Waking up at 5am is never easy, not for a night owl like myself, and even worse when I’ve been woken by my 5yo at 3am because his nightlight needed recharging. All that aside, as the driver for the day I couldn’t be late so out of bed I got and was on my way. Unlike last year where we were a group of about 10 riders, this year the Greenwood Peleton (my Sunday morning riding group) would only have three of us tackling Lake Mountain. I was joined by Whippet and Mountain Goat, which if you hadn’t guessed by their names are two of the strongest riders of the group. I didn’t stand a chance of keeping up with these two.
A little after 8am we were rolling out of Marysville. My memory of last year’s ride was that the first four kilometers are reasonably tough with an average gradient of around 8% (if you want a good write up of the climb you can click here and read what The Climbing Cyclist has to say about it). Right from the beginning I didn’t feel right on the bike. The legs felt fatigued and not more than a few kilometers into the climb my lower back started to ache. Thankfully I was able to get past the toughest part of the climb and from about the 5km mark it was reasonably easy going. I found my rhythm and did my best to catch up with the other two who’d left me behind very early on. Although I wasn’t expecting to catch them, I was a little surprised to find them waiting for me at the turn off half way up. With a sense of bravado I took the lead up the next section not stopping for them and making them catch me. It didn’t take them long and soon enough I was on my own again.
Near the top where there was little in the way of shelter from the wind, and it was a windy day that day, I found myself clicking back into first gear as the climb finished into a strong head wind. The boys had been waiting for me for some time, but there were no jibes, only congratulations for making it to the top. Despite the competitiveness we all have about not only beating our own best times, but also with one another, the best thing about riding is the camaraderie.
After a short break it was time for the best bit; the descent. I took the lead and started to really hammer. I’m not sure if the boys couldn’t get past me, or whether out of sympathy they let me regain some measure of self esteem, but either way I lead them all the way down. I maxed out at approx 75km/h and felt the familiar buzz of adrenalin that comes with the speed and risk. As cyclists we put a lot of faith in a couple of thin bits of rubber keeping us upright.
At the bottom it was time to get what we came for. The stamp in our 7 peaks passport followed by the obligatory latte. It was a great day for a ride, but there’s some work to do before we head out to Mt Buller in a couple of weeks.
You can have a look at my Strava details here.