Prologue: back on the bike

Wurundjeri Spur Lookout

In the weeks after the 3 Peaks Challenge in March, a bunch of people asked me the same question: “So, do you think you’ll do it again?”

At the time, riding 3 Peaks again was the last thing on my mind. I was more concerned about when I’d be able to walk painfree again.

But as the months passed by, the puzzle pieces fell slowly into place.

There was Cadel Evans’ stunning victory in Le Tour de France that left me inspired to head for the hills again. There was a succesful attempt at the Melbourne Marathon which left me looking forward to my next challenge. There was an inspiring day trip down to Arthurs Seat to watch the penultimate stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. And there was a bunch of tweets, Facebook messages and emails from Bicycle Network Victoria (formerly Bicycle Victoria) asking me whether I’d be back for 3 Peaks 2012.

The combination of these factors led me to a fairly simple decision: it’s time to start training for 3 Peaks again.

Brendan climbing Humevale Road

“You’ve already completed it once, where’s the challenge in completing it again?” you might ask. Well, the way I see it, things will be a little different this time around.

In my training for this year’s 3 Peaks, it was all about the final destination — I was only doing the training so I would have a realistic chance of completing the event. This time around, it’s a completely different feeling. I know I can complete the event and I’m looking forward to the journey.

I’m looking forward to heading out to the Dandenongs and stringing a bunch of climbs together. I’m looking forward to trying out new rides and new climbs all across the state (and possibly beyond). And I’m looking forward to riding and training with others.

Last year Brendan pulled out of his 3 Peaks attempt a few months before the event, meaning I did the majority of my training alone. This time around, Brendan is keen to make amends for two missed opportunities. At the same time, I’m keen to make up for causing his first DNF, when my front gear cable snapped after only 5km.

I’ll be joined too by Paul Dalgarno, a friend and colleague from The Conversation (where we both work) and author of the terrific blog, Innocent in Australia. Paul has only been cycling for a few months but has already completed the 210km version of Around the Bay in a Day. He also rides 26km to work almost every day, earning himself the nickname The Donvale Demon.

One of the few pleasant moments on our recent ride.

I’m looking forward to many training rides with Brendan and Paul in the coming months and watching as my fitness improves over summer. That said, I’m coming off five months of marathon training so my fitness isn’t as bad as it could be!

I’ve also been cycling to work at least three times a week (sure, it’s only 9km each way, but it’s better than nothing!) and I’ve done a number of longer rides in recent weeks:

  • Brendan and I completed a 92km return ride to Kinglake in the midst of my marathon training
  • Paul and I went for a leisurely 125km spin down to Mornington and back two weeks before my marathon
  • Brendan and I went for a 75km ride two weeks ago through which the rain, wind and cold never really disappeared.

So with the decision out of the way, it’s time to get on with the training. I’ve given myself less time than last year, but with my residual fitness I think I should be fine.

My partner Sharon and I are heading away on an 11-day camping holiday this Saturday which will take in Barwon Heads, the Great Ocean Road and the Grampians. Sharon’s been kind enough to let me throw the bike in and I’m planning to get my training underway with some great rides on roads I’ve never really explored.

Bleakesville united.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of 3 Peaks earlier this year was putting together this blog and all the responses I got throughout. I hope you can join me again this time around. Of course, I’m always keen to hear your feedback and suggestions about places to train, what I could be doing differently or anything related to the site at all.

You can sign up for automatic email updates by clicking on the letter icon at the top-left of this page, and you can follow me on social media as well. I’ll be posting content to The Climbing Cyclist Facebook page and Twitter account. You can follow Paul and Brendan on Twitter as well.

I also recently joined Strava — a fantastic free mapping tool that plots your rides based on GPS readings from a compatible device (an iPhone in my case). If you haven’t already checked it out and signed up for an account, I suggest you do so right away. Head over to my my Strava page if you want to see what sort of rides I’m getting up to.

Until next time, thanks for reading and ride safe!

122 days to go …

6 Replies to “Prologue: back on the bike”

  1. Good to see you back on the bike (forget about running, cycling is where it is at). Once you’ve knock off the 3 peaks, you should then have a crack at road racing. You’ll have a great aerobic base by March from which to build race fittest.

  2. Hi Matt, I enjoy reading your blogs and look forward to seeing how your training goes for the 3 peaks. I’ve been using your posts on Mt Macedon for my training. Thankyou! Matt

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