Four weeks from winter, 50cm+ of snow on the peaks, what a perfect time to head to Bright for cycling! The annual 'Back to Bright' event was held last weekend in perfect conditions, sunshine, no wind, and lots of happy riders. There was about 25 of us all up with a few support crew in tow.
Day 1: Rosewhite loop. Following the same route as Tour of Bright stage 1. Easy roll out to Ovens and onto Happy Valley Rd. Happy indeed. The bunch split and the front runners enjoyed being unleashed. I had to work out the KOM contenders for the weekend so I put in an attack as soon as we hit the base of Rosewhite. A few responded, but it was Ben and Allan were extracted from the front of the bunch.. Allan soon dropped back while Ben was stuck to my wheel. A few minutes later Ben turned off the after-burners and I was solo to the top. The recent fires had ripped through and taken out our picnic table stop. All that was left was the concrete base. Down the hill and onto the long drag to Mt Beauty. Into Mt Beauty and it was time for lunch. The place was deserted as all the action today was at the Bright Autumn Festival. Tawonga Gap was over and done with quickly. The V-Train was a surprise showing off the front with me until I attacked him at 3km to go, at which point he gave up and turned back to climb with a few other riders. I went solo down the collar-bone snapping Bright side descent behind a ute... The Bright town sign sprint was led out by Ben who was trying to swing me through to pull a turn just before the sprint - no chance! And I was off! Took the win while cramping, a hard finish to a harder day.
Day 2: Mt Hotham. The group was split in two for the day, some doing Falls, the rest Hotham. Easy roll to Harrietville and it was game on at the base. Soloed it all the way with the ipod blasting the new Prodigy album (Invaders Must Die) and some GreenDay live. Snow was spotted well before the gate house and it kept getting better all the way to the top. Dry roads, snow banks either side, sunshine, and killer views. I stopped at the top and shoved my bike in the snow for a few happy snaps. Von was waiting at the top in the car with warm clothes so I rolled into the village and rugged up. Lunch was inhaled be everyone at 'The General' (store/pub), I can't recommend the "Biker Burger" as good cycling food, but it was good for adding weight for a quick downhill run. The descent was super fast as the roads were dry, I was only disrupted once by Jess pulling a moon at me as they passed, from my own car! I thought the sun glare from the snow was bad, bare arse requires SPF30+. All safely down and back to Bright for our final night swapping battle stories from the days riding.
Day 3: Mt Buffalo. The annual B2B Handicap Time Trial. Handicaps had been discussed all weekend long, at one point I was given negative 5 minutes, not sure how that would work out, starting behind scratch? Jono wasn't with us this weekend, so I'd be scratch and would have no say in the matter. There were a few dodgy times given out to the front markers. They made sure I was well out of contention, so I didn't protest. Another perfect day of sunshine and not much wind. I caught a few riders before the finish line and I was happy to be only 4% down on my FTP power from just before the Tour of Bright last year (and with shattered legs!).
Lots more pics: http://picasaweb.google.com.au/vmicich/BackToBright09#