Someone had the bright idea to ride the inaugural Kosciuszko ride that we did in February the other way. The problem with this is the 1000 metre climb @ 260 km from Tom Groggan to Dead Horse Gap. More of that later.
So at 5:00 am one 3Fidi rider as well as Steve, Alex, Ryan, Heather and Nathan left Jindabyne on an anti clockwise circuit. A frost greeted us in the morning on the way to Berridale and with the sun finally warming us we arrived at the town of the Big Trout for breakfast. The coffee was LSR standard and after several muffins, pies and carbs we headed for Cabramurra with a great descent to the Eucumbene River and then to Kiandra. A sign at the side of the road indicated the enormity of the task. It would be a shorter distance to ride to Wagga Wagga than back to Jindabyne. We turned left at Kiandra with 196 kms to go and rolled over undulating terrain to arrive at Cabramurra for a quick stop. We chatted with some motor bike riders who were doing the same thing….
The descent from Cabramurra to Tumut Pondage is super fast with nicely cambered bends with good sight lines. And now the first serious climb of the day. An 8km ascent with some grades approaching 14%. The country around Round Mountain is beautiful and we followed the road until the big descent into Khancoban where we lost 1300 metres in height with Nathan scoring the maximum speed. We had a huge lunch at Khancoban where we ate way too much food to counter the fears of another 110kms with a total elevation gain exceeding 3000 metres and no shops. We were all travelling rather well. The ride had just started…
The ascent up Scammells was tough and all the food stored for later use was now doing its best to come back up. Storm clouds threatened and the constant noise of motor bikes broke the monotony of riding 34 -28 with sub 10km speeds. Scammells levels at 1000 and then you lose 500 of this. Alex nearly met his maker when his spray jacket got caught in the back wheel locking it at around 60kph. The next 27 kms undulates to the base of the HC climb from Tom Groggan to Dead Horse Gap.
And now the big test of the day. It was already 6:00pm so our ETA would be around 9:00 back at Jindabyne. The first 7 k’s has some sections at 18% and trying to get a gear around is met with resistance from destroyed legs. Snaking across the road is the only solution. The smell of fresh mountain air is broken by the stench of happy campers in their Britzs not understanding that the sign “Trucks Must Use low Gear” is there for obvious reasons.
Finally at the top of the Great Divide at Dead Horse Gap peaking at 1550 with a setting sun behind us we made the long descent back to Jindabyne. We had made it.
Well done everyone. There is already talk of doing it again. Yes it is a tough ride but the scenery, descents and camaraderie make it a great day! From doing the ride both ways I think this way is slightly easier. Steve, Ash there are plenty of Strava prizes on offer! http://app.strava.com/rides/2558521