Well that’s 4 finished now – I’m catching up to Phil (5 rides).
I really enjoyed this year’s 3 Peaks. I’m happy enough with the time, 9:47. It’s nice to get another <10 hour Finisher’s Jersey. My goal was to finish the ride in about 11 hours. I really didn’t think I would make it having only done 1 ride over 150 km in the last 12 months.
I started at the very back of the 11 hour wave. After the descent from Falls Creek to Mt Beauty I started the first climb up Tawonga Gap. I didn’t feel that great so I just cruised along at a comfortable pace making sure to eat and drink regularly. I reached the top and continued down the other side to Bright. I joined a medium size group from Bright to Harrietville. The pace was a bit slow but I was in no hurry. I reached the first valet sop at Harrietville on 11 hour pace.
The climb up Mt Hotham was really nice. I started to feel better. The scenery was amazing. There was already a bit of carnage early on with riders walking up The Meg and later at CRB Hill. I rode along with a few people along the way and had a nice chat but I was steadily dropping them. In the last 10km I passed hundreds of riders. By the time I got to Dinner Plain I was just under 11 hour pace and spotted the 11 hour Wave Leaders. I didn’t spend very long at lunch because I saw a good group forming and took off with them down to Omeo.
The descent from Dinner Plain was quite fast until the big climb just before Omeo. It catches all the first-timers by surprise. I dropped the group up that climb and descended to Omeo on my own. At Omeo I had started to make up time on the 10 hour pace but I was still only thinking about riding within myself and finishing. There was more carnage on the 4km climb out of Omeo. It was reasonably warm at about 34 degrees but not too bad compared to the super-hot 44 degree BG ride earlier this year. I cruised down from there to Angler’s Rest eating and drinking as much as I could. At Angler’s Rest I was about 5 minutes off 10 hour pace and I started to think that maybe I might get under 10.
I rolled down the hill to WTF corner where I was only 2 minutes off 10 hour pace. The 10 hour schedule allows 2 hrs 15 min to get to Falls and I though “Yeah I can do this in 2 hours comfortably”. When I made the tight left hander at WTF corner to start up the back of Falls (8km @10%) the carnage was immediately visible. Riders were already off the bike and walking. Others had started the ‘death weave’. The next 10 km of road was strewn with riders sitting on the side of the road, huddled in groups, walking and crying out in pain. What can you say? That was me in 2015 except I was kissing the bitumen with full leg cramps. I just took it easy up to Trapyard Gap and didn’t have any problems. At Trapyard Gap I was ahead of the 10 hour schedule and I just relaxed and enjoyed the last 25 km albeit there was still another 500m of climbing. Seeing the lake with 12 km to go is always a great sight and it just gets better from there to the finish line.
I’ve pulled up fine. No fatigue. A bit of saddle soreness. I’m glad I did it.
In hindsight I probably could have started with the 10 hour group and gone a bit faster but then I may not have enjoyed it as much. Experience certainly helped. Maybe I’ll do it again but I definitely won’t be leaving the decision so late again … but that’s another story.