This mission started out like any other, I picked up the boys at CC at 6am then we drove out to our starting point. We decided to begin the ride at the top of Lake Mountain, which, in hindsight, was a blessing and a curse. Starting at elevation is always good but when you have to ride back up at the end of the trip it can be tough. In this case it was very tough indeed. Mt Terrible definitely lives up to its name.
On paper the route looked good, 100 kms or so with 3500m climbing is challenging, but doable. What we didn't know was that the 1km “shortcut” we had elected to take was going to be a 3 and a half hour, machete filled bush bashing, slippery log clambering affair and with fully loaded bikes to boot. Wills machete proved invaluable as we took it in turns the scout ahead and cleave a path through the undergrowth. Royston Gap Road still doesn't exist, but now the trail has been blazed... or least hacked and trampled.
By the time we stopped for lunch at 2pm we had ridden barley 20km and were pretty cooked. We still had about 30 km left with around 1500 vm of climbing to get to Mt Terrible hut.
Off the sublime Big River Rd you turn onto Hope Track. I think whoever named this track wanted to lull you into a false sense of security for what's about to come. The first 20m of Hope track is steep nigh unrideable and it only gets worse from there.
By this time it was about 5pm and pretty much dark, what followed was an extreme test of our mental and physical limits, as we pushed up 15% inclines in the dark, wind and rain. 4 hours later at 9pm, we reached the hut, freezing cold, drenched to the bone, but ecstatic that we got there, we made it!!
We all striped off, got the fire going, cracked our icy cold cans of beer we had been lugging around all day, munched down all our food, and toasted to our idiocy!
We slept like logs as the soothing sounds of Cold Chisel and John Farnham played from my phone.
The next day was less brutal as we made our way back down (and up) Mt Terrible track to Hope track and then battled along Big River Road. We had decided to take the easier way back up the Lake Mountain via the sealed Woods point - Marysville rd and then climb back up to the car at Lake Mt summit.
We had pretty good weather until we hit the sealed roads, and it got cold and wet, again! Climbing for the last 4 hours of the day again was brutal, but looking back, it was fun and certainly a challenge for us all.
Dinner and pints at the Healesville pub on the way back capped off another epic Ministry of Silly Rides weekend.