I wasn’t supposed to have much chance to ride this weekend but the cycling gods have been shining brightly on me lately. My wife had to work her last shift and I had until 2:00pm to ride. Time enough for a Dandython. One last dance before I get to meet my baby (the crying machine). I had several riders join me. Serial Everester Gary Beazley (5 Everests) had high aims of setting a PB on the 1:20 and Christian Purnomo (only 1 Everest) was happy to come along for the ride.
I set the alarm for 4:45 am and met the boys near the base of the Dandy’s.
The ride started out well with both guns firing setting PB’s on the 1:20, but unfortunately Christian must have been distracted at the base of the climb & neglected to turn his Garmin on.
He took 2:15 off his pb, but then again if it’s not on Strava………
The route that I picked was based around doing a new climb that I had discovered out of Montrose. Inverness Road is considered one of the hardest climbs in the Dandenong’s and is part of the Crucifix. After the traditional end to Inverness, Inverness continues on the other side of the tourist road, but not many have climbed through there. I drove up there and found that the road continues on for another 2.8km of climbing and is very steep. With close to 2km of gravel the climb overall is 4.5km @ 8%. I knew it would be hard and it didn’t disappoint.
Garry didn’t want to ride gravel & opted to meet us up at the top of Sky High, & Christian was to follow me. I explained to him several times which way to go just in case I took off on him…..
When we hit Inverness, I knew my legs were stuffed. I could only pace myself up it & had to watch as Gazza slowly took off on us. Christian kept pace with me until we hit the tourist road & then I heard him beg for a rest. I ploughed on & to his credit so did Christian. Looking over my shoulder I saw that I took off on him a little. When we came to Hands Road I had to wait up for a few seconds to make sure he saw where to turn off.
I suddenly found my on button and flew off on him from here & didn’t see him again.
Beforehand I had explained to him to turn left at the top of Hands and keep climbing. You turn off onto Jaspers Road which is frekin steep so I thought it would seem obvious. I loved Hands Road. There was quite a bit of gravel on the road & not much of a racing line. Most of it was between 7 – 8% but I was able to dance over the rock.
I turned off onto Jaspers & averaging close to 12% there wasn’t much I could do but grind over the final km to the top to take the KOM. What a climb. For those that don’t like gravel I wouldn’t recommend it, but most consider Inverness one of the hardest climbs in the Dandenong’s. Try climbing an extra 2.8 km afterwards. I wanted a rest, but couldn’t see Christian behind me and figured I’d need to double back in case the doufous got lost. After making it back to the turnoff & he was nowhere to be seen. I tried phoning him half a dozen times but couldn’t get through to him. After awhile I was getting a bit worried. Once he figured he got lost you’d think the first thing he would do was try to call me.
He eventually called & said that he was up at sky high & asked if I got lost.
How can I possibly get lost when I’m leading the way……
They had to wait until I got there & it was funny when he asked what took me so long.
We had done some extreme climbing and still had quite a bit of riding ahead of us. I just tried to have fun. The three Hells 500 riders cruising the Nong’s. I have never had so many riders acknowledge us & give us a nod up here. The Grey stripe is definately a good kit to wear. We stopped in Monbulk for some brunch & Coffee for the lads.
I wasn’t going to do Silky Selby but the weather was too good to by-pass it. The boys just had to stop to have a crack on the mega expensive bike that had been abandoned on the side of the road. The result was hilarious.
Apparently the flat tyres cost them the KOM……..
From here it was just fun. I showed them one of my favorite climbs, Courtney’s Road in Belgrave South, and somehow talked them into heading up Terry’s Avenue & doing the Serpentine loop.
Terry’s was once my most feared climb. My first two attempts up it left me walking & it’s a horribly looong walk. It’s a grind but I don’t mind it now. I was leading the way with Gary sitting on my wheel. Christian was a little ways back & I knew he must be suffering. But he’s a tough nut & knew he’d get up it.
We left Gary @ the train station, & Christian followed me for one last torture session. I took him up three of the Dandenong’s steepest backstreet climbs in Jean Avenue (27% pinch), Barclay Avenue (20% average) & Kia Ora Parade (24% pinch). Everything I threw at him he caught & nailed. He’s had a tough couple of years with injuries, but is starting to get his mojo back.
We left the hills for a nice leisurely trot down the bike tracks, for what was a very tough day. I don’t enjoy riding to the Dandy’s from home as it adds 40km of flattish roads in-between which can make a ride like this a bit anti-climatical.
All up we had fun, and I was so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to get one last big ride in before the birth of my son. Given I’ve lost three months this year to sickness & injury I still need to pinch myself that things turned out so well in the end.
May the bike gods be with you…..
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:
Clcik here for the link to Gary’s Strava Activity here:
Here is a link to Christian’s Strava Activity here: