Here is my 2012 long Alpine Classic report. I write these for myself because my memory of the event fades very quickly. You don't have to read it if you don't want to
Throughout this post I have tried to catalogue everything that I ate and drank. UJ1 claims I have some kind of cast iron stomach, so it is for his benefit. I am sure I have forgotten some items.
My plan this year was to do what I was unable to do last year; that is to complete the AAC200 in less than 10 hours. Things went fairly well towards that goal until December when Some Stuff Happened (TM). During December I was not able to get out on the bike on weekends, and at several times even considered not participating in the ride. In my dejected state I put on over 3kg - which does not really help in the mountains. In the end my ambition became to simply complete the ride.
Originally the plan was to travel up to Bright with my wife Leanne, but due to Some Stuff Happened (TM), both of us could not be away from home at the same time. My fall back option was to get a lift from the same person who kindly took me to Bright last year, but he was not able to provide transport. This left me desperate. To my very good fortune, cyclotaur kindly offered to transport me to/from Bright.
Thanks also to weg who thought of me when she decided not to go to Bright. She gave me the option of taking over her booking at the Bright Colonial Inn Motel.
On Friday morning, cyclotaur picked me up and we drove to Bright. During the trip we discovered that we were both staying at the same place. I ended up spending a lot of time with cyclotaur and UJ1 on the weekend and had a great time hanging out with them.
On Saturday afternoon I found Anth73 and organised to meet up with the Peak Bike Hub guys for dinner. Frosty cooked an awesome carbo-loading dinner for everyone. There were around 12 hungry cyclists sitting at the table, but we could not finish all of the food. At about 9pm there was a break in the rain giving me the opportunity to walk the 2km back through the mud to my accommodation. I wanted to get a good sleep before the ride in the morning.
On arrival back at the motel, I noticed cycloaur and UJ1 were still up and talking. Their ride started an hour later than mine, so we would not see each other in the morning. I went to their room to wish them good luck on their ride. They invited me in, and instead of going to bed, I spent almost an hour talking with them.
Once in my room, I laid out everything needed for the morning to settle my mind, set the alarm for 4:30am and went to bed. It took quite some time to fall asleep.
A catalogue of comestibles consumed for breakfast follows:
3 sachets of instant porridge made with oat milk
1 cup of tea.
Loading my jersey, I found that I could not fit everything. Anth73 warned that rain was forecast from 12pm onwards, so I packed an undershirt and arm warmers. That left almost no room for food. I did pack three gels, Endura for four bidons, and a powerbar. One bidon was pre-filled with Endura for the first climb up Tawonga.
As it turned out, the undershirt and arm warmers were unnecessary. Instead, they just absorbed a large amount of sweat and became very heavy. I blame that for my long ride time.
My ride started very well, and I found myself in a group that started at a comfortable 25km/h. That all changed once we hit Tawonga Gap. Holding back to conserve energy, my speed was between 9 and 11 km/h for the entire ascent. David Charlton went flying past at the speed of light. I arrived at the top feeling really good.
I rolled into the Mt Beauty water stop with Frosty and Nicko. During the Tawonga ascent I had started to entertain thoughts of completing the ride in 10 hours, so tried to minimise my time at Mt Beauty. I refilled my bidons, took a fruit bun, and immediately got back onto the bike. A catalogue of comestibles consumed in Mt Beauty follows:
1 fruit bun
Frosty and Nicko caught up and overtook with me fairly soon after leaving Mt Beauty. At the water stop at the base of Falls there was still plenty of water in my bidons so I did not stop.
It was a few minutes before 10am when I arrived at the top of Falls. During the climb I decided that if I reached the top before 10am I would skip the food stop and push on to try for a sub-10 hour ride. It is funny how climbing makes your brain malfunction.
To my surprise, Frosty rolled up while I was filling my bidons. He and Nicko had stopped for water at the base of Falls and I had passed them without noticing. Something snapped me out of my stupid sub-10 hour delusion, and I put my bidons back on my bike and walked inside for the Falls Creek feast in the company of Rydge, zzride, and Frosty. A catalogue of comestibles consumed follows:
1 fruit cake muffin
1 slice of watermellon
1 piece of orange
1 cup of creamed rice with milo
The traffic marshal assured me that the fruit cake muffin was so heavy that there was no chance you could throw it up. My original intention was to carry the banana on the bike, but it was too soft, so had to be carried internally.
Almost 15 minutes after arriving, we all got back onto our bikes for the return trip to Bright.
