John Ellingham’s Peaks Challenge Falls Creek Ride Report

Hi David,

I completed the PCFC in just over the 13 hours and given this was my original ride plan I feel I succeeded in achieving the goal I set out for myself.

Whilst I never thought the ride was going to be anything other than difficult I found the Meg and the first 4/6K climb at the back of Falls much harder than anything I trained for. it was the combination of the long climbs (Mount Hotham), or the other shorter climbs and the distance that made the back of Falls climb just that much harder. I don’t think I had prepared myself sufficiently for that challenge at 200 K mark.

I had always thought we had some hills in Gippsland however the Alpine region just simply leaves those hills as nothing more than undulating.

One of the difficulties I found was managing nutrition. If I could offer any constructive comment in relation to the training plan I would suggest you talk about nutrition plans much earlier on so riders can prepare and practice with what quite frankly becomes boring food intakes after you’ve eaten them for some 10 to 12 hours.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind I would never have completed the PCFC without the training plans developed by Cycling – Inform it help me to develop the strength and determination to achieve the goals I set out. What was not part of the plan was to get a virus throat infection in the week prior to the event, I effectively rode the event coughing and sneezing the whole way and unable to breathe freely, again without the training you prepared me for there is absolutely no way I would have completed the PCFC with this virus.

I used a 32/ 12 rear cluster with a compact crankset, I would suggest anybody starting out to do this ride for the first time and expecting to completed it in just about the time limit (13 hours) should look at a 34/12. If speed/time is not the issue and achieving the end is the objective I think it just helps on those hard pinches. I noticed on a number of occasions during the ride that whilst I could ride away from riders with these large clusters they came into their own on those really hard steep pinches, particularly the back of Falls.

Two other issues I never thought about is if you’re trying to achieve the objective in around 13 hours you need to consider the temperature over the last 15/20K particularly if it’s raining and there is a wind blowing because the chill factor comes into play, in my case it was down to 6C, having come from 27C at Omeo with no additional clothing (having discarded it at Dinner plains). The other one is that if you don’t leave something in reserve for your front light is very difficult on a pitch black night to ride at any speed when you can’t see the road or the surface you’re riding on. (I know this doesn’t apply to the fast achievers who will finish it before it’s dark).

Thank you for all your support and help along this journey.

Kind regards,

John Ellingham

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