This event takes place on 08 March 2015 in Falls Creek, Victoria. It is known to be one of the toughest cycling events and is ranked as one of the Top 10 Single Day Rides in the World. It covers a total of 235 km which includes 3 mountain climbs that would challenge even the nimblest of mountain goats.
The climbs vary in length with the shortest being 7.8 km and the longest being 35 km. The gradient of these hills varies as well from 4.2% to 10%. Of course, only parts of the hills may reach 10%, however it would still require a great deal of strength, fitness and skill to propel both body and bicycle up that 'wall'. At least mountain goats do not have to carry a bicycle while navigating up mountain passes.
Goal: To finish Under 13 Hours!
For the average person, cycling a mere 30 km is a huge feat. Thus, one could appreciate the magnitude of this race just on the distance alone, not to mention that there are 3 gigantic climbs thrown into that equation.
What makes the Peaks Challenge so spectacular is that the course is monitored on time. Every participant is given 13 hours to complete it. This means that one would have to cycle an average of 19km/h to complete it within that set time.
As a measure of time, the Peaks Challenge (also known as the 3 Peaks Challenge) is famous for their Lantern Rouge. The Lantern Rouge is the "time keeper" that crosses the start line and finishing line at a set time that equates to 13 hours. If the Lantern Rouge passes a cyclist, it is required for that cyclist to retire.
Last year there were 1781 competitors with 92% of those finishing the race. Some managed to beat the Lantern Rouge by a couple of seconds. Others, like Alex Davey blitzed the course in just over 7.5 hours.
This year, the Peaks Challenge has reached its maximum capacity. Many cyclists have already spent the last year training for this specific event, with some even travelling from overseas to compete in it. However, spectators are welcome to watch on as cyclists battle hills and stay ahead of the Lantern Rouge. Or, if you want to be more involved than just watching, you can contact the Bicycle Network to see what volunteer spots they have available. After all, this event would not have been voted in the Top 10 without the help of volunteers.
Although you may be too late to compete in this year's challenge, there is nothing stopping you for giving it a go for next year. The Peaks Challenge website is not shy of sharing information to prepare cyclists for this event. It would be wise to visit their website for valuable training information and to see what others do this year.
Being one of the Top 10 Single Day Rides in the world, it is definitely an event you would want to be on your "bucket list". As it happens to be in Australia, it would not require international travel. I would say that this goal is achievable. All it requires is a plan and committment to achieve! The real question is: "Are you up for the challenge?"