3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

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3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby GreyhoundCycle » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:44 am

The 3 Peaks Challenge is covered by many cycling blogs and websites featuring fantastic stories about the ride last weekend (and years back). This is really doing my head in. I WANT TO BE THERE!!!

But before any attempt, what do I need to train for this great physical and psychological challenge?

Realistically speaking, what sort fitness level - e.g. distance, speed, hill climbs, and etc. that a rider should be able to perform on a regular basis that is enough to get pass the finish line within time regulation?

I now got a year to prepare!
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by BNA » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:52 am

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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jules21 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:52 am

the answer to this is really simple. you should be able to comfortably complete a long ride ~200km with decent climbs (ATB does not cut it!). if you can't do that, you aren't ready for 3 peaks. you must train towards that goal, building up to rides of that length/difficulty and adjusting your training load accordingly.

i would suggest 10 hours on the bike per week for several months leading up to the ride is sufficient, although when you're doing long rides you will do more than that as you may spend 6-8+ on the one ride.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby ausrandoman » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:32 am

Have a look at
http://www.audax.org.au/public/index.ph ... r&Itemid=2

Start with 100 km rides.

Work up to flat 200 km rides.

Do the Alpine Classic
http://www.alpineclassic.com.au/
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jacks1071 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:48 am

GreyhoundCycle wrote:The 3 Peaks Challenge is covered by many cycling blogs and websites featuring fantastic stories about the ride last weekend (and years back). This is really doing my head in. I WANT TO BE THERE!!!

But before any attempt, what do I need to train for this great physical and psychological challenge?

Realistically speaking, what sort fitness level - e.g. distance, speed, hill climbs, and etc. that a rider should be able to perform on a regular basis that is enough to get pass the finish line within time regulation?

I now got a year to prepare!


I'd say you'd want to be seriously fit. 3 guys from our club went down for it - all solid C grade riders, tough guys. Took them 11.5hrs, not sure how long they stopped for lunch but knowing them they wouldn't have mucked around too much at the stops.

Thats a big day in the saddle!
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby GreyhoundCycle » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:18 pm

Thank you all for the information.

Yes, it is a big commitment and goal to aim for.

Alternatively I may make this a 2 years plan for training and recruit a few friends that are as willing to murder their legs as I do :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Just out of curiosity, has anyone done (or tried) this ride using other than a road bike? Not that I am attemping to be the first...
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby hannos » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:20 pm

GreyhoundCycle wrote:Thank you all for the information.

Yes, it is a big commitment and goal to aim for.

Alternatively I may make this a 2 years plan for training and recruit a few friends that are as willing to murder their legs as I do :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Just out of curiosity, has anyone done (or tried) this ride using other than a road bike? Not that I am attemping to be the first...


I saw a guy doing the Alpine Classic 250km on a recumbent this year. It's virtually the same course as the 3 peaks.
I'd plan for next year's event. It is still quite a loooong way off and you should be able to work up to it without too much trouble.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jules21 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:26 pm

i've previously seen a guy doing the AAC200 on a fold up bike too, he was keeping up with a lot of roadies. of course, i only saw him at the finish line later *cough*
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby cf73 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:43 pm

The 2013 3 Peaks is my target....
In the next couple of months I intend to start the training. I believe that 12 months is adequate time to do it in. Last year I went from riding maybe 100km per week to training over 7 months for an 8 day 1,000km ride. I made sure I did the hard yards in all weather and at all times of the day and it paid off. I havent done a 100km ride since November but am going to start building up again as I said and get the hill training going again.
I think trying to train for 2 years away is too long, if for nothing else, strike while the iron's hot and before the motivation falls away. I know from personal experience last year that there were many times through winter when I HAD to think about the trip in order to get me motivated to get out of bed. I dont know if I could have kept that level of motivation up for longer than 7 months..
I have now had 4 months off from that level of training and I am fresh and ready to go again :D
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jules21 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:47 pm

the necessary training start point is determined by your base condition. if you weigh 140kg and got booted from TBL for sneaking swigs of booze in the night, start now! otherwise, you will get away with starting later. cadel evans could just ride up and do it without anything beyond what he already does.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby hannos » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:48 pm

cf73 wrote:The 2013 3 Peaks is my target....
I made sure I did the hard yards in all weather and at all times of the day and it paid off. I



