We’ve extended the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge to 30th April, 2013
Due to the lengthy closures of the Great Alpine Road, we’ve extended the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge to 30 April, 2013. We’d also like to extend our sincere thanks to the fire crews, Vic Roads and all those who worked tirelessly over the hottest part of summer.
For the 7 Peakers, we look forward to stamping your passport soon!
Interview with Andrew, winner of our ‘Ride with Gerro’ Competition. Andrew and 3 friends rode up Hotham with Simon Gerrans in November.
Is this your first year attempting the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge?
Yes it was. I actually only started cycling as a hobby at the end of winter 2011. I would have never thought that in just over a year later, I would be conquering the alpine peaks of Victoria as well as being able to ride with a pro tour rider!
Have you climbed any other of the 7 Peaks?
My friend and I followed Gerro’s recommendation in the passport and climbed Lake Mountain first. We actually started climbing just as a large group of cyclists were descending and finishing up their descent. We were shocked by the sheer number of cyclists that were climbing Lake Mountain on a regular Sunday, it was only a week later that I found out that it was a part of the Hells 500 7 Peaks Domestique Series group. We have also conquered Mt Buller early in November. It’s been a blast!
Have you visited the Victorian Alps in summer time before?
Not in the summer time, I’m a snowboarder so I’ve been to Mt Buller and Falls Creek during the winter time. I’ve really enjoyed visiting the Alps during the off season for the first time; it’s really interesting to see the contrasting scenery between seasons and walking up slopes where I would have once boarded down.
In the 7 Peaks Passport, Gerro says Hotham is one of the toughest climbs of the 7 Peaks. Did he let you in on any tips while you were riding together?
Gerro actually said Hotham was the hardest of them all! One of the first things he asked us was what gearing we were using as the last third of the climb was particular steep. He recommended looking into a 34/27 compact chain ring for Mt Baw Baw or any other climbs with sharp ascents. Another tip was to carry more water/fluids and food for Mt Hotham as it’s a long climb and taxing on the body. Oh and also, to keep warm if it’s cold!
Do you have any other tips for others attempting Hotham?
A compact chain ring just as Gerro recommended. I did find myself grinding through those hills in the last 11 kilometres due to using a standard chain ring and really wished at the time to have a couple more gears to play with. Bring two filled water bottles if possible. I only brought one and ran out of water about 6 kilometres from the summit.
What was the most challenging part of the climb?
Definitely the last third of the climb after the ticket box. From then on, it was simply the hardest climb on a bike I’ve ever done, the gradients became steeper and the hills never seemed to end. However, you are rewarded with amazing views of the Great Dividing Ranges.
What was the most rewarding part of the climb?
Well apart from being able to ride with one of Australia’s best cyclists, it was rewarding to reach the top of the last ramp called “the Diamantina”; from then on it was a nice descent into Hotham Village. The feeling after realising that you’ve just conquered one of the hardest climbs in Australia was amazing and unforgettable!
How long did it take you to climb Hotham?
Just under two hours.
What did you discover about Hotham that you didn’t know before (either about the ride or the alpine village)?
I had a friend explain to me that Hotham was different from the other peaks in Victoria, in that most of the buildings are at the summit and you ski or board down from them, only after seeing it in person did I understand what she meant.
The Hotham climb is part of the SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge (250km: Tawonga Gap-Hotham-backside of Falls Creek) and Audax Hotham Ride (200km: Hotham – Buffalo and back) in March. Now that you’ve taken on Hotham, do you think your legs would now be capable of one of these events?
Well I would think I would be able to finish these events having conquered Hotham, Buller, Lake Mountain and BUPA around the bay, however if you’re asking to finish these event in a reasonable time, I’ll think much more training is needed!
Thanks again for a ride of a lifetime!