Every now and then I like to get out for an epic ride; the type of rides that epitomize cycling just you, the bike and the road or trail as is often the case with me. Wife and kids away for the weekend it provided the perfect opportunity to go out and ride, without the worry of needing to be home for reasons X,Y & Z – the weather was reasonably good too! So let’s get riding!!!…
I had planned to head to Bright for the weekend to ride Tawonga / Falls and Mt Hotham, but after getting up at 3:30am to do airport drop offs, I was in little mood to spend another 4hrs in the car driving and so opted to head to Woodend / Mount Macedon instead. There is not a lot epic about Mount Macedon, although it does offer a good opportunity for some good climbs and good views from the war memorial at the summit as well. After doing 2 laps of my normal 30km circuit I had hoped to do some further exploring and ride a climb I discovered online called Alton d’Huez unfortunately a rapidly deflating tubular tire ended my day early.
Alton d’Huez Video stolen from Climbing Cyclist YouTube channel:
Looks kinda cool!
The War Memorial, clearly whomever designed this had bike photo op’s in mind:
On Sunday morning I packed the car and headed off to Mansfield to tackle Mount Buller The weather was grey, but reasonably mild and I set off on what would be a 100km ride from Mansfield, to Mt Buller summit then back to Mansfield. Being mindful of the coaches’ “don’t bury yourself” comment earlier in the week I tried to pace myself Z2 to Sawmill Settlement, then complete the climb at tempo / sweet spot before riding Z2 back to Mansfield. Even before I got to the gates at the bottom of Mt Buller I knew I was in for a long day an hour in to the ride and I was already feeling it having smashed myself the day before.
What a climb! Soon enough I got to the gates and commenced the climb; Mount Buller for the most part is a fairly constant 6% grade for the first 12.5kms, before ramping to about 13% for the last 1.5 to 2kms. Even completing the climb at tempo was a big effort it was just constant climbing, no rest but reasonably epic views to distract you from the ongoing pain. The cloud cover rolled in from about half way up and got thicker towards the top to the point where you could barely see 2m in front of you. The final 2kms broke me, out of the saddle cranking 39/23 and seemingly going nowhere I was absolutely elated to see the pavement change from bitumen to concrete and the village pop into view which marks the end of the climb. Finally I had made it… And I learnt something about myself too!
The village was dead, it provided an almost surreal experience with the cold, thick fog, and being the only person there – it left me wondering how the hell do businesses stay open over the spring, summer and autumn months, soon enough it was time to depart and head back to Mansfield as I was concerned I would run out of light before I got there! The descent down Mt Buller was fast and hairy, the road partially wet made for some dicey cornering; lucky I was repping the mountain bike skillz or I could have ended up sliding down the road… the trip back to Mansfield was fairly quick if only the 3 hour drive home was that quick.
Total ride time was 3hrs 40mins, 96kms and one of the 7 peaks chalked up.
I was hoping for a view, but all I got was clouds:
In all a solid weekend of riding, I think an easy might be in order for today!