A return to the Brisbane Ranges

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I had been on Chris Cox’s (aka CC rider) to go and explore the area around Bacchus Marsh.  With a detour around the Brisbane Ranges for the past 2 years.  Finally an opportunity popped up which allowed me to use some Annual Leave.  Meeting him in Bacchus just after 7:00 am.  It was a glorious day.  The only downside was the fact that when we were heading south there was little wind. With the wind forecast to pick up to 30 – 40 km/h around lunchtime.  Just about the time that we would be heading north.

The loop I took us through Glenmore Road “aka the Hell of the North”.  This road was used in the 2014 Jayco Herald Sun Tour.  It broke the back of many a pro that day.  Glenmore Road is 17.8 km’s long.  2.7 km’s of this averages 6%.  However its the 1 km section that averages 13%, peaking at close to 20% that will always hurt.  CC was in blistering form.  I suggested he flies off on me to have some fun on the climb whilst I took some photos of this incredible valley.

This is easily one of the toughest paved short climbs in Victoria.

As we turned left onto Geelong-Ballon Road we enjoyed a slight tail wind pushing us along.  CC was pushing the pace & the going was quick.  We turned off onto Meredith-Durdiwarrah Road which is a really beautiful road to ride down. It has one very challenging 1 km climb.  I suggested for CC to go  and have some fun & smash the segment.

I was on my limit, and knew that I’d need to get to Anakie in fairly good shape in order to survive this ride.  The next stage of the ride was from Meridith to Anakie via Steiglitz, and is arguably the hardest part of our ride.  There were four climbs along the way, and it was like a roller coaster.  W1+km climbs with gradients pushing around 12%+.

This section was stunning

Even though I was stuffed, it was hard not to want to smash the climbs.  Burning quite a few matches through here.  We faced the prospect of a head wind all the way home from here.  The consensus was that we conserve our energy and pace ourselves back.  The best laid plans of mice and men…… At the general store CC wasn’t ready to go, and I knew that the pace he was on would catch me easily on the Geelong-Ballan climb.  Which was around 4% for just over 4 km’s.  I looked over my shoulder and realised that I had a massive start on him which wasn’t good.  He had a carrot well and truly up the road, and I knew he would work extra hard to reel me in.

To my credit I was able to hold him off until about 3 km’s into the climb, but then didn’t see him for the next 8 km’s.  I had to work as hard as I could to catch up.  He was starting to tire, but was having too much fun and belted down the road.  So much for us pacing ourselves.  We soon what appeared to be a short climb, and even though we were riding directly into a headwind CC got his blood up and tore off down the road to smash this climb.  Which went on forever, and ever.  The road would rise up, then flatten, then rise up, then flatten, then rise up and over 5 km’s only averaged 2%.  CC killed himself to average 27.4 km/h and the honor of 25th on the leader board.

He must have burnt a few matches as when I caught him that he sat in my wheel.

He usually gets bored of my slow pace and flys off on me, but good to repay the favour for the countless times he’s carried me along on long rides.  I am not a big fan of long straight roads, and this one was over 22 km’s long.  With a head wind was really getting challenging.  It was such a welcome relief to return to Glenmore Road.

That headwind became a cross wind, and there was the slightest wiff that was pushing us along.

Which is all we needed.

We went from struggling to flying, and stopped on the climb to get some happy snaps.

Glenmore was a pure joy to ride on, and it was nice heading east, as there was no head wind, but then all good things come to a finish.  We turned off towards Bacchus Marsh and was hit by a wall of wind.  There was a bit of traffic, and I went and took the wind up the front.  Tapping out a consistent 28 – 29 km/h.  With about 10 km’s to ride in a dead straight line into a tough 30 km headwind all I could do was go into my happy place.  Concentrating on tapping out a steady rhythm.

What a relief it was to get back to Bacchus Marsh.  We had well over 1 hour to spare which meant we had enough time to visit one of my favorite climbs.  Swans Road.

Swans Road is 4.2 km’s @ 6%, and is quite scenic.

We basically crawled up it.  Both of us were spent.  I don’t know how he pulled out the energy but there’s a really steep pinch on the far side with is about 300 metres @ 12%.  CC sprinted up this pinch, and missed out on the KOM by seconds on completely dead legs.

It was simply incredible to watch, and even though he would have pinched one of my KOM’s, I would have been happy to have been witness to this.

While many were out at work, I had the pleasure to ride through the Brisbane Ranges for what was my 5th time.  It holds a special place for me, and this was one unbelievable ride.

The day after there was hail & thunderstorms forecast so to get in a 150+km ride was pure Gold.

Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:

Here is a link to Chris’s Strava Activity here (if you look closely you’ll notice how much faster most of his times were 🙂

A return to the Brisbane Ranges
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