Thursday, November 08, 2007

No need for Sunscreen

Bright Alpine Climb ('4 peaks'): Melbourne Cup weekend 2007.

total 48.8km approx 4300m of climb.
official results have me at 6.59.28 but a minute was missing from all 4 days!!

'the razorback' track - mt hotham

bon accord walking track - near turn onto 'the razorback'

mt feathertop summit - paul, me, 'tim' (not tim turner or tim2 - another tim!)

federation hut - en route to mt feathertop

this event is in its 29th year and involves 4 runs over the 4 day melbourne cup long weekend.
the first day involves up and down (start/finish at the same place) whilst the rest are timed in the 'up' direction only.

after my 'extreme taper' i felt fit and ready until i actually tried to run that is! - on the friday afternoon and found myself limping due to a tight area at the tip of my left calf no doubt related to the piriformis/sciatic nerve issues.

after some stretching (which the physio told me NOT to do) made things worse i spent a very lonely evening in a cottage in harrietville desperately trying to massage and loosen up the area.
meanwhile contemplating a phonecall to qantas!
repeated the same the next morning and fronted up to see what would happen.

day 1 - mystic hill 346->915m returning to start 11km: 1.28
checked in and aquainted myself with the starting procedure which basically entails turning up whenever you feel like it (generally walkers 7-8am and runners 8-8.30am) handing them your 'ticket' with your race number on it and them saying 'go' in 1-2 minutely intervals - very informal!
trotted along at a steady pace and felt ok (but not great) once things had warmed up.
the uphills started early on and reminded me of the steep ski-slopes i went up when in colorado a few months back.
certainly made the kokoda trail at coot-tha look flat!
got to the top which was also the launching platform for paragliders.
a drizzly day but not too cold.
was a little worried about how steep the downs would be but after a first steep 'glissade' section the rest was quite gentle firetrail.
caught up with bryan ackerly from cradle, arnstein from townsville (met at ghouse events) and paul ashton (alpine 100 mile RD). met cr's exe and lebusqp.
went through the apline 100 mile maps with PA before heading 'home' to lie on a tennis ball for a while.

day 2 - mt feathertop 505->1922 12km: 1.34
didnt get much sleep overnight due to a storm and was wondering what they would do the following morning - would things go ahead?
things fined up in the morning at the start but with the forecast still a unpleasant they decided to stop the race at federation huy (1720m) about 1.5km from the top.
unfortunately (of fortunately depending on how you look at it) i only found this out when the first few runners started coming down when i was 100m from the hut!!
i waited for PA to get to the hut then encouraged him to crack on to the summit with me.
after trotting off he asked me a couple of times why i had waited for him when i realised he thought the finish was still ahead!
gee i could of had some fun but decided to be good :)
we were already nearing the turn at 'the razorback' when i fessed up so he was happy to crack on.
a photo above is of (L->R) paul, me and 'tim' who were the first to crack on to the summit.
the only way to get off feathertop is to walk so it was rather a long day.
it took me over 2 hours to walk back from the hut - half an hour longer than it took to get up!

day 3 - mt hotham 505->1730m (diamantina hut) 15.3km: 2.30
once again starting in harrietville where i was staying.
had met up with CR exe the day before and he had suggested a car shuffle for the morning so we met up early and ran this together.
the drive up got a bit nasty above the tree-line with fog and strong winds.
just nearing diamantina hut (the finish) there was ice on the road and thick snow/ice on the cars that had been parked there overnight.
certainly an eye opener for the day ahead.
started the run a bit late at 8.30 and certainly things were pleasant below the tree-line infact i did actually need some sunscreen on - the first sun we had seen all weekend!
the serious stuff starts a few kms below the tree-line at a place called 'the wall' that involves a 300m climb in a km or so.
just after this several people including the RD were waiting for us warning us of the conditions ahead and turning people back who were already buggered.
i put and extra thermal on here as well as hat, gloves and my montane 200 jacket.
getting above the TL was like another world: immediately hit with strong wind gusts.
they said they were 50knots which is 90km/hr.
i'm not sure about this but they made the 55km/hr gusts at the prom this year look bloody tame!!
i wasnt cold so much as simply blown off my feet.
little icycles were blown into my face and left a burning/stigning feeling.
the gusts became more constant at the turn onto 'the razorback' so it became more difficult to trot inbetween them an we spend more time stumbling along and leaning into the wind.
i tunred around a few times to make sure CR exe (neil) was still there but have to admit i was more concerned about getting my little toosh off the mountain!!
visibility wasnt too bad considering so seeing the road and hut 300m or so ahead was very pleasing.
entering the hut i felt like a cocaine addict who had had a sniff but wanted more.
immediately i suggested a trip to the mt hotham summit but exe knew i was joking :)
apparently quite a few had hypothermia and i saw a lady about to be taken to bright hospital by car.
the official mt hotham temp for 11am (my finish hour) was minus 8 including windchill but i'm sure the wind was stronger out on the trail.
it certainly made the minus 5 at kepler last year look balmy!
we gave a lift to a 20 year veteran who reckoned it was the worst conditions she had seen.
many apltly described the conditions as 'a blizzard'.
they say there is no such a thing as bad weather - just inappropriate gear!
this weekend was certainly a test for both my gear and myself.
i spent A LOT OF TIME figuring out what to bring on each day.

day 4 - mt buffalo 320->1360m 10.5km: 1.29
lovely place to finish the weekend.
a nice sunny day - tshirt and shorts run. great scenery and a nice place to finish at 'the chalet'.
probably my best run of the weekend - my niggles progressively settled and i just pushed harder and harder each day.

huge thanks to those who sent texts over the weekend kel, g, mellum, jen (especially mr g with his weather updates!)

a great social weekend: knew bugger all people at the event but always felt welcome.
great organisation and relies very heavily on volunteers including the mt hotham bus driver!
sat at the 'townsvillian' table at the sunday night dinner and interestingly met roger lebish who is now a bright local - he was a glasshouse 100 mile finisher in 2000!
small world.

a few tips on driving in the alps
* its best not to drive the rental car on 4 inches thick of ice
* when driving on slippery roads its a good idea to be 'in gear' when trying to accelerate
* its not neccesary to fill up with 'premium' unleaded. infact its downright stoopid!


Blogger Jen_runs said...

Nice work. Sounds like a fantastic weekend. I've just added it to my list of events to do before I die!

Hope the recovery goes well

5:35 AM  
Blogger Spud said...

Awesome stuff Dave. Hope you were taking notes for the AAWT.
Great photos...wish I was there.

7:07 AM  
Blogger 2P said...

Looks fantastic and great report. Well done mate. Did you use the Highgear altimeter? Lol and thanks for the driving tips ;-)

11:07 AM  
Blogger Tesso said...

Well done Bro!!! The pics make it seem so appealing. The description of the runs makes it seem so unappealing ;-)

How come all Tim's look alike?


11:11 AM  

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