Monday, January 28, 2013

Alpine Classic - ACE250

Alpine Classic - ACE250 

250km / 4700 vert m / 8hrs : 30ish

With the 2013 race season approaching, the Alpine Classic is a great way to get in some solid base miles. Based out of Bright, VIC and the weekend before the Gravity 12hr, the ACE250 is one to add to the training calendar.

Usually, the ACE250 heads over Mt Hotham, down to Omeo, back over Falls Creek and then back to Bright, however with the bush fires in the region the course had to be modified. The new course was simple - 3 repeats of Bright to the top of Mt Buffalo.

Although 2500 riders were originally entered, a large number of riders pulled out - baulking at the idea of doing repeats. Given that many of my enduro races are lap based, I had no issues in doing the same lap multiple times. It actually worked out really well, as you could set your little milestones on the way and you knew exactly where were you were and how far you had to go each lap.

With so many riders all on the same loop, it also meant there were always riders around for a chat - and more importantly, always someone to work with on the flats and descents!

The 2nd wave of 250km riders left Bright at 06:19am - along side the 200km riders. Riding off with Aaron Thompson, Tommo jumped straight into the Audux spirit. He went straight past the huge train of cyclists and chased down the lead group. Once at the front of the group, he went off the front again - as he had noticed another small bunch up the road a little more.

As we caught and passed this front bunch, Tommo kept the foot on the gas and off the front we went. The small front bunch jumped on, and it was my turn to take up the pace setting - for the next 30km!

We kept a fast pace across the rolling flats to the base of Buffalo, and pushed hard into the start of the climb. Soon enough, the lead group was down to just 5 riders - with very little talking going on!

The climb went by quickly, and the cool morning air was refreshing.  The 5% gradient was perfect for keeping the power down.

As we got within the last few km of the top plateu, one of the riders in the group dropped the hammer and rode off the front. I was feeling a bit bummed about this, but soon enough we reached the 200km rider turn around and this front rider and all the others turned off! Lazy!! So it was just me continuing up the final climb to the top turn around point.

The descent was wicked - a solid 20 minutes of on the drops weaving in and out of corners and riders.

Looping through Bright and back to the climb I took it a lot easier and settled into an enjoyable pace. The climb was rewarded with a big Power Cookie at the top - so good!

The 2nd descent was going well, and then ZOOM - a pair of Italian riders went by at warp speed. That looks like fun, so I jumped on the back.  Holy crap they were quick. Sure, I know I am not a super strong roadie descender - but there was no way I was going to let these two get away. By the time we hit the bottom of the mountain I think my heart rate was higher then any point of the climb! It also did not help the heart rate that we were punching 400w out of the corners on the descent!

The 3rd lap was slower again, with the final part of climb a bit of a grovel fest. It was a relief to hit the descent for the final time.

Heading back into Bright I was able to work with another 250km rider - except he had started at the 4am start! We finished off the flats into Bright pretty quickly, and soon enough I was rolling back up the road to my apartment and crashing out on the couch :)

A top day out on the bike and a great alternate course ... oh, and I did not have to wear an ichy fluro yellow vest either!

So what bike do you need for an Audux ride? The Cannondale Supersix Evo of course! It might not be the traditional Audux bike, but it sure gets the job done - and there was a lot of guys and girls eyeing off the super light 'dale.

As for nutrition, 16 x Clif Bar gels and a Power Cookie was all that was needed, along with 6 or 7 bottles of water with electrolyte.

This was my first ride back with my SRAM Quarq power meter too - and for the power weenies, this was a 480 TSS ride - and that first ascent was 60m @ 320w / 90m @ 308w - not bad for a lazy training ride!

So, now it's time to eat some ice cream in Bright, and hang out for the week awaiting the Gravity 12hr next Saturday :)

Half way up
06:19 am start
Nice views
Top of Buffalo
Selfie starting 3rd lap
Top of Buffalo