Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Three Peaks Challenge 2011: A mountain too far

Following up on my post last week, I wanted to share a few more photos from my weekend supporting a rider in this year's Three Peaks Challenge organised by Bicycle Victoria.

They're deliberately impersonal to maintain his privacy but that's not the point of this post, which is to express my awe at the incredible strength of mind required to undertake and complete this ride. It's 230 kilometres non stop in alpine territory and it's as hard as it gets around here.

If you're good, you finish it in under nine hours but the bulk of riders crossed the line well into the double digits. You end up being on a bike from before the sun rises until sunset. No one can turn the pedals except for the rider so the journey turns into a solitary affair with a seemingly endless road ahead of you and precious few downhills.

The challenge is almost as taxing on the support crews with narrow mountain passes, driving rain, slippery roads and closed-in fog patches all part of the job. However the hardest part by far is passing your rider on the road, by himself, and leaving him behind. Each time I did, my heart cast out a little tow rope to help him on his way.

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