Frequently Asked Questions

What is the date of the 2018 event?

All single day rides – Saturday 27th January 2018

The Alpine Raid 2 Day Ride – Friday 26th and Saturday 27th January 2018

Entries open June 30th 2017, early bird prices apply until 30th October 2017

Is the Alpine Classic a race?

No – this event is all about personal achievement. It is not racing. It is about endurance and self-reliance, completing not competing. To complete is to win.

Support is provided with water and food available on-course, medical support and emergency services, and mobile moto marshals, but ultimately we want you to challenge yourself and achieve something truly remarkable on the day, whether you ride 60km or take on the Ultimate challenge and ride the 320km route.

Can anybody enter?

Yes – after years of asking people to qualify, except for the 320km Ultimate ride we now believe those who enter, know what is involved and the fitness required to successfully complete their chosen challenge.

For the 320km Ultimate ride you’ll be asked to demonstrate that you’ve completed other rides of similar difficulty in the recent past – for example the 250km ACE in a previous year, Fitz’s Epic, or the 3 Peaks ride. We will also accept verifiable evidence of training rides from online sites such as Strava.

What are the courses like?

They are very lumpy! This is the Victorian Alps and all the rides involve significant climbs with some steep sections. For example, the 250km course has 6 major climbs, three of which have an average gradient of greater than 6%.

How do the 250km and 320km courses compare with the Alpine Classic 200km course?

Only about 30% and one climb of the ACE250 is shared with the 200km course. Given there is an extra 50km to ride, another 700m to climb with much steeper grades at times, it would be fair to say that the ACE is somewhat more difficult. 25 to 30% more difficult, are the most common answer from riders who have completed both.

Which start should I select for the 320km Ultimate?

Unless you have ridden a sub-10hr Alpine Classic or Fitz’s Epic or a sub 11.5 hour 3 Peaks Challenge and pulled up feeling strong, you should consider the 4:00am start.

If you have never ridden the Alpine Classic or rides that are not renowned for their climbing, you should also consider the 4:00am start. Of course if you are an experienced hill climber and feel confident, go for the 6.20am start.

Can we expect different weather on the ACE250 and 320km Ultimate to the Original Classic?

Given that two-thirds of the course is on the eastern side of the Victorian Alps, and is influenced by different weather patterns, it is very possible that the weather will not be the same. However if it is 38C in Bright, it may well be as hot in Omeo. Check the 7-day forecasts for Dinner Plain, Omeo and Falls Creek.

Could it rain or even snow?

Yes, anything is possible weather wise. In more than 30 years of the Alpine Classic, we have had snow and rain on Tawonga Gap, again at Falls Creek, plus rain, horizontal hail and freezing conditions on Mt Buffalo and heavy fog on Mount Hotham, all whilst the valleys were hot and sunny!

January and February are probably the most stable months in the Alps, but come prepared for extreme weather.

Is bush fire a possibility?

Yes, the period from December to late March is usually a high fire danger time in the Alps. Naturally the event will not go ahead if fire were a threat. In 2003 the entire Alpine Classic was cancelled because of bushfires and in 2013 only Mt Buffalo was ridden (multiple times).

Apart from bushfire and adverse weather are there any other dangers?

There are inherent dangers in cycling, with the risk of collisions and mechanical failure being the most obvious. Descending requires it’s own skills. The ACE 250 is a loop, so none of the descents are previously ascended on the ride.

When riding at dawn or dusk riders should be aware of the risk of encountering wildlife, especially deer, wombats, cattle and kangaroos. In the early morning roads may be damp from overnight dew. High winds and/or rain before or during the event can leave debris and/or water across the roads.

The ACE250 and 320 Ultimate routes have two wooden plank bridges. Riders are asked to dismount and to walk their bikes across these bridges.

If I start at 4:00am will I need lights on my bike?

Yes. You will need to ensure that your bike is compliant with Victorian road rules. Even though the ride is held in the middle of summer it is still dark at 4:00am.

If you are riding at night, remember that you will be riding in darkness on unlit roads and it is quite possible that you will be separated from other riders in the event – whether this is because you have a mechanical incident or flat tyre, or because you naturally become separated on a high speed descent early in the morning. Please make sure you bring lights that will enable you to see the road ahead and let you stay safe and upright!

What tyres are considered suitable?

Given the twisty long descents and variable road conditions, it is highly recommended that new, high quality tyres are used.

