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Training

The challenge of climbing Mt Everest involved a dedicated 12-18 month training program that ensured John was strong enough to complete one of the hardest physical and mental challenges available to humans today. Weight training, rock climbing, multi hour hiking sessions, food depravation training and intense cycling were all parts of the training regime as well as mediation to cope with the mental challenge of the climb. 

Training Schedule

Monday

Weight session followed by 1 hour intense RPM cycling Class

Tuesday
Rest Day / Mind Training - Meditation Class
Wednesday
1 hour bike ride followed by 2 hours indoor climbing followed by 1 hour bike ride
Thursday
2 hours of bike riding to and from work and then weight session in the evening
Friday
2 hours of bike riding to and from work then rest in the evening
Saturday
4 to 6 hour hike / bike ride / mountaineering (snow season – July to Sep)   
Sunday
3 to 4 hours of rock climbing
Long weekends / Holidays
Multi day hikes of up to 12 hours per day with 15kg pack

Training / Activity Blog

Below you will find a selected description of my training diary and related activities which were generally above and beyond my current training schedule.

Sat Feb 21, 2009 – Rock climbing at Werribee Gorge
Hooked up with Alison and spent ½ day climbing at Weribbee Gorge. 30 mins walk in and 30 min walk out with a 20kg pack. Ticked Ben Hur (14), Big Ears (15) and Hadrian (16). Then we top roped Snatch & Grab (21). The first move past the first bolt was the hardest for me with an awkward, slippery side pulling gaston type move with the left hand in order to reach the first flake with your right hand. The rest of the climb is nice with simply a question of fighting the pump factor.

Sun Feb 22, 2009 – 3 hour and 50 minute bike ride on a mountain bike
Rode from Brunswick to past Mordialock and then to Elwood Beach (3 hrs). Then swim session. Finished with a 50min ride back to Brunswick            

Mon Feb 23, 2009 - Nutritional Consultation with Alison Walsh

Saw Alison Walsh today who is Sports Nutritionist. It was an interesting meeting. Bottom line – I am not eating enough! In theory, the idea is to load up on carbohydrates before exercise, and then eat protein and carbohydrates within one hour of finishing exercising without eating too much fat. A larger breakfast, morning snacks and afternoon snacks would do the trick. Alison provided some really good advice. Electrolyte/Carobohydrate drinks, fruit, raison bread, yogurts, dairy (which I did not know contained protein) and more cereal was the advice. I was also give a contact at RMIT University for a body composition (fat/muscle) and bone density scan. This is getting more interesting by the minute!

6:30pm
1 hour weight training session followed by 1 hour RPM session on the bike – felt awesome!

March 7th/8th 2009 – Labour Day Long Weekend - 2 Days of Hiking with a 15 kg pack
Mt Howitt / Crosscut Saw hike circuit and surrounds 

DAY ONE – 7.5 hours 20 kms
After a big night Friday night started walking up Mt Howitt at 12:50. It was a great hike. The Crosscut saw was far steeper, exposed and more up and down then I had expected. After 4 hours I was out of water. It took us another 3.5 hours to find water after walking over Mt Seculation and back down to the 4WD track and along the 4Wd track for more than 45 mins. Were lucky enough to spot a small creek running beneath the road. I was well past sunset before eating dinner by head torch. We estimated that we walked about 20 kms with around 750 meters of climbing and 400 meters of descending

DAY 2 – 8.5 hours 30 kms
We decided to mostly stay on the 4WD tracks today. After a while we saw a track called “Muesli Spur Track” which was not on our map and decided to take this as a “shortcut”. Along the way we say a young family walking back from the talk of the track and they assured us that the track continued for a fair bit. After about 45 mins the track disappeared and we began a series of bush bashing assaults though the bush. We spotted the road across the small valley and then we had to negotiate a series of rocky slabs and overhangs to get to the bottom part of the spur before bush bashing through to the road. By now it was 12:00pm. One hour later we were stopped at a Creek with water and had lunch. It would be another 4.5 hours and almost 20 kms walking through a never ending twisting 4WD track before we reached the car. The hard road and heat ensured we got some nice blisters. Excellent muscle training for those calves, feet and leg muscles with a 14kg pack!

