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Brutal, Brutal

Over the last few weeks, we’ve done a couple of trips away and I’ll report on both over two posts.

The first was a trip to Falls Creek on the Bogong High Plains about 6 hours north-east of us, and we spent last week exploring the Goulburn River and High Country Rail Trail.

Three weeks ago, we travelled to Falls Creek with our friend, Syg, who was competing in the Alpine Assault Mountain Bike race which travelled from the ski village of Falls Creek across the High Plains and then down the mountain to the town of Mt Beauty.  67 kilometres of brutal torture for Syg and we can use our advancing years as an excuse to be just the support crew these days.

This is very familiar country for MP and I as we Cross Country skied, hiked and snow camped there over a few years.  We went to the Falls Creek ski village the previous afternoon for the lad to register and we sent him on his way for a training ride and to suck in some of the rarefied air in preparation for the next day. 

Fortunately, it turned out a beautiful day although a mite chilly at 7.30am.  The riders got prepared, Syg looked confident and the race got underway after some lengthy instructions probably along the lines of, stay upright, and if you do get lost, some skier will probably stumble across you in a few years.

MP and I killed some time in the deserted Village but we managed to find a solitary cafe still open and so we sipped lattes while Sygi was out flogging himself senseless. Gee, we felt guilty. Not!

We dragged ourselves out of the warm cafe and waited until they completed a 24k loop back to the Village and the last 10k of it up a very strenuous hill and we were out of breath just watching them.  The guy in 6th place came past with a half inflated tyre after having a puncture and nearly kissed me when I produced a pump.  Syg soon appeared in a good position but looked like a man on a mission as he grabbed a spare water bottle and received some shouts of encouragement from his wonderful support crew.

We followed him across the Rocky Valley dam and to the Watchbed Creek turn-off which was a manned (or womaned in this case) checkpoint and feed station.  Even though on the previous day we had shown Syg this precise turn-off, check-out his left arm in the photo.  That’s what lactic acid does to the brain!

From there, the journey involved a rough and steep climb to the high plateau before the big plunge to Mt Beauty about 40k away.  The support crew hightailed it down to Mt Beauty and waited at the finish line with fingers crossed since this was Syg’s first foray into the world of competition MTB racing. 

One guy crossed the line muttering “brutal, brutal” so we got the message.  Syg soon appeared and finished very close to his predicted time which was a great effort given it was his first attempt at these gruelling events.  We were pleased to see that he finished full of beans but he soon recovered and we got him back to the digs for a well earned shower and debriefing before hitting the local pub for dinner.

The next day, we moseyed back up the mountain and we took Syg out to some of the mountain huts where we used to ski and walked to Wallace’s Hut and then to Cope Hut before a foray along the High Plains.

A very enjoyable weekend and Syg did very well for his first MTB race and actually tackled another race last weekend and told us he did it even better.  Since his support crew wasn’t there, we’re not too sure what to read into that.

All the photos in a slideshow HERE or the Gallery HERE.

  1. june in florida
    April 26, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Brutal is the word, i am tired just reading about your trek.Great pictures.

  2. April 28, 2012 at 12:27 am

    That looks far too energetic for me. However, I prefer a slightly more sedate form of exercise, I just did a 3 day coast walk along one of the most rugged coastal areas in England… pics will be appearing on my blog from time to time.
    Did you wonder what had happened to me? probably not!!!!
    Sorry to hear about your bloggy friend’s passing. I did read his blog from time to time but not on a regular basis.

    Yes, I knew you’d gone back to England for a trip. We’ve been to the UK many times so will be interested in your reports and pics.

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