Bici e Gusti – Indigo Valley
Blessed with some sensational and unseasonal warm weather in the high country of Victoria, last weekend saw our latest Bici e Gusti adventure take place in the Indigo Valley, and what a weekend it was.
As guests started to arrive from 5pm on Friday, Italian spuntini and drinks were shared around the fire outside as the sun was slowly setting, and we began to unwind from the week and the drive north. Under the guise of “carbo loading”, we progressed to a beautiful welcome dinner of home made cannelloni, made with fresh egg pasta, and we finished of with a very seasonal persimmon tart.
We arose on Saturday to a perfect, cool Autumn morning with clear skies. Our ride was to be 120km with about 1600m of climbing, and as we rolled out the front gate and got our day underway, there was hardly a car on the road. After about 30 minutes, we reached the start of the day’s first climb and the next 75km’s of undulation.
As we rolled along the quiet country roads with the fantastic scenery, I caught myself a couple of times with a wide smile and I thought why doI love this so much. It brought me back to something I heard a few years ago about riding up Stelvio – that it “opens up your heart.” This was the sensation I was feeling. A sense of pure freedom and joy.
We ended up climbing the back way to Stanley, which was the day’s significant challenge, before stopping for a well earned baguette.
With little wind, the conditions were near perfect for our last session, which included a couple of fantastic descents. At day’s end, and with the sun on our backs, we rolled along the dirt road to the quiet and tranquility of our country house. It was now time to rest and restore with a local pale ale as we chatted and built another fire.
These weekends are not just about riding. They’re also about trying the different regional and seasonal produce on offer, and the beverages from the areas we visit.
True to this, we sourced a Celtic Red and a Pale Ale from Beechworth Brewery, a Pinot, a Cabernet and a Roussanne from Indigo Vineyard, and a local rack of lamb which was seared on charcoal and then lightly smoked, along with seasonal Autumn root vegetables.
As we rehydrated with a few drinks around the fire, accompanied by our own version of aperitivo which included my home made olives, red peppers, green tomatoes and some beautiful Milawa cheeses, it was wonderful to see a group of people who hadn’t met before, get on so well.
The free flowing conversation and laughter continued past dinner and only eased as we finished off with a little home made Limoncello, and our thoughts turned to sleep and the ride in the morning.
Greeted by another beautiful morning, with still warm air and sunshine, our Sunday ride was to be all about adventure.
After about 5km, we were onto our first section of gravel, which had some short, sharp climbs and saw us bump along the top of a ridge that dropped away on either side to some of the most beautiful landscape and hills in the distance that I have seen in Victoria. After a little while we were back onto the bitumen and an equally steep descent. We twisted our way along some back roads, until we reached the 15km downhill homestretch and with the wind with us the whole way, it was a nice way to finish.
The sense of adventure and reward for a couple of days’ of awesome riding was certainly felt by the group.
Before we hit the road for home, we had one last stop at Hub62 in Chiltern for coffee and lunch. This comprised of sensational regional tasting plates with lots of interesting things from the surrounding districts – a great way to cap off the weekend.
I am already looking forward to our next Bici e Gusti adventure, and with this part of Victoria having so much to offer and us barely scratching the surface, we will be back for sure. Thanks to the great group of people who joined us for a memorable weekend.
For information on our next adventure, click here or call Nancy on 0411 543 433.