DAY FIVE

We awoke at 5.30am to ready ourselves for a 6am breakfast at the beautiful Lindenwarrah Estate. A quick feed and some much needed pep talk saw us jump back on the bikes at 7am and head towards Mt Buller. It was obvious from the moment we woke that the sore legs and stress of the heat from yesterday was going to play a big part in today’s 170km ride.

milawa

We headed out in a calm 25 degrees with a slight tail wind towards Swanpool. The pace early was a consistent 35km with many down hill sections to ease the pain. It wasn’t long before the riding on some of these dead country roads would slow the pace as did the weather when it started to very quickly heat up.

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We faced riding in mid 30′s again; the tail wind as our savoir. There was always going to be more planned drink stops today than yesterday due to the fatigue and weather.

42 riders sitting side by side carried on, led by our ambassadors; the ex pro cyclists. These strong men helped lead the bunch with a steady pace. We made it to Swanpool for a longer than normal drink stop and some much needed shade. Our massage therapists swarm to us at every stop as do the bike mechanics and doctor to see if there are any problems = none here yet, touch wood.

We soon headed off to Mansfield where the Produce Store had set up a much needed lunch break for us in the Parklands just out of town.

mansfield

You can see the exhaustion in the riders, but it is certainly a great feeling riding through these towns where the people on the street start clapping as we ride by.

We relaxed for 45 minutes and headed towards the top of Mt Buller which was approx 50km’s away. We had caught our mojo back at this stage, as we knew we were not far from reaching the bottom of Buller. Some spirits were high but it was obvious again the heat and kilometres were taking its toll on the riders. You would support the guy beside you or travel up to your teammates for some words of encouragement. Their were a lot of drooping heads but before you knew it someone was giving you a pat on the back to get you back in the zone. It’s all about helping your mates through such debilitating days.

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As we reached the start of Buller their was a quick auction: To “buy” one of the ambassador’s to ride in your team to try to get the fastest time up Buller. We raised a further $4000 just from the riders bidding for them.

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As we ascended Buller, the group quickly split up. The road starts off fairly steep and then levels out before punishing you for the last 3kms. We have had some riders smash some serious records and considering the conditions these blokes have ridden in, it is quite amazing.

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I finally arrived at the top in 1hr 3 mins, checkout the video of today’s highlights for the days ride. Chain Reaction Challenge Victoria 2013: Day Five Video

Today’s stats

Distance: 168.3km
Metres climbed: 2317m
Time on the bike: between. 6 hrs and 6.5hrs

 

Cheers, Robbo

Follow me on Strava

Create a STRAVA account and “follow me” and you’ll be able to see our every move. http://app.strava.com/athletes/1276294. more details on the Strava page on the right and side of blog>>

for those who have asked me about the WTF corner I mentioned from today, check out this:

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Come at me ladies.

The Kordamentha team have been impressing the other lads with our sock and footwear get-ups…

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DAY FOUR

A day from hell. 2800m climbed. 235kms ridden. 8hrs in the saddle.

We knew today was going to be one we would not forget. We headed off down the back of Falls 42 blokes, 15 degrees (chilly in comparison to the weather we had been getting) and an amazing sunrise over the back of Falls Lake.


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We all stayed together feeling sore from the previous days ride. The surface of this road is the best we have ridden so far on our 7 Peaks tour. It is undulating with plenty of steep sections and fast cornering. You quickly forget how much down hill you are covering, and how much uphill we need to do on the way back. We lost 2 riders to the bushes on the WTF section, only minor scratches and bruises and some deflated egos.

We had soon arrived at the road to turn off to Anglers Rest where we would ride to our support vehicles for drinks and encouragement before we were to head up the hill to Falls Creek again.

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It was here that there was talk of a few riders not going to ride up he hill due to its average 12% gradient (correct me if I’m wrong). It was not long before one of the riders got wind of some of those not wanting to ride and everyone was huddled together quickly. Tim, our ride coordinator and a supporter of the Starlight Foundation reminded us of what we were there for and that there are those less fortunate that go through a lot more pain every day of there life, and that basically, you should HTFU. I’m am pleased to say every rider made it up the course back to Falls safely, with 3 of the riders holding the positions of numbers 1,2 and 3 on Strava.

By 11am, the weather had heated up to 30 degrees. As we ascended Falls I can say that it was one of the toughest rides I have ever done. My Garmin showing me an average gradient of 12% and 9km’s of climbing. The support and the swearing of riders around you gets you over the line, it is definitely not a ride I would like to do on my own.


