I had a wedding in the Grampians and had until lunchtime to ride. Waking up at 5:00 am with the aim to hit Mount William just as the sun was rising. I had a tailwind pushing me along and was cruising. Mount William is one of the last great climbs that I wanted to tick off my list. It was pitch black when I hit it and couldn’t see anything. As the sun rose I could see the outline of all the surrounding peaks and it was surreal. I was conscious of the fact that I was doing a lot of climbing today. Trying to pace myself.
Of course that’s not always my strong point.
Mount William is 12 km in length. It’s all about the final 1.8 km which I knew to average in excess of 10%. The surface was quite course and challenging to climb up to begin with. When I hit it my chain jumped off. My derailer has been a bit wonky for awhile and was slightly out of whack. To cut a long story short I couldn’t get into my lowest gear, and just couldn’t climb it. I was fuming as I had brought the wrong wheel. The one with the compact on was at home and I had to turn around and head back down.
I then headed up to Silverband Falls which seemed to be a great little climb. There was a 7 km segment through there, but not many people had done it, and I had high hopes of discovering this amazing little climb. 1.2 km in at the Silverband Falls Car park there was a sign “No entry”. WTF. They had turned this road from there into a one way road. It was still quite early in the morning & I thought screw it. I’ll climb it. If I hear a car coming along I could turn the bike around & pretend to be descending.
The next 4 km I thankfully didn’t see a single car & I got back to a 2-way section.
I took the turnoff to the top of the carp ark, & was feeling pretty flat but happy. At the car park I noticed a sign saying Lake walk 600 metres. The surface was gravel but I thought why not. When the surface turned into sand and was quite slippery. Then it turned to rock & I was unable to ride any further. Getting off and Cyclocrossing it to the top where there was a mighty impressive view.
I descended back down to Halls Gap and was feeling pretty crappy. There was just enough time to climb up to the Baroka Lookout. I didn’t know much about the climb except it was 15 or so km @ 4%. The first 4 km barely dipped below 6% and hit 10% in a couple of sections. On flat legs I was working really hard to keep a smooth technique. It was a struggle to get to the turnoff for the Baroka Lookout. Then there was 5 km left to climb. The road was called Mount Difficult, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if a cyclist named it. The first km was hard, and pushed peaks of 17%. I was stuffed before I hit this climb. I was wrecked after. The last 3 km was more downhill, but had a nice little 18% pinch to finish off the climb.
Yet another great view at the top to cap off a great ride. My time was up & I had to head back to a wedding. My trip to the Grampians was yet another special ride & I’ve had to pinch myself at times for some of the incredible rides I’ve been able to do.
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here: