Perfect weekend with lots of riding and pizza.
First up I rode an epic ride with Craig from Omeo to Mt Beauty on the Friday afternoon after a long drive from Melbourne. Luckily Shedlon arrived in the car back from riding Dinner Plain at exactly the right time as it was getting dark and cold (8 degrees) as we got to Falls creek village. I decided to descend the front of falls by myself anyway as I had lights. It was fine for the first treacherous section but after the river it was starting to get very dark. I was glad when it was my turn to be picked up in the car.
Saturday i tried to head up the front of Falls by myself late in the afternoon which was a big mistake. 30+ degrees in the full sun and ran out of water. I decided at the 2/3 distance to head back to the pool for a swim.
On Sunday Craig and myself headed out borrowing Sheldons car to drive to Buffalo since Craig hadn’t climbed it before. It started bucketing down on the way over Towonga gap and we were considering whether we would actually ride it or not (no such luck for Sheldon who was already on the bike part the way up front of Falls Creek when it started pouring).
By the time we had got to the base of Buffalo it had started clearing and the car park was starting to fill with riders and walkers watching the sky nervously. The radar looked good so we set out.
We had a great ride and the sun came out and it was getting hot 20 minutes into the climb. At the top we took a few photos at the chalet and then head back down for a nice fast descent. The road was dry roads but covered in lots of litter.
We then jumped in the car and head to Hariettville for a parma, a beer and to consider an attempt at Hotham. Lunch was good and I was feeling keen. Craig took the wiser choice and decided to head back to Mt Beauty in the car.
Luckily this time I had Craigs water pack so had plenty of clothes, food and fluids to continue on. I had a slow climb most of the way and was feeling pretty sick after the first 1/3rd of the way. The parma, chips, beer and altitude wasn’t sitting too well and soon the strong southerly was getting cold and making the false flat section pretty hard. Eventually i got to the gate feeling better. The wind seemed to be down so I started up further thinking I would turn back. Yeah right.
Got over the first steep part and down the bottom to the start of CRB Hill and got my first taste of the 60klm gusts. As soon as the cover protection from rocks or trees stopped the wind tried to push me sidewards off the bike. It actually worked to my advantage in a couple of places as I could feel it giving me a massive push up some of the steeper parts.
Eventually I got to the second highest point (mini baldy) that was completely exposed. It was here the wind hit me like a brick wall. I had no choice but to get off and walk.
It wouldn’t have blown me off the side of the mountain but it could have easily blown me over flat and sent my bike over the edge. I hobbled the 300 meters or so gripping my bike with both hands tying to keep my head down leaning into the wind to stabilize myself.
See the footage below of the wind picking my bike up in the air while i was walking it (the thing flapping around infront of the camera was my helmet strap);
I really should have turned back at that point but could see the top only a couple of klms away so really wanted to finish it.
It took me almost 40 minutes to cover the last 4klms to the top. The weather was perfect apart from the wind so figured it had to be done. All the uphills in the wind were fine but any downhills I had to unclip both feet and roll slowly.
I finally reached the top after much struggling as the wind seemed to be blowing right into my face mercilessly as i climbed over the highest road section (eastern facing).
Once at the top i put on all my extra clothing and braced myself for the decent. It was very slow and i did more walking on the way down than i did on the way up. A couple of cars stopped for what i assume was to offer help but i couldn’t hear a word they were saying through the wind.
I just gave the thumbs up and kept moving. After reaching the toll booth the wind was down and I could start riding without concern of being blown off.
It was a fast and eventful descent with a bird attack on my helmet camera and getting stuck behind a car doing about 50klm/h. Payback i guess for holding up cars while riding on the flat.
Once at the bottom it was a relief to be back into the warm 20s again. I knew the southerly would be on my side this time so I decided to ride back to Towonga gap and make the most of it before considering a call for a pickup in the car.
The 20klms flew past and of course I started climbing Towonga instead of getting a lift. I hadn’t climbed it from that side in over a year and thought I’d be over it in 35 minutes. Not the case. Its about 13klms and i was so tired i was only averaging about 12klm/hr. As crossed the top the sun was starting to go down and i had the road to myself for a 10 minute descent on the other side.
Good rides with good company and some mostly good weather.
Some photos of the weekends rides