Sat March 14, 2009 – 3.5 hour bike ride / 72.5km on a mountain bike

In pouring rain rode my bike from Brunswick to Melbourne airport and back today along some of Melbourne’s biggest stormwater drain systems. After riding half way towards Flemington, I turned around and began the ride upstream. With very heavy rain the system was a like a white water torrent. In some parts the water level was level with the bike path! Eventually the storm water drains become creeks and they got smaller and smaller the closer I go to Melbourne airport. Overhead and towards the airport the planes got bigger and bigger. Eventually the path became gravel and then it ended just near the aiport and I followed a track used by motor cross riders right under the E/W Melbourne runway where a huge B747 cargo freighter came in to land. Then it was time to head back. Unfortunately I go lost on the way back and ended up going cross country on this new housing estate. I could see the bike track across the valley to down hilled through a mud and straw mess and it too me 5 mins to get all the mud and straw off all my bike gear. Then I ended up going the wrong way (again) before taking a spill on a slippery section which shook my up. Eventually I was back on my way again all wet and muddy eventually clocking 72.5 kms over 3.5 hours which was slow going but a good workout never the less. Late lunch and an afternoon nap worked well for the afternoon. Still felt saw from the previous weekend and the weight training strain I had done on the leg press a few weeks before that – hoping I have not injured myself and definitely staying away from that leg press for a while!

Saturday March 21st - 3.5 hour mountain bike ride
Rode my mountain bike from Brunswick to Mordialloc and back. Went for a swim off Half Moon Bay per for 20 mins which helped with my recovery.

 
Saturday March 28th, 2009 - 3.5 hour hike with light pack

Hiked up to Mt Donna Buang and back with a small pack. 1h and 10 to the road, 3.5 hours return with a 25 mins break on top. 45 mins to get back down from the road

Saturday April 11, 2009 - 2 hour mountain bike ride
2 hour mountain bike ride at Lysterfield Park. Heart rate peaked at 182 bpm. Took a really nasty fall on the Commonwealth Games Competition track (see the results on my right arm below!). The skin took a good 4 weeks to heel itself.

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Monday April 13, 2009 - 4 hour hike
4 hour hike up to Mt Donna Buang with hiking partner Mark Luke via the telecommunications tower area. Along the way we met a guy that was training for Mt McKinnley (Alaska) with his new mountaineering boots and a huge pack – he made slow progress up the track. Ran short sections of the track to get my heart rate up. Excellent day for it. Pulled up well afterwards and no soreness which is a good sign that my legs are building strength.

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Saturday and Sunday May 2nd/ May 3rd, 2009 – 7 hour and 3.5 hour hike with a 15 kg pack.

Well, the snow arrived early. After a huge dump of snow during the week it was time to get up to Victoria’s second highest peak Mt Feathertop.

The idea was to go up from the Trout farm at Harrietville along the N/West spur via MUMC Hut. Seems that within a few hundered meters if that, I took a wrong turn and ended up going a different way! as I followed a 4WD track up another spur - I could see Mt Feathertop getting further and further away but it was too late and I could not be bothered going back down and re-starting the hike - I knew eventually I would hit the Razorback 4WD track which I did - so ended up going along it and then via Stoney Tops walking track - awesome views of the Fainters and Mt Bogong in the distance. The Mt Bogong area looks like it has enough snow to last it the reast of the season!

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On the summit ridge of the second highest mountain in Victoria - Mt Feathertop

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Camped out on the summt ridge of Mt Feathertop

So a 4 hour hike turned into a 7 hour hike on day one which was great Everest training - no wind at all on the summit so camped about 50 meters from the summit itself - amazing how quickly the cornices build on the summit ridge on Feathertop just after one dump - awesome views all around - in the morning went back down via MUMC hut and N/W Spur which took me 3.5 hours and realised the mistake I had made the day before! Nice sore quads from the descent on a really steep track!

Full photo set here http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkazanas/sets/72157617571057947/

Sunday May 17th, 2009 - 90 km bike ride

Picked up my new carbon fibre road bike today! Within one hour I was off. 3 hour bike ride from Brunswick past Mordialloc and back

Saturday May 23/24th, 2009 - 1.5 days rock climbing at Mt Arapiles http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkazanas/sets/561874/

Saturday May 30th, 2009 - 115 km bike ride from Brunswick to Frankston and return.

Saturday June 6th & Sunday June 7, 2009 - 2 Day Hike (9hrs per day with a 15 kg pack) over Victoria's highest peak Mt Bogong in snowing conditions

Started at Mountain Creek camp ground on Sat morning at 7am – stars were shining and the sky was clear. Up the Staircase to Bivy Hut and I could see above the clouds that were building in the valleys below and in the North – I could see the summit and Bogong ridge against a deep blue sky – it was not to last! As I passed the Castor & Pollux outcrops the clouds were building. By the time I was at the summit cairn I could only see clear sky South towards Falls Creek. So a quick run down towards Quartz Ridge and some slight exploring on the way down for future Ice Climbing opportunities this winter and I was down at Big River by 12.00. By now the clouds had really moved in so decided to go up Timms Spur as it was more sheltered rather than over Grey Hills and Spion. At 12:30 whilst walking up Timms Spur I was buzzed by a light plane flying just above the tree line trying to stay below the clouds! He was below the opposite ridge and was obviously headed towards Mt Beauty. Made it to Edmonson Hut by 4pm as it started to snow only to find it deserted and with a hut full of dry logs. Beauty! So day one around 27km in 9hrs – slowish but ok I guess for 1200m up, then 700m down and then 600m up again.

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Woke up to about 5cm of snow and visibility down to 200 meters. The hut was too warm to leave to slept in and did not leave until 9am. Ditched my plans to walk to Falls Creek and hitch hike back down and decided to go back down to Big River again. By the time I got to The Spion turnoff the weather was windy, cold and snowing lots and getting worse so once again avoided Spion Summit and Grey Hills and headed back down Timms Spur in more sheltered terrain. By now Big River had turned into a bit of a torrent to it was time to strip off and cross the river. Bummer – just dropped something across the other side – so had to go back and get it – so got feet wet twice and twice as cold. Was snowing down to 1250 meters. I then followed the Little Bogong 4WD track around the Western side of Bogong. Had never been here before. I was greeted with the most lush, green area I have seen in the Bogong area. All the creeks were swollen and water was gushing from the Mt Bogong slopes from all over the place through lush, green moss covered terrain and large fern gullies. Low cloud and terrential rain made it feel like a piece of Tassie. 5 hours later and through heavy rain all the way – 9 hours all up for the second day – and a total of 30+ kms on Day 2, and by 6pm I was back at the car and back in Melbourne by 10:30pm. There were about a dozen vehicles at Mountain Creek car park but the place was deserted – obviously everyone had gone up Bogong.

Saturday June 13th, 2009 - 4.5 hour bike ride

115 km bike ride from Brunswick to Frankston and return. Met Matt Lawrence along the way in Elwood. We rode steadily to Frankston and climbed up to Oliver's Hill. On the way back we were comfronted with 30km/h Northerley winds making it very hard work! but good training for the Round the Bay 210 km ride in 3 months time.

Saturday June 28th, 2009 - 6.5 hours / 150km bike ride - Brunswick to Mt Martha & Return

Well after one week off with being run down and having flu like symptoms, a trip to the GP and a round of amoxil anti-biotics including over dosing on premium juice mixes I clocked my longest bike ride today from Brunswick to Mt Martha. With just 6 half sized chocholate bars and strong Northerley's for the ride back, I had to eventually pull over in Elwood for a well deserved hot chocholate. Average speed 26.2 km/h and an average cadance of 79 rpm. Did a recovery ride the following day (Sunday) from Port Melbourne to Mordiallock and back in less than 2 hours.

Saturday July 4th, 2009 - 6.9 hours / 150km bike ride - Port Melbourne to Safety Beach & Return

Well officially according to my training schedule my training for the weekends lifts to a minimum of 6 hours. In 6 months this will be raised again to 12 hours for the final 3 months.

There were shocking conditions of rain and wind today but still rode to Safety Beach (just before Dromana). I was better prepared today and felt strong all the way being powered with 4 GU Gels, some Staminate drink powder and about half a dozen half sized Picnic chocholate bars including a bag of nut and chocholate mixture. But the slippery road conditions made if for a tricky training session and I nearly came off a couple of times on my thin slick tyres. Left Port Melbourne at 11am but for the last hour had to fight darkness and a slippery road as well as all the drivers on beach road who were busily heading into town. Along the way there met Matthew who had himself just finished a dosage of anti-biotics and was doing short ride and we rode together to the Frankston turn off. Had a break at the waters edge at Safety Beach and watched a windsurfer fly across the water which was testiment to the strong S/W winds which were gusting at 30 km/h. It was 6pm and total darkness before making it back to the car in Port Melbourne.

Saturday July 11th, 2009 - 4.5 hour hike up and down Mt Donna Buang with a 17kg pack

To break things up and get ready before heading for some ice climbing to Mt Buller and Blue Lake in a few weeks, as well as due to extremely high winds in Melbourne, decided to do a hike today. Picked up Mark and we drove to Warburton. The track was in a really slippery condition and I will not be back there again until summer. Although the mud was not very deep it was slippery like a slippery slide. Within 10 minutes Mark had taken a long slide and broke one of his trecking poles. It took us 1.5 hours to get to the road and another hour to follow the road to the summit. It was blowing an absolute gale up there! We took shelter in the public shelter. The legs flt strong and did small run up in sections to get the heart rate up. Ditched 15kgs of water from my water filled bottles and we headed back down in 1.5 hours just right at the end of daylight. A counter meal at the Lilydal pub finished up the session nicely!

Sunday July 12th, 2009 - 3 hour / 88km bike ride - Port Melbourne to Frankston return

My recovery session from yesterday. Flew down to Frankston hitting speeds up to 50km/h due to the wind direction and attacked some of the slight hills on Beach Road. Slow going coming back but powered by 2 GU Gels and riding with a group from North Rd onwards ensured a great session with an average speed of 29 km/h and a cadance average of 89 rpms. Felt strong all the way.

