February 10, 2010

Catching up

Route: Eltham to Southbank
Distance: 26.6km
Duration: 58 minutes

It has been a while since I last wrote but I have returned with two more rides under the belt. On Saturday morning I decided to once again commute to work. To my surprise my derailleur no longer seemed to be rubbing despite having done nothing to the bike since the frustrating Dandenongs ride of the previous week.

I wasn’t complaining though and I arrived at work in 58 minutes again. I’m finding it a great way to get in some kilometres and it also helps to wake me up for those early morning shifts.

Route: Eltham to Kinglake return
Distance: 68.1km
Duration: 2 hours 43 minutes

Brendan and I had planned to go for a long ride yesterday but due to Brendan being ill the ride never eventuated. He was feeling better today though so we met at Eltham for a quick spin out to Kinglake.

We seemed to ride quite swiftly on the way there and I think the training is starting to pay off. At the base of the climb I was feeling really strong and so I pushed hard for 23 minutes and 52 seconds, breaking my previous best by half a minute. Brendan appeared to struggle a little today and on the way back we both suffered in the hot midday sun. There is just something about the heat that saps your energy while on the bike and despite our attempts to stay hydrated, we arrived home feeling quite dehydrated.

It’s amazing to think that Black Saturday is a year ago already and we spent a bit of time talking to one of the staff at the Kinglake Bakehouse and Cafe about it today. She said that the support given to the community of Kinglake since the fires has just been astounding and it’s only the occasional idiot that ruins it for everyone. One gentleman apparently walked into the bakehouse shortly after the fires wanting to know where the most people had died and when Brian Naylor’s house had been so that he could go and look. It’s a good thing that most people don’t think like that.

We also spoke to another cyclist as we enjoyed a break at Kinglake. He had recently ridden the Audax Alpine Classic, 140km version. Brendan and I listened with a amazement as he recalled how he had ridden the 3 Peaks Challenge route as training for the Alpine Classic. It seemed strange that he would want to train for a 140km by riding an even more challenging route including an extra 90km than he would do on event day.

We picked his brains about the route, trying to suss out the hard parts (all of it) and where we can possibly conserve our energy (the numerous descents). Apparently the Bogong High Plains Road back into Falls Creek is around 30km long, quite steep and requires you to just “grind your way up it”. Sounds like fun after 200km.

I’m just hoping that we have done enough training to make it physically possible to complete the couse. Brendan and I have booked some accommodation for Porepunkah (right near Bright) in a week and a half’s time in order to get in a training camp of sorts. At this stage we are planning on riding Mt. Hotham, Mt. Buffalo and Falls Creek (including Tawonga Gap from both directions) all from Porepunkah in order to get ourselves in shape for the big day.

It’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through February already. Where is the year going?!

25 days to go…

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2 Comments

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  1. Russell / Feb 11 2010

    Hey,
    love the blog – been reading about some of your rides after I spent a week in Bright before the Audax Alpine rides. The ACE250 was an awesome ride. The back of falls is probably the toughest climb of the ride, but it’s not 30km of hard climbing – the first bit from the turn off is tough for 10-11km, but once past that it’s a really pleasant ride. The ride from Omeo to the Bogong High Plains Rd intersection is spectacular and easy riding – you’ll love it.

    Keep up the blogging and good luck with the challenge. My next hill challenge is Mt Buller in a few weeks. Now that I’ve discovered these Victorian Alps they are proving very alluring :)

    Russ
    Canberra.

    • Matt / Feb 18 2010

      Hey Russell. Thanks for your lovely comments. It’s nice to see that people are reading and enjoying the blog. I’m pretty concerned that I haven’t done enough training but I’m hoping we can somehow make it through alive. We are heading up to Bright on Saturday for 5 days of pain which should hopefully get us a little fitter.
      Like you say, the road back up to Falls is the one I’m most worried about. I know I can make it up Hotham and Tawonga shouldn’t be that tough but after 200km of pain I don’t know how much fun it’s going to be getting back up to Falls. Thanks for the stats on the climb too, it’s a bit of an enigma to me as I haven’t ridden it and there isn’t much info on it that I can see. What sort of gradients are we looking at?
      Without wanting to self-promote too much, I have done an extensive write-up of Buller on the site. It’s at http://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/alpine-national-park/mt-buller/ and it might be of interest.
      If you have done the 250km ACE, Buller is going to feel like a bump in the road. Sure, the last couple km are steep but for the most part it’s just a sensational climb with some of the best scenery on any climb that I’ve seen. Amazing stuff.

      Thanks again for getting in touch.

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