In case y'all don't know about them there's a couple of Audax rides on this weekend which are great Alpine preparation. Both take in Lake Mountain and Donna Buang.
Saturday is for those who don't mind a bit of gravel. From Lilydale to Launching Place on the Warby trail then up Don Rd/Donna Buang Rd to the summit, and then either back to Lilydale (100km option) or on to Marysville via the Acheron Way and back up the Lake Mountain road through Reefton, Cambarville etc (200km option).
Sunday starts in Warburton and heads through Reefton to the Lake Mountain summit. Then either back the same way (120km option), down to Marysville then back the same way to Warburton (150km), or Marysville and back plus Donna Buang (200km).
Details on the Audax online calendar or else ask here.
Extra challenge: ride both.
Thank you for posting this, hamishm! I never look at the Audax riding calendar, so this prompted me to do so after I couldn't decide whether to ride the Hells 500 Lake Mountain trip on Saturday or go to work on the Saturday and ride Sunday.... I knew I wanted one more long ride before Alpine Classic at month's end - I've been feeling particularly underdone with respect to readiness this year!
I thought it was fattima's idea, but he claims it was mine - either way, we both really enjoyed this ride on Sunday. The group we set out with was rather small, but strong
(I'm looking at you, too, hamishm...) and we kept seeing the same people on and off all day as the ride progressed - having a chat or getting the wave or nod as we pressed on. Also, was recognised by kens at the start and saw him again on his way up Lake Mountain (still smiling) as I descended and headed for Marysville. Haven't seen you for ??? 2 years I think!
Reefton spur, I've never ridden before, and it was spectacular. A couple times I had the opportunity to just stop and take in the supreme silence (except for birds calling), the huge trees and the feeling of being away from it all. And very nice later to descend!
Donna has never felt so hard, though
On a few occasions over the day, I felt the bonk coming on - carried lots of food and ateateate at every opportunity. By the end, I felt as if all my blood sugar was being funneled to my working body as it just kept going, but the brain had kind of agreed to just shut down... especially on the freezing descent.... brrrrrrrr.... my teeth were actually chattering by the time I got back to Cement Creek, and I was worried about getting the wobbles because my upper body was trying to shiver through my arms!
Well organised, great crew, and the best of all: being met at Lake Mountain by the instant coffee that changed my life
and at the end of the ride by ukelele (live!) and minestrone soup. Aaaaaahhhhh... perfect! Thank you heaps to Audax. Brilliant day, people, and experience.
I think I feel ready for Alpine now, and just waiting to see how hot it will be....