Saturday July 18th, 2009 - 4.5 hour snow hike and ice climb - Mt Buller

A run up to the summit of Mt Buller from the Chalet carpark starting at 6:45am. Although there was little ice to climb on good training for my legs and got to use my new La Sportiva Olympus Mons boots for the first time which I'll be using on Everest. Got to see the sun rise as I hiked up the ski runs and spent time exploring the Waterfall Gully Ice climbing area.

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Forming of an ice waterfall on Mt Buller (left) and standing on the summit of Mt Buller (right)

Sunday July 19th, 2009 - 4 hour / 93km bike ride - Port Melbourne to Frankston return

Recovery ride on the bike today in very strong winds!

Sunday July 25th, 2009 - 7 hour snow hike - Mt Buller West Ridge

Together with Jase we headed up the Mt Buller West ridge. Although it's not a long trail, it's quite steep in sections along a beautiful exposed ridgeline requiring the use of crampons. Along the way we met Gus who use to work at Bogong retail store in Melbourne. We slogged our way to the waterfall gully area for some mixed climbing. We then headed up to the summit for lunch before making it back down to the car. A nice day out and good training - my new boots are breaking in nicely!

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Climbing on the forming ice waterfall on Mt Buller (left - Photo courtecy Jason Quick) and Jason standing at the base of Waterfall Gully (right)

Sunday July 26th, 2009 - 70km recovery ride

Another recovery ride on the bike today again in strong winds!

Saturday August 1st to 5th, 2009 - Snow camping and ice climbing at Blue Lake, Mt Koscioszko National Park

Blue Lake is Australia’s highest lake at over 2000 meters in elevation and one several glacial lakes in the Mt Koscioszko National Park which remain as a result of the last ice age. It is the most reliable place in Australia for climbing pure waterfall ice - this fact alone surpises most foreigners from North America, Europe and Canada - well in fact we can ice climb in Australia!

There can be up to a dozen or so frozen waterfalls above the lake which is itself frozen ranging from 2 meters to 15 meters. This was my seventh year straight at doing an annual trip to Blue Lake and I have been visiting this incredible area since 2003.

We walked in via Charlotte’s Pass and spent a great 3 days climbing most of the frozen waterfalls and doing lots of soloing, leading using ice screws and some top roping as well. The weather was challenging with visibility droping to less than 10 meters on some days. We got snow, sleet and frozen rain to make things even more interesting. Temperatures got as low as minus 8 degrees. A great trip!

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(Left) Myself soloing a short but steep line. (Right) Myself leading a steep ice section and pounding in a ice screw (Photos by Mark Clavarino)

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Mark Clavarino soloing nice ice at Blue Lake (Photo courtecy of Mark Clavarino)

Saturday August 15th, 2009 - Snow camping up to Mt Feathertop and across the Razorback

Solo training trip up to the second highest peak of Victoria. Started walking up Bungalow Spur at 9:35pm after a 4 hour drive. It took me 2 hours and 35 minutes to make it to Federation hut - although the sky was clear I passed a layer of fog along the way which in the dark forest made an eerie sight. 3-4 fallen logs along the way. Another 10 mins out of the hut and I set up a bivvy in my new sleeping bag on a small ledge in the snow just before the ridge heads up Fethertop. With stars shinning above, powered by a GU Gel and with clouds swirling over Feathertop, it was an awesome night! Too lazy to take my clothes off I was way too warm in my -40 degree sleeping bag designed for Everest. Woke up at 7am and got half way up Feathertop before baling as I decided that poor visibility and high winds were not worth the bother. Walked back to Federation hut to be greeted by Brendan with whom I had hiked up Fethertop back in October the year before - small world! Brewed up and said hello to some of the 8 people in the hut, before a 4 hour hike across the Razorback. Ran into Gus whom I'd met a few weeks before at Buller and was able to get a lift back down to Harrietville. Home by 7:30pm!

p.s. this was the hike that Tim Holding (Victorian State Minister) went missing on and had to be rescued just 2 weeks later

Sat August 22nd, 2009 - Mt Buller West Ridge - 5.5 hour hike - Another solo training trip up to the West Ridge. 5.5 hours return up and over the summit and return. Felt strong and took extra weight in my pack. Very little snow on the ridge now left and crampons only needed for the final climb to the summit.

Sat & Sun August 29th & 30th, 2009 - Port Melbourne to Frankston (90kms - 3 hours) bike ride on each day. On the Saturday there was torrential rain all the way to Frankston soaking me completely. Sunday involved a 1 hour weight session first followed by the bike ride with Matt. Some knee pain aftwards caused by excessive weights with the leg press - with some icing that evening resulted it seemed to go away.