Most of the ride back is a bit of a blur. Frosty disappeared into the distance during the descent, and zzride passed me not long after. The only thing that stuck in my memory is the woman who handed me an ice cold can of coke about 2km from the top of Tawonga Gap. I could see her in the distance and was mentally debating with myself about how much money I was prepared to pay for the coke. She was giving them away for free! I later heard from someone that she gave away over 200 cans of coke. Incredible. While on Tawonga the temperature rose to 38C. A catalogue of comestibles consumed on Tawonga Gap follows:
1 can of coke
Exactly 6 hours after starting the ride I rolled into the lunch stop by myself. That left 4 hours to cover 70 km (my sub-10 hour delusion was returning). I filled my bidons again and took them back to the bike. Once blood started flowing to my brain again, the stupid thoughts were banished and I went to get some food.
After grabbing a salad roll I started looking for the others. They were nowhere to be seen. Just then Rydge rolled in. Not long afterwards, zzride and Frosty arrived. Then began the lunch feast. A catalogue of comestibles consumed for lunch follows:
1 salad roll
around 10 pieces of orange
1/2 an apple turn-over
2 icy poles
at least 10 lollies
2 glasses of cordial
Lunch was a very sedate affair. I even spent some time standing under the sprinkler that had been set up on the footy club steps. 35 minutes after stopping for lunch we finally gathered enough enthusiasm to set off again.
By the time we reached the base of Buffalo the temperature had climbed to 39C.
The first water stop on Buffalo appeared sooner than expected. I did not stop because my bidons were still quite full. Rydge was somewhere behind me, Frosty and zzride left the water stop as I was approaching.
When I arrived at the second water stop halfway up the main climb, the water fairy sprayed me with cold water. Bliss. I then discovered a volunteer filling bidons with ice. Awesome! The last ration of Endura went into one of my ice filled bidons. Before leaving I walked back down to the water fairy for another all over spray.
Only another 8km of climbing to the end of the main ascent, and then there was another 4km including a further climb before the turn-around point. I popped a gel and hopped back on my bike. Rydge gave me some lollies to turbo-charge the gel. A catalogue of comestibles consumed follows:
1 cola gel
The first gel powered km of the climb went past very easily. I then started the mental game of telling myself it was not far to go by comparing it to a climb up Kinglake. Towards the top of the main ascent my left hamstring was threating to cramp, so I had to be very careful when out of the saddle. Rydge passed me at some point, but later I noticed he had stopped with a cramp. When I called out to him he assured me that he was OK, so I kept plugging away.
The top of the climb arrived sooner than I expected, which was very nice.
For people that have not done the ride before, the final climb to Dingo Dell is a cruel joke. You think you have reached the top of the mountain after 19km of climbing, but still have another 2km of climbing to go. One extremely frustrated guy I passed was shouting and swearing at Audax for doing this to him.
Frosty, Rydge, and zzride were all at the turn-around point when I arrived, so we sat down to chill, eat and drink. A catalogue of comestibles consumed follows:
1 plate of banana and custard
2 cups of white tea with sugar
at least 10 lollies
3 pieces of orange
While kicking back, we decided that it would be good to cross the finish line together. 25 minutes after arriving we got back onto the bikes and started rolling back down the mountain. Everyone else descended faster than me and disappeared into the distance. I was feeling tired and could not be bothered concentrating enough to go harder through the corners.
The descent seemed to go on for ever and ever. I suppose that while climbing Buffalo, with so much energy being diverted to my legs, my brain went into standby mode or something. I kept finding myself being amazed that I had just climbed my bike up the endless mountain.
At the base of the "small" rise at the bottom of the mountain I noticed zzride in the distance just cresting the hill. I pushed myself and found that my legs had not siezed up during the descent. It did not take me very long to catch the others, and Frosty then suggested we do rolling turns back into Bright. I started rolling down the hill to get a small rest after the chasing up the hill, but Frosty went zooming past with Rydge and zzride in tow. Doing a quick stock-take of my legs I was unable to find any more energy anywhere. They were toast.
Watching the others recede into the distance, I resigned myself to rolling into Bright by myself. About 5km later I rode past Rydge and zzride. Rydge had cramped again, but I could see Frosty in the distance. When I caught Frosty, he called out to stop. We then waited for Rydge and zzride to catch up.
10hr56 after starting I rolled over the finish line together with Rydge, zzride and Frosty.
At the finish line there was more to eat and drink. A catalogue of comestibles consumed at the finish follows:
2 cups of cordial
1 cup of fruit and jelly
The ride was almost an hour slower than what I had wanted, but I didn't care. It was an epic day that was shared with other cyclists, rather than a sufferfest spent alone in pursuit of the impossible.
Ride Time: 09:23:05
Elapsed Time: 10:56:26
Max Speed: 65.5 km/h
Avg Speed: 20.9 km/h
Distance: 197 km
Elevation: 3,862 m
Edit: remembered some more food.