"It never gets any easier, especially as I age, with the wife telling me what a dickhead I must be."
That's what Peaks Challenge Falls Creek rider Mark McLean told us when we asked if Australia's toughest single-day bike ride gets easier every year.
Mark is saddling up for the 10th year in a row in 2019 and is one of only a handful of people who have taken on every single Peaks Challenge Falls Creek ride.
He had ridden Around the Bay, and finished well, but still felt he was overweight and unfit and in need of a genuine test. So he entered the new Three Peaks ride, as it was known then.
"I saw it as a fair dinkum challenge. If I didn’t prepare properly, I would not be able to complete it," said Mark.
He finished that first ride, and because of the challenges the wet weather threw up, thinks it is the most memorable. However, he still comes back every year and loves it.
"I typically ride with two other nutjobs whom I have cajoled into doing Peaks Challenge for at the least the last five years."
"This helps make it fun and invites camaraderie and inspiration if your motivation is poor and ebbing away."
And even though Mark has been riding the event for 10 years, he still sets tests and goals.
"To think that I can still get faster is what keeps me coming back, the thought that my 8 hours and 49 minutes in 2014 can't be the best it can get."
"It is an honest challenge year in year out, and I use this as motivation to not get fat and start eating Samboy chips on the couch."
Mark's advice for anyone thinking about taking on Peaks Challenge for the first time is to do what he has done and find some like minded "nutjobs" to train and ride with.
This year he is aiming for a finish around the 9 hour mark, but is experienced enough to know that anything can happen on the day to change this.
If you spot Mark out on the ride (you will know him from his Peaks Challenge gilet and Jones cycle store top) be sure to say hello.
Other rider stories
Tim Ellison is saddling up for his tenth Peaks Challenge Falls Creek ride in 2019. We asked him about some of his favourite moments and...
Tom Pawikowski shares his story of blind determination, painful setbacks and dogged perseverance in his quest to cross the finish line at Peaks Challenge Falls...
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