Audax Alpine Classic (Victoria, Australia) 2015 - part 3

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
Having had a satisfying morning on Saturday riding from Bright to Mt Hotham and back, I then spent a fairly relaxing afternoon in Bright, doing a bit of sight-seeing. I walked from my caravan park to a nearby scenic walk and back, a round trip of about 1 hour. The walk is for the fairly fit, as it zigzags up a hill side very steeply, but the view from above Bright is worth the walk. :smile: After the morning's ride, my legs barely noticed the hill, anyway.

The view from near my caravan park towards the hill I planned to walk up.

The Huggins Track, the scenic walk leading up the hill to the lookout of the same name. For any of you who get a chance to visit Bright, when you get to this point, you walk between the poles, then veer left, and simply follow the track as it zigzags up the steep hill side.

The view from the Huggins Lookout is spectacular, showing large areas of the town of Bright.

The Audax Alpine Classic (200km ride option) on Sunday 25th January 2015.

On the next day, I again got up early (about 4:30am this time), and rode a few kms to the start point of the Alpine Classic 200km (124mls) ride, which starts at 6:20am. This ride goes from Bright to Falls Creek, via Tawonga Gap, then back to Bright by the same route, then (after lunch), to Mt Buffalo then back to Bright. So it covers the same section of the different roads in both directions, as the route map below shows.

Bright, the start and finish point of this particular ride option, is a bit to the left of the centre of the map, and as I mentioned previously is at about 340m (1115ft) elevation. So the ride heads east over Tawonga Gap, where the road peaks at about 900m (2950ft), then down to the town of Mount Beauty at about 300m (980ft). It then heads south and east up to Falls Creek, which is at about 1500m (4920ft). The riders then follow the reverse route back to Bright, and a well-earned lunch, before heading west along The Great Alpine Rd towards Mt Buffalo. The official ride checkpoint, known as Dingo Dell, is at about 1410m (4620ft). The total climbing is about 4050m (13,280ft), so it's a fairly long and strenuous day in the saddle. :heat:


The elevation profile below shows just how strenuous. The first peak is Tawonga Gap (climbed from the west), followed by Falls Creek, then Tawonga Gap (climbed from the east), then Mt Buffalo.

I didn't take anywhere near as many photos on this day, as I wanted to save my time and energy just for the ride, but here's a selection of the few I did take.

The 200km ride's start point, with everyone eagerly anticipating the ride ahead. Err... that is, everyone but the lady in the middle, who doesn't look kitted up for cycling, and must have been relegated to "bike holding" duties while boyfriend/husband/whatever attended to something else? :laugh:

At Tawonga Gap, there is a lookout at the highest road point, with nice views of the valley below to the east, containing the towns of Tawonga and Mount Beauty. It's particularly nice shortly after sunrise.

I didn't take any photos of Falls Creek on Sunday, but I did stop briefly at Mackeys Lookout, roughly halfway up Mt Buffalo, to take some photos of this glorious afternoon panorama.

Near the top of Mt Buffalo is Lake Catani, and the 3 times I've ridden past it have all been on hot days, and I've just wanted to jump straight in to cool off. :sweat:

Sunday was a very tough ride, with none of the peaks particularly easy for me. On Saturday, I had suffered aching of my bottom on the last 20km before getting back to Bright from Mt Hotham and was thinking "this bodes ill for tomorrow". :sad: However, on Sunday, I made a point of getting up off the saddle frequently (doing a good "jack-in-the-box" impression :laugh:), which helped, because the ache didn't return. The saddle sores started making themselves felt, though, and my rear was on fire before the ride ended.

The Mt Buffalo ascent is always the most mentally-challenging on the 200km ride, because you get back to Bright from Falls Creek, having done about 120km (74.5mls) of riding, have lunch, then have to grit your teeth and head off again (in the hot afternoon sun) towards Mt Buffalo. This is generally a tough one to finish off after that much riding, but I just chose a low gear and spun my way up it, finding that the saddle sores bothered me less the closer I got to the top (or I just ignored them better? :rolleyes:).

Overall, though, I was happy with Sunday's effort, because I managed to complete the ride exactly 12 hours after it started, i.e. it went from 6:20am to 6:20pm, not bad considering I'd done a major ride the day before.

So I managed to ride up 4 peaks in the 2 days: Mt Hotham on the 1st day, then on the 2nd day Tawonga Gap (from both directions), Falls Creek and Mt Buffalo. :smile:
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Legendary Member
Lucky, some amazing sights and some serious riding, I am jealous ^_^

Thanks for the ride report :thumbsup:
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