Predictions for the Alpine Classic 2012

Three days out from the 2012 Alpine Classic (200km) and it’s time for me to seriously think about how it will unfold.  So… here are my predictions for my 2012 Alpine Classic – my most arrogant ride of the year.

Arrogance: overbearingly assuming; insolently proud; an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions; self-centered, tunnel visioned, ignorant of other’s opinions, know-it-all.

Sounds bad doesn’t it?  But I admit it!  I’m a bit like that for this particular ride.  At least I can say I behave in this way with some level of experience (Alpine Classic history here) – and I believe I have a good formula for the way I go about things on this day.

(Note:  I understand some will read this and exclaim that this is an apt description of me at all times.  That is acknowledged;  there is no need to point it out further!)

Hitting it out with the 6am-ers last Sunday

My return to Melbourne provided the opportunity to get back out for a good traditional 6am-er blast in the hills last Sunday.  A smaller group of 7 (due to TDU for many others) headed out to Gembrook for a solid and fast 130k.  I was happy with my climbs and the return back over The Wall was a good test of the legs where I even felt quite good on the steeper sections.

I’m so lucky to be part of such a great group.  It was a fantastic day with great blokes and great riding.

Then a fully packed trip back to Porepunkah with the family late last night allowed me to join the local bunch this morning for a quick blast out to Harrietville and back.  It felt like not enough, but as discussed with David Baker over coffee, it was exactly what we need in preparation for Sunday.

Australia Day Harrietville hit-out with the Bright crew

So back to the Alpine Classic predictions.  I say this is an arrogant ride for me because it has to be.  My strengths (and weaknesses) are so completely different to most other riders that it has to be a selfish ride.  I climb slower than most; I descend quicker than most; I’m strong in the wind and on the flat but super slow when the road tips right up.  Weighing in at 100kg certainly makes it quite a different challenge for me than it does for a bloke who’s even 80kg.

I ride it incredibly selfishly.  I don’t particularly care what other people are doing around me.  I go up at my pace and down at my pace.  Generally if I find myself with company on the flatter sections or the slighter climbs I’m happy – and I love working with others when it turns out that way.  I’ve had some great years where climbing Falls has been an absolute blast with small groups taking turns resulting in good times to that summit; other years where I’ve done every climb completely alone.  It’s always a bit different.

Hmm... Intersting

But this year is going to be interesting.  I’m looking forward to being joined by a number of mates, all of whom have the ability to go sub-7hours.

And before I go any further – let’s be clear that the time for this ride is from the gun to the finish line… none of this riding time crap.  Like, “Oh yes – I’ve done the Alpine Classic in 8 hours and 5 minutes.  I had an hour for morning tea and Falls and a two hour nana-nap at Dingo Dell… but 8 hours 5 mate.  On fire!”  The riding time figure to me is nothing more than a very slightly interesting statistic.  But then… I’m arrogant.

Back to my mates…  The battle between Brenton (Horny) and I has been well discussed in 6am-er circles.  As much as the banter and battling is there, I hope he and I will be able to work together to gain a good result for both of us.  David Baker will join us, and after posting a sub 1 hour time on Buffalo yesterday, he’s looking good and could be part of a small group on the final Buffalo climb or descent.  Gus and Lumpy are both climbing and riding well and may be part of a 6am-er peleton up Falls.  Adam, Chris and Al are all here and I have no idea of their form.  The super-strong iron-man-bred Brendan Holland from Bright made his intentions clear this morning.  He said he’s aiming for 7:05 or thereabouts but he really means sub-7.  So he’ll be there as part of the group of riders on the road heading for that sort of time.  But even with Brendan, who is arguably the most similar rider to me, our strengths and weaknesses are quite different.  So actually riding together will probably not be possible. I expect all of these guys will ride away from me on the first climb up Tawonga.  But I do expect to see them all again at some stage shortly thereafter.  What goes down after that will remain a mystery until Sunday.

Hmmmm… interesting.

What I do know for sure is that I will be riding my own very arrogant and selfish race (oh sorry… that’s right – it’s not a race).  It’s the only way I’ll manage to achieve my goals, albeit I look forward to the company of my mates and the assistance we will provide each other… if that’s the way it goes down.

My aim:

  • to beat my PB which was 6:52 in 2009.
  • if I can’t go 6:51 or better, I’ll be happy if I crack 7hrs but very disappointed if I don’t.
  • if it rains (which is looking likely) I’m out.  The above is impossible on wet roads and I’ve done it enough for the ride itself not to be a challenge.

And finally…  Sorry Brenton – as much as it may hurt, my goal is not to beat you.  My goal is simply to beat my own time.  This event has been a personal challenge for many years and it’s simply my big selfish ITT.

Having said that, I’ll enjoy seeing you curled up in massivie cramps in the foetal position on the side of the Great Alpine Road as I spin my way up Buffalo on the final climb.  I’ll offer you my condolences sometime after 1.11pm Sunday afternoon.

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