After yesterday's abysmal experience on Baw Baw, I approached today's climb up Mt Buller with renewed confidence.
I promised you, dear reader, that the Seven Peaks Challenge was not dead, and my commitment to you and the Challenge is unwavering.
I'd never been to Mt Buller, but it's one of those places that I've heard of so many times. Mostly through friends that had skied there. But it struck me today that it's not uncommon for me to have ridden my bike to places that most people ski. After all, I've never skied in my life. But I've ridden my bike up a few mountains...
I had prepared myself by reading Gerro's tips for Mt Buller on the 7 peaks website. His tip is that the climb is steeper to start, flattened out a bit to a more of a gentle climb for most of the ascent, then kicked up for the last 1.5ks into the village at the top.
"Save something for the last kilometre!" rang in my ears when I read this passage. If I could thank that little Belgian man for the advice he gave me on one of my first French Alpine ascents, I would give him the biggest kiss and hug. It would be his lucky day!
While today was successful, it wasn't free of mishap. As I set off I realised I hadn't pumped up my tyres and didn't know whether KKB had either. More to the point, they felt a bit funky and I wondered whether he'd let out any air. My Garmin also hadn't been reset from the previous day. But I sorted these out in the first k or so and attached the climb.
And then... something you don't see all that often in the middle of the Australian bush. Is it art or just someone's idea of a laugh? I don't know, but if you ever pull off one of those stunts where you kidnap someone's gnome, make sure you take it to Mt Buller.
There weren't many views on the way up, just route markers (professional ones this time) and glorious Australian bush. Beautiful gum trees and lots of birds chirping.
A few ks from the top I could see the village above. I hate it when that happens! These kind of views remind you not only how close you are, but also how far away you are.
Just as I was approaching the difficult last kick, an older gent approached me and we shared a pep talk about what was to come. I seem to have a habit of attracting this worldly gents on rides like this. Not that I mind, they are always friendly and encouraging. He spotted my Alpe d'Huez jersey and assured me that if I could climb Alpe d'Huez I'd be fine on this one.
Pity I was a bit less fit than the *last* time I rode Alpe d'Huez! (Though I also reminded myself I am definitely lighter and fitter than the *first* time I'd ridden Alpe d'Huez.)
While there were definitely some ramps, it wasn't too hard an end to what had been a lovely climb.
There were lots of downhill MTBers at the top so the handful of roadies felt a little bit outnumbered! The guy at the coffee shop wasn't discerning - he was really welcoming and happy to have a chat.
So, now I'm two from three. Tomorrow, Mt Buffalo.