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We reached the top of Falls, grabbed some refreshments and headed down 30kms to Mt Beauty for lunch. Having arrived in Mt Beauty to another 35 degree day we knew we were in for a hard 130km ride to Milawa. We soon left and it was not long before it hit 40 degrees on-road temperature. As we headed towards Myrtleford a number of riders we starting to suffer heat exhaustion. It became soooo hot that we were pulling over for drinks every 45 mins to refuel. We were only travelling at 20kms at various times due to the heat and hills, and the road was completely dead making it even more difficult. The faces on these riders is something I have not experienced before , the pain from the sweltering heat, the low morale and lack of chatter was soul destroying.

We pulled off the side of the ride before turning to Myrtleford, refuelled and had a down hill run into Myrtleford before heading into Milawa. It’s amazing how everyone got their mojo back after we were able to increase our speeds to an average of 40km an hour on the downhill runs with the wind cooling us down slightly.

As we pulled into Lindenwarrah hotel in Milawa I have never seen 40 people jump into the pool so quickly. The guests that were sitting around the pool didn’t know what had hit them.


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Tomorrow we are riding 175kms to Mt Buller, another day in the sweat box or as some might say, another one for the hurt locker.

Cheers, Robbo.

DAY THREE

Today was nasty, we headed from our hotel in Bright just after 8.30am for a short 20km ride down the road to the Happy Valley turn off. We knew we were in for a tough day with 120km to cover in the roaring heat. As we exited the highway the heat was already into the 30′s and we had definitely consumed plenty of water already. The ascent up Happy Valley was enjoyable with the shadow of the trees providing some much needed shade. The descent was even better with 65km speeds been reached.

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We all regrouped at the bottom of the hill and reloaded on water, Gatorade and energy bars. We soon headed off toward Kiewa Valley where the heat was at 35 degrees and pounding our backs. It was soooo bloody hot that some riders were struggling to keep the pace.

It was then another testing 10kms or so before we were to arrive at Mt Beauty to stop in preparation for our 30km climb to the top of Falls. It was here that we devoured freshly made rolls that our support crew made for us.

Our support team consists of 3 vehicles that always follow us, 2 bike mechanics, 6 massage therapists, a physio, a doctor, laundry girls, and our ride coordinator.

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The Falls ascent was going to test us all. The group quickly broke up with everyone just trying to ride through the heat and focus on getting to the shaded areas of the trees ahead.

It’s one of those roads that is a gradual climb but doesn’t seem to end.  Tapping it out at 15km/hour we were at least able to enjoy the amazing views, and thankfully our much needed massage therapist was awaiting us when we reached the peak.

We have the day from hell tomorrow, 245km and we are throwing in the back of Falls as our climb for the day. There is much talk about this climb being the hardest of our 7 peaks in 7 days.

Today’s stats

Distance: 115.3km
Time on the bike: between 4hrs22mins
Metres climbed: 2188m

Until tomorrow, Robbo.

Loving my yellow leaders jersey

$25,200 raised in charity and counting, thank you to everyone that has donated, for those who haven’t – please do!

michael

DAY TWO

Today 35 degrees , we left at 8.3Leaders jersey0 and headed to Harrietville, approx 30kms from Bright where we are staying , stopped to refuel at bottom of Mt Hotham in preparation for the 30kms of climbing ahead of us.

42 riders headed up the hill spreading themselves over a few metres. We had been granted access as there are a number sections of the road that have fallen away due to the fires.

The first section was very testing especially with the heat with approx 9kms of climbing before enjoying some false flats for another 7 or 8kms . The last 10kms of climbing saw riders spread out with the final 3kms being brutal.

Here’s a picture of me wearing the leaders jersey , given to me for leading the fundraising efforts. Again thank you to all of those that helped me reach this target.

Tomorrow sees us head to falls, we are being diverted up the backside for 160kms in the saddle, it is going to be another long day in this heat!

Today’s stats

Distance: 113.2km
Metres climbed: 1915 metres
Time on the bike: between 4 hours and 4 hours and 45 minutes

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DAY ONE – It’s started!

Day one of the Chain Reaction Challenge down!

35 degree heat all the way from Bright to Buffalo.

Such a great first ride with the Chain Reaction Crew, looking forward to Hotham tomorrow (where the fun really begins)

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Distance: 63.5 kms
Riding time: 2hrs 42 mins (or a bit quicker for the faster climbers)
Metres climbed: 1231

Bring on the 165km incline!

Cheers, Robbo

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Some sexy sockwear

The KordaMentha team will look damn sexy in these pink “Save our Soles” socks. 2 pairs for each lad, thanks to Dion at 4Shaw agencies.

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Last big training day before the ride

Berrick and myself in our Chain Reaction jerseysberrick and robbo

 

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