Magdalena Oleksy

Dizzy Heights

When I’m writing these words, I’m still feeling high. I did my last peak (Mt Baw Baw) only a few hours ago and it’s hard to fall asleep now. It was a very emotional day for me.

I’ve been riding for about 2.5 years now, statistically crash and injure myself once a year but it never puts me off and I always find another challenge, another destination, another person/group to ride with.

Living close to Beach Rd and riding it nearly every day doesn’t make me a good climber though and definitely doesn’t help improve my descending skills. But it’s always good to have something to aim and train for.

For me cycling is ideal for socializing and getting fitter. It’s addictive but in a good way. I love riding with my friends and discovering new places. But I also love the fashion aspect of cycling. I’m a typical girl after all.

In my opinion the biggest challenge for most female cyclists is to stop thinking we are not strong, not fast and not fit enough. It’s important to start thinking positively of ourselves. And even if we are a bit slower or less fit, it’s not the end of the world. We are doing our best and that’s what counts.

I first heard of 7 Peaks less than a year ago. One of my cycling partners, who had done 7 Peaks before, sent me a link to 100 ladies stories. But my first thought was ‘he must have meant to send it to someone else’ as I had nothing to do with the peaks and didn’t really plan to do any of them. I had only done Kinglake, Donna Buang and Mt Macedon by then, and seriously didn’t think it was within my reach to climb any of the 7 peaks!

But the seed must have been planted, and not even a year after, I’ve completed all 7 peaks and I feel like doing them again!

I love climbing mountains but I’m not a confident descender, so I was really concerned how I was going to go down all those mountains? Climbing was the easiest, descending was another story…So my aim was to finish all climbs in one piece and with a smile on my face.

On purpose I left the hardest one (Mt Baw Baw) to the very end but surprisingly I found it the easiest! And the easiest peak according to some (Lake Mountain) was in my opinion one of the hardest. But it was only because of the weather conditions. I did Lake Mountain in terrible rain and the temperature close to zero at the top of the mountain, so truly didn’t like descending in that weather. Mt Baw Baw was the opposite – beautiful 25 degrees at the top – fantastic short ascent and descent. Too easy. Seemed like not even worth the trip :-).

My favourite ones were Mt Buller and Falls Creek. The trickiest were Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain as I did them in one go on a cold day, and it was a long trip from Harrietville to Omeo and back.

The highlights from all rides were definitely the views. Especially from Buffalo and on the way to Baw Baw. I truly fell in love with that climb which I had to do without using the lowest gears as the bike let me down and the gears stopped working!

But the satisfaction and pride to complete all 7 peaks were overwhelming. It was great to overcome my fears. And now nothing seems impossible.