Apologies in advance for this late post. This ride occurred nearly 3 weeks ago (15th Sept 2012). It’s been a crazy past few weeks with birthday parties, gettting rummy, moving homes and general lack of motivation hindering this blog entry.
To help get the ball rolling and for added inspiration, I decided to read fyxo’s blog and bumped into this gem of a post –
To put his blog into context, FYXO (Andy White), is one of the reasons why we spend our weekends riding around the bush. His blog is a revelation and has been a huge inspiration for VVMCC. Unfortunately, he’s recently announced that he will not be renewing the lease on FYXOHUB and this coming November, one of the most unique shops to ever open in Melbourne will cease to exist. If you can find time on a Saturday during the next month or so, duck by to Sth Yarra and buy some jerseys and frames. Support your local bike shop!!!
… Going back to our ride – Gareth, Pinchy and myself decided to give West Gippsland another go. The ride took us through the towns Ellinbank, Seaview, Trida, Hallston, Allambee South, Mirboo North, Thorpdale, Childers, Yarragon and back to Ellinbank. Apart from a couple of minor detours around Thorpdale, this was pretty much the route that we took. The ride was approximately 115km with an elevation of 2,200 meters.
It started off as usual, plan to meet up at a rendezvous (Ellinbank primary school), to start at 7 am. We headed southwest from Ellinbank to start our first climb up through Warragul-Leongatha Rd. We’ve done this road on a number of occasions and Pinchy has previously described the climb as such –“Not too steep at a fairly consistent 5% and 7.5km’s long, so enough to get the legs warmed up.”
The ride continues on to Grand Ridge Rd taking us to Hallston. Be mindful of the left turn to Hallston, or else you will continue down south to Strzelecki Hwy.
Keep an eye out for the Ballston sign.
Grand Ridge rd (smooth tarmac) eventually turns into Old Grand ridge rd (Shitty shitty loose gravel). Gareth can attest to this, as halfway through Old Grand Ridge, he flatted.
Once we got ourselves going again, we rode up Mirboo-Yarragon Rd. This is another steady 4% climb that’s approximately 5 kilometres long. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances/stupidity, Pinchy was forced to abruptly finish his ride. Fiddling with his gearing (whilst riding), had caused his front derailleur to wrap itself around the cranks.
As we had only covered 30 kilometers, we decided that the best course of action was for Gareth and I to continue, and to leave Pinchy to rub one out whilst waiting for his better half to pick him up. Thus, we ventured forward to Mirboo North for lunch at the local bakery.
After our quick bite, we headed north up Strzelecki Hwy and through Mirboo North-Trafalgar Rd, taking us to Thorpdale. We took an impromptu detour into McDonalds Track as we had seen a sign for the “world’s tallest tree.” FYI, the tree was cut down during the 1800s and was replaced with this sign. Suffice to say, the best thing about the world’s tallest tree is the small climb to get to it.
We then took Childers Rd which eventually turned into the final climb of our ride, the unsealed Childers – Allambee Rd. It had been raining sporadically during the days prior to our visit causing Childers – Allambee Rd to soften and turn the surface into a claggy-wheel-grabbing consistency. On that day, Childers – Allambee Rd was essentially 10 kilometres of shitty bike masochism. Gathering by the facial expressions that a couple of 4WD drivers were giving us as they drove pass, I doubt that anybody had ever attempted it with road bikes. We might have appeared foolish, but that climb was easily one of the most fun I’ve had in Gippsland.
Note to self – buy a cyclocross.
The mud eventually turns into tarmac once it meets up with Leongatha – Yarragon Rd. After that, it’s a pleasant downhill ride to Yarragon and back to Ellinbank.
Thanks again Gippsland! It’s been a blast!