Well this was supposed to be the easy day of the four day training camp so I thought nothing of having a few glasses of wine and a few ‘snags’ the evening before the climb up Mount Buffalo. According to Andrew, my friend and Australian translator, a snag is the name given to a sausage rolled up in a piece of bread. Being the good cyclist, I wrapped all three of the snags I had in whole wheat bread and sampled at least as many glasses of good Australian wine. It was great to have a BBQ where we were able to meet all of the other riders from different places. There were four of us from Singapore (Andrew, Lucinda and Rene who we met at the camp) and the remainder of the riders were from various places in Australia. Including the instructors, there were around 47 people who were there to saddle up for four days of riding just 300 km northeast of Melbourne Australia.
Day one started at 7:15am. We were given a nice ride briefing by David Heatley who runs the camp and who is a very good cyclist. Mt. Buffalo was the easiest climb we would do during the four day program and we would be time marked to see which group we would be put in for the remainder of the trip. No problems. We took a casual five kilometer stroll over to the base of Mt. Buffalo where we were given a nice briefing on the climb and some advice on both climbing and descending. After the briefing we started the climb and it was evident that there were some very good climbers in the group. After they had disappeared from my view I settled into a nice pace and was slowly plowing up this climb. As per usual, thoughts started rolling through my mind such as ‘Why did I eat three snags last night’ or ‘Why did I drink all that great Australian red wine?’. Needless to say I found my rhythm and kept my legs turning. Jodie, David’s wife and supporter of this training camp, pulled up beside me in the support vehicle to pass on well wishes for me to make it up this climb. Needless to say, I was very much in the short answer mode you get into in cycling when you are short of breath and working too hard!
Jodie: how are you going?
Jodie: That is a very colourful bike you have
Jodie: Is that a Pinarello?
After realizing I was not much of a conversationalist on the climb, Jodie drove off ahead to find more stimulating conversationalists in the more capable group. I was huffing and puffing all the way up this 18km climb and really regretting all the snags and wine from the day before.
I finally made it to the top and created a mental list of all the behaviors I would adopt for the remainder of the trip: less wine, no snags, early to bed, and less wine!
All the riders made it safely to the top of Mt. Buffalo where there are beautiful views of the valley below. I snapped a few pictures and chatted briefly with some of the other riders before starting the descent down our first climb. The descent was not too technical so we were able to fly down this climb with relative ease. After a regroup at the bottom David provided us with a nice overview on some additional climbing techniques and some descending techniques before we headed back to the base camp in Porepunkah.
That evening we would have the first of our classroom sessions. The two hour session was very useful and will definitely help me use my Garmin 705 more effectively. There was a lecture on core exercises and stretching provided by a fellow named Marcus Speed which will encourage me to get my exercise ball out again…if I can find it. Marcus also provided a demonstration on how to stretch your cycling related muscles which I am sure will come in handy in the future.