Worn tyres failing, or rolling off rims in soft tar on deceptively tight corners, have resulted in a number of serious accidents on descents.

Can I start anytime between the two starting times of 04:00 and 06:20?

No. Our volunteers will not be available at the start between the official start times.

More importantly, as part of our risk management it is vital that we know when you started and that we can keep track of you through the checkpoints, and ultimately make sure that you have safely completed the ride. Every year our volunteers spend hours ringing riders, late into the night, to make sure they have arrived back safely.

Can I change my start time on the day?

No. The registration system is locked in at 4:00pm the day before and changes after then are just too hard to accommodate.

Is there mobile phone coverage throughout the entire course?

Depending which carrier your phone is using, there is reasonable coverage over much of the course. However there is virtually no coverage from Omeo to Falls Creek.

Are there any shops on the course?

There are supermarkets and cafes at Omeo, Falls Creek and Mt Beauty. ATMs are available in Omeo (inside the supermarket), Falls Creek and Mt Beauty. There is a small shop as part of the “Blue Duck Inn” and “The General” may be open at Hotham Heights, RHS 2km beyond the Hotham entrance tunnel.

Do we need stop at the “Blue Duck Inn”?

No, but it is at a truly beautiful spot, with an opportunity to carbo load or even go for a swim!

Will there be mechanics on duty?

There will be bike mechanics available at the 2 Bright bike shops the day prior, together with a bike shop in Mount Beauty and Myrtleford. However there will be no mechanic available at the start of the event or on the course. Moto marshals will have VERY LIMITED spares – basically limited to 700c spare tubes.

You should have your bike serviced prior to the event or keep it well maintained. Having a qualified bike mechanic check the rims, spokes and headset/forks would be a good investment for the event. You need to carry spares for any eventuality i.e. tubes, spokes, spare seat bolt, tools etc.

Do I need to purchase food on the ACE250?

Generally the food supplied is adequate for most participants. However we are unable cater for special diets, i.e. gluten free.

Do I need to carry water?

Yes. Carrying 2 bidons is recommended as a minimum.

Sports Medicine Australia recommends that to avoid dehydration, athletes drink approximately 500ml (2 glasses) in the 2 hours prior to exercise. During exercise longer than 60 minutes, 2-3 cups (500-700ml) per hour of cool water or sports drink are sufficient for most sports. After exercise replenish your fluid deficit to ensure that you are fully re-hydrated, but not over-hydrated.

What can I expect from the Checkpoints?

Checkpoints provide encouragement. sustenance, observe your condition and advise as appropriate and provide current information on road and weather conditions.

Seat post transponders allow us to identify if any rider is missing in action and in such cases make the appropriate response.

Checkpoints DO NOT provide spares, mechanics nor performance enhancing drinks, powders, bars, gels and the like, nor receive ‘excess baggage’ from riders such as lights, safety vests.

The moto marshals monitor the progress of the event and of the participants and provide ongoing feedback to the organisers and support services. They carry very limited spares and sustenance.

What happens if I can’t go on?

Sometimes the body and/or the bike can let us down. Sit off the side of the road with your bike turned upside down.

If you have a mobile and are in an area where you can use it, call the Ride Operations Room (the number will be on your seat post transponder). If you cannot make a call, the Motor Cycle Riders will spot you and advise the event organisers.

A sweep vehicle will pick you up and bring you and your bike back to Bright. It is preferred that you do not to ask relatives/friends to come and pick you up. This will add to the vehicular traffic on the narrow windy mountain roads and means we do not know what has happened to you. One year we didn’t track down the final rider until 10.30pm, as they had pulled out and not left a valid phone number.

Am I allowed to have private support?

No, the rules of the event prohibit private support.

Is there any way my family and friends can track my progress?

With advances in technology it is expected that in years to come tracking and online updates from remote locations will become an affordable service that we can provide. Currently nothing works perfectly in remote locations, however Taggisar stickers can be utilized and we should be able to tell when you have passed through any of the checkpoints, provided your transponder has been fitted correctly and the actual transponder doesn’t directly contact your frame or other bike parts.

Where do I find the start times and locations?

See Start and Finish Times and Start and Finish Locations.

When do I get my ride number?

Your ride number will be sent to you by email and SMS on or about Sunday 21st January 2018. Please retain this number as it assists in collecting your rider pack which contains your Castech rider tag.

Where do I pick up my pre-paid event clothing?

You will be able to pick up pre-paid event clothing at the Bonjour Bright Festival in Howitt Park, Bright on Thursday 25th January and Friday 26th January.

