With winter coming to an end, we were sitting in Windy Corner feeling sorry for ourselves. Tutty was heading off to Norway and we still had a few more months to wait before making our way to the airport, Europe bound. Something had to be done to keep us excited for the coming months of training here at Falls Creek and Mt Beauty… our idea; the AA Batteries Adventure Challenge Checklist! Here’s a little recap of some of the more exciting challenges we’ve completed.
Challenge 1 – First run of the day down summit…
… on cross country skis! We left windy corner at 7:45 and started skiing up Wombats Ramble, making it to the top of the summit chair by about 8:25am. After a little apprehension due to the thick fog and 30cm of fresh snow on the run, we began to snowplough our way down. On a scale of fluffy bunnies to Nick Grimmer’s humour, it was pretty scary!* A little ways down the run the downhillers started coming up the lift, cheering for us as we struggled to turn in the deep snow. We didn’t get to the bottom of the run first, but we were carving up some awesome turns towards the end. A few people may have lapped us, but at least we made it down in one piece!
Challenge 2 – 6 Huts in one day
What started out as a casual early morning ski to Edmonson’s hut, turned into a slightly more epic adventure than planned. After getting to Edmonson’s we headed to Johnson’s, Kelly’s and Fitzgerald’s huts, then down the aqueduct walking track headed towards Langfords Gap. Some slightly scary river crossings and ending up on the wrong side of the aqueduct (where there was no trail) made for an interesting trip, but with some great bush bashing skills and a few entertaining falls, we made it to the SEC hut at Langfords. But that wasn’t enough! We then made our way to Wallace’s hut the 6th and final hut for the day. After 4 hours and 15 minutes, 3 river crossings, 2 Powerbars and not enough water we returned to Windy Corner for some well earned hot chocolates and jam donuts. On a scale of cleaning toilets at Howman’s Gap to flying to the moon, this challenge was pretty epic.*
Challenge 3 – Rollerskiing up Mt. Hotham
Bright and early one Sunday morning, two courageous, adventurous and amazing girls drove to Harrietville, put on their rollerskis and began the long challenging climb to the top. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Hotham road, let me break it down for you. The first 10km are quite steep, and include a section called ‘The Meg’, which on a scale of the dam wall to tank trail is “like an 11”*. Towards the top of the Meg we were excited to see a downhill ahead, but as we got closer we though ‘oh wait, it’s actually just flat’… turns out it was still up hill, but compared to the Meg it may as well have been downhill! The middle 10km are pretty relaxing so we did some double poling to keep things interesting. After the gate, the last 10kms include some treacherous hills, both up and down! We only had to take off our rollerskis twice to run down the hills, and if you ask Anna she’ll tell you that on a scale of tank trail to ‘the Meg’ these hills were “like an 11”*. The top of Hotham is a poo farm, so we skied down a little further to the General Hotel and waited for Marg to drive us back down again. We celebrated with pizza for lunch at the General, which was delicious…. Anything is delicious after 3 hours and 45 minutes of uphill skiing!
Challenge 4 – Mitta Mitta to Mt Beauty
Another early morning start had us on the bus at 7:30 to drive to Mitta Mitta for the start of the annual Mountain Bike race. This race is the third leg of the world’s longest triathlon (stretched over the longest time), with the Mt Beauty half marathon and the Hoppet preceding it. The route for the Mitta to Mt Beauty starts on the Mitta footy oval, climbs up the valley of Scrubby Creek and crosses the north face of Mt. Bogong through Trappers Gap, before descending along the valley of Mountain Creek to finish in the main street of Mt. Beauty. With 37km of dirt rd, 18km of bitumen, 840m of climb and 740m of decent, it’s fair to say that on a scale of sandpaper to Frankston, the ride was pretty rough*. I had never ridden a mountain bike before and Anna had ridden hers for the first time this year the day before, so we were both a little out of practice. Anna managed to pull out a solid performance finishing 1st in the junior girls with myself a fair way behind, but still in 3rd place! More importantly we completed the bronze and silver challenges respectively. I can’t say this race was the most enjoyable of my life and I’m certainly never doing it again… unless I’ve already done the other two events in the gold challenge!
There have been many more adventures and lots of quality training happening here in the alpine region and with less than 24 hours to go, we’re both very excited for Europe!
*For all logical (or other) reasoning behind the scales in this report, please ask Anna.