If I am going to organise a ride to honour a friend battling cancer; for that matter, anyone battling cancer, it cannot be a walk in the park. I am by no means taking anything away from any of the fantastic fund raising events 1000′s of people undertake every year, but for my own purposes, this has to be hard. Heck, it has to be so hard there is a chance I cannot complete the route.
Bloody hard.. but not impossible, nothing is impossible.
I am a very average cyclist, just in the Melbourne club scene alone, there re 1000′s of riders who would chew me up and spit me out. I have no delusions of grandeur, and know my place in the middle of a C grade bunch. I work an office job 9 – 5, and ride my bike three times a week if im lucky. To be honest, as a Cyclist, I would say (outside of endurance) climbing is my biggest weakness.
In thinking through what my challenge would be, there were several parallels ive aimed to make:
- Solidarity: People battling cancer face a most horrendous solitary battle.
- Support: Some people win, some lose, but the one constant factor is the support of loved ones, friends and family.
- Pain & Suffering: Chemotherapy & surgery, need I say more.
- Hope: No matter how bad things get, you must have hope. Even in your darkest times, when you feel all is lost, never give up.
A couple of years ago, Bicycle Victoria organised an event known as Three Peaks. The event taking in the most challenging alpine terrain in Victoria, if not Australia. Riding approx 235kms over Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham, and rear of Falls Creek. The first year (2010) was absolutely diabolical, with a heavy storm system rolling in, zero degree temps, sleet, rain and snow. A large percentage of participants had to pull the plug with severe hypothermia. Cyclingtips had a go at the route in 2010, read about it here and keep in mind that Wade Wallace is an extremely strong and talented club cyclist, he is triple the cyclist I am.
In the alps you are at the whim of the elements, and it can quite easily snow if the weather rolls in, even in Summer. If youve havent travelled to this part of Australia, Rapha put together a great video covering the same roads, here.
The Route Unveiled:
Well the route ive organised is close to double three peaks, excluding Tawonga. The plan is to ride from Harrietville, over Hotham to Omeo, then over Falls Creek to Mt Beauty. Once I’ve reached Mt Beauty, I will then have to turn around, and retrace the roads I have just ridden all the way back over Falls Creek to Omeo, and finishing the ride at the top of Mt Hotham.
Ive put a map together here, with a pilot name of ‘Alpine Annihilation’. 345kms in distance, 6500 meters of vertical climb. A true challenge of my physical and mental strength and stamina. When I think of the many things that will be needed to get this done, the word ‘gumption’ comes to mind.