I’ve brought my bicycle with me on this trip. On Tuesday I cycled around Sheffield. Today I’m taking on the challenge of Mt Wellington. While Paul sleeps in I set off from the harbour to really make the most of this 1,270m climb.
There are no flat sections. Leaving the harbour the road ascends immediately through the city and suburbs. I’m barely 3km up the road and already I am looking back on brilliant views. Looking ahead I see tiny-looking cars driving up the side of the mountain far above me.
Leaving suburbia behind I enter a section of pretty forest. It’s damp and green. The earth smells fertile here. I guess it’s called Fern Tree for a reason. A road turns off sharply to the right and indicates I still have 12km to the summit. I’ve been climbing steadily for 8km now. Just ten weeks ago I would have given up but today I feel strong and confident.
The bush around me becomes drier as I round to the northern side of the mountain. Then, at 1,000m above sea level the landscape becomes distinctly alpine. It’s incredible. The views stretch as far as my eye can see. It’s cold but not freezing. Gnarled snow gums crown the mountain messily over huge boulders. It’s bleak but beautiful. I could ride roads like this all day every day.
Paul is waiting at the summit with the car. I’ve decided not to ride down the mountain because I have gout in my left hand amd don’t trust it on the brakes. Besides, we’re here to have fun together and 1.5 hours of riding is plenty for today.