For the last few years a couple of mates and I have taken off before everyone goes on family holidays, to get a few miles of mountainous riding into our legs. It's a time of year where the roads are quiet, the skies are blue and the on bike conversations are filthy.
Last year we began a ride that I think is going to be an ongoing tradition. Why is that? Well, because it's an absolute bastard of a loop that leaves even the fittest amongst us a hollow shell at it's end. "The Three Peaks Loop" named because it takes in Mt Hotham, Falls Creek and Tawonga Gap is a mere 255km (depending on how much you zig zag up the back of Falls) and a measly 4.5km vertical.
This year was a nicer day than last, meaning that we hadn't been baked by the sun before reaching the climb up the back of Falls Creek. At just over half way, the climb stands, silently challenging anyone to turn around and go back over Hotham. Once we turned off the Omeo Hwy all conversation stopped, with only the sound of deraillieurs racing up cassettes left to replace it. The 14% ramp that begins the climb sets the tone of the next 15km, our pace governed by our abilities to gain oxygen from the oven like air.
Someone once said, that your level of insanity can be measured by how quickly you fantasize about redoing something that pushes your boundaries and tests your limits after you have just done it. I can't wait to go back next year.