Having fully established our cycling tour base here in Europe it is now almost 3 years since we have been back to Australia. But with the 2018/19 Australian summer fast approaching it got us reminiscing back to February 2016 when we spent four awesome days cycling in the Victorian High Country with Cycling-Inform. Mt Buffalo, Tawonga Gap, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham – what more do you need to say?
[Paul D’Andrea, Owner – Sierra Sports & Tours, October 2018]
During Jan/Feb 2016 we were back in Australia for a short 6 week period with a tour group to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under and many other cycling related events in Perth and Melbourne. But one thing I organised well and truly in advance was signing-up to the Cycling-Inform February Bright Boot camp. I had heard about their boot camps during the 2015 Bicycle Network 3 Peaks event and I was keen to go for some rides without having to organise anything for a change. Plus 4 days of summer cycling in the Victorian High Country I thought would be an excellent chance to get some extra quality km´s in on the rest of the Sierra Sports & Tours guides who were sleeping and eating (well hibernating) in Europe´s winter!!
The first thing that caught my attention on arriving at the camp was that with its 40 or so cycling guests there was an excellent amount of lead and support riders, vehicles and all round smiling staff and helpers on-hand. One great thing about the camp is that while the climbs are quite daunting Cycling-Inform has structured the riding so that after day one everyone is cycling in groups suited to their ability. This means you can then work the climbs at your pace rather than then being on the rivet all day. Who needs to be under undue pressure when there are Mt Buffalo, Tawonga Gap (multiple times), Falls Creek and Mount Hotham all in 4 consecutive days of cycling!
Another positive about the camp is that you are riding with friendly people with a good representation of men and women. In fact, there are many who make this trip an annual event as it helps them prepare for rides such as Audax and 3 Peaks and to prepare for bigger and better things overseas. Plus many have made friendships from multiple visits to Bright and others get away with a group of cycling mates and join the rest of us cycling diehards!
During two of the evenings there are also seminars run focusing on nutrition, training with power and heart rate, body conditioning and maintenance…. Worked into the cycling there are also interactive sessions on the road to help those looking for climbing ascending and descending tips! Some of the issues we encounter on our European cycling tours involve clients who do not know how to pace themselves on the longer 10km plus climbs, have not cycled consecutive days in the mountains before and need extra help when it comes to descending and cornering. I cannot think of a better way for our Sierra tour guests to get in some solid training and preparation for an upcoming European cycling holiday.
I am looking forward to getting back to the Victorian High Country in the not too distant future. We will probably have to wait until Feb 2020 but all good things come to those who are patient! Cycling climbs, such as, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham actually resemble many of our favourite epic European climbs and this will be a topic for a future Blog article where we compare some of the best Australian climbs against their European counterparts!
Now getting back to the Cycling-Inform Bright Boot camp and after a long day in the saddle to top it all off if you need some post ride therapy you have your very own camp soigneur on hand for that highly anticipated massage!!