“For Victorian cyclists the term Melbourne Cup weekend loosely translates to, ‘ride much bike in Bright’. So a bunch of us ever-enthusiastic Trek Fondo gals, plus an expert coach (Ken Ballhause from Adaptive Human Performance), an exercise scientist (Ev Parr) and an instagram celebrity (Mason Hender) headed for northeast Victoria…Is this the start of a joke?..
Thanks to our wonderful sponsor, Coffey Ford, we had a spiffy Ford Kuga to use as a support vehicle. Reports from Anna, the team car pilot, were glowing. The Kuga performed like a star on the Hume and the Thomson’s recently acquired wagon was in danger of being traded in. We looked and felt the goods for a big weekend of training, food, banter and more food.
Day 1. The joke was over with a 60 minute time trial up Mt Buffalo. I’ve never felt discomfort like it. But what a view! Everyone gave Buffalo a good stomping. The Kuga was unstoppable even with a screw wedged in the tyre. The lovely RACV man came and changed the spare later. Like, we totally could’ve done it if we wanted but the awesome service is there so why not use it…sure we could have…
The sun greeted us in the afternoon for some TT course recon. and a soak in the Ovens River. Being Octoberfest weekend in Bright the atmosphere was summer-festive and froffy. Some insight was provided to the age old question: what do people do in Bright if they don’t ride bikes? They sit with their feet in the river and drink bevs in the sun, that’s what. By now Niki was gagging for a beer so we headed to the brewery and met up with Bridge (who had started without us).
Later on Lucky (Siobhan Luck) was taken down by dehydration, a malfunctioning kidney and a couple of Oxy. But it takes more than a bung filter and excruciating pain to hold a good fondo butt down and she was back at it the following day heckling us from the team car.
Day 2. The valley loop – sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? It’s not all that picturesque from behind the car bumper when you’re putting teeth marks in your bar tape. Great efforts and superb snacks at the top of the climbs had by all.
Having a legendary support crew with the likes of Anna T, Dr Parr and Lucky made all the difference. I for one have an awful lot of trouble knowing what to wear for a ride if the weather is a bit unpredictable, I can get downright stressed out about it but the team car stuffed with warm jackets was such a treat! And pro AF.
After training I assumed the foetal position on my top bunk whilst the social butterflies hit the brewery again. There was probably more pizza and definitely more beer.
Day 3. There was much deliberation on where to ride. With snow forecast on the mountains the only thing to be sure of was a Harry and Lloyd motor scooter type descent:
I chose to head to Falls with Ev and Ken whilst Mason (the Instagram celeb) tackled Hotham (we can only assume to capture handsome bike photos with all that snow lying around). Mason sure copped a lot for his Insta celebrity status (which he takes like a champ) but he’s talented with the smartphone.
Hazy rode like a boss all weekend with a sore wing (she broke her shoulder recently). We’ll be hearing a lot more from the pocket rocket this summer, she’s got her riding mojo back in a huuuuge way. When it was wet Hazy stayed back and rode the Kickr instead of risking the roads. Hammer.
Day 4. The last day is the worst because you have to pack up, and packing up your holiday is so much worse than any mountain climbing could possibly be. We trundled out to Buffalo for another ascent at a reasonable pace, minus the sick one hour TT experiment from coach Ken. It was like I’d never been up there before, like I was seeing the climb for the first time. I can only assume this is due to some sort of survival mechanism where you forget painful experiences altogether such as one hour time trials. After gramming the achievement (geez the view is great up there) and another Harry and Lloyd descent it was time to head home.
I would provide some stats from the weekend like metres climbed etc but my trusty Garmin 500 had me descending 23,000m each day and only climbing 500 so you can stalk Strava for some more accurate figures. I was very tired at the end and my Today’s Plan agreed. Satisfying.
Each night our Camp Mum, Ev and super coach Ken, cooked up the most incredible feeds, no doubt with optimal macronutrient composition. Even I (the farm-raised token bogan from regional Vic) forgot about my distrust for vegetarians and had a second helping of Ev’s salads. You can make friends with salads, these two are an excellent sort.
We had a wonderful weekend getting to know one another off the bike. Apart from our dedication to looking fabulous in lycra the girls all have ultra interesting day jobs. Bridge has offered to run finance info sessions in between catching financial planning baddies – watch this space.
Look out for Trek Fondo at Tour of Bright next weekend and at the crits over summer!”