I am from Singapore which is very flat. Our highest climb in Singapore is called Mt. Faber which has an astonishing 92m of elevation. Singapore’s flatness and my lack of experience climbing mountains were the main reasons I wanted to come to this camp in Australia. While I suffer through mostly every climb I do, there is nothing better than the feeling you get when you cross the top of a mountain after struggling up the gradients to get there. I realized from the lesson the evening before my challenges climbing were due to weighing too much and producing too little power J
Today was to be the hardest day of cycling. No snags, no wine and plenty of sleep. I was in group two and I knew there were many good climbers who would set a challenging pace. The first climb was only 7km and was fairly easy with gradients mostly around 6-7%. After that climb and a quick descent we were making our way to the big climb of the day at Falls Creek. We refueled in Mt. Beauty and then started up the 26km climb to Falls Creek. This climb was not too bad and at around kilometer 20 we saw a massive gate that said ‘Falls Creek’. Great I thought…we are done. Well unfortunately that was not how it worked out and that was where the fun really started. The last bit of the climb was definitely the hardest. I was riding alongside Michael, a good rider from Adelaide, most of the way. Almost near the top we were joined by Anthony and Neil and the four of us finished this climb very close. With only 150 meters to go, Michael said ‘anybody want to give it a crack?’. At that point I could respond with very few words but the message was clear: I was cracked. I could not push anything else out of my legs at that point. I only realized the next day that the KOM jersey was awarded to Anthony for giving it the best crack and crossing the line first. That was the closest I have ever finished near the KOM winner…and may be the closest ever in my cycling career!
After we all made it up they snapped a group photo and we were on our way down. One more climb up the other side of Tawonga, this time around 8km long and up steeper gradients, and add some hot sunshine to boot, this was going to be hard. At this point we had more than 37km of climbing in our legs and by the time we hit Tawonga steep side we had 100km of riding in that day. I rode with one of the instructors Danny Carr until he got bored of me and hammered it up the hill. He was super fast. So I then just pedaled my way up to finish this climb and descend back to the camp and rest…the next day was supposed to be the hardest climb of the trip (Mt. Hotham) and I wanted to get all the rest I could!