The best way to get your training hours up, is to get out of town and head to our own alpine region. Chris & Maria Hedley snuck off over the Christmas break and give us a bit of a review of their trip to Thredbo and the surrounding areas.

I knew it was coming.  We all do really.  Everytime we go away, I make sure that we slip quietly out of Sydney without a whisper to the club spies of our movements to ensure that i am not faced with an inquisition upon return.  However upon my return to Sydney  lo-and-behold there it was in my Inbox:

Hi Chris,

Hope you had a good break over the Christmas New Years, MWCC Headquarters require an immediate review of your rides, even where you stayed etc and so that we can put it up on the website, we have been slipping in our google ratings to pictures of a cat on a bicycle. Failure to comply will result in being forcefed Jim’s leftover paella.

 Thanks 

That’s a pretty serious sorta threat that’s just been doled out so I knew Mr Secretary meant it.  I straightaway dropped what I was doing (painting the house as it happens so it wasn’t that much of a hardship, just contemplating some fuchsia to the the edges) and got down to it.  So here it is… Chris’ Christmas Ride Report…

For Christmas Maria & I decided to head down to Thredbo.  Ostensibly to have a break from the cats at home but also to do some sneaky early prep for the Three Peaks.  Lynne Clarke and Pete Moore decided to join us, and by the power of a tweet we managed to hook up with Andrew and Loz Vize.  If you haven’t ridden in the Alps put it high on your list – the riding is fabulous.  Take your sunblock and insect repellent though and remember it’s high – everything’s a bit harder here! 

 Day 1:  Thredbo to Tom Groggin return.  45km, 1500m

 Head out from Thredbo towards Khancoban.  Once past Dead Horse Gap you’ll soon be on a great descent down through Leatherbarrel creek and on to Tom Groggin.  Riding through beautiful forest the only concern is the stretches of 16% or 18% that await you on your return!  Good roads, and relatively few cars.

 Lynne Gabba 

Can’t be too careful – Bring a nice warm jacket

 Everyone was very happy after this ride.  Lynne was a bit hot having tested her Castelli Gabba on a 35 degree day and for a jacket designed for close to freezing and wet conditions, it was perfect for the ride.  I suppose it’s one way to lose weight…  No matter… Life is good.

Lynne and Maria 

Lynne in nice warm Gabba on 35 degree day,  and Maria at Tom Groggin

Flies 

Bloody ‘ell – did you see the size of those march flies! 

Rating:  *** (Can’t fault it but all the time you’re going down you’re thinking about the return…!)

Day 2:  Thredbo to Charlottes Pass return.  142km, 2900m

Take the road from Thredbo back towards Jindabyne.  At the junction take a left towards Perisher.  Keep riding until there is no more road!  The changing environment that you see on this ride from Jindabyne all the way up to Charlottes makes this ride very special.  However, this is a big ride so take lots of sun block, food, and a jacket – the weather can change quickly in the Alps.  Also leave some gas in the tank for the final return from Jindabyne to Thredbo.  This is only 35km but you’re tired and it’s a significant uphill.

Once Lynne decided to start timetrialling down towards Jindy with the power of Tony Martin, Maria very wisely decided to drop back and do this ride at her own pace.  I foolishly thought I could keep up with the young turks which I paid for handsomely a few hours later with a very tired return up from Jindy to Thredders. 

One would think after 6 or 7 hours in the saddle it would be reasonable to put the tired legs up and chat about the day over a refreshingly cold beer.  Not Andrew… he thought maybe a 9km run might just be the right thing.  That was when we discovered he was an “Ultramarathoner”.  Looking that up in the thesaurus all I get is “Bonkers. Should be locked up.”.  Don’t worry – I drank Andrew’s beer and then blamed it on Maria– didn’t want it going to waste…

Charlottes Pass 

Andrew and Lynne (sans Gabba today) at Charlottes

Rating:  ***** (Epic Alpine riding)

Day 3:  Thredbo Bridle Track.  19km, 322m

Time to get muddy.  Kosioscou-Thredbo (or KT to their friends, which is precious few) are in the process of building a shared MTBike/walking trail down towards Thredbo Diggings.  The first 10km are complete are they are awesome fun.  Nice and easy.  Perfect for a recovery.

Rating: *** (Would be five but just not a long enough ride yet!)

 Day 4:  Berridale to Adaminaby and back.  150km, 2250m

Pete and Lynne had buggered off by this point (which was good because there wasn’t a lot of food left, since Pete had pretty much devoured everything in the cupboard, including the ornamental plastic fish off the wall) So the four remaining amigos decided to take Andrew’s recommendation for this ride.  Supposedly flat it actually has over 2000m climbing (which I only discovered when I got out of the car! You’ve gotta watch these Ultramarathoners!)  Having said that it was an excellent choice and I can definitely recommend.  You even get to see the big Trout at Adaminaby – something I’m sure you will want to share with the grandkids one day.

Big Fish 

It’s behind you!

Rating: **** (Great riding on quiet roads)

 Day 5:  Cascade Hut, 30km, 1000m

The classic Thredbo mountain bike ride all the way to Cascade hut which would best be described as a renovators delight and back.  If you haven’t done it you should.  Just don’t fall off in the river crossings…

Old Hut 

Cascade Hut built circa 1930, Trek SuperFly 100 Elite built circa 2010.

Rating:  ***** (Super easy mountain biking with possible brumbies – what’s not to like?)

Day 5 Ride 2: Thredbo to the Distillery.  50km, 1150m

Just up from Jindabyne on the Alpine Way towards Thredbo is the Snowy Mountains distillery.  They make their own great schnapps which makes a change from the usual coffee stops, awesome lunch, and the scones and cream are simply the best which is saying something coming from an Englishman.  Perfect for keeping the strength up for the 25km ride back home.

Rating: ****

Accommodation

We stayed in Lantern Apartments in Thredbo.  These are self-catering units at the top of the village and have great views over the ski-fields opposite.  They’re very accommodating for bikes, allowing them in the units and even having a bike wash available.  Recommended.

Rating: ***** 

Cloudy 

View from Lantern’s Balcony

Pete Eating 

Pete’s always eating. Seriously!