Four Peaks Climb

The Four Peaks Climb series, now renamed the Bright Alpine Climb is a set of mountain running races in my local area. As the original name suggests the race involves running up four of the hardest mountains in the area in four days. Back to back. It’s a really fun event with over 300 entrants for the 4 days.

It started off on Saturday like a quick jab to the face! Sharp and deadly!

Pack your rock climbing gear because it’s Mystic Mountain. It’s possibly the steepest track I have ever had to run up and at times you need to use your hands to clamber to the top. I started the day off with two past Australian ski team legends, Ben Derrick (BD) and Andrew Mock plus Australian team physio and good friend Ben Bond. Mocky was in a punishing mood and set a deadly pace.  A quick jab turned into an absolute barrage of hits as I suffered up the climbs. In the end the two skiing veterans pulled away and managed to beat me by around 2 minutes. They seemed to float up the steep climb when I labored along.

We were the last to start on the first day. From left: Myself, Mocky and BD. Photo credit Graham McKennzie.
We were the last to start on the first day. From left: Myself, Mocky and BD. Photo credit Graham McKenzie.
After Mystic there was a very social gathering in the local river as competitors iced their legs and swapped rock climbing stories. Photo credit Graham McKennzie.
After Mystic there was a very social gathering in the local river as competitors iced their legs and swapped rock climbing stories. Photo credit Graham McKenzie.
Mocky and I chatting about the race. Photo credit Graham McKennzie.
Mocky and I chatting about the race. Photo credit Graham McKenzie.

The second day of the series is Mt Feathertop and I was really looking forward to it. The gradient is steep but much more manageable, “the ultimate threshold session” as BD said to me.

Again Mocky flew up the hill, opening up about a minute to BD and I. BD and I pushed each other to the limit running together for almost the entire race. You could easily hear us from a few hundred meters away, huffing and chugging along, I think we both were suffering a lot. I managed to reach the top about a minute up from BD and around the same amount down to Mocky, maybe a little more. We were greeted with a white-out and light snow on top of the mountain. Not ideal for running shorts and singlets! After the first two races I was sitting in 9th place around 8 minutes off the leader. I ran Feather top with the 6th fastest time, to put me into the top ten.

I sadly had to miss the 3rd day up Mt Hotham due to a VISA interview in Melbourne on the Monday, but I was back in time for Tuesday’s final run up Mt Buffalo. If I had a mountain that I’d consider “my own” it would be Buffalo. I run it regularly and love training on it. I feel very comfortable there.

Both Mocky and BD were in the running for podiums in their respective age groups. So keeping with tradition it was hot straight out of the start and in the first 15 minutes of steep climbing, Mocky just seemed to float away again! BD and I paired up once again for another suffer-fest, as we pushed each other up the mountain. I was lucky enough to pull away in the last part of the climb and opened up a small gap. But again BD kept coming and was pulling me back in. I managed to hold on and get across in front. I set a new PB up Buffalo as well, which was great in 1:06.50.

A few hundred metres form the start line looking up to the Gorge and the Chalet where the race finally finishes.
A few hundred metres from the start line looking up to the Gorge and the Chalet where the race finally finishes.
The final few hundred metres of the Buffalo climb are all stairs and it's crippling to finish on them. Thats me bent over almost at the top pulling myself along.
The final few hundred metres of the Mt Buffalo climb are all stairs and it’s crippling to finish on them. That’s me bent over almost at the top pulling myself along.

It was great catching up with a lot of past and present skiers. Running with BD made the event that much better and I thoroughly enjoyed getting pushed by him and then chatting about the day after the race. Overall racing with others gave me a huge buzz, and I have taken a lot of positives from the event. Apart from Mystic I felt excellent in the races and I really am looking forward to racing overseas soon and truly testing my fitness then.

My meeting in Melbourne went well. However I still wait for that elusive stamp in my passport. The good news is the US embassy has my passport and will hopefully do it soon!

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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3 thoughts on “Four Peaks Climb

  1. Hi PK – lovely eloquent reading – a great account. Good luck with the US visa – the wait must be killing you – so are they worried about your good intentions because u want to stay long? Hang in there Cheerios Ronice

    Ronice Sent from my IPhone

    >

  2. PK – it was great to have you drag me up the trails during the event! I reckon the result is not as important as the experience of participating and running with you and Mocky made the event awesome. Hope you have recovered better than me!

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