April 9 2022
Nineteen intrepid riders donned climbing harnesses, shouldered coils of climbing rope, checked that they were well equipped with carabiners, oxygen bottles, snow goggles and ice axes, and set out to ascend the snowy, icy crags of Kosciuszko (AKA Woodlands Road).
With base camp established and suitably supplied with those climbing essentials of cake, snakes, watermelon, Tim Tams and tea, riders listened attentively to the briefing from Mike Staude, admittedly slightly addled since he had been up since ‘flamin’ early o’clock’ sneaking in a few laps prior to the official kick off. The instructions were simple: ride to the top, turn around, come down, turn around and ride to the top again, and again, and again, and again… Thirteen ascents equalling the height of Australia’s tallest mountain- Mount Kosciuszko at 2228 metres. For those prone to altitude sickness, there were other targets, Mont Ventoux (1900m /11 laps), Mount Buller (1600m /10 laps), Uluru (870m/5 laps). For the over achievers, Mike Staude and Simon Barret – well done on reaching the summit of Mount Olympus at 3000m.
For those unfamiliar with Woodlands Road, in the words of a minor celebrity from long ago, ‘do yourself a favour’ and check it out. Running South/North (or North/South if you prefer) across the Western end of the Porongorups, it is a delightfully wooded climb averaging around 6.5% over its 2.9 km. There is a false flat to start where there’s a great view of the Porongorups before it kicks up and stem chewing is the order of the day.
Eleven of the riders managed a Kosciuszko or better. Three reached Ventoux. Di Fry riding her mountain bike did the ride of the day, completing 9 laps (Cradle Mountain) as well as bringing along a superb cake for the birthday girl – Shirley. Also of considerable note was Steve McGuire’s Uluru as he continues his comeback from a nasty crash.
In other notable performances on the day, many riders managed personal bests on the ascents, including those who wouldn’t normally list climbing as a skillset on their cv. A cracking day out, great atmosphere and comradery, and the big turn-out, proof of the popularity of the diverse range of events that the club is running.