Is there any ride day check in required?

No, unlike some events there is no ride day registration or briefing. You simply attach your electronic tag to your bike and come to the ride start at the appropriate time and location.

Where and when do I collect my rider pack?

From Howitt Park, Bright on Thursday 25th January and Friday 26th January.

What if I cannot collect my rider pack before the event?

Packs may be available on ride day from the start locations, if you have emailed us to pre-arrange. However, you should be aware that you may have to wait. You are advised to arrive well in advance of your start time if you are picking your pack up on ride day.

Do I need a reflective vest? Where can I get one?

We do recommend that if you are starting your ride at one of the 4:00am starts, then you should wear a reflective vest or reflective jersey/jacket to ensure that you are visible to other road users. A limited number of reflective vests will be available when you pick up your rider pack.

Who needs to carry lights?

Any rider leaving Bright at 4:00 am. This includes 250ACE and 320km Ultimate riders who have chosen this starting time and entrants in the 200km Original Distance 4.00am start (Buffalo Sunrise).

It is a condition of entry that your bike is road legal and that means that if you are riding in the dark you are required to have front and rear bicycle lights. The organisers reserve the right to remove riders from the ride who do not have road legal bicycles or are otherwise considered to be a danger to other riders, volunteers, organisers or the general public.

What are the starting times?

The first rides start at 4:00 am and the last riders leave Bright at 7:00 am.

Check Start and Finish Times for your start.

Make sure you arrive in plenty of time and then follow the instructions of the start marshals.

What are the time limits for the rides?

See Start and Finish Times for details of when riders must finish.

If you are attempting to qualify for an Audax Brevet, then specific time limits will apply to your ride – see the Audax Brevets page for details.

What food is supplied during the ride?

Food is supplied at all checkpoints. No meat products are used. Riders with other dietary requirements should carry their own supplies. Riders should carry pocket food such as energy bars/ gels/ bananas etc to supplement food from the checkpoints.

Is sports drink supplied?

Riders should provide their own sports drinks/powders. Cordial is available at checkpoints. Hammer Nutrition will be supplying HEED and FIZZ electrolytes (anti cramping) product at Howitt Park on Friday and some free product will be available at selected controls on the course on
Saturday.

Where are the water stops?

There are staffed water stops and self-serve water stops on all sections of the course: consult the WATER MAP. Riders are advised to carry at least 2 water bottles on their bikes.

What support is available?

There are volunteer-staffed checkpoints at Bright, Dingo Dell (Mt Buffalo), Mt Beauty (outbound only), Falls Creek, Dinner Plain and Omeo.

Motorbike marshalls patrol the course throughout the day. St John’s Ambulance staff are on the course and there is a field hospital at Bright. Ambulance Victoria services are available (subject to other emergencies).

Can I get emergency mechanical help or spare parts?

At a minumum you should carry spare tubes and the means to inflate a tyre (pump or CO2 cylinder). Motor cycle marshalls may be able to supply spare tubes but you should not rely on them as a source of spare parts. There are no bike mechanics stationed on course.

What should I do in the event of an accident?

For medical help call 000 – or your mobile service may be connected to the free mobile service 112. Put the injured rider’s bike upside down on the side of the road and wait until help arrives.

Call the Event Control Centre. The number is on your transponder/rider number tag. Do not remove the injured riders tag from their bike.

How do I withdraw during the event?

If you are at a checkpoint, you should speak to the volunteers.

If you are on the road, you should call or SMS the Event Control Centre (numbers on your transponder/rider number tag).

Can my family and friends visit me at the checkpoints?

The event takes place on public roads which are open to motor vehicles. Your family should be aware that travelling by car will not be easy because of the number of bikes involved.

Families are encouraged to enjoy the Bonjour Bright Festival at Howitt Park in Bright.

Be aware that the Ovens River and Morses Creek can be fast flowing. Please take appropriate care of children.

Where is the parking in Bright?

In addition to street parking, there are several off-street car parks. Dedicated signposted event parking is available within easy walking distance across the Ovens River – Access via the footbridge at the Water Park.

What is on the entertainment program this year?

The Bonjour Bright Festival will again feature movies, music and children’s entertainment in Howitt Park, plus cycling merchandise, food and drink stalls and the Ovens River for a post-ride dip.

How does hot weather affect the running of the Alpine Classic?

Please read our EXTREME WEATHER POLICY.