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November 18, 2017
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  • Orrsome153

    The ride sounds great. This event was conducted on open roads. May I enquire as to why riders breached the road rules? It is not a good look.

    • 42x16ss

      There were a number of roads that were closed, such as Henry Roberts Drive and there was a strong police presence over much of the course.

      This was an excellently run event, strongly recommend.

      • Orrsome153

        The roads that were closed I am sure were closed for good reason especially Henry Roberts Drive. I was following large groups from Chillingham to Tomewin and there was some groups taking up the whole road which in one particular case lead to at least one very frustrated driver who then performed a very dangerous overtaking manoeuvre to pass the group. I only saw a small sample of the riders and I am sure this would have been an isolated incident.

        • Jake(Aus)

          Then why comment?

  • Jimmy

    Really well run event as usual with Bicycle Network, a big thanks to the volunteers who really make the day. I have done two Falls Creek Peaks Challenge events and can say that this is certainly a worthy addition. This view was shared by everyone I spoke with on the day who had done both events. As with every cyclist we love to analyse data, I am curious to know how times would compare to Falls Creek. I know there was a 12 hour cut off, but I am not sure that a “10 hour Falls Creek rider” would do this course in 9 hours. My opinion is that it would be closer to 30 minutes

    • 42x16ss

      I finished at the same time as someone who was only 5-10 minutes ahead of his Falls Creek time. He said that the constant undulation and road conditions made up for the shorter climbs.

  • Lee Turner

    It was the hardest ride I have ever done. The weather and descents were amazing but the climbs were brutal. Looking forward to see how the Cradle Mountain Event stacks up to the other two in terms of toughness.

  • Bart

    Has anyone also done the Peaks Challenge Falls Creek who can comment on how hard it is by comparison?

    • Lee Turner has done both (see his comment below).

    • Jay

      Hi Bart: having done both events I’ve been thinking about how to compare them…and as if you didn’t know it already, neither of them is the “easy” one:-)

      First of all, BN runs events amazingly well. This one had a couple of teething problems but there is no brand I trust more than BN to do it right.

      I suspect that for a lighter rider, PCGC would be harder. There are many instances when a heavier rider can roll over the top of little bergs where light riders will slow down and have to churn up in a tiny gear. That said, there are many, many more meters over 15% in PGCG than at Falls. For a heavyweight (over 75kg), there’s just no dodging the HC climbs of Falls.

      The next difference is the weather. Total temp variation on the day was 15 degrees, 7 at the start and then 22 during the day. At Falls 15 degrees is a best case scenario, and over the day the weather can really take it out of you.

      Thirdly, PCGC starts in the burbs and has many more turns, lights and traffic. Falls has four turns and no lights. I suspect Falls will always be the pinnacle because it has genuinely enormous mountains. The views during PCGC were no less majestic though.

      To summarise, I’ll give you a paradox. Falls is harder and quicker. Harder because the average cyclist will be faced with climbs they can’t train for – who has a 90 minute climb in their backyard? Quicker because at PCGC you’ll lose ten minutes at traffic lights.

      I hope that helps and I recommend you do them both. Bring on Cradle Mountain – and bring on an event in NSW too!

      • Great comparison. I am keen to give Falls Challenge a go. I was impressed with how well the event was run. I only stopped at 2 sets of lights the whole day, most of the time we were just being waved through by the police, but from memory there were only a handful of lights on the whole course.

    • Mark

      Same but different. My ride (moving) time was 6 min quicker at GC than Falls this year, and I did the 5km “extension” on the freeway on Saturday. So say that was 11 mins extra, then I rode about 17 mins quicker for 235 at GC than Falls. Total times for me were 9.17 at Falls and 8.59 at GC (a lazy 57 seconds to spare for sub-9!!), so that about adds up. Garmin at both registered around 4,600m total climbing, so comparable there as well.

      I found GC much lumpier than Falls. Yes the Falls climbs are long, but you can get into a rhythm (esp Hotham), where I found at GC you were forever climbing, then lumps in between, then flat, then a sharp “where did that come from?” pinch – never a long decent stretch (flat or otherwise) to just tap it out. My most enjoyable time was climbing Springbrook, which coincidently, was also the longest climb.

      And agree with Jay re traffic lights. I’d hate to imagine the huge amount of effort that went into what was yet another well-organised BN event – but chasing the 9-hours and hitting multiple red lights was slightly stressful, especially after riding an extra 5km.

      Stunning scenery throughout, magnificent volunteers and friendly locals. Definitely one for next year.

      • TJ


        • Mark


    • Marc Metzger

      Done both, loved both – Same distance, same elevation but completely different events. FC has 3 long climbs, GC 5+ with lots of nasty short pinches.

    • Ben

      I did PC Gold Coast on Saturday and Falls Creek in 2011 (in the rain). Falls Creek 2011 was the most taxing day I’ve ever had on the bike due to the poor weather. Saturday was a long hard day as well but it was just so glorious riding in summer kit after training through the most ordinary Melbourne winter. I did a 140k training ride to Arthurs Seat a few weeks ago in howling wind and rain – it was horrible. I would rather ride 235ks with 4000m climbing in 22 degree heat any day. So I would have to say that either of the two rides has the potential to be easier or harder, depending on the days conditions and your training.
      As mentioned, the event was really well organised. The valet service is brilliant. Also, you don’t need to stuff your pockets with food, there’s plenty of food/cake/hydralite at all the breaks along the way. I just carried 1 power bar.

    • Dale Smith

      Did Falls last year in 10:43 and PCGC in 9:29. But I cut the stopped time down and trained better for this one – I reckon I would have gone around the 10 hour mark for falls creek if I did it right now. So about 30 minutes difference at a guess. But not easier. There were very few flat sections here – it seemed like we were always either going up or going down. And more steeper sections. Henri Roberts Drive was something of the like I’ve not experienced before.
      But I remember struggling up Hotham, especially the last bit, after going too hard early in the climb, not being used to climbing for 2 hours straight and also the altitude. Above 1400 I struggled for breath, although my mate I was riding with wasn’t affected as much.
      Overall I think Falls has that feeling of being more epic because of the size of the climbs, and because the back of Falls comes after 200km. I have bad memories of the back of Falls.
      Both events are brilliantly run by the way. More roadside support from the public on this on just because it’s in more populated areas and the fact that it’s 2 loops means it’s more accessible for spectators.
      I’d love to do Cradle Mountain. Maybe next year…

  • roklando

    just signed up for Falls Creek 2016, better hit the hills soon……

  • Allan Concepcion

    Nice to relate to your experience Derek. We we’re the Chillingham Train that you were on :)

    • You appreciate a good ride like me then Allan. Certainly a far cry from the transcontinental when you aren’t allowed to draft at all. It was quite the day!

      • Paul Maxwell

        I was with Allan and you were behind me on the Chillingham Train. Just yell out next time you need Gels or bars I had my pockets full of them. My first Peaks Challenge loved it and want to do more.

        • Thanks Paul. Seemed liked there was a few of us getting towed over the borders.

  • Jeff

    Nice story & well written, can tell that it was not edited by the CT team due to the absence of “thus” & super excited/super……..” from the paragraphs

  • NY’er

    What a great read, thanks Derek. I really enjoyed this article. I feel it’s the first article in a very long time that I can relate closely to. I’m a “hack” myself and while I do like reading performance based material (i.e. how do I become faster/stronger/better/etc.) I feel like your experiences are something most of the readership can easily relate to. More of these please!

    • Thanks mate. Alas, another fellow hack out there.

  • Abdu

    Great write up.

    I’ve seen Tambourine lay waste to a bunch like a medieval beast. I have been on the receiving end of its gradient. Nasty.

  • D-Man

    Excellent account.
    Really enjoyed my day out, even if I wasn’t feeling as good in the legs hoped. Still, as a local, I hope all you interstate riders enjoyed what SE Queensland (and NSW) had to offer. For me, this ride is as difficult as 3 Peaks Falls, which I rode in 2012, though for different reasons. Peaks Challenge GC has shorter climbs but is a lot more undulating in between peaks, thus making it harder to get into a set rhythm, whereas Falls, and Mt Hotham in particular, are straight out climb fests with plenty of recovery areas in between. Also, those steep pinches in Peaks Challenge GC towards the end of the ride really hurt! For those who’ve hit “Oh F*%#k” corner at the back of Falls, GC had a few of those in store in the last 30km, thankfully of limited length. If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d describe the event as “Fun”, if your idea of enjoyment is to spend half a day in pain on the bike! Definitely planning on doing this one again.

  • Jack Douglas

    So devastated that I have pneumonia at the moment and had to miss out on this years ride, but I managed watch them come through Tambo at 7am, it was bloody freezing! Great job to all the riders out there, there was even a team on a tandem bike that never got off to walk as well as a local Triathlon Coach from the Burleigh Triathlon Squad (Mark Aldous) who did the entire ride on a fat bike! Now that’s an effort!


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November 18, 2017
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November 16, 2017
November 15, 2017