Return to the Blue Lake

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The Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, South Australiais a large lakelocated in an extinct volcano. It is one of four crater lakes on Mount Gambier. Of the four lakes, only two remain, as the other two (Leg of Mutton and Brown) have dried up over the past 30 to 40 years as the water table has dropped. The Blue Lake is thought to be of an average depth of 72 metres.

Return to the Blue Lake

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Early each November, the lake’s sombre blue, which is in evidence during the winter months, mysteriously changes to an intense deep turquoise blue almost overnight. The colouring remains until late February, when it gradually changes. From late March, it returns to a distinct sombre blue colouring that remains until the following November.

I have visited this lovely area several times, but never by bike.
Return to the Blue Lake
Valley Lake

Whilst going for a hike with my family, I discovered the most crazy climb.  The first 1.8 km’s was a nice enough climb at around 6% average, but then there was this walking track to the top of Centenary Tower.

Return to the Blue Lake

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The trail wasn’t that wide, & was rough as nails.

Return to the Blue Lake

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It was also unbelievably steep.
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With unbelievable views to either side of the path.

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The 400 metre path averages 14% & peaks at 30% & is scary.

Return to the Blue Lake

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With the most stunning views at the top.

Return to the Blue Lake

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I just had to climb this beast!

I set my alarm pretty early, but when it went off my cold took hold and I was forced to go back to bed.  When I finally woke I had little over an hour to ride, and felt like crap, and was struggling to breath.  I’d never let a cold get in the way of a good climb, and warmed myself up whilst riding around the blue lake and went down to this climb.  There were two different start points and hoped to do the easier one today and come back and do the harder one tomorrow.

Return to the Blue Lake

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I had nothing in the tank, and had to really pace myself through the climb.  My legs were fresh from being bedridden most of the week, but it was hard to breath through my mouth.  When I hit the walking track the legs were fine.  The first 200 metres averages around 11%, and I handled that ok, but when it started ramping up and was pushing up past 20%.

I just couldn’t breath.

My legs felt great but I knew something was wrong.  I passed a couple of walkers and the looks on their faces was priceless.  One of them said “I can’t believe you’re getting up this thing!”.  Well I was glad that she didn’t look over her shoulder as 30 metres up the path I felt like I was going to throw up, and jumped off the bike and walked the rest of the way.

Here is the link to my Strava activity here:

I took the KOM by almost 40 seconds.  When you have an absolute shocker, and aren’t feeling 100% you know that you’ll be getting one of those you suck emails at some point in the future.  I was glad I made the climb given my health.  But I don’t walk up hills.

I wasn’t happy and knew I had tomorrow to make redemption.
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Return to the Blue Lake
Gave my bike a rest at the top

The following morning was cold & wet and was my kinda scene.  My cold felt a bit better today, and I was able to breath a bit through my nose which would be enough to make a difference.
I wasn’t feeling fresh but when I hit the climb I was able to push gradients going up to 9% in the big dog for the first half of the climb, and it felt like I was getting some form back.  It was raining on me, but rain doesn’t really slow you down much and pushed through.  I got to the walking track not feeling as fresh as I did yesterday, but a heck of alot quicker.

That walking track was a concern but I found the right pace and rode smartly, and when I hit that 30% pinch which caused me to walk I told myself to be strong & got past it, and with the tower in sight I was able to stand up and give it some power for one last sprint to the top.

I still felt like throwing up at the top, and wasn’t 100%, but I was almost 2 minutes quicker than I was yesterday.

Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:

We were actually staying in prison whilst we were here.  The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, offers surprisingly comfortable accomodation in the original cells, and an iconic place to base yourself for a biking weekend.  Here are some images:

Return to the Blue Lake
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Return to the Blue Lake
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