Benchmark for completing 235km, 4000m elevation ride (Peaks Challenge Falls Creek)

I’ve been talked into doing this next March with my father…

There’s a video on the event website that has relative power output for a range of finishers. Screenshot below.


Dad’s very fit, but he is 70… I think we’ll be gunning for the 13 hour cutoff. Obviously, the only thing that would give me certainty is doing the course, but I’m looking for a less costly benchmark. I want to prepare without compromising my CX offseason training too much.

Can I just do a hilly 6 hour ride with my dad and be confident that if I come in above the 11 hour power targets we’re good to go? I figure 6 hours is long enough to expose food and water mismanagement. Is there anything that happens after the 6 hour mark that would cause an upset on event day?

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I did it last year - it’s a great event and experience to share with your Dad

Dr Stephen Lane put a training programme together for it and he reckoned you want to do a ride within that that is equal to 75% of the time you expect to be in the saddle. I don’t recall if he lowered that for those aiming for close to the cut-off.

We were doing lots of training rides around the 5-6 hour. I hope your not meaning one!

You will find the plans on Bicycle Network and his videos are great under HPTek on You Tube

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Yeah… :flushed: I was talking one or two long rides more than 5 hours. Thanks for pointing me towards the training plans. I’ll take a look at it and see what I can learn.

My main reason for signing up to TR was to start my training for Peaks next year.

I did a similar distance race this year, I did trainer sessions followed by an extra steady 1hr on the road 4 times a week plus 1 long ride on the weekend(3-6hrs)

I was certainly mindful of getting enough k’s in the legs.

The above worked for me. But I’m hoping TR can do it better.

I’ve done the Alpine Classic 250 over the same course 3 times, and saw a number of gentlemen in their 70s doing it. The numbers in that table seem reasonable.

You may want to check that your dad is running some knee-friendly gearing for the steep gradients of the Back O’Falls.

If you are Melbourne-based, Warburton-Marysville return (via Reefton Spur) is a pretty good "test"of your preparedness for 3 peaks. 120km, 2 long climbs, and some steep gradients on the 2nd climb. Although you may want to wait for Spring before trying this, as the road is subject to snow over winter.

You should have enough time after the end of the CX season for Sustained Build and Century.

Back O’Falls contains my favourite Strava segment … “WTF Corner” :flushed:


And if you’ve ever ridden it, you’ll know why. :grinning::sweat_smile:

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It’s a treat with 200km in the legs before getting there!

Talking of Strava segments, mountain highway heading out to the 1:20. ‘Bogans in Utes hate men in Lycra on bike’ makes me laugh every time I see my ride details


You could do Fitz’s Extreme in Canberra as a test event, plenty can go wrong after six hours with all that climbing!

I’m going to do it again next year too. I’ve done it 3 times before with times between 9:45 (trained hard) and 11:30 (in reasonable shape but didn’t train too seriously)

I’d be a little concerned about the last climb. you will have been out for about 10 hours so you need to know that you can manage the distance and time.

I found that nutrition was the hardest thing for me. By 8-10 hours at Anglers Rest I need to be really careful about how many gels and how much sports drink I’ve had to avoid any gastro intestinal distress.

My biggest training ride before 3 peaks has been 200km over 8 hours in the Adelaide Hills but I’d be comfortable with going a little shorter this year.

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My experience with long distance events is that you don’t need to be regularly riding long distance to do the odd long event.

As you’ve already suggested, a 6 hour ride is good for testing things like nutrition, clothing, pacing etc but you don’t need to be riding 200km weekly to train for a 200km event.

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40 degree heat + almost white pavement + horse flies = Joy! Did pretty much the same course during ACE250 event on Australia Day.
I think, it is better to do it as part of Peaks Challenge as it runs when it is cooler.

Good luck, and have your nutrition plan dialed in, the food at the stops is not great, and you have a bag drop at the midway point (after Hotham). The first year, I didn’t pay attention to nutrition at all, just some bottle refills and gels, it got messy on the back of Falls, finished 9h01m. The next year, I paced better an carried some real food, felt better at the end, finished 8h30m. I left too much in the tank on that one, I’m hoping to shave off another 15-20 minutes (no stopping/waiting in Dinner Plain waiting for a group).

Again, good luck! It’s a great event!

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That is a fantastic time. I am hoping to do it next year, so am starting to look at my training now. 31-32weeks to go. Sub 10 is my goal.

You must have a fairly high FTP?

Did you have a specific pacing plan with an aim to get the times you did?

They have wave leaders for each hourly group setting the pace to get you to the start of WTF in time to achieve the target, but from there it is up to you! If you can stick with this bunch to WTF then your pacing is sorted and you have the benefit of a large group, that is if you are in the right wave for your w/kg for each duration (see OP).

Be aware that the wave leaders don’t necessarily stop for as long as advertised, so it pays to be carrying more food than needed, and sort out hydration at the stops first.

I went into it for the first time last year (and only time so far) targeting under 10hrs also. Started with the 10hr wave, but after the long descent at the start I was amongst the 9hr wave riders and cut the first stop short to follow their wave leaders when they left. Not the plan, and not necessarily a great strategy, but if you are a confident descender, there are some cheap minutes to be had. Stuck with them to WTF for an 8.46 finish.

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What gearing are you/would you run?

I currently ride with a 50/34 - 11/30.
Would the 11/34 be overkill or a welcome come WTF.

That should be fine. I used 52/36 11/30

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I’m running a 50/36 and 11/32 again this year.

32 is my safety net for last climb

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Hey Gary ran a compact 50/34 and 11/30 both years I did it. If I were to do it again I would opt for a 11/32 as I wish I had a 32 so I would have had a higher seated cadence for the steeper ramps and the 26 I had I would have preferred a 28 instead. Both years I did it at 93-98kgs and ftp of 3.8w/kg

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