I needed to pick my wife up from her brother’s house in Bacchus Marsh, & thought I’d go for a short ride beforehand. Having ridden extensively around Bacchus Marsh, I thought I’d go a bit further afield. Revisiting some riding I’ve done around Ballarat. I wanted to have a crack at the KOM on Mount Warrenheip which is behind Kryal Castle. Mount Warrenheip is an inactive Volcanic cone located 9 km’s east of Ballarat. The name Warrenheip originates from the Wathaurongword Warrengeep, meaning “to climb multiple times on a bike”. And this climb has been Everested which is ironic for its title.
There was a 20 – 30 km Southerly forecast, but when I showed up it was blowing a gale, & the wind was icy cold. I knew this would help me on the first part of the climb up to the turn-off for Mount Warrenheip. But worried that on the climb may cop strong head winds. I set-out into a very solid wall of wind. My legs were not warmed up, and I felt as if I were pushing into an invisible hand. I was climbing a false flat with solid 50+km winds throwing me around.
Within 1 km of riding I was in the pain cave
It was horrid conditions to ride. I could see the start of the climb, and sadly had to take a rest before I could have a go. Not ideal for what I planned.
I set off, and didn’t feel great, but was able to push out a time which was on pace to beat the KOM with that tail wind. I turned off onto Mount Warrenheip Road, and the pain begun. Mount Warrenheip Road curls its way around the hill to the top of the Mount Warrenheip Flaura Reserve. Through dense bush land and some great views over to the left hand side of the road. Essentially the road is a goat track. Wide enough for a car, with a surface which is in pretty shocking condition.
It can be challenging to get into a rhythm as you dodge and weave around cracks in the road and potholes.
I gave it as much gas as I could, but wasn’t able to crank out enough Watts. I fell short by 51 seconds, finishing 6th spot on 7:37, averaging 17.8 km/h. The weather wasn’t ideal, and I was pretty disappointed. I really didn’t feel good, and well lost my lunch at the top, so I knew I wasn’t holding back on the climb. Not to waste a good trip, I got back on the bike and continued my loop out to Ballarat. I had a solid tail wind behind me, and pushed hard for PB’s all the way down to White Swan Road. Which is a 1.4 km climb @ 5% which is really enjoyable. There’s a lot of State Forest to the South of Ballarat, and some incredible riding through the area, with a lot of challenging rolling hills.
I worked my way back to Ballarat and headed for a lap around Lake Wendouree. This is one of my favorite flat rides that I’ve ever done. I found an incredible Hamburger joint near there & enjoyed a really yummy lunch. There was only about 14 km’s to ride to get back to the car. Boy were they memorable. I was heading back out with a strong head wind. It was a grind getting back to the car. It was only a short 50 km ride, but it is a great little loop, that offered a lot of challenges with the wind.