I managed to square a couple of days off work, and convinced the family to make the trip to the Tarra Bulga National Park. We were able to get accommodation at the Fairhaven caravan park. This was perfect for me as it is situated right at the base of this great 13 km climb up Tarra Valley Road.
I have ridden through the Tarra Bulga National Park once before with my mate Christian Purnomo. This was one of my favorite rides of 2015, and an area that I vowed to return.
It was bucketing down with rain overnight, and I had difficulty sleeping. Only managing short periods at a time. At 3:00 am I threw in the towel and said;
“screw this. I’m sleeping in”.
Even after sleeping in till quarter past 7 it was still raining and quite cold outside. It was tempting to stay in bed.
Nah I wanted to ride more!
The loop I chose took me up Bulga Park Road. A dirt road which very few riders have ever climbed. This is a 12 km dirt climb that takes you up the back way to the Tarra Bulga National Park. I knew that the heavy rains would effect the climb, but usually love climbing dirt roads in the wet. I find the rain mixed with the dirt can offer some good traction.
The road surface was a soft sandy mixture which with lots of water effectively turned the road to mud. The gradient only sat around 4 -6%, but I was finding very little traction. It felt like my wheels were glued to the ground and was forced to climb it in my granny gear. Quite embarrassing for such an easy gradient. The road also offered its own challenges. It wasn’t corrugated, but I found it quite bumpy and I was finding it hard to find a riding line, and was constantly shifting from one side of the road to the other.
Every pedal stroke was a grind, and I was really struggling for breath. I stopped at one stage to see if I had a puncture. It felt like my tires were glued to the road, and I was really, really, really hurting.
With a lot of climbing ahead of me, I was seriously wondering how I was going to get up this fucka.
6 km in I hit the Tarra Bulga National Park. The scenery was incredible, and what I liked most was the surface of the road changed. There was a lot more rock in the road, and a hell of a lot more traction. I started to ride 5 km/h faster with less effort, & the k’s started to fly.
The higher I climbed, the colder it got. A little over 5 degrees up top, but I didn’t mind. From here it was all downhill. 12 km of incredibly dangerous and treacherous descents down Tarra Valley Road. This was one incredibly twisty and windy road little over a car length wide.
Between wildlife running across the road, and having your heart in your mouth every time you went around a blind corner I was thankful to get back to the caravan park in one piece. I also had a narrow miss with a car.
Anyone considering making this descent should use extreme caution.
This is such a beautiful place ride around, and luckily I have one more day to ride out here.
To be continued.
Tarra Bulga National Park loop
- Distance: 35 km
- Elevation gained: 714 meters
- Click here for link to my Strava activity.