doing marathon fundraising bike rides. His biggest record was cycling 4,380 km from Perth to Sydney in 10 days, 17 hours and 56 minutes in 1988! That is over 400kms a day, most of the time across a fucking big desert. Imagine riding LA to New York (plus an extra 500kms) if every state other than California and New York was desert.

Tragically Woody was killed in a training accident in 1992. In his honor, Woody’s Murray to Moyne has continued on. This will be my 10th Murray to Moyne, but only my second time doing the whole thing (its actually against the rules to do the whole thing these days so don’t tell anyone ok?).

Why are we doing this?

1. Because it gets us out of the house for a whole weekend.
2. To raise money for a few charities, “my one” being Learning for Life, that provides intensive therapy for kids with autism.

My riding group has raised over $1 million for various charities in the last 10 years, so we think we are very virtuous too – and it makes up for a multitude of sins for the rest of the year.

So that gets the reason for the ride out of the way. What about the ride itself?

It is pretty flat on very dead roads. For the most part it goes through the middle of nowhere. Apologies to our central and northern Victorian readers (are there any?) but you can’t argue with names like Boort, Mitiamo, Durham Ox, Pyramid Hill, Lake Marmal, Coonooer Bridge, Moyston and Warrayure, to name a few.

In fact, the ride becomes easier once night falls because the terrain moves from flat to rolling and you get to stop looking at dead boring flat farmland.

Our weekend starts in Melbourne at midday Friday. We load up buses and start for Echuca, close to 4 hours away. However our drive takes us a bit longer than that as we have a mandatory stop at a pub in a town called Heathcote – which produces excellent Shiraz by the way. Crucial carb loading in the form of a few beers (we call them pots) takes place here.

Once we get to Echuca, we head to dinner where ride kit is handed out and everyone plays the game of drinking a bit whilst trying to look like you are drinking a lot, in the hope that one of your team members gets a bit over-excited about being 300kms away from the wife and kids on a Friday night so decides to have a few too many pots.

It is ideal if one of your teammates is riding worse than you because we ride as a group at the pace of the slowest rider. Therefore if you are the “caboose” you are close to your limit and therefore you are taking a 24 hour visit to Painesville, population: you.

Saturday we wake, eat, and start riding at 10am. For the next 17 or so hours we will follow a pattern of

1. Two hours riding.
2. Stop for 5 minute “comfort break” and drink re-fill.
3. Two hours riding.
4. Stop for meal break, massage (we bring along a couple of female (& young) soigneurs) and gear change.
5. Repeat steps 1 to 4 three more times.

Sometime around 3am or after, we hit a town called Hamilton for the compulsory “overnight” stop. At this point we will have about 425kms under our belts. We will have one or two celebratory ales whilst floating in an indoor pool at the place we stay. Bed at around 4am.

5:30am – wake up, breakfast and back on the bikes by 6am to ride the last 100kms. Putting oneself back on one’s bike at 6am is about the worst feeling I ever have on a bike.

Over this last morning stage, speed in the bunch gradually rises. Whilst we will have ridden together since the start, suddenly it is game on as we race to a little place called Kirkstall, – a thriving town consisting of exactly one pub.

The Race to the Kirkstall Pub is hotly contested – and the owner specially opens up for us. It will be a touch before 9am at this point and a few quick ales are downed quickly amid much backslapping for a job well done.

However it is not job done yet – for the ride is not over. Once we have all had a pot or three, we must re-mount our steeds for the 15 or so kilometres from Kirkstall to Port Fairy. Truth be told, this part of the ride isn’t a great deal of fun. We must reach Port Fairy by 10am so we watch our Kirkstall consumption time very closely.

As soon as we hit Port Fairy, more backslapping and drinking – this time at the Star of the West – another pub.

Then we clean up and go for a lunch (more pots), followed by sleeping through a 4 hour bus ride home.

Monday – another lunch (with pots) in Melbourne to celebrate.

Last year we did the same ride and most riders managed to put on weight over a weekend that involved 527kms of riding. On this basis we concluded that we would all make excellent Grand Tour riders given our ability to absorb calories whilst exercising over long periods – just like Der Kaiser!

Oh, and if you wish to donate dollars (tax deductible in Australia), we would be forever grateful, please visit

If you are interested enough (BTW, take a long hard look at yourself if you are), we will be tweeting updates from @marcusocall and @m2m500.

Full report sometime next week.

// Guest Article

  1. @Marcus
    One year suspension? What, the crocs were made from Spanish beef?

  2. Marcus:

    mcsqueak :
    Is Marcus the one hiding in the door frame, still taking a pull from his “pot”?

    Thanks for the compliment, but no, the guy drinking his pot (you only “pull” from a bong as far as I am aware) has hair, so he is not me.

    Eh, ’round here you can take a pull from a beer (or a bottle of scotch), and the only stuff called pot is going into a bong rather than being a drinking vessel.

    You guys have really made a mess of the queen’s English, I’ll say.

  3. mcsqueak :

    Eh, ’round here you can take a pull from a beer (or a bottle of scotch), and the only stuff called pot is going into a bong rather than being a drinking vessel.
    You guys have really made a mess of the queen’s English, I’ll say.

    I’m not really sure the Queen would be pulling bongs or straight from the bottle of scotch/beer? If she did the English from her mouth would be quite garbled to say the least.
    Though the mental image of her doing either or “punching a cone/pulling a bong” then having a swig/pull brings a smile to my face this late afternoon. With some members of family she posseses, I do rather think that this could well be necessary some days?

  4. I’m not really sure the Queen would be pulling bongs or straight from the bottle of scotch/beer? If she did the English from her mouth would be quite garbled to say the least.
    Though the mental image of her doing either or “punching a cone/pulling a bong” then having a swig/pull brings a smile to my face this late afternoon. With some members of family she posseses, I do rather think that this could well be necessary some days?

    I can see HRHEliz and Harry sneaking out the back for a quiet spliff in between courses at the pending Royal wedding.

  5. @Jamin
    Spot on. Harry would be able to get the el primo gear I reckon. Liz and Harry, possibly. Charles (reliving his schooling days in Oz)and Harry, definitely

  6. @il ciclista medio
    You can just see the sly glance between them, the raised eyebrow and the gesture motioning, “out the back”
    the party would be a hoot.

  7. The Mario Cipollini looking bloke in the middle must be pretty proud of his mop in that crowd. Shit, the dude to Kiwi’s left must be proud of his mop in that crowd.

  8. Sounds like a blast – and for a good cause. I move that we have a Velominati RAAM (Ride/Race Across AMerica). We’ll start at Frank’s house and we’ll pick up Velominati along the way. Of course we’ll hit every micro brew pub betwixt the Pacific and the Atlantic.

  9. Nice read. I am currently training for my first charity ride. its been a bit of an adventure trying to figure out what my body needs on longer rides. I am still figuring things out with only 2 weeks till I do this ride. 73 miles total.

  10. @RedRanger

    Here’s what I would do. If you can get a good meal in at least three hours before the ride, do it. Drink a sports drink about 45 minutes before the ride starts. Drink and gel up ALL during the ride – about 200-300 cals and hour. Don’t wait until you feel hungry or it’s too late. Depending on the pace solid foods can be a problem so that’s up to you but bananas and Fig Newtons rock.

    Good luck.

  11. Every beer is like a sandwich.

  12. Hi there, I’d like to let you know about a ride we have in England called the Mersey Roads 24 hour Time Trial, it’s held in july every year not many people enter only about 30 because of the difficulty, expect to cover between 850-900 km if you want to win. Rule #5 definitely applies toall entrants.

  13. @Marcus
    My ban will expire at the same time as our colleague (ompalompah) in the middle front row of the photo for crimes against fashion/good decency for excessive use of fake tan and the wearing of footy socks.
    The dude in the middle of the photo with the Mario ‘do’ should be pretty chuffed about his good looks in general (but then his is younger) – the rest of us are like the fat ugly girlfriends hanging with the hot chick.

    Its now mid-morning 1 April here in Melbourne (good April fools post over at btw) and the M2M group will be assembling as I type with bikes, gear, slabs and WAGs hanging out at the meeting point just around the corner from my place. About half the group of riders are newbies, it is a brilliant sunny autumn day (but with cold southerlies and some rain forecast all weekend) and they do not know the world of pain they are about to experience…..

  14. Note to Frank – an ability to edit hastily written posts would be good – above case in point – “Miss Jones, come in, sit down, take a memo – substitute “he is” for “his” first line, 2nd para above post.

    Nice name for an Englishman. We should talk fashion.

  15. @Kiwicyclist
    second row man myself way back in the day, playing with all the nuanced skill of those who come from american football. Nice description of a scrum-half by the way. Reminds me of my wife, except for the bald part.

    When you say “Victorian” are you speaking geographically or historically? From Kiwicyclist’s description, I thought you were the guy on one knee on the right with the sunny disposition. Then when you said you were not less taller than Kiwi, I was really hoping you weren’t the blue knee sock guy. oompaloompa, indeed.

  16. @Cyclops
    def gonna have some oatmeal before the ride, but with a 6:30 start time I’m thinking more like a 4am breakfast with tons of water. Its hard as hell to stay hydrated down here in the Tucson desert.

  17. @xyxax
    He’s talking the State of Victoria where we live, Melbourne being the capital thereof. Its Australian Rules football (“AFL” or “footie”) heartland where rugby is consider a foreign and somewhat ‘quaint’ game – think tribal sports fanatics – close to English Football supporters – and you would be close – except the fervour starts from oh, about age 3 and extends to all families, ethnic groups and religions. An example – scan the sports section of the paper here and its “pages 1-10 footie, footie and, oh what a surprise, more footy – with ‘other’ sports crammed into the final 3 pages. The most common greeting here is not “Howthebloodyhellaya mate?” its “what team do you barrack for?”

    You got it right in the picture – and don’t believe Marcus – he’s a shortarse – he’s the cheeky looking smiler on the far right front row, half kneeling as mentioned.

    The height comment was aspirational.

  18. Marcus, there is no doubt you antipodals are having a lot more fun than us on the other side of the globe. Drinking and riding, riding and drinking, holy fuck I couldn’t do distance like that to save my life. I’m jealous and very impressed. Great post. Good luck and take a camera, we need photos of what everyone looks like at 6am. Pots away!!!

  19. @Marcus

    Old foreign arse-sniffers?

  20. Less than an hour before starting. Blue skies with a southerly wind. This means 100kmsof crosswind followed by 300kms of headwind. Gulp

  21. @Kiwicyclist
    I’ve always enjoyed the few times I’ve been able to see AFL on the teevee. I particularly like the referees’ double Cuntador finger-bangs after a successful central kick.

  22. The m2m500 team are about 4 hrs into their 24 HR ride riding into a solid crosswind coming from the south ( cold down here in the anti podes). No major dramas thus far apart from the kit supplier delivering the wrong riding tops last night- still looks casually elegant.
    Follow the twitter link above if interested.
    Now, where were those beer nuts?

  23. Quick update. The m2m500 group are probably downing pots at the kirkstall pub by now or have made the finish. All look like they have got through ok and I’m waiting to hear if Marcus won the sprint. Huge effort through the night as it looks like they were riding through to around 4am.

  24. Marcus, I’m guessing you’re still alive, no?

  25. @Brett
    Only just! Report pending

Leave a Reply