I hate hills. Living in Port Melbourne, I am blessed to have Beach Road at my front door and enjoy a weekend ride to Mordialloc and back or further along to Mornington if I’m feeling energetic. It’s a popular cycling route, but it’s one that is relatively flat. So when my boyfriend suggested we do the Seven Peaks just a few days after we had finished a very gruelling 250km Around the Bay ride in October last year, I laughed him off saying something like, “I’m never going to do it”. The last thing I wanted to do was take on another challenge that I had inadequately trained for.
After having problems with my hips from running, I decided to have a break from running and that it was time for a new challenge. It was a New Year after all – New Year, new me and all that jazz. After looking at the length and gradients of the peaks we decided to start with Mt Buffalo. It was my first experience of a real climb – 2 hours, pushing up and down, feeling breathless, feeling like my legs had stopped working, thinking to myself the whole way “why are we doing this?”
After reaching the top, I skolled a Powerade and lemonade, took in the view, took a photo and took in the feeling of pride and achievement that comes with conquering a mountain.
The next weekend we decided to tackle two of the mountains closest to Melbourne – Lake Mountain and Mt Buller. I had prepared mentally for a tough first 4.5kms of Lake Mountain, but after a full day of drinking beer the day before (it was Australia Day), being dehydrated and 30 degree heat, I felt like I was going to throw up several times. The only thing that kept me going was the idea that I had to burn off all the calories I had consumed the day before. I tell myself I won’t do that again, but I know that’s not true. Backing up the next day to climb Mt Buller was a challenge in itself. From the start my legs felt heavy, but all I could think was “just keep on pushing, it could be worse, I could be hungover”!
We have four more peaks to go – we are leaving Baw Baw until last. I get nervous before each ride, not knowing what each has in store, hoping my legs and lungs will get me through, thinking about how thrilling it will be to come back down…