I try not to let Facebook know everything about me, but somehow it has found out about my interest in cycling.
So every time I visit I get a sponsored pop-up ad telling me about the ‘Alpine Ascent Challenge’. It intrigued me enough to click on it. I was inspired.
I have keen cycling friends in Holland who challenge themselves by riding the mountain stages of the Tour de France. Mont Ventoux, Col de Madeleine and ‘the assassin’, the climb up the Col de Tourmalet in the Pyrenees, attract thousands of amateurs every year. They’re not for the faint-hearted or weak-kneed, but I cherish the hope that some time in the not-too-distant future I’ll put in the training hours/days/weeks and have a crack at one of them.
I didn’t know there were rides in Australia as tough as the European classics for those who want to give their legs and lungs a serious workout.
The 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent encourages cyclists to ride up seven climbs in the Victorian Alps – Mt Baw Baw, Mt Buffalo, Mt Buller, Falls Creek, Hotham, Dinner Plain and Lake Mountain. There are organised events for those who want to race up these humps, but I understand the idea of the Alpine Ascent is that you ride them in your own time, and get a passport stamped at the top. When you’ve done them all you can award yourself a bragging cycling jersey.
Tourism Victoria is encouraging such cycling tourism, promoting YouTube videos of Tour de France rider Simon Gerrans riding with 5000 metre running champion Craig Mottram and Aussie cycling legend Phil Anderson. These guys are fit enough to chat along the way, which gives us a few insights into training and riding techniques. An excellent idea!
The rides look tough but spectacular and, if the videos are to be believed, you hardly ever see a car on the mountain roads.
Some day, one day, I’ll get on the bike and…you’ll be sure to read about it here when it happens. I presume Gerro will be sitting at the top in a folding chair, with the stamp ready to press into my passport.
Has anybody done the 7 Peaks? Like to tell me about them?