I apologise for my absence over the past few days but have been cycling for three consecutive days to complete the last of the climbs, hence the silence.
On Friday it was time to leave Beachworth, my home for the past week, and we (my cousin Michael being driver and tour guide) had a two hour drive southwards to Mount Buller. Still part of the Alpine range it’s a substantial distance so we stopped off in Mansfield on the way.
The Australians love their bakeries and in keeping with tradition we found the local bakery. Topped up with tall black coffees we were served by a young lady with a great Wexford accent. It was refreshing to chat to one of my own fellow country women and as usual we spoke about the sunshine – she informed me that it was very cold at home today 😀
Mansfield is a very rural town with lots of hunting, fishing, skiing in winter, and hiking and biking in the summer months. I could understand how she would settle here and enjoy the way of life. So could I! However I had mountains to climb so onwards we went. The scenery was different with rolling hills and very lush flora all around. The landscape had changed dramatically and there was something very familiar and Irish-like about this region.
I’m informed that everything is greener than normal after a long winter of rain, and that this can be quite dangerous during a following hot summer as the additional growth turns into potential bush fire fuel. It’s certainly greener than I remember during my previous visit in April.
I warmed up some 10km out of Mirimbah which was my start point. There were a few other cyclists on the approach road and there was a deafening sound coming from the trees, one that I hadn’t heard on other rides. I learned it was the sound of Cicadas in the surrounding greenery.
I met another female cyclist, Leoni, who was taking on the climb for her second time. A keen cyclist from St. Kildas cycling club in Melboune, she had completed Buller seven years ago and had been watching the weather all week. We had picked the best day she reassured me, before putting her foot to the mat from the start of the climb. There was no hanging around with this lady!
We shared stories and exchanged cycling experiences until the climb got more serious and we ran out of energy to talk and ride simultaneously. The last few kilometres of the 16km official 7peaks segment was relentless, a true test of endurance and strength, however the views were amazing from the top and so rewarding. Thanks to the company this was the easiest climb to date.
Let’s hope the next two days would go as smoothly, somehow I had my doubts!