Audax Australia
This is the umbrella organisation running long distance cycling events in Australia Their website includes a calendar of events.

A place where cyclist can keep track of their mileage and any number of other statistics, as well as an attached forum.

A set of discussion forums covering almost every conceivable cycling related topic.

Cycling Adventurer
The Cycling Adventurer has tossed in the structured life of an urbanite to explore the world by bicycle. A well-written site detailing how he came to cycling, and what he learned along the way.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Bicycle touring journals from all over the world, including a couple of my own.

Johns Cycles

This is my LBS on the Gold Coast. While they cater more to the racing market, their service, advice and workmanship is the best on the coast.

St Kilda Cycles

Importers of all manner of things hard to find in Australia, including the legendary Schmidt hub dynamo & E6 lights.


Wonderings and wanderings out and about in Portland, Oregon, US

The Journey
The journey begins in Perth, Western Australia.

Lance Notstrong
The "other" Lance!

Ms Mittens
The Wired Cat on-line

Iron Gambit

Aussie Writer and Cycletourist
A blog chronicling the writing and cycling of a seaside baby boomer.

Up in Alaska
Jill's subarctic journal about ice, bears and distant dreams of the midnight sun.

The Kin Chronicles
Taking mediocrity to a new level of ordinary.

Riding and running with a vengeance.

London Cycling Diary
Pedalling across the capital since August 2005.

CouchPilot-2-BikePilot (Zin's cycling blog)
Living an adventurous life with Type-2-Diabetes.

The adventures of Crazy Biker Chick
... Including cycling, adventuring, cooking, knitting and ranting.

Redneck Espanol
The two wheeled Spanish redneck.

Treadly and me
"Work is something I do between riding my bicycle".

Womanist philosophy and theology. Cycling, climbing, art, single-motherhood and fire-twirling.

Adrian Fitch's random rambling.
A bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all.

Geo's big adventure
The life and times of Geo.

It's about the bike
Musings on the cycling life.

Various cycling tidbits.

Industry Outsider
A blog about bikes and stuff.

Tweed Coast Treadly
An old man's bicycle riding diary.

A cyclist's life in Tenerife
(Canary Islands).

Bike to work to live to bike
It's never too late to get back on the bike

Stupid Hurts
Just the random scribblings of a guy with a bicycle

I'm not drunk enough for this
Really, I'm not.

What can I say? Just read it.

Mozam's cycling adventures
A random collection of the things I like to do most, and mostly that is to ride my bikes, bicycles that is... My musings from competitive riding, long distance endurance to puttering around the neighborhood..

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alpine Classic

The climb to Falls Creek

Some might have considered it foolishness to ride the Alpine Classic after 94km the day before in 37 degree (Celsius) heat. Still, the company I'd had on that ride convinced me that I could do it, as I wouldn't be the only one attempting this foolishness. As it was, I had a 6.40am start, in which the temperature was considerably cooler, so things were starting to look up.

Tawonga Gap

It didn't take long for me to raise the temperature just a little. I'd sat back a little from the main group in the early start out of Bright because I didn't want to burn myself out early, but I found form on the first climb of Tawonga Gap, and decided to just go with it and see what happened. That pass was pushed aside easily, and I started to feel confident about the ride.

Bound for Falls Creek

After that descent, the next act was the long climb to Falls Creek. It was basically a 30km climb with a few false flats and false descents thrown in to mix things up a little. After about 700 metres, however, it became a long grind with a steep pinch toward the summit. The scenery here is stunning at times, and I was torn between getting on with the climb or taking a heap of pictures. I probably compromised those two aims somewhat, but still pushed on toward the summit soon enough to feel as though completing this ride would pose little difficulty.

Snow gums at Falls Creek

On the way to Falls Creek I'd actually passed over a food stop, figuring I'd make the one at the summit of the climb and save some time. I'm still wondering whether I ended up paying for that decision later on, because after descending Falls Creek, the temperature rose above 30 degrees C for the first time that day, and I started burning energy a little faster than I would have liked. On the descent I also spotted another rider being treated by an ambulance after what appeared to be a crash into a metal barrier. I took noticeably fewer risks after that.

The second climb over Tawonga Gap started promisingly enough, but soon turned into a long, slow, drawn-out climb. I could sense the heat was starting to pose problems, so I just worked on technique and not extending myself too much as I headed for the summit. This would be a sign of things to come later on. As it was, I struggled over the Tawonga summit, before a lightning descent. I had actually ridden this descent on a tour three years earlier, so I felt comfortable enough to take a few liberties here.

I believe I've been here before -- Tawonga Gap, again

Returning to Bright provided the first sight of the locals by the side of the road, sitting in whatever shade they could find, cheering the riders on. Negotiating the way to the lunch stop was a little more confusing. There was an option here to call it a day and simply leave the distance at 130km and not worry about the climb of Mt Buffalo, but I figured that I had time in the bank, and wouldn't have to much trouble grinding out the last 70km.

Mt Buffalo is next

I was cheered on by more of the locals as I started the long ascent of Mt Buffalo. There would be 20km of this, and it would take a long time. I kept track of things on my altimeter, and decided to pause half way up the mountain to for a muesli bar before going on and finishing the climb. The pause took a little longer than I'd anticipated as the heat had totally destroyed my appetite for virtually anything.

Eurobin Falls, Mt Buffalo

10 more long kilometres of steady climbing saw me eventually reach the summit. I made a point of raising a fist into the air when I got there, more to provide motivation than to celebrate anything. By this stage my legs had severely cramped, so I was reduced to walking around while I ate to try to loosen then a little. It didn't even register with me that the ride was virtually complete, and all I had in front of me was a 20km descent followed by a rolling final 10km with a tailwind into Bright.

Victorian Alpine Country, Mt Buffalo

Sometime on the descent my appetite came back with a vengeance, a bit late for that now. I descended quickly, not so much to make up time, but just to try to keep my legs moving. Once the descent was over, it finally dawned on me that I was likely to finish this with an hour to spare. Not even a flat tyre now could stop me (that's something I need to factor into most rides). Even my old enemy, the heat, had been vanquished on this ride.

Somewhere on the descent of Mt Buffalo, but I'm not keeping count anymore

The sight of the old couple sitting under the tree next to their esky cheering accompanied me into Bright, and the finish. Now I was just riding on instinct, almost totally spent, but somehow adrenalised, knowing it was over. This ride had stopped being "fun" 100km ago, now "survival" was no longer appropriate. The post ride dinner had already started -- even if the last of the riders were still to finish. I probably wasn't at my conversational best that evening -- and spent most of the time trying to drink enough water to sink a battleship.

For all the challenges it posed, however, the ride was a memorable one. The scenery was magnificent, and the support from the volunteers, the other riders and the locals was something to savour. I may even consider returning next year -- assuming the calendar is kind enough to give me another long weekend to play with.


Blogger fingers said...

As always you inspire me! Well done!

6:47 pm  
Blogger Surly Dave said...

Well done. I pulled out at Falls due to a lack of fitness. I was sitting on that Armco railing until about a minute before that crash. Glad to have missed it.

5:24 pm  
Blogger Chris L said...

It's funny, I thought sheer bloody-mindedness was a bigger factor in that ride than fitness. I'm sure that was all that got me over Mt Buffalo late in the day.

8:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great piece!

Found this little gem on where not to stay in bright!

9:09 pm  

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