Arguably Australia’s toughest fondo, the Peaks Challenge is now into double digit editions and its home at Falls Creek is not going anywhere anytime soon. Just as tough and equalling as rewarding as your first attempt, Cyclist takes a look at the 2020 edition of the Peaks Challenge.
Riding 235 kilometres with over 4,000 metres of climbing is no morning roll. These sort of stats would easily find their way into the route of a gran tour Queen Stage, almost. Cyclist has felt every metre of it to0. Peaks Challenge is an epic day out, and it’s made a little kinder by the team at Bicycle Network who provide support along the way.
To take the sting out of the hors catégorie ascents and maybe set a few PB’s along the way, Bicycle Network provide full on course support. From pumping up your tyres, literally and figuratively, proving ample bidon-filling stations through to stashing your gilet in a safe place in case you need it later in the day, Peaks Challenge is bloody tough but it’s made all the more possible thanks to the help beforehand and out on the road. The course is fully marshalled including road closures along the three major ascents and assistance to get you to the next peak.
You’ll find seven rest stops along the course, stocking all the treats, including a valet service to lighten your load. Want to pick up some essentials or even some fresh clothes for the unpredictable high country weather? Pop it into the valet bag and you’ll have access to it at lunchtime.
Complete it and beat the 13-hour time limit and you get kudos and a finisher’s jersey. Do it in under 10 hours and the sub-10 jersey awaits with real bragging rights. The course record was broken in 2019 but in 2020 is all about the climbs. After all, this is the Peaks Challenge. It’s not a race to the finish line, unless your overall finish time is the goal. So, will you go for an overall time or the Peaks cash prize?
There’s $500 for the KOP and QOP’s along each climb. Scorch up all three and you’ll collect more than enough ($1,500 total) for a shout at the bar that night. The three climbs are individually timed with the fastest men and women taking home equal prize money. Bicycle Network’s Women’s Community and Training Rides are there to build your climbing legs too.
What: Peaks Challenge, Falls Creek
Where: Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia
How far, how high: 235km, 4,000m + climbing
Next one: Sunday, 8 March, 2020
Price: $329 (Early Bird until 8 Dec), $359 (from 9 Dec)