Just as I turned 40 years old, I wound up my cafe business and discovered “free time”. My husband surprised me with a Greg Lemond road bike to help me get into physical activity. I have NEVER participated in any sporting endeavors, not even at school. From my first ‘marathon’ 20km ride, to learning to commute to work I grew to love my time on the bike. 6 months [later] I learned how to use clip-less pedals and I would complete my first 100km ride solo one dreary winter’s day.
After completely falling in love with this thing called a sport, I decided to finally face my fears and try to push myself and my abilities. I decided to sign up for the 7 peaks series.
With my 7 peaks passport in hand, I used the climbing cyclist website as a to do list for training and motivation. After Mt Donna Buang, I took on the challenge of Lake Mountain during the organised Domestique ride. I was ecstatic to not only finish this climb, but to pass a few other riders on the way! This gave me a plentiful bag of confidence and courage to go on and tackle all 7 Peaks, an experience that took me through a wide ranging plethora of emotions and physical extremities!
By far the hardest physical climb was Mt Hotham. I really didn’t know what I was in for and after having just made it up CRB Hill, the sight of Diamattina nearly broke me, and my heart. It was then so exhilarating and stupefying to eventually pass through the Hotham tunnel at the top.
But by far the hardest climb mentally was Dinner Plain. I didn’t expect this to be such a challenge. We rode down to Omeo and had a stop at the bakery for refuelling. In the meantime, the weather turned and we started our ride back under very dark clouds. Within 5 minutes, the heavens opened up and the majority of the 40 odd kilometers back to the top was in torrential rain and lightening storms. I swore then that if anyone stopped to render assistance I would very swiftly jump into their vehicle!!
After 2 stops under some trees for cover, and one mental breakdown that my husband supported me through, we finally made it to the top about an hour later than what we had hoped. It could have been the worst day on the bike for me, but the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction overwhelmed all other feelings of dread and despair and I see it as a moment where I faced my own demons and pushed on to literally reach the top.
The following day, we tackled Falls Creek on the same day as The 3 peaks Challenge and after having driven up this road numerous times during the ski season, it was absolutely tremendous to see it with the eyes of a cyclist and by far this was the best peak to ride. We finished the ride off at the top in glorious weather with two Pro cyclists encouraging us on and the atmosphere at the top was electric with the finishing site set up for the day’s other event.
This was the first time I had tackled any Alpine climbs and they spurred me on to ride up Arthur’s Seat, a climb I had been eternally scared of. Without this challenge, I would never have taken on any of these goals and would be a poorer person for it, I was also very happy to finish them all within the company of my husband, who too had never tackled anything like this before.