Dandenongs done Dirty

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July 1, 2013

With the Donna Done Dirty coming up. I was wondering how I could come up with a good solid training session for it.  Wanting to come up with something truly big. In the Dandenong’s, I had previously Mountain biked up Basin Olinda Road, & Silvan Road (Olinda).  Knowing that they would make a good training ride.  I was looking for something a little more epic than that.  Maybe cover all of the big dirt climbs in the Dandenong’s in the one ride. It got me thinking & I consulted with a mate Jordan.  We came up with a route that covered most of the Dandenong’s major dirt climbs.  But without needing to descend any dirt.

The climbs we chose were:
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We had a nice little posse with Chris Cox, Brad Kester, Jordan Di Liuzo & myself keen for a bit of dirt. It was winter time, but the tracks were in fairly good shape. I had recently been hit by the flu, and hadn’t recovered by the ride.  That wasn’t going to let a little thing like not being able to breath properly stop me from riding.

Dandenongs done Dirty
Basin Olinda Road

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For the first climb, we headed up Basin Olinda Road, and I struggled from the start.  Coughing up my guts and dropped off from the group and had to meet everyone at the top. We continued all the way up to Sky High, and then descended down to Montrose.  Climbing one of the bonus climbs York Road. I could keep up, but really had to work hard to do so. We continued on to the Silvan Reservoir where we turned right.
After descending a couple of k’s of dirt we hit the Silvan Road climb.  This was easily one of the most scenic parts of our ride. I must have shaken a bit of my flu as I suddenly came alive and went up the front and set a cracking pace. The road is wide, but there’s a lot of gravel.  There’s only a narrow racing line that we were able to ride in.
Unfortunately needed to watch the road so intently that we didn’t see much of the scenery.
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Dandenongs done Dirty
Silvan Road

 

Silvan’s a really tough slog, and finishes on a 10% pinch.  We were glad when it was done and dusted. We then descended down Perrins Creek and at the base turned off into Coonara Road. This road is a favourite of mine. I worked out that it joins up to the Wall, and makes a pretty decent climb. Coming up with a nickname “the Dirty Wall“.
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This was easily the easiest of all the climbs, but on it’s own is a fair slog. From here we descended back down to Montrose, and hit what easily on paper was the hardest climb of the day Old Coach Road. Chris absolutely flew off on us up here.  Unfortunately had a mechanical as he was easily on speed to KOM that climb. Me personally I struggled. Old Coach is 5.5 km’s @ 8%, and just the gravel section is a crazy 2.3 km’s @ 11% and not for the feint hearted.
I was struggling for breath, and this was one of those climbs that I felt like I was going to crack hard on. I persevered & made it up. We finished at Sky High where we discovered that Jordan had somehow cracked his frame and headed off.  Brad had strained his hammy from a race that he had done over the weekend and headed off as well.
This just left the old guys.
Chris and myself to finish this truly epic day. We returned down the Wall, and looped back to Silvan Reservoir.
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Dandenongs done Dirty

 
I had to ask that we go slow as I was really cooked at this stage.  Yet still wanted to go for a PB on Dougherty’s, which is 2 km’s @ 10%, and very hard. We turned off on Olinda Creek Road, which is one of the greatest roads you can ride in the Dandy’s.  It’s a dirt road which is a nice hidden gem. I had ridden Dougherty’s on the MTB once, and we tried to smash it.  But were beaten by the surface.

It was gravel, but there was no racing line.  We had to ride through hundreds of tiny stones which on a 10% gradient constantly caused our wheels to spin and was hell to get up. We never gave up, but were in shock at how hard it was to get up, and even the mighty Chris was struggling. At Falls Road we turned left for the final climb of the day Falls Road.  Which is 2 km’s @ 8%, and a tough little climb in its own right.
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It was truly a mad day, and was so proud that I could come up with such an idea. I sent links to several guys including the Climbing Cyclist hoping that maybe I could inspire others to try the dirt.
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Here is a link to my ride here:
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