Every audax cyclist I know has been busily training for the Audax Alpine Classic. It's on this Sunday in Bright, Victoria. It's one of the best organised and well-attended rides in Australia and is stunningly scenic to boot. Not that the 3,000 odd participants will be there to admire the scenery.
The full ride is a brutal 200km with 3000m of climbing in four major climbs, all the heat of mid summer. There's lesser distances for lesser mortals, including the 130km which I'm attempting for the second time. The shorter distance means I only have to face two steep 600m climbs and a long and steep 1400m climb up to Falls Creek. I finished just inside the cut-off time in 2007 but my bid for the 200km last year was thwarted by the effect of a lingering hangover.
Some people go nuts for this ride. My friend Steve has ridden 700km so far this month - including a week's training in the Victorian Alps. NancyBoy has been training flat out for months. They'll suffer like everyone else - this is a ride of suffering - but at least they'll go faster.
Before I even set out, I have plenty of excuses this year. My training has been less than stellar. (I ride for fun, so the idea of training is a little alien to me anyway.) I don't have the physique for hill climbing. After a tough November and December I had a couple of easy weeks and have only just turned my mind to the punishing hill climbs that lie ahead with six days to go! I could use all the training I can get, although there's a limit to how much I'm going to get between now and Sunday. Two maybe three good rides?
But I have to do something. This morning I parked the car halfway up Mt Wellington and pretty much coasted the entire 14km to work. All day I'll have that 500m climb hanging over my head. Hopefully a couple of decent hill sessions will help. It has to be better than nothing right?
248km so far this year.