Sat & Sun Sept 5th & 6th - Skiing Mt Hotham Resort - My first rest weekend in months! skiing with Michael Norton and crew for an awesome 2 days. Great skiing! Some knee pain caused by too much leg work at the gym (again!) was cured some anti inflamantories.

Sat Sept 12th, 2009 - 162km (6.1 hours) bike ride from Port Melbourne to Blairgowrie return - My longest ever bike ride! Total track time 6 hours and 10 mins with nearly 7 hours in the saddle. Averaged a cadance of 85 rpm's and was once again buffeted by very strong winds on the way back reducing my average speed to just 26 kmh. With the temperature hitting close to 30 degress I went through 3 litres of water and had half a dozen GU gels. Awesome ride, and did not feel sore the following day - just some numbness in my fingers from holding on to the handle bars for so long! A 4 hour sleep session afterwards helped with recovery.

Fri Sept 18th & Sat Sept 19th, 2009 - Midnight snow hike to Mt Bogong - Mt Bogong is Victoria's highest mountain at 1996 meters. After leaving Melbourne at 4:30pm on Friday night I drove to Mt Beauty for 4.5 hours and started walking from Mountain Creek car park at 9:40pm. Up the Staircase track on a crystal clear night, but just past Mitchell Hut I could see clouds and wind building on the summit of Mt Bogong. Visibility droped to 5-10 meters near the Twins so it was on with crampons to be safe on onwards to the summit by 12:45am in order to bivy near the summit cairn. Due to the poor visibility I could not find the summit cairn! Over towards the west side I looked for a better place to bivy. Change of mind. Decided it was too windy up in the summit area so decided to go back down and out of the wind. Retraced my steps and had another look but still could not find the summit cairn. Back down to the Castor & Pullox area and although it was cloudy not that much wind. Mat and sleeping bag set up in the open and asleep by 1:30am or thereabouts. Got up at 6am to watch the most amazing sunrise and take some photos, then back to sleep until 7:30am and up for breakie. All packed and up at the summit again by 9:00am and according to my footprints I only missed the summit cairn by 20 meters! Headed back down towards Escadale Spur past 2 groups coming up - and got back at the car by 12.00pm for lunch! For a video I took from the summit click here.

Mt Bogong by you.

At the start of the Staircase Track leading to Mt Bogong at 10pm

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Bivying in the open about 50 meters below Mt Bogong summit at 1.45am

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Sunrise on Mt Bogong at 6am

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Sunrise on Mt Bogong at 6am

Sunday Sept 20th, 2009 - 3 hour / 93km recovery bike ride - Port Melbourne to Frankston return - Another Port Melbourne to Frankston return recovery ride! Light winds ensured my fastest time ever at 2 hours 50 minutes cycling time. In Frankston met Matt who was comng back from Sorrento so it was good to have some company for a change. Still felt sore from the day's hiking before but strong overall and with high energy levels not needing a single GU gel just a few chocholate bars - the value of carb loading the night before with things like pizza and a very good breakfast in the morning has become very evident.

Sat Oct 3rd, 2009 - 193km (6.9 hours) bike ride from Port Melbourne to Sorrento return - Another one of those "My longest ever bike ride!" threads. After 1.5 weeks with the flu and a round of antibiotics, with only 2 weeks to go to the Round the Bay Ride (210km), it was time to do some real track time. Left Port Melbourne at 6.45am and together with several hundered riders who were on Beach Road training for the Round the Bay, I met Matt just after Elwood and we steadily rode to Sorrento. My stomach was upset from the night before courtecy eating a family pizza and 3 Corneto ice creams! (bad idea!). On the way back we tagged along with a very fast group that hit speeds of up to 42 kph but at the hills above Safety Beach we were not able to keep up with them. After Mornington I felt very slow so Matt powered along. I recovered by the time I got to Frankston and was able to then keep most of my speed above 30 kmh for the trip to Port Melbourne. Average speed for the trip was 28.35 kmh and average cadence of 84 rpms. Back in Port Melbourne by 2:30pm and a salt bath and sleep session afterwards helped with the recovery process.

Sat Oct 10, 2009 - 190km (6h 37m) bike ride from Port Melbourne to Sorrento return - Same as last week with an average speed of 29 kmh. Rode with a group until Frankston and the rest was done on my own. Max speed 70 kmh down Olivers Hill! and average cadence 85 rpm .

