Sherbrooke Road is one of the most stunning roads in the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a very popular tourist destination with places such as Grant’s picnic ground, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens & George Tindale Memorial Gardens. With some of the Dandenong Ranges most popular wedding venues such as Poets lane and Marybrooke Manor, this road attracts a large number of tourist traffic.
No one has been crazy enough to Everest this road up until now due to the traffic.
Four riders, led by Adam Dawson organised to Everest Sherbrooke Road in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 29 April. Adam convinced his mates David Louis, Andrew Coveney and Fabian Ariano to come and do their first Everest. This was Adam’s second Everest after he Eversted one of the Dandenong’s steepest climbs “Kia Ora Parade” last Haloween.
This narrow climb up Sherbrooke Road is quite steep. The first km twists and winds its way up to the township of Sherbrooke, averaging around 9%. Boasting one of the finest hairpins in the Dandenong Ranges. This climb takes you through the Sherbrooke Forest, and is simply stunning. Its only downside is that you always expect to see water which trickles onto the road. This can be treacherous on the descent.
This turned out to be quite a challenging Everest. It rained relentlessly throughout the morning, soaking everyone to the skin. This caused the descent to be quite slippery, and everyone had their hands on their brakes on a road which never fully dried out. This cost time and energy spent braking extra hard into the corners. Adam said “A very wet day out on the bike. Unbelievable physical strength and mental fortitude on display from everyone.” When the rain eased up, the traffic set in, and there are only several points where cars could safely pass. More often than not cars would cut across the middle lane, regardless of whether a blind corner was up ahead.
Andrew commented that “between sunset to when I finished at 1:20 am there was only 2 laps when I wasn’t passed by a car”.
Fabian had Garmin issues, and Adam somehow copped four punctures. This cost him a tone of time. No matter what was thrown everyone stood tall. No one appeared to struggle on what is a tough little climb. There was strength amongst the group, and everyone pulled out the ride of their lives.
The ride of the day easily went to Andrew. Not only did he have to battle the traffic, and the wet and cold miserable conditions. Andrew had a horrendous run of bad luck. After two major mechanicals his wheel bearing went. There was an O-ring missing from his front assembly which he thought let water get into the bearing killing it. Given its only 2,000 km old I won’t voice some of the colorful language used. This almost derailed his Everesting attempt, and at one point Andrew was forced to change over to a Mountain bike, whilst desperate repairs were being done to his bike. Through grit and determination he pushed through this and Andrew finished hours after everyone else finished at 1:20 am in the wee hours of the morning.
Sherbrooke Road is one of the last icons of the Dandenong Ranges to be Everested. Their story is one of legend and each of the four riders can be very proud of what they ahieved. All up there have been over 1,600 Eversts completed, with the Dandenong Ranges still holding the record for the most concentrated amount of Everests in the one area. There have been over 30 separate climbs Everested in and around the Dandenong Ranges, proving its popularity.
Congratulations to all the riders and support crew that came along for the ride. I hope you can find the time to give them all Kudos as they all deserved it for such an incredible ride.
- Distance: 221 km
- Elevation: 9,052 vertical
- Riding time: 15 hours 13 minutes
- Overall time: 18 hours 5 minutes
- Noel Eastwood You can wear that grey strip proudly now. Congratulations
- Clint Woodward Always knew you’d knock one of these out one day, congratulations David 🎉
- Mr. T. Mighty impressive lads!! I think the decent would’ve been just as exhausting. Not an easy task on that road with the moss and traffic playing havoc. Congrats to all you blokes; David, Andrew, Fabian and Adam.
- Distance: 244 km
- Elevation: 10,039 vertical
- Riding time: 17 hours 17 mins
- Overall time: 20 hours 49 mins
- Clint Woodward Nice combo to hit 10000m on and another Nongs icon ticked off. Great work!
- Adