In our second instalment of this year's epic Falls Creek edition of the 3 Peaks Challenge, another Hotmixer also managed to pull off a successful coup, staying upright, by-passing all medical personnel (and space blankets), keeping their lunches down, all with a carefully paced ride.
Haven't heard about the 3 Peaks Challenge? Hell, it's no mean feat. At a modest 235km, with over 4,000m of climbing, all neatly packaged within a 13 hour deadline, it makes for a helluva day out on the bike.
Have a read of Al's tale of triumph below.
By the way, don't pay any attention to his race-face in the above picture. He happens to be one of the happiest blokes you could come across.
How long have you been riding?
I've been riding seriously for around five years, although I've always had an on/off relationship the my two-wheeled companion.
What made you decide to tackle a challenge as big as the 3Peaks?
I was challenged by my brother-in-law who's ten years younger than me.
Do you think you were ready for it?
Pretty much, though not having done a ride as long, and with as much climbing, I didn't know how much preparation was going to be enough.
What had you done to prepare for it?
I had a very loosely configured 12-week training program, which entailed, not only climbing, but general fitness and endurance.
Who else did you ride with? Friends? Family?
I started the ride with my brother-in-law and his crew, although from the get-go it was every man for himself. Hence, I rode most of the 235km by myself.
Were there times during the ride that the mental challenge was greater than the physical? What or when were they?
I took a fairly relaxed approach, based around not going too hard at the start and pacing myself on the climbs. In the end when I hit the last climb, at the 200km mark, I felt ok (or as ok as you can feel after 200km and 3,500m of climbing).
Was the ride what you expected? Had you ridden around there before?
The ride was pretty much as expected, though the very strong head wind between Omeo and Anglers Rest, in 30°C+ heat was unexpected. I'd ridden all parts of the loop before, but not as one ride.
How did you feel you went overall?
I rode within myself, so I was happy with my time and was happy to finish. No walking and only a couple of very short stops.
What would you say to fellow cyclists contemplating a challenge such as this?
Not being an experienced cyclist, I talked to some people who had been cycling for a lot longer than me. It comes down to physical preparation and having the right equipment.
I had a pretty solid bank of km’s leading into 3 Peaks which was good. I'd lost some weight and was the lightest I've been since I started cycling seriously just over 5 years ago (which most definitely helped with the climbing and not burning up to much energy).
I also changed the rear cassette to include a '32' which made riding up the back of Fall’s Creek so much more relaxing. All I can say is have a crack, don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the day (and all of the pre-ride prep)!
You're a man of many talents, Al. This is one achievement, we feel, which should be put towards the top of your list. An awesome effort and many thanks for sharing your story with us.