Sunday Oct 18, 2009 - Around the Bay in a Day - 213km (7h 04m) - Average speed 30 kmh - Well after several month of training it arrived. Met Matt just off St Kilda Rd at 5am and we were at the start line by 5.15am. It was really eerie with the Alexandra Gardens being lit up by all the bicycle lights. The flashing tail lights from all the bikes looked like glow worms in the dark. As we rode down City Rd other riders began joining in. Riding over the Westage Bridge was amazing and way easier then what I thought. It was a very cold morning and it wasn’t until after the Westage that we warmed up. Riding along the Geelong Freeway was very boring indeed and the sight of ambulances along the way with riders in trouble was a concern. We made it to Quenscilff by 9:20am just missing the 9:30am ferry so did not make it across to Sorrento until after 11:00am. After about 10kms we rode with one of the biggest packs I have ever ridden in which must have had over 150 riders riding a super fast pace. We averaged over 45kmh! Rode the hills of Mornington in on of my fastest performances but got separated from Matt as I needed a toilet break along the way. After Frankston my right calf muscle started playing up (again!) which was a bummer so took it nice easy and put down some GU Gels and just enjoyed the ride. Matt waited for me towards Elwood and we were back in the Alexandra Gardens by 2:15pm for a well deserved hot dog and burger!

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With Matt Lawrence waiting for the ferry (left) and about to board the ferry (right) at Queenscliff

Oct 31st / Nov 1st, 2009, Melbourne Cup Weekend – 7 hours and 3.5 hours hiking.

Well after the dreaded sore throat syndrome for 1.5 weeks and the feeling of swallowing razor blades and avoiding going to the doctor and taking any anti biotics this time, got away for a hike opposite Mt Buller. Although I had planned to do a 2 day overnight hike went off route on the first day and into uncharted territory and indivertibly descended a ridge off Mt McDonald back down to the Jamison river – could not be bothered climbing back up to my intended destination of Mt Clear so went back to the car and did another 3.5 hours over The Bluff the following day. Very nice hiking ares so will definitely be back here. The legs felt strong.

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The view from Mt McDonald (1620m). The Bluff (centre) and Mt Buller (left of centre) are visible

November 7, 2009 – 118 km Bike Ride – Brunswick to Kinglake return – 4 hours 48mins riding time average speed 25 kph.

My first training ride dedicated to hill climbing. Met another rider along the way called Tom and we rode steadily to Kinglake. The 11km climb was of intermediate grade along a burned forest from last summers fires but which appeared to be recovering well. With speeds between 14-20kmh and powered by a GU Gel it only took around 40 mins to complete the climb which I did very well within myself. After saying goodbye to Tom I rode to Kinglake West and unfortunately had my first ever and quite nasty fall off my road bike. Whilst replacing a water bottle from it's cage and with just one hand on the handlebars, I hit a small undulation on the road and at the same time was hit by a wind gust. I fell heavily on my left hand side with my elbow taking most of the impact. I quickly managed to get out of the way of passing cars and whilst in a bit of shock noticed the gushing of blood from my arm, missing skin all the way up my arm and hip and torn shorts and top. No time to think about it. The decent back down the valley was simply awesome and I hit speeds of up to 65kmh taking it nice and easy after my fall. Awesome day out despite the fall!

November 14, 2009 – 157 km Bike Ride – Port Melbourne to Arthur's Seat return – 5 hours 33mins riding time average speed 28.24 kph - My first training ride to Arthur's seat which reaches grades of up to 19 degrees or more. Whilst only 4 kilometers long it's very steep and I started to cramp up 100 meters before the summit. A few GU Gels later and I was ready for the down hill decent hitting speeds of 55 kmp on the way down. With the temperature hitting the low 30's it was a hot day's riding.

November 21, 2009 – 117 km Bike Ride – Brunswick to Kinglake (Kinglake climb x 2) return – 4 hours 24 mins riding time, average speed 26.24 kph - A return to Kinglake in which I did the climb from Humevale twice. Felt strong and if it was not for the traffic on the highway would have continued to the other side of Kinglake West.

November 28, 2009 – 164 km Bike Ride – Port Melbourne to Arthur's Seat return (Rosebud to Arthur's Seat climb x 2) – 6 hours 31 mins riding time, average speed 25.13 kph, average cadance 77 rpm's, maximum speed 70.3 kmh - A return to Arthur's seat doing the climb twice. Felt about 5 times stronger than 2 weeks ago! courtecy of starting training at Yarra Boulevard and working on my hill climbing during the week. Got buffeted by strong winds on the way back which really slowed me down after Frankston.

December 5, 2009 – 5 hour hike (3 hours with a 20kg pack) at MtDonna Buang - Back to Warburton and Mt Donna Buang. Good time to the road at only 1h 15 mins and with a heavy pack (20kg). Then over to the summit and over towards Dom Dom saddle. The sight of logged pristine forests was a real visual turn off so turned around and came back down the hill. Legs felt strong but was sore the following day due to the decent which I ran mostly.

December 12 & 13, 2009 - 3 hour and 2 hours of dedicated bicycle hill training at Yarra Boulevard

December 19, 2009 - 7.5 hours and 140 km bike ride to Kinglake return including 2 x Kinglake Circuits from St Andrews - Back to Kinglake for hill training. On the way back did a "tour of the burbs" attacking various hills in Eltham, Plenty, Greensborough. Very importantly no falls of the bike this time!

