Firstly, a huge thanks to my friends who pulled me out of the doldrums and made it a great weekend.
Instead of being both physically and mentally prepared, I had spent the week leading up to the Alpine almost de-motivating myself
Some personal stuff happening, plus news of the fires, weather forecasts of rain then the final straw of the intended route change almost saw me pull out altogether.
Saturday morning I finally fell off the fence I had been sitting on all week and thought if I don't go, I'll end up regretting it.
So, a nice afternoon in Bright with good friends, a couple of beers (read carbo loading) and dinner. The calm before the storm so to speak.
Sunday dawned much warmer than expected and very clear, thankfully. The start was fairly uneventful, except for the two exploding tyres in the group of waiting riders. This managed to induce a small amount of paranoia and I let a tiny bit of air out of mine, much to the amusement of my riding friend
The first climb I realised I had forgotten to put on my HR strap - so just had to rely on how I was feeling to keep the pace restricted a bit.
An uneventful climb and reached Dingo Dell feeling fairly fresh. I had been concerned about the descent with all the riders doing the one mountain, but it was all very civilised. Kudos to the faster riders who called early and often as they approached slower riders.
Unashamedly took the advantage of sitting in amongst a group for the roll back into Bright, hey I figured I was going to need all the energy for later in the day! One down, two to go.
Went in to the second climb thinking that this will be the decider - how I feel when I get to the top will determine if I give No.3 a go.
Again, took it easy and just enjoyed the scenery, drooled over some of the bikes that went past. Chatted to a few riders here and there. Saw the same people I saw in lap 1. Came around a corner to see the St Johns Ambulance, lights flashing and a group by the side of the road. Later I spoke to the guy who was first on scene - he had been riding up and saw this girl coming down who just didn't take the corner, instead shooting straight off the side and over the edge into the bush. Apparently she was a bit battered and bruised but didn't break any bones. Hope she ended up ok.
The last 5 k's started to get a bit harder on the legs but I found myself at Dingo Dell thinking that it wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. More food, thanks to the magnificent catering efforts of the Audax crew.
The next descent was quieter, and a lot of fun. I quite like the Buffalo descent with its well cambered corners
Coming back into Bright (again) we passed the Porepunkah Caravan Park with its beautiful sparkling blue pool out the front. Despite my shouted warning of “Don’t look at the pool!” everyone’s heads turned and watched as people frolicked in the cool water.
Bright, more food and a lovely Audax volunteer handing out icy poles
Now the mind games began. There was a fleeting thought of calling it quits but then I thought “I’m here now, I might as well finish it”
That third climb was the hardest ride I have done to date. Hot, slow, legs complaining all the way up. I stopped at each water stop plus a few points in between. Listened to the sound of the melting bitumen popping. Passed a few shattered riders, checking that they were ok (one poor guy head hung low - managed a yeah mate, I'll be ok, in between retching). Got passed by a few riders.
Started setting little goals of – I’ll pull over for a rest when the Garmin reaches 3900m ascent……etc, etc.
I have never been so happy to see the crest just before the chalet turnoff.
Never mind the 3 k’s still to go till Dingo Dell, nor the return to Bright – at that point my mind said I’d made it!
Dingo Dell, a few by now familiar faces and a farewell to the Audax volunteer manning the entry/exit point. I explained it wasn’t him but me…it just wasn’t working out between us, and I wouldn’t be up to see him again that day
A very solitary descent, being careful to maintain concentration. Felt sorry for the riders I passed still on their way up.
Yelled a very Doppler effect “See you at the Brewery” to one of our group as I went past.
And so into Bright. For the last time.
Sat and enjoyed a pint whilst waiting for others to come in. And then another when they did, and…
Some ride stats
Total distance – 218km
Total climbing – 4170m
Total time – 10:53
Total moving time: 9:52
Bright to Dingo Dell
1st climb – 2:00
2nd climb – 2:06
3rd climb 2:44
Maximum temp on Garmin – 42
Loved it, hated it, can’t wait for next year!
And I honestly wouldn’t have made it there if not for the great bunch I ride with. Thanks guys.
And finally - thanks Audax, you rock.