Domestique Ride Mount Buller

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Domestique Ride Mount Buller
Mount Buller is located approximately 208 km’s north east of Melbourne.  During winter, Mount Buller is a winter wonderland, surrounded by spectacular snow-capped Mountains.  Nestled high amongst the snow gums, and is popular with snow sports enthusiasts in winter.  During summer, Mount Buller & Mount Stirling offers incredible hikes with incredible views of the High Country.  It is home to a growing number of first class Cross Country and Downhill Mountain Bike tracks.

This was the first time climbing Mount Buller.  I honestly had little experience climbing Mountains and really looked forward to today. The weather forecast was pretty dreadful, but saw that as a challenge. I parked at Mirrimbah and chatted with a number of riders before things got underway.  I had the wet weather kit on, and tried my best to stay warm.  It was freezing up on Mount Buller.  It was wet and lightly raining.

Thankfully there was a ferry service and I was able to send some clothes up to the top for the descent.

I was hoping to sit in a group & get paced up the climb, but just couldn’t find a group that could keep my pace. Over the course of the climb, I got passed by a couple of riders.  But mainly I was riding on my own. The weather was pretty foul. It rained on & off, and stayed overcast throughout. With about 5 km’s to go we hit fog, and visibility was extremely poor. Even though I was working my ass off getting up the climb, it felt really cold.  There was motivation to finish this thing.

I found the gradient to suit my climbing, and was able to get churn out a consistent speed. There were a lot of corners, and it was easy to break the climb into manageable blocks.  I wasn’t able to see much of the scenery due to the overcast conditions, and did a time of 1 hour & 4 minutes which I was happy with.  This was my first time climbing Mount B. We went through a heavy fog for the final 3 km’s, and was absolutely freezing up there. I was able to meet several new riders up there, and really enjoyed myself.

The descent was hell.

The roads were wet, and covered in debri.  It was raining and the descent was a tough slog due to the cold and miserable conditions. The road was pretty wet, and the fog lingered, and was a pretty dangerous descent.  I descended ultra cautiously and was able to get down safely. There was another ride planned for 3:00 pm in the afternoon, and I had a fair while to kill. I went down the road to a roadhouse to get some lunch.  Then came back and had a quick snooze in the car. The skies had cleared and thankfully it warmed up.

Domestique Ride Mount Buller
Photos taken by Nigel Welch

When Matt was delivering his pre-event speech for the 2nd climb.  In the far distance all we could see was a wall of black clouds.  They were approaching fast.

Matt had just finished his speech when a bolt of lightning struck. This was to set the tone for the climb.
Domestique Ride Mount Buller

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It absolutely bucketed down.  I was lucky as the first climb I did solo, this time I was able to ride with John Van Seeters who paced me through. I was tired from the mornings climb, and getting drenched didn’t help. The storm was ferocious.  We would see a flash of lightning, and hear the bolt of lightning strike less than a second later.  The bolts were crashing too close for comfort. Hail struck us hard at one stage, but I was strangely enjoying the conditions. They were easily the worst that I had ever ridden in, but I know I was doing something special.

Domestique Ride Mount Buller
The Climbing Cyclist nicknamed me the smiling Assassin after this photo
 The second ascent was a lot slower, and took an hour & twenty minutes (all spent in heavy rainfall).
It was freezing up top, and I was soaked to the skin, and started to shake from mild hypothermia. Thankfully Matt had some spare towels up the top. which helped to warm me up a little.  I had carried some spare kit in my back pockets.  These were so soaked that all of my spare kit was saturated. I had no idea how I would get down the Mountain in the wet suffering mild hypothermia. Andy Van Bergen thankfully offered to drive 4 of us down the Mountain.  I personally would have been screwed if he hadn’t. That was one bad ass-ride, that would go in one my all-time favourite rides, if not for the wrong reasons. There were 13 of us that climbed that day, and was one truly memorable experience.
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Domestique Ride Mount Buller
Me & JVS singing in the rain

Details

  • Here is a link to my Strava Files here:
  • Here is a link to the Climbing Cyclists write-up of the rides:
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