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Taking on the Peaks

7 March, 2014

More than 1,800 cyclists have signed up to take on Australia’s toughest bike ride this Sunday. Melissa Heagney gives you a preview.

Falls Creek descent-web

The descent at Falls Creek

It’s early morning, still dark when you line up at the start in Falls Creek. Riders bustle around you, doing their last minute preparation – checking their bikes – clicking into their pedals. Like you, they’re readying themselves for the road ahead. For the SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge.

Then you take off – the beauty of the alpine region stretching before you. Mountain peaks, trees, and bitumen become a blur as you dig in, concentrating on your technique, on the riders in front and behind, on the rhythm of the whirs and clicks of your bike. And before you know it hours have passed.

This is when your legs start to feel like their filled with lead. Each pedal stroke causes your muscles to burn with pain. Your heart is beating so fast, it may just burst through your chest. You struggle for breath, with the thinning air of the Victorian Alps making it hard to get enough oxygen into your lungs.

It’s not just the physical challenge you’re now facing, you’re riding against the clock, hoping to make the loop from Falls Creek and back within 13 hours to claim your coveted finishers jersey.

You know the route is a gruelling 235km loop with 4200 vertical metres of climbs at Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek; you know its a ride that’s broken many strong riders – and you know it hurts – but you push on.

To feel the elation of finishing, to rest your aching legs, to catch your breath – and to know all that hard work – the training, the nutrition and hydration advice, all the physiotherapy sessions and nights at the gym have paid off. You’ve conquered the 3 Peaks.

The SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge is on this Sunday. We’ll be covering the event here. Follow us on Twitter #3Peaks14

Ride On content is editorially independent, but is supported financially by members of Bicycle Network Victoria. If you enjoy our articles and want to support the future publication of high-quality content, please consider helping out by becoming a member.

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