If you are into your cycling (which of course we all are) and you are looking for a challenge regardless of your fitness level, then the 7 Peaks is for you. It’s not a race or a super competitive challenge, it’s an ‘at your own pace’ event that encourages participation and rewards riders with some of the best experiences they will ever have on a bike.
The 7 Peaks Alpine Challenge involves riding up seven mountains located in the North-east Victorian Alpine region. The climbs are varied in length and intensity but they all share beautiful vistas and a chance to escape the daily grind. Aside from the location, the greatest selling point of this event is that it can be done on your own time and at your own pace. Participants have a five month period between October and March to tick off the seven climbs, meaning you can plan to do one every 3-4 weeks, challenge yourself to tick off a couple in one go, or make it an event and complete the passport in record time. The 7 Peaks and some detail on each is below.
• Mt Baw Baw - Distance – 4 miles, Rise – 2200ft, Grade Average – 11%, Grade Max – 20.6%
• Mt Buffalo - Distance – 14.5 miles, Rise – 300ft, Grade Average – 5%, Grade Max – 11%
• Mt Buller - Distance – 10 miles, Rise – 3000ft, Grade Average – 6.2%, Grade Max – 13%
• Dinner Plain - Distance – 26 miles, Rise – 3200ft, Grade Average – 2.1%, Grade Max – 11%
• Falls Creek - Distance – 19.3 miles, Rise – 3800ft, Grade Average – 4%, Grade Max – 10%
• Hotham - Distance – 20 miles, Rise – 4400ft, Grade Average – 4%, Grade Max – 18%
• Lake Mountain - Distance – 13 miles, Rise – 3000ft, Grade Average – 4%, Grade Max – 10%
As you can see, some of the profiles could potentially be quite daunting, but another great aspect of the 7 Peaks Alpine Challenge is the help you get along the way. If you are looking for some training ideas of how to prepare for the peaks, the official website offers advice and plans from David Heatley of Cycling Inform to help you conquer the challenge.
To register and get your passport, it is a very simple online process that takes 30 seconds to complete. From there you simply pick a peak and go for it. Stamps are located at the top of each climb, so remember to take your passport on any attempts you have planned. By simply completing the challenge you can go into the draw to win some great prizes including accommodation packages at some of the finest establishments in the North-east and also dinner vouchers to refuel in style.
For the competitive bunch of you, you can also record your rides on STRAVA against 7 Peaks segments and send in your results. As if all of that wasn’t enough, if you complete 4 or more peaks you go into the draw to win a cycling tour to the Tour de France!
For anyone considering attempting the challenge and thinking it may be a bridge too far, it’s worth noting a 10 year old completed the challenge in 2014/15; a supremely impressive performance but one that highlights this is very achievable for anyone that commits themselves to it. So get a passport and get riding.
In the meantime, here what advice 7 Peaks conqueror Tina Cook has to share….