The 3 Peaks challenged and conquered again
Riders showed up tougher than ever to conquer Australia’s toughest bike ride. Simon Vincett reports from the finish line of the SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge 2014.
In the best weather ever for the event, an impressively fit and well prepared bunch of riders assembled for the 2014 running of the Scody 3 Peaks Challenge. By thirteen hours after the start, when the Lantern Rouge back marker officially closed the route, a host of new records had been set.
“The calibre of the rider has definitely improved,” says Darren Allen, General Manager of Rides for Bicycle Network. “Average speed is on the increase and at the same time we had a fantastic completion rate.”
An impressive 92% of the nearly 1,800 2014 starters finished the 235-kilometre route, with it’s three major climbs of Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek.
“They’ve obviously done their preparation and followed our training plans,” Allen suggests.
The average time to climb the first peak of Tawonga Gap was 33.01, which was 31 seconds faster than 2012, the last year when the ride took the original route. The average climb time for Mt Hotham was 2:04:10, 2 mins faster than 2012.
The first rider to finish was Steve Cunningham, former professional rider from Adelaide, who completed the event in 7 hours and 35 minutes, a record for the course.
The first woman to finish was Tani Ruckle, from Mossman, NSW, in a time of 9 hours 16 minutes. Ruckle is 52 and a silver medalist in the Auckland Commonwealth Games in long-distance running.
In another record, 11% of the 2014 field were women, an increase from 5% in 2013.
The 2014 event sold out a month before running, which is the first time in the event’s history In 2013, the event was listed in Global Cycling Network’s Top 10 Best Sportives and Gran Fondos – one of only two events in the list outside of Europe. More than half the riders were from outside Victoria and some came from overseas as well, with entrants from South Africa, Singapore, Scotland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Canada,
Liz Joiner was riding for the first time in 2014 and came in in under 12 hours. “I felt fine at Dinner Plain and I was raring to go. The climb up Falls wasn’t as bad as I expected but it’s still a huge effort. My legs felt fine but they just weren’t putting out any power – it’s like they were empty.”
Check out the recently released event highlights video:
Share your experience of the SCODY 3 Peaks Challenge onTwitter #3Peaks14.
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