I rode Mansfield to Mt Buller return on Saturday (14th July 2007). Only one day off the middle of winter, so getting to the top or not was an unknown before I left. I asked the guy at the motel how far he thought I'd be able to get, his reply as he looked me up and down: "hmmm you look like a fit bloke, maybe to the carpark". er... I lol'ed and rephrased my question with the emphasis on the snow/ice cover on the road itself. Buller is no Hotham so being able to get to the top is never in doubt! (fyi - I looove the Hotham climb. Hitting the first pinch and then seeing the 30km to go sign, ahhhh happy times)
Chains were compulsory for cars and buses at the time I hit the toll gate. There was some lingering cloud but I caught glimpses of the summit on the way.
Here is my post to the BV forums:
Cranking away from Mansfield was a slug. It didn't feel uphill but something wasn't right - HR through the roof and speed only moderate. Each little green distance sign took forever.... 40km to MB, 35km.. 30kms.. the longest 5km segments ever.
I hit the toll gate just over the hour. 471 meters climbed already, so there was the answer, it was uphill! I asked the traffic controller standing a few 100m before the toll booth if there was a charge on bikes.
"How far are you going?",
Me: "To the top".
"You better line up and ask at the gate"
Me: "oh bugger it, they can catch me"
I didn't want to line up in the cold, and not to give someone money! How can someone work in traffic control and not know? Anyways, I got away with it.
A nice gradient of 6%, wide open roads and some real 'tour' switchbacks up near the top. Riding up into the snow line was great. Everything was white! Not much traffic as most people were already on the hill at that time of day. Near the top I could tell who had passed me on the climb, they were the ones getting out of their cars at the car park and giving me "wtf you crazy mofo" looks. A few words of encouragement from the parking attendants helped with the 1.5km steep kick from the car park to the village. Job done.
Froze like *$%@ on the descent until I dropped below the snow line. I then enjoyed the warmest 8 degrees I've ever ridden in. Super fast run from the base back into Mansfield with the little green distance signs ticking past way too quickly!
I've gotta get back there in the middle of summer, give my 42deg over -2 any day!
After a few calls from the media production group of "The Car Show", I was tasked with being the 'bike rider' in a 'Car vs Train Commuter vs Cyclist' segment. FlyingDutch from BV got me onto them when they called BV looking for someone fast :) 7:30am at Frankston station after staying up until 2am watching stage 8 was a big ask, but I made it.
A perfect sunny day but one hell of a head wind back into the city. The Scott CR1 was still filthy from all the grit on Mt Buller, so I rode the single speed (also gives a more hardcore angle I rekkon!). They rigged the bike up with some cameras and we spent the morning filming. I grew up watching Glenn Ridge on the 'Sixes Super Saturday Show', a cartoon show on BTV6 he hosted. Glenn shouted lunch in the city then it was back to Beach Rd for a few more takes of the bike.
Its a real bugger I wasn't still a sponsored rider as this would be national exposure for them. Maybe not the right audience and all being a car show :) Anyhow, I've still got the tape over the 'Giant' logos on the single speed and I wore plain/generic kit. I was going to clean the Scott CR1 bike and put on the deep dish Carbones, but then I'd have been just another f'king Beach Rd wanker. SS = hardcore = GAGF cycling scene whores. All they wanted was a token rider, so thats what I was for the day. The segment should air in a few weeks. Hopefully someone will cap it as we'll be away.
The last week of training has been good.. St Andrews hilly smash, Mordi and back on the SS, a few easy spins on the trainer, Mt Buller, Beach Rd for The Car Show, and a nice SE session on the trainer. I'm on track for my monthly km and hour numbers which will be cut short on the 27th when we jet off to catch the last stage of some little bike race that is taking place now. The last week and 1/2 before the trip will mainly be strength work with a few enduro efforts... I'm going to lose a bit of form being away so if I can grind myself into the dirt now it'll be good rest and recovery. Maybe one hit out on the 'nongs before leaving, but looking at that weather I might prop the trainer up a little higher and just ride a few virtual '1:20's and 'Devils Elbows' :)
I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike after the holiday and into some structured planning for the rest of the year. Plan #1 - find somewhere that sells PowerTaps at a price that doesn't require me to donate all body organs, in advance. Plan #2 - get a track bike and test the theory that I really am a sprinter that doesn't eat enough. Plan #3 - profit!!
Stage 9 starts now - game on!