As I mentioned previously I had intended to do a ride up in the Snowy Mountains. Unfortunately my car didn’t make it, and Thredbo being in NSW, the trip was off (unless I wanted to take a coach that went through Canberra). From now on I had nothing but my legs to rely on to take me places.
Although I was disappointed, I could hardly complain. The sun was shining in Melbourne and I’d avoided almost certain hypothermia from riding up a snowy mountain, and potential broken bones from snowboarding down one. I was determined to go on a worthy ride to make up for it. Armed with some hot tips from a friend of mine, I decided to explore the Kinglake area.
The day started pretty haphazardly, and a little later than it should have. I’d planned to catch the train out to Hurstbridge to avoid most of the suburban chaos, only to discover that Metcards didn’t exist anymore. I decided that embracing said chaos wasn’t going to be so bad, but I couldn’t help but think the whole way how much I’d rather be racking up these k’s and elevation under a canopy of tree ferns, especially when forgetting to turn the Garmin on in parts meant some of it didn’t even count anyway.
My first port of call was the Kinglake climb which, although it seems like it would be on the way down, isn’t terribly difficult; a perfect place to go for a PB. Since I’d done it once before I knew what I was in for, so I felt comfortable pushing it, managing to beat my time by over 3 minutes. I’ve recently installed a 12-29 cassette, which I don’t often have to use to its fullest, but it does give me a very versatile spread of gear ratios for climbing. I’ve done this with 3 Peaks Challenge in mind, since registrations open soon!
After a brief rain shower and breather up top I headed towards Healesville, with the intention of looping back around and tackling Skyline Road climb just outside of Yarra Glen. A big thanks to Matt, the author of http://theclimbingcyclist.com/ for giving me some goals when I map these rides, I’m working through the list! Unfortunately I turned off just before the end of the official Strava segment, so I wasn’t awarded it, but I’m still ticking it off. As I turned right at the top I was faced with a wall of dirt, and for the first time i dirtied my 29t cog, It was time to get lost. The road was a gravel rollercoaster with fantastic views, as a matter of fact I’d been surrounded by fantastic views since I started the Kinglake climb. So what if it wasn’t the Snowys, it was still a pretty bloody nice place to be.
I tentatively used a rocky narrow track to get down to the road that led to my 3rd climb of the day: Mt Slide Rd. Then it occurred to me that I was hungry, very hungry, or at least I would’ve been if I didn’t eat everything that I had. I was very mindful of how I was going to feel when I got to the top of the climb. I have to go back there soon, I was feeling far too washed up to appreciate the beauty of the dirt road winding through tree ferns, trickling waterfalls and zero traffic. Then the views kicked in, which managed to pull me out of my stupor enough to reach the top.
Unfortunately the climbing continued most of the way back to Kinglake (with traffic), where I decided to resurrect myself with some baked goods.
By this stage I’d done nearly 2000m elevation and I was pretty spent, and I still had to get back home to Melbourne (via Arthurs Creek Rd, which is not the flattest). My one consolation was that southbound Plenty Rd is so fast you’ll find yourself doing over 40km/h on what seems like flat, which makes easy work of the last 30 ks. I strongly recommend that everyone pack good lights on long rides, especially in Winter and especially on Plenty Rd. You never know when you’re going to get back home. With the knowledge that I had a half eaten cheesymite scroll in my jersey to fall back on, and after thankfully remembering that I had legwarmers, I dove into the Kinglake descent. The rest is your typical slog back home. I finished with 170km (closer to 180 if you count the Garmin faux pas) and 2500m elevation, more than enough to make me forget, for the day at least, about where I could have been.
P.S. Don’t forget there’s a link to our Strava page on the right if you’d like to find out where all these nice places are, or if you’d like to beat us on any of the segments. Get out there!