Dec 26 to 31st, 2009 - A 5 day hike walking 90kms with a 20kg pack in the Victorian High Country completing part of the Australian Alpine Walking Track. This is the longest hike I have done in Australia and featured some of the most remote and spectacular terrain I have walked across. There were 2 days when I walked for more than 9 hours. A lot of the terrain covered did not include walking tracks, required constant checking with a GPS, map and compass and at times involved serious low grade rock climbing (especially when I went off route). There were lots of sections needing serious "bush bashing" through various terrains including blackberry infested areas, waist high grasses, waist high logs and bush debrie as well as dense 2 meter high eucalyptus forests. With temperatures exceeding well over 30 degrees combined with high humidity levels, I drank up to 5 litres of water per day (which still was not fully adequate and led to dehydration) but this was somewhat good as getting dehydrated gave me a good insight as to how my body functions with low fluid levels whilst also increasing my dehydration tollerance. Lost 2 kilos in weight in the process which will mean more protein shakes required now!

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Looking towards The Viking and The Razor (left) and the view from the Viking (right)

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Looking towards The Razor from The Viking (left) and the end of the hike after 5 days and 90 kms of walking (right)

 

Wed Jan 6, 2010 - Port Melbourne to Arthru's Seat Return - 160km bike ride 7 hours - . Thanks to my employer (Vileda) from now until mid March I get Wednesday off to train! 2 climbs up to Arthur's Seat and back to Port Melbourne.

Sat Jan 9, 2010 - 5 hour hike (3 hours with a 30kg pack) - Back to Mount Donna Buang this time with a 30 kg pack. 2 hours to the road - slow going but felt strong all the way.

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Hiking at Mount Donna Buang with a 30 kg pack full of watter bottles.

Wed Jan 13, 2010 - 1.5 hour hike with a 30kg pack - Well the plan was to go back to Mount Donna Buang for another hike. Courtecy for a really upset stomach I had since Monday had to bail after just over an hour. It was straight back home and into bed for 3 hours! The earliest I could get into my GP is next Monday.

Sat Jan 16, 2010 - 5.5 hour bike ride 110 kms at Mt Dandenong - Well after a shocking training week due to an upset stomach and very stiff back, and despite still not being 100%, I met Matthew Lawerence at Ferntree Gully at the ungodly hour of 6:30am and we headed off for 3 climbs up to Olinda. With a swollen stomach and the feeling of nausea (sounds more like Everest climbing indeed!) I powered along all bit it a slow pace. After 3 hours Matt had to return home, so after a short break and powered by GU Gels I went off for 2 more hours back up the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road to Olinda and down to Montrose and then back over again to Olinda and then back down again! giving me a total of 5 climbs for the day. Great for the legs and excellent cardio work out amongst sensational forested roads. This will be my new training ground for cycling. The high speed descents reaching over 80km/h were incredible!

Wed Jan 20, 2010 - 4.5 hour bike ride 93km at Mt Dandenong - My third Wednesday off work and it was back to the Dandenongs for hill climbing with the bike. Starting at the Montrose end of the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road (the easier end) the day involved 5 climbs of Mt Dandenong. The benefits of a cured stomach on Monday were obvious and despite stiffness in my legs and back (so overdue for a massage!!) and a slow pace, it was a great day out and I would say equivelant to more than 7 hours on Beach Road. The 70 km/h descents are absolutely awesome! but what goes down must go back up again. Proof on the hard work this type of riding is was that my average speed was only 21.38 km/h with an average cadance 67 rpms. With the long climbs my speed was only 10-15kmh! which is super slow. The new gearing I am getting on my bike soon should speed things up but it's still great for the legs.

Australia Day Long Weekend - Jan 23 / 25, 2010

Day 1 - 11 hour hike Harrietville to Towonga Huts via Mt Feathertop, Diamantina Spur, Weston Hut and the Alpine Walking Track. My second longest hike ever. Completed with an 18kg pack. 1350m up, then 800m down, then 750m up and 200m down. Lost the track for the last 500 hundered meters on Diamantina Spur leading to the never enjoyable "bush bash" adding almost an extra hour.

Day 2 - 10.5 hour hike Towonga Huts to Harrietville via Cobungra Gap, Swindlers Spur, Mt Hotham and Bon Accord Spur. As always Bon Accord spur delivered a knee jarring descent of 1200 meters ensuring my knees will never be the same again!

