I have the green light to ride all of Sunday, and I seriously considered doing another Everest. Mast Gully Road has been on the back of my mind for awhile now. Early last year I did 10 repeats of it on a 38 degree day, and know its difficult, but always considered it doable, albeit extreme.
Clint Woodward asked if I’d like to do some vertical with him in the Dandenong’s this morning. It’s rare that I do a hill session in the Dandenong’s before work as it tires me too much, and I can tend to be a zombie around the office. I wasn’t able to do much cycling this week so jumped at the chance.
I arrived at Mast Gully at 6:30am, and it was still dark. It was a perfect time to check this climb out for an Everest as I would see what it would be like in the dark, and during peak hour traffic. Mast Gully immediately ramps above 20%, and its always a shock how hard this climb is. The second half of the climb is 1km @ 14%, which is quite deceptive, as a fair bit of the climb ramps over 18%. Battling for breath and trying to find a rhythm was a challenge, and to compound my woes I started the day with a strained hamstring which didn’t help my cause one bit.
I was getting up it, but it wasn’t easy. I needed to get out of the seat and dance my way up several sections. The last 300 metres is brutal. You push up an 18% pinch for about 50 metres, and look up and see the road go skywards, and the road peaks at 27%. Descending Mast Gully in the dark, was also a challenge. It feels like you’re on a Rollercoaster going down that thing, and my hands were heavy on the brakes the whole way down.
|Welcome to hell|
I gave up hope of doing the Everest after the first lap. I said to myself that maybe I just needed to get warmed up and would be right on the second lap, and honestly it was a tiny bit easier, but still brutal. As I was descending Clint was not far behind me and we dropped down and started doing repeats. I wanted a second opinion and was glad he said the same thing. I could tell he wasn’t too enthusiastic with torturing himself going up & down such a brutal climb, but thankfully he’s tough, and we ended up doing another 6 laps together. I was surprised after the 4th lap that my legs started to work a bit better, and we found it easier to get into a rhythm, and less painful to get up each climb.
|Clint chilling out at the top|
We got stuck behind a Garbage truck on the second last climb, and it was challenging doing a balancing act behind this truck that kept stopping every 20 metres in front of us for the first part of the climb. Unfortunately I only had time to do 9 laps of it today. I gave up hope of Everesting it, and have decided to do an easy 300 km ride on Sunday instead.
I would love to Everest this as its the last of the iconic climbs to fall in the Dandenong’s, but the first and last part of the climb are brutal, and they really make life difficult for you. I originally thought of doing the whole climb, but that flattened out section at the T intersection gives you major grief, and I hoped that by just doing the top half would be easier to get into a rhythm.
I hope that someone else gives it a crack. I’d be down in a heartbeat to help out, and to see the last great icon in the Dandenong’s to be Everested.
Maybe one day when I’m feeling fitter I’ll give it a go myself…..
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:
|This bits steep!|