Updated: Mar 13, 2019
On Sunday 10th March, I took on Mount Bogong Conquestathon. I finally learnt how to pace a race and came away with first place female and fifth overall. Booyeah!
The Mount Bogong Conquestathon is held every year on the Sunday of the Victorian Labour Day Long Weekend in March. Organised by the Upper Kiewa Valley Lions Club, this route is approx 20km long, and ascents 1300m up Mount Bogong, the highest mountain in Victoria. You'll be treated to spectacular views at the top, before you barrel your way back down to the finish line.
To top it all off, entry is only $25 with all proceeds going towards community events run by the Club. How good is that!?
Fun fact: Mount Bogong takes its name from a local Aboriginal word that roughly translates as "Big Fella"!
I wasn't planning on racing it at 100% given priority is Buffalo Stampede, which is 4 weeks away (yikes!). But I figured it was a good reason to climb Bogong (which I had never done) and a nice way to spice up my long, easy weekend run that was scheduled in.
Participants can start anytime between 6:30am and 8:30am, with runners encouraged to start early so they don't have to spend their entire run dodging walkers. I lined up in the dark at 6:30am with a collection of other brave runners. I debated for a good 15 mins on whether or not to don a head torch, and decided to take my chances without one. Thankfully I managed to stay upright until it was light enough to see.
The first couple of kms are along fire road before turning onto a single track called the Staircase Spur, which, not surprisingly, goes up, up, up, all the way to the summit. I cruised my way up, purposely holding myself back to ensure I don't burn myself out at the start (and to avoid limping to the finish line). This was tough considering the first placed female was only 50 or so metres in front of me.
Around 3/4 of the way up, the trees part like the red sea and suddenly I was treated to an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. Took a quick snap before clambering up the steep, rocky ridge to the top. Touched the flag, got my name checked off and was off back down Eskdale Spur in a jiffy. According to volunteers, I was about 90 sec behind the leader.
Descending Eskdale Spur is a fun, albeit a little un-nerving! The first section is steep, exposed and covered in loose rocks. I barrelled my way down, with arms flailing around as I teetered on the verge of losing control. Thankfully after a couple of kms it turned into a more manageable single track where footing was much more secure. Having said that, I still managed to stack it! Ofcourse, this happened at a relatively un-technical section and the biggest bruise was on my ego. I jumped back up and was on my way again in no time.
Second fun fact: Despite feeling completely uncoordinated and on the verge of being out of control (whilst simultaneously feeling slow), I managed to nap the Strava segment from the summit down to Camp Gap.
The final 5km section follows a fire road to the finish line. I hit the road and was feeling great. Say it isn't so - have I have actually paced correctly for once?! The next female was only around 100m ahead and I reeled her in over the first km. I also caught up to the 5th place male a km or so later, who coincidentally happened to be a friend so we paced each other to the end.
The result: 5th overall, 1st place female and bagged myself a new pair of La Sportiva shoes. Really happy with the result given I had plenty left in the tank at the end. Roll on Buffalo Stampede!