Ride Route –
Bright – Mount Buffalo – Bright – Mt Hotham – Omeo – Anglers Rest – Falls Creek – Mount Beauty – Bright
View Route and Profiles on Cycling Profiles – but note you go up Buffalo first
Start Times –
4.00am or 6.20am
Finish Time –
8.30pm for both start times.
Time Allowed –
16h 30min for the 4.00am start – 14h10min for the 6.20am start.
Entry Fee –
Early Bird – $230 – to 30/11/2016
Standard – $275 – 1/12/2016 to 8/01/2017
Late – $305 – 9/01/2017 to 27/01/2017
Before You Book –
Pre-riding qualifications apply to all entrants. Basically you must show us you are capable of completing the ride at the high average speed required. We will accept previous ACE 250 or Peaks Falls Creek finishers who finished with a minimum 3.5 hours up their sleeve. If you haven’t done these rides, put down rides you have done that you think will apply in the qualifications section with comments and we will contact you if we need to know more. Alternatively we will accept Strava or Garmin records for rides over 200km with 1000m of climbing per 50km ridden, at a minimum average riding speed of 21.5kph (20kph overall) for a 4.00 am start and 24kph riding speed average (22.5kph overall) for a 6.20 am start. (We are allowing a buffer of 1.5kph from the riding speed average, to allow for stopping at checkpoints, as history has shown us that this is the minimum average speed for people to successfully complete the ride.) No brevet will be awarded to late finishers.
Lighting requirements apply for riders starting at 4:00 am. However any riders who are running behind time towards the finish, without lights and reflective vests, will be asked to board the sag bus, for safety reasons.
The Ultimate Alpine single day cycle challenge. Starting in Bright and following the ACE250 course, after you have been up Buffalo and back! Definitely not for the under prepared cyclist!
Start in Howitt Park in the very early or just early hours of the morning and head up to Buffalo for your first checkpoint with food and water at Dingo Dell. Then it’s back through Bright to start the trip to Omeo. It’s slightly uphill to Harrietville, but the excitement of the occasion will probably sweep you along so that you hardly notice.
Then you begin the climb up your second mountain for the day. The first 10km are hard, before a leisurely uphill with a water stop (No 4 Chain Bay, Star Extended Spur, 17km up from Harrietville), to the ski resort entrance gate portables, where the really tough stuff begins! The smell of the forest is beautiful at this time of day, even though the impact of the 2013 bushfires is still starkly apparent.
Cresting the summit and the ride to Dinner Plain from Hotham Heights is majestic, with sweeping views across the High Plains. A second breakfast at Dinner Plain is followed by the largely downhill ride to Omeo for the third control. It is worth picking up food here, even if you are not hungry, to make sure you are well fueled for the very long hard leg to Falls Creek. From Omeo, you follow the Omeo Valley Highway, to a truly gorgeous section of road following the river, past Anglers Rest, until the turnoff to the Bogong High Plains Road and the dreaded Back of Falls. It’s steep, it’s hot and you have 220km in your legs already. You start to grind the 21kms up to the High Plains, filling up your water again at Shannon Vale near the bottom.
Another water stop at Raspberry Hill near the top and you know you’re going to make it.. It’s now only 80km further with the hardest climbs behind you. Ahead an undulating ride across the High Plains, often with a head wind, before crossing the Rocky Valley Dam wall and into Falls Creek for a very well earned stop to refuel.
More to eat and drink at Falls Creek and you set off for the descent. Worth taking it a bit slower on the descent than you might normally, as you’re quite tired and need to save something for Tawonga Gap.
Before you know it, you’re in Mount Beauty and the Gap is looming. The last water stop is a couple of kilometres up the climb and provides an excuse for a welcome rest. Tawonga Gap isn’t as steep as expected after the Back of Falls or Hotham and you will probably be surprised how much easier it feels.
You finally make it to the top. Now it’s just 20kilometres to go and almost all of it down hill. You’re tired but take it very carefully on the descent, as the Bright side of Tawonga Gap has a very high incident of cycling accidents. At the bottom, push on as hard as you can for the run into Bright. Over the timing mats, your name in lights and spectators cheering you on. It’s all over, you’ve mastered the ULTIMATE!
Controls (Checkpoints) – see control locations
Bright (start and finish only) –
Dingo Dell (catered) –
Dinner Plain (catered) –
Omeo (catered) – Closes 1.30 pm
Falls Creek (catered) – Closes 6pm
Water Points – (all distances approximate only) – See the food and water map.
Dingo Dell (35km) –
Bright Information Rotunda at the entrance to town.
Harrietville – Pioneer Park Rec Reserve – (non Audax drinking fountain on left)
No 4 Chain Bay – Star Extended Spur – 17km up from Harrietville –(113km)
Dinner Plain (137.4km) –
Omeo (182km) –
Shannon Vale x 2 (223km and 228km)
Raspberry Hill (242km) –
Falls Creek (260km) –
Tawonga Gap (297km).
Dingo Dell – Dinner Plain – Omeo Recreation Reserve – Falls Creek
Ride Difficulty – Extremely Hard –
The ride’s difficulty is not just the 320km distance with 5,500metres of climbing, but also the variations of the Alpine climate. Even though this ride is held at the height of summer, it is not uncommon for conditions at Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham, Falls Creek and on the High Plains, to be freezing, with rain, hail or even snow, when the heat is stifling in the valleys. Make sure you have adequate clothing for differing conditions and don’t miss a chance to pick up water.
Proper physical and mental preparation is very important, together with a “pace yourself approach. The only person you are racing is yourself, as the task is simply to finish safely, within the time limit.
Caution – On all Alpine roads, you will find steep sections, blind corners, uncertain and uneven road surfaces, loose gravel, slippery spots (from water, vehicle or Eucalyptus deposits), fallen trees or branches and unexpected wildlife, (all often mid corner). Please take care and be extremely vigilant whilst braking and cornering, especially when descending.
FAQ 320 Ultimate and 250 ACE
Bike & Clothing 320 Ultimate and 250 ACE
Lights and the Light Check – 0400 start only
Click here to check the current weather in Falls Creek and Mt Hotham
Mobile phone coverage –
Reasonable reception Bright to Mount Buffalo and Bright to Omeo – virtually no coverage between Omeo and Raspberry Hill – limited coverage between Raspberry Hill and Falls Creek – reasonable reception Falls Creek to Bright.
EXCLUSIVE 320 Ultimate Finishers jersey by A’qto.
Available to order by legitimate finishers only – register your interest with Aqto at their stand in Howitt Park.