This blog post previously included some discussion about a guy (the Donvale Demon) who was aiming to ride the Three Peaks in March 2012. I (and a few others) suggested that 3Peaks 2013 might be a more realistic goal because he had only started riding recently and was (in my view) starting his training very late in the piece. Well, he proved me and several others completely wrong and finished the event easily. Chapeau! I am retracting all my previous comments and leaving this blog merely as a comment on the difficulty of the 3 Peaks ride (from the perspective of the 2011 event).

You can read the Donvale Demon's 3 Peaks ride report here.

To provide some sobering numbers, I got hold of the timings from BV for the 2011 3 Peaks and here’s some info to motivate you (or not). BV times riders for the whole ride, plus all three climbs (Tawonga Gap, Hotham and Falls Creek). All up there were around 1010 starters and 770 finishers, so about 250 DNF (= 1/4 of the field, which was good compared to the first year). I’ve broken the stats into finishers and DNFers.

Tawonga Gap
<30min 82 finished, 1 DNF ( I did the climb in 29 min)

30-35 min, 400 finished, 28 DNF

35-40 min, 230 finished, 89 DNF

40min, 50 finished, 122 DNF

Almost all the DNFed riders rode Tawonga in > 35 min, over half the finishers rode a sub-35 min climb.

< 2hrs 195 finished, 0 DNF (I did the climb in 1hr 51 min)

2-2.5 hrs 500 finished, 45 DNF

2.5-3 hrs 80 finished, 117 DNF

>3 hrs = 0 riders finished, 62 riders DNFed

Almost all the DNFed riders rode Hotham in > 2.5 hrs, while almost all the finishers rode it in under 2.5 hrs.

Also noteworthy is that almost all the DNF riders pulled out somewhere between the Hotham summit time point and the Falls Ck climb time point.

Falls Ck
< 2hrs 92 finished, 0 DNF

2-2.5 hrs 315 finished, 1 DNF

2.5-3hrs 312 finished, 13 DNF (I did the climb in 2hrs 31 min. Guess which climb I blew up on!)

> 3hrs 27 riders finished, 7 riders DNFed

You cant say much about this climb due to the fact that most people who DNFed had already pulled out by this time.

Make of this what you want, but to have a good chance of finishing you need to be climbing Tawonga in less than 35-40 min, Hotham in less than 2.5-3 hrs, and Falls in less than 2.5- 3hrs and limiting the time spent off the bike to a bare minimum. You will also be climbing, preferably non-stop, for up to 7 hrs (40 min Tawonga, 3 hrs Hotham, 3 hrs Falls, 20 min on the smaller climbs between Hotham and Falls). Also note that BV have set a 13 hr cut-off time limit which, if they had applied it in 2011, would have cut the number of finishers to around 650 (ie another 120 riders would have been pulled off the road, bringing the DNF count to around 370).

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Comment by Jason Wellington on December 10, 2011 at 8:06
This is something on my todo list. I had half a thought to do it in 2012 but I am only just doing 120k rides with 1400m or so climb at 26kph average. I doubt that I would be close to being fit for this in 3 months. I am thinking that a better plan would be to buid up next year with training and the grand slam series and then try and aim for 2013 instead.
Comment by Dahondude on December 10, 2011 at 9:40
Well said Jason! The Grand Slam series is an excellent way to build up the km's in a fully supported format. Then its just a matter of doing lots of hill repeats to get the climbing in the legs.
Comment by Graham Winston on December 11, 2011 at 22:20

Jason, I have 3 peaks on my 2012 to do list and am following the 3 month 3 peaks trying guide, they are suggesting only doing between 170km and 290km per week with some of the rides be only 30 - 40 km at a time. Yes the do focus on hills but that comes at the 6-10 week mark. My riding partner and I are both focused on finishing in 11 hour (ride time), we are using the "ride like crazy and the TDU as training rides, with bigger rides in Feb to build up more stamina and climbing strength, but our current riding is mainly in the flats with a hill (like the freeway) thrown in for good measure.

You still have time to get yourself there for 2012



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