Indeed. Then you'll know what sort of gear you're going to need, if you haven't got it already :)
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby cf73 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:52 pm

jules21 wrote:the necessary training start point is determined by your base condition. if you weigh 140kg and got booted from TBL for sneaking swigs of booze in the night, start now! otherwise, you will get away with starting later. cadel evans could just ride up and do it without anything beyond what he already does.


Agreed...I think the base would have to pretty poor not to be able to get there over 12 months though. But yes, at least a half decent level of fitness would be required to start with.

If someone had not completed a 100km ride by now I would suggest that would have to be knocked off in the next couple of months at least, with hills invloved.

The other thing is make sure that your peak fitness/motivation coincides with the actual event.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby cf73 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:54 pm

hannos wrote:
cf73 wrote:The 2013 3 Peaks is my target....
I made sure I did the hard yards in all weather and at all times of the day and it paid off. I



Indeed. Then you'll know what sort of gear you're going to need, if you haven't got it already :)


Absolutely...and it cost me a little bit of money as I gradually got myself all the kit....and I needed EVERY piece of kit over the 8 days.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby cf73 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:05 pm

GreyhoundCycle wrote:Thank you all for the information.

Yes, it is a big commitment and goal to aim for.

Alternatively I may make this a 2 years plan for training and recruit a few friends that are as willing to murder their legs as I do :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Just out of curiosity, has anyone done (or tried) this ride using other than a road bike? Not that I am attemping to be the first...


Are you able to let us know what level of riding you are at now?? That is a major factor in how long it will take for you to prepare.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:14 pm

A mate of mine rode it (well the ACE 250 - same route) on this bike - Moulton APB

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I rode the ACE250 on a 1981 road bike with bottom gear of 42". Well.... I had to walk a fair bit of the Back o'Falls :( Rode the full haul up Hotham quite well though :D
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby GreyhoundCycle » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:04 pm

cf73 wrote:
GreyhoundCycle wrote:Thank you all for the information.

Yes, it is a big commitment and goal to aim for.



Are you able to let us know what level of riding you are at now?? That is a major factor in how long it will take for you to prepare.


Well... I am under 30yo and am 71kg/175cm. Fitness level.... is ok, but could be better.

I am currently doing commuting (2-3x per week) and some weekend rides with friends, which average a total of approx. 120km a week.

Last weekend rode up the 1/20 climb at Mt Dandenong, did in 21min without pushing hard (again was waiting for a friend). I certainly feel some potentials to push it under 20min.

I have a few issues to determine my average speed because;
1) my commute covers entire Melbourne CBD length to Docklands, which guarantees a red light stop-start at every intersection. Plus heavy traffic near the city.
2) I love to ride with my friends/family, but they are very very slow... so I always wait at every corner or simply cruise along with them.

I am aiming to do Around the Bay 200km+ ride this year and have set out a training plan towards that.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby sli123 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:24 pm

Sounds like you need to do more solo rides without distractions, where you can push yourself; and group rides (with a decent group) to work out where your cycling is at. Once you've done that and can post some times then we'll be able to better advise you.
It might be worth joining Strava too. It allows you to check your best times against others (on Strava) and will give you some kind of indication of where you're at.
Cheers and good luck,
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby number21 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:30 pm

You could totally do. Fitness of course is part of it, but so is the mental side. You'll have doubts about DNF'ing etc but probably most do, might crash/injure something training, have a lame month of training etc etc but its all about keeping at it.

