Audax Alpine Classic (Victoria, Australia) 2015 - part 1

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
My legs had a very busy weekend! :smile: On Friday, a friend drove myself and 2 others from Melbourne to Bright, in the Victorian Alps, about a 3.5 to 4 hour drive. Saturday saw me riding my road bike from Bright to Mt Hotham and back, then on Sunday I rode in one of the more popular Alpine sportives down under, the Audax Alpine Classic, held annually on the Australia Day long weekend. On Monday, we returned to Melbourne.

Over the 2 days of riding, I covered 305km (189.5mls), with 6,000m (about 19,670ft) of climbing. :heat:

On Saturday, since the trip to the Alps takes so long, I thought it would be a shame to waste the Saturday sitting around Bright doing very little, so I got up at 5am and at 6 left for Mt Hotham. This is the route I took:

It has a lot of climbing, as the elevation profile below shows. I did about 1950m (6390ft) climbing over the 111.5km (69mls).


From Bright (at about 340m (1115ft) elevation) to Harrietville (at about 550m (1810ft) elevation) is about 25km (15.5mls), then the main 30km (18.5mls) climb to the Mt Hotham summit starts. The summit is at about 1840m (6030ft). This page from The Climbing Cyclist (an Australian cycling page devoted to road climbs) describes the Harrietville to Mt Hotham climb better than I can, though:

My ride up to the summit was slow and easy, with numerous photo-stops, as I needed to save my legs for the Alpine Classic the next day, as that was almost double the distance and climbing. Here is a selection of these photos.

Rolling out of Bright in the early morning, heading for Harrietville.

Arriving at Harrietville, with the start of the Mt Hotham foothills in the distance.

Just past the start of the climb from Harrietville to the Mt Hotham summit.

In January 2013, some large bush fires tore through parts of Mt Hotham, followed a few weeks later by rain, causing this part of the road to completely collapse. As you can see, an excellent repair job was done, with a very smooth road surface here now.

The Meg, one of the steepest pinches in the whole climb, with this bend having about a 15% grade, followed by about 400m of 9% grade. I don't know where the name comes from, though. I searched but found no information on this.

The Meg, from the road a bit further up.

The climb just past The Meg, a good workout for the legs.

These signs mark the top of the steeper part of the Mt Hotham climb, i.e. the first 10km (6.2mls) with 700m (2300ft) climbing.

The official Mt Hotham Alpine Resort entrance, The Buckland Gate (no hobbits to be seen, though :laugh:).

The intersection of The Great Alpine Rd and Dargo High Plains Rd, which heads south to Bairnsdale on the Victorian coast (about halfway between Melbourne and the south-eastern extremity of the Australian coast). If you look at the route map I posted above, this is the southern-most part of the route.

(To be continued in part 2... )
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