200km – 3,600m of climbing – 4 climbs – VERY HARD
First offered in 2014, this ride starts before dawn , following the original Alpine Classic route, but tackle the climb up Mount Buffalo first as the pre-dawn sky slowly brightens and the sun rises over the mountain, then ride back through Bright and up to Falls Creek before returning to the start.
This ride commences before dawn and you MUST have both front and rear lights. You will be climbing (and possibly descending) on dark alpine roads without street lighting and may well be separated from other riders, so you will need good powerful headlights in particular. You are reminded that it is a condition of entry that your bike is road legal.
We’ll do our best to keep you safe on the day with food and water on-course, mobile moto marshals, and comprehensive medical and emergency coverage, but you must be well prepared for this ride if you expect to complete it successfully.
This is a very long ride with a huge amount of climbing and you will need to be extremely fit and carry sufficient water and food with you on the day. Remember that conditions in the Victorian Alps can be extreme and very changeable, and that for some of the ride you will be out of mobile phone range.
Even though this ride is held at the height of summer, it is not uncommon for conditions on Mount Buffalo, and at Falls Creek to be freezing, with rain, hail or even snow, when the heat is stifling in the valleys.
Join the Ultimate 320 and ACE250 riders in the darkness at the starting line. At 4:00am the three groups set off, with the ACE250 riders turning left while you and the Ultimate riders turn right towards Porepunkah and the turnoff to Mount Buffalo. The darkness is intense, and there is nothing but the moon and the stars (and your headlights) to illuminate the way. The ascent coincides with the slowly lightening sky but much of the climb to the plateau is done in darkness. Watch out for wildlife and road debris in the forested areas.
At Dingo Dell, the volunteers (who left Bright even earlier than you) will be on hand to feed and water you, then it’s back across the plateau and the swooping descent to Ovens Valley. By now the sun has fully arisen. Another water stop at the Information Rotunda as you enter Bright (note that there is no checkpoint in Bright), riding straight through, taking a left at Germantown and up over Tawonga Gap and then down into the Kiewa Valley behind all the later starting participants in the 60, and 130 km rides for more food and water at the Mount Beauty checkpoint (outbound only).
The climb to Falls Creek passes without a hitch. Now all that remains is the descent to Mount Beauty and the return across Tawonga Gap. This is where the early start pays off. It’s still relatively early in the day and the climb is nowhere near as draining as it would be later in the afternoon. Please take extra care on this descent, as it has the highest incidence of cycling accidents in the Alpine area.
The crowds at Howitt Park back in Bright greet you as you cross finish line. Post-ride relaxation time is here – WELL DONE!
Bright (start and finish only – closes 8:30pm)
Dingo Dell (closes 11:00am)
Mount Beauty (outbound only – closes 2:30pm)
Falls Creek (closes 5:30pm)
There are several additional unsupported points on the route where water is available.