National Junior Mountain Climbing Championships, 2016

Three days of sunshine in the Victorian Alps – magic!

Swimming under the stars, in the Ovens River, with a platypus for company…okay, it was a little cold – but magic!

Catching up with interstate friends – magic!

And then there was the magic that is the Alpe d’Buffalo!

Saturday was the time trial. The Under 17 girls were travelling 9.5 kilometers, including 428 meters of altitude, with each rider sent one minute apart. The National Mountain Climbing Time Trial honours went to our Tasmanian friendย Anya, with an impressive time of 22 and a half minutes. In second place was Jemma, who, I believe, was born with hills in her legs…and hot on Jemma’s heels, 1.1 seconds behind, was Sarah!

Sunday was the road race. At 8am the mountain air was fresh, but with a 1300m climb from the bottom of Buffalo, all jackets were left in my lead car, and it was race on! The first few kilometers were almost uneventful, with a slow steady climb and only one rider falling away from the group. But as the race went up the mountain, the pace continually picked up and soon riders were being dropped off the back at a regular rate. With about 15 km to go the front group had been reduced to five riders, Anya, Jemma, Sarah and two Queenslanders. Jemma then put in an attack and it was Jemma and Sarah out front. Three minutes into the attack the commissaires car rolls up alongside Sarah and Jemma, and states, “You have 40 seconds!” “What?” say the girls, in disbelief. But Sarah says Jemma attacked hard..and chatted while she was doing it! Sarah managed to hang with Jemma for another four kilometers or so and then it was Sarah’s turn to be left behind. Jemma methodically made her way to the finish line, without a backwards glance, along the way overtaking many of the Under 15 boys, who started earlier. So the final result was Jemma in one hour 15 minutes, Sarah in second place, four minutes 56 seconds behind, and Anya, just beating Sophie to the line, and eight and a half minutes behind Jemma.

Congratulations to all the girls…special mention to Edieย who was not well but still managed to complete both the time trial and road race.

Many thanks to the Alpine Cycling Club for once again hosting such a fabulous event. Sarah has attended for the past four years and it has always been the highlight of our cycling year. We were very sad to hear that Buffalo will not be home to the Junior Mountain Climbing Champs in 2017. Hopefully, it will return to Buffalo in the not too distant future.

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