Can I suggest heading over to the audax site and take note of some rides in your area and try to do one or two of them every two months between now and March 2013. They'll act as good milestones to work towards. Gradually up the Kms on them and you'll gain confidence about the distance part. Regarding the hills, prepare for the worst and Back-O-Falls might not seem so bad when you hit it.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby il padrone » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:43 pm

I'd suggest more hills. I realise it may be difficult living and working in the inner suburbs, but riding Beach Rd is no substitute. I have not ridden the ATB ride, but have ridden all those roads and even though 200km, it is mostly very flat - less than 50% of the effort involved in the ACE/3 Peaks. Get out and ride hills - long steady climbs (15-20kms+), steep harsh hills lke Terry's Ave. Get out and do Audax rides - again choose the ones in the hill country. In October Gareth Evans will probably run his Grand Ridge Rd 200 which is a solid work out, nearly as hard as the 3 Peaks (200kms with 2000m of climbing). There are lots of Audax rides to choose from - try to build to doing one each month later in the year and boost your commuting distances. Maybe do the AAC 210 in January. Allow a bit of lay-off in the last 2-3 weeks before the 3 Peaks.

Remember speed and short term times are not as important as stamina - the ability to just keep on going regardless, to avoid wasting time at stops and to marshal your reserves wisely.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby zakka101 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:14 am

i am in the same boat greyhound cycle, after seeing some people and friends of friends post about it i got really motivated.

fitness wise though i think i have a pretty good base, ran melbourne marathon last year and have done a few adventure races/trail runs since then.
just last weekend rode 70ks and ave'd 30ks an hour ( with lights on the way back. elevation was only 700m though....far from what is needed for 3 peaks! ) so i reckon with some decent training through kinglake hills and arthurs seat etc i could do this!

greyhound cycle you totally ahve me motivated, we are in the same position! smash it out mate!
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jules21 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:28 am

il padrone wrote:I rode the ACE250 on a 1981 road bike with bottom gear of 42". Well.... I had to walk a fair bit of the Back o'Falls :( Rode the full haul up Hotham quite well though :D

impressive pete! could you do it in one day?
Last edited by jules21 on Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby __PG__ » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:19 am

For those in Melbourne, Kinglake is a great training climb to get your ready for the big mountains.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby GreyhoundCycle » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:38 pm

zakka101 wrote:i am in the same boat greyhound cycle, after seeing some people and friends of friends post about it i got really motivated.

fitness wise though i think i have a pretty good base, ran melbourne marathon last year and have done a few adventure races/trail runs since then.
just last weekend rode 70ks and ave'd 30ks an hour ( with lights on the way back. elevation was only 700m though....far from what is needed for 3 peaks! ) so i reckon with some decent training through kinglake hills and arthurs seat etc i could do this!

greyhound cycle you totally ahve me motivated, we are in the same position! smash it out mate!



Cheers mate!

Definitely coming back to check on our progress on a regular basis!
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby il padrone » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:20 pm

jules21 wrote:
il padrone wrote:I rode the ACE250 on a 1981 road bike with bottom gear of 42". Well.... I had to walk a fair bit of the Back o'Falls :( Rode the full haul up Hotham quite well though :D

impressive pete! could you do it in one day?

What I did. The ACE250 2010, not the Raid. We began at 4am, I finished just after 8pm, 30 mins before the cut-off time. So 16 hrs for 250 and 3200m of climbing..... much harder than the 14hrs for the 'Cafe au Lait, si vous plait' 300 around Wangaratta that was 90% flat road.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby jules21 » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:23 pm

nice work. sorry i read your previous post as you riding the event in 1981 - my bad.
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Re: 3 Peaks Challenge - Fitness Level Requirement?

Postby hannos » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:15 pm

il padrone wrote:
jules21 wrote:
il padrone wrote:I rode the ACE250 on a 1981 road bike with bottom gear of 42". Well.... I had to walk a fair bit of the Back o'Falls :( Rode the full haul up Hotham quite well though :D

impressive pete! could you do it in one day?

What I did. The ACE250 2010, not the Raid. We began at 4am, I finished just after 8pm, 30 mins before the cut-off time. So 16 hrs for 250 and 3200m of climbing..... much harder than the 14hrs for the 'Cafe au Lait, si vous plait' 300 around Wangaratta that was 90% flat road.


IP, it's a bit more than 3200m climbing

http://app.strava.com/rides/3732309
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