Sunday, January 28, 2007

A classic Alpine Classic

Though I'm a bit tired and sore today, I can truly say the Alpine Classic is a ride well worthy of its name. I rode the 130km distance yesterday and despite how tough the ride is, I really enjoyed every minute of it.

I woke early to see the 800-odd 200km riders set off and before long the smaller group tackling my distance was on its way too. The first few small climbs on the way to Towonga Gap were fine, but after that I left the climbing to the climbers and spun up steadily in a tiny gear.

The downhill on the other side was a series of lovely swooping high speed corners and I stopped for a short break at Mt Beauty before setting off for the daunting ascent towards Falls Creek. The approach is a series of gradually rising undulations before the road turns straight up after the Kiewa River crossing. Riders had no problem keeping cool this year as the odd icy blasts blew down from the Alpine heights. Again, I spun up to save my knees and finally reached the top around 12.30pm - 65km and five hours after leaving Bright.

The outward journey has taken five hours. Setting off at 1pm gave me a bare three hours to get back before the 4.05pm cut off. It was always going to be a big ask.

A short and shakey lunchbreak over - I zoomed back down to Mt Beauty and braced for the 7km climb back up Towonga Gap. I plugged away, passing several people who had elected to walk the steep sections. I made the top at 3.28pm, taking me a two minute break and bracing to cover the last 20km in 30 minutes or less. Fortunately it was a long downhill run so I was able to shift up into a huge gear and fly down the other side before reaching the finish elated with eight minutes to spare.

The Alpine Classic is a fantastic ride - despite my lack of ability as a hill climber. It was well organised and there were heaps of volunteers to direct traffic and keep everyone safe. The finish in particular was great with huge crowds and a real carnival atmosphere. I look forward to attempting it again sometime. Maybe even next year!

707km so far this year.

4 comments:

DamianM said...

Congrats Dave!

I take it you didn't have to deal with the 46 degree temps that were there last year ?

I think I'm going to have a crack at the Alpine in 08, sounds like a great ride.

Surly Dave said...

No, I forgot to mention: the weather was great, cool temps all the way and only a puff of wind towards the end. I'd recommend it highly - expect in the hot years!

Chris L said...

The Alpine Classic is a ride I'd like to do one day myself (the full 200k). I did the ASH Dash in Tasmania last month (which would rival the AC) and had a ball.

BTW, Where was that picture in your banner taken? It reminds me a lot of Tasmania's east coast.

Surly Dave said...

I'm planning to do the next Ash Dash, it sounds a ripper. A move to Tassie is on the card in the next few months. I just bought a place at Judbury, up the river from Huonville.

The banner is Tasmania's east coast - well spotted. Not sure exactly where, I think it's somewhere near Bicheno. We did a tour up there a few years back.