Peaks Challenge Falls Creek is an iconic ride that has the reputation of being one of the toughest rides in Australia. The Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, or
Peaks Challenge Falls Creek is an iconic ride that has the reputation of being one of the toughest rides in Australia.
The Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, or 3 Peaks, is an iconic ride that has the reputation of being one of Australia’s toughest events with 4000+m to climb over 235km with a 13 hour deadline.
This is the iconic ride that is more than a challenge. Don’t be put off by the distance, as it can be achieved. The elevation gain is daunting and can be overcome. Together it becomes an epic day in the saddle and a true bucket list item that other riders will ‘bow in your direction at’ for having finished within the time limit. It’s a true test of mind over matter.
So what is Peaks Challenge Falls Creek? Basically it is a 235km ride from Falls Creek, via Tawonga Gap (climb 1), Mount Hotham (climb 2), Omeo (sneaky climb, no number) and then WTF to the Back of Falls (climb 3). The terrain on the climbs is spectacular, with the grey burnt out trees and regrowth on Hotham and Falls Creek seeming surreal when compared to the green forests of the Tawonga Gap.
If you get the chance to stay at Falls creek then the expense is rewarded by having easy access to the event village and the riders briefing on the Saturday evening. As the event starts up at Falls Creek at around 7 am with a traffic curfew starting at 5 am from Bright, you’ll need to get up early to get to the start location on time. I booked my accommodation early through Airbnb and found something at a good price right in the centre of town.
The first step, is a 35km descent off the Mountain from Falls Creek, heading down towards Tawonga. Getting off the Mountain is the most important thing to achieve, as all the other riders are still with you at this point. Tick, down safe. Then it is time to warm up and get those legs moving.
This is not a ride that you can just turn up and do, without some preparation and training. Take the time over the summer months to build your strength and endurance. Make sure that some love is shown to the two-wheeled steed that will transport you. And make sure beforehand that your bike has had a full service, not just a wipe down with a rag and a bit of oil slapped on the chain.
The result will be an exciting challenge of self-inflicted pain with an amazing sense of achievement.
The Peaks Challenge Falls Creek is a true bucket-list ride. Or for some, it’s an event that they keep going back to. Ask me about this event over a coffee and I’ll need an insulated cup, as the beverage will go cold.
The weather in Falls Creek can be quite variable, so pack everything! Being in March, the weather will be cool upon the mountains but will be warm on the plains. The event starts at daybreak so expect it to be cold (0-10 degrees), with possible drizzle and maybe even some snow. Once you’ re down the mountain and at the plains near Bright and then through Dinner Plains and through to Omeo, it will start to warm up with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees higher than the maximum upon the mountains. This can range anywhere from between 20-40 degrees. Plus being in the mountains, the wind can start at any time along with the possibility of rain or drizzle. Just make sure to layer up, so you can then layer off.
Falls Creek, which is in the Snowy Mountains, a 4-5 hr drive from Melbourne. Make a real trip out of this event and enjoy the region. If you’re up for it, try Mt Buffalo as a recovery ride or stop at Bright or other towns. This is what memories are made of and makes for good stories that can be told later. My tip would be that whilst in Bright, is to grab all your provisions and supplies before heading to your accommodation near Falls Creek, as the prices escalate with the increase in elevation. The accommodation choices are very limited at Falls Creek so some riders will stay in Bright or Mount Beauty or around Tawonga. Bearing in mind that the road will be closed on the ride morning from a very early start with road closures (5 a.m. I think).
This is an iconic ride. Or what you would call ‘A hard day at the office’! It is definitely a ride that I would love to repeat.
You’ll find other great rides, like the Peaks Challenge Falls Creek, in our online Cycling Event Calendar.