THE fifth annual Alpe d’Buffalo will take place this weekend, with young riders from all over the nation set to contest the Australian Junior Mountain Climbing Championships.
Four Wangaratta Cycling Club members will take on the challenge, including two who have won the race.
Tomarsh Loki, 15, won the title two years ago in the under 15 category, but his expectations for this year’s race have been tempered by a limited training schedule.
“I came off a fairly hard track season that didn’t really go according to plan, so I had a bit of a rest after that,” Loki said.
“I’ve only just started to get back into things, so for the race all I can do is just give it a crack.
“It’s a really tough race, so just to get through it would be pretty good.
“I haven’t been to Buffalo at all this year, and my training has been limited, so just to get to the end would be an accomplishment this year.
Thomas McDonald was triumphant last year in under 15s, but he knows that moving up to the under 17 category this year is a big step.
“I’ve been trying to get up Buffalo a bit with the 5.30 bunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” McDonald said.
“They have really helped me a fair bit.
“Apart from that I’ve just been filling out the program as I’m told to.
“I’m now the little fish in the big pond, so things are a bit different.
Nicci Clark is in her second year in the under 17 girls, and plans to be among the leaders in the division.
“I hope to do much better than last year and finish right up there,” Clark said.
“I was towards the back of the field last year, so it wasn’t great.
“This is my fourth year doing the race, and it’s in its fifth year of running.”
And Abby Gray has a great shot in her second year in under 15s after a stellar showing last year.
“I’ve been doing heaps of training sessions I’ve been up to Buffalo about five times so far and ridden the course,” Gray said.
“I’m feeling pretty good.
“Last year I finished it in 58 minutes and came third overall.
“So I just want to beat that time.”