Day 3 - After some ice and anti inflamantorys for my right knee did a 5 hour, 100km, bike ride from just outside Bright to Mt Hotham return. The best bike ride I have done so far and a great training ride but quite hard with a 1300m elevation gain over 30kms of amazing forests reaching grades of up to 18%. It took nearly 2.5 hours to do the climb with the hardest sections being the first and last 10kms. Other then the first few hundered meters and "The Meg" later on, the first 10kms are sustained but not too bad and even with a 25 cassette on my bike hardly needing any off seat riding. The next 10kms are beautiful riding through nice ash gum forests. Then once you get to the resort entry gate and above the tree line it's very sustained with a European Alps feel straight out of the Tour De France. The last 3 kms I found the hardest with a constant grade of 15% to 18%. The descent back to Harrietville was awesome but kept things conservative and not exceeding 67km/h.

Overall a great three days, and if it was not for the descent on Bon Accord Spur which has given me an inflammed right knee (hope it goes down) it was a great training weekend.

Sat Jan 30 and Sun Jan 31, 2010 (2.5 hours of hiking and 2 hour bike ride) - Still feeling sore knees after last weekend to decided to take it easier this weekend and avoid those descents! Dropped my mountain bike to the top of Mt Donna Buang and drove back to the bottom and started the hike at the river below the golf course for a record 2.5 hours to the summit with a 27kg pack giving me over 1000 meters of height gain. Only 1h 50mins to the road. Then on Sunday follwed with a 2 hour bike ride and lots of icing on those knees!

Wed Feb 3, 2010 - 6 hour bike ride 110km at Mt Dandenong - My fourth Wednesday off and the day involved 6 climbs of Mt Dandenong in 30 degree plus temperatures. Starting at 12pm I did not finish until 6pm with 2 breaks in between. My knees still not 100%

Sat Feb 6 & Sun Feb 7, 2010 (4.5 hour hike and 4.5 hour bike ride)

Sat Feb 6 - 4.5 hour hike - hiked up the West Ridge of Mt Buller starting at the start of Dougharty Rd which added 5.5 kms to the normal hike, with a 28 kg pack. Still getting knee pain and was forced to put on my orthotics and new knee brace which worked a treat. Felt strong all the way and it was my first summer hike to an area I have been many times before in winter. The scenery was awesome and defenitely worthy of being called one of the best hikes in the Alpine high country close to Melbourne. Then like last weekend I descended back to the car on my mountain bike (which I had dropped off in the morning) and got in a single trail ride as well on the way down.

Sun Feb 7 - 4.5 hour bike ride - rode from Bt Buller to Mansfield and back. Got to Masfiled in just 1h and 20 mins but then it took me nearly double that to ride back to the Village and my car. The 15km climb was comparable to riding up to the Dandenongs although the last few kms are steep.

 

Wed Feb 10, 2010 - 2 hour bike ride in the morning at Yarra Boulevard followed by 45 mins spin session in the evening - unable to take the day off today simply worked hard in 2 sessions. Kept my heart rate above 170 for a lot of the spin class

Sat Feb 13, 2010 - 7 hour 20 min bike ride 177 kms - A nice long ride today with 4 ascents of Kinglake (one via Humevale and the rest via St Andrews). Felt strong all day with my knee pain almost gone but had a mild strain in my left leg area towards the end. Average cadence 76 rpms, average speed 24.16 km/h, max speed 63 km/h

Wed Feb 17, 2010 - 6.5 hour bike ride. Back to the Dandenongs for my longest ever session. 7 climbs up and down!

Sat / Sun Feb 20/21, 2010 - Back to Buller. Up the West ridge from the main road (4.5 hour hike) on Sat with a 30 kg pack and then on Sunday did the Buller-Mansfiled-Buller bike ride which felt easier then 2 weeks ago.

Wed Feb 24, 2010. Back to the Dandenongs for a 5.5 hour ride and 6 times up and down. A bit run down and a bit of knee pain. Time to back off with only 1.5 weeks till the big 3 peaks ride and just 2.5 weeks to Nepal!

Sun March 7, 2010. 3 Peaks Challange Bike Ride. Well the big day arrived and with over 1,000 entrants and the weather looking absolutely terrible we headed off. Hit 68km per hour on a very fast descent and on wet roads down from Falls! which was awesome. Nearly 7 hours on the bike of which 6 hours were in total terrible rain. That $10 rain jacket from aldi never stood a chance! 163 kms cycled from Falls Creek over then to Towonga Gap, down and across to Harrietville, up to Hotham, and then into storm conditions over Mt Hotham and on to Dinner plain joining hundereds at the pub trying to dry off and then on to Omeo. Bailed at Omeo rather then continue to Falls again. It was carnege out there with people dropping like flies with hypothermia and getting flat tyres everywhere. Generally felt very strong most of the day although being rain soacked and very wet made my left quad muscle feel very sore for some reason. Stats: 163kms; 6h 51m riding time; av speed 23.6kmh; av cadance 73 rpms. Another good training day but a bit of a shame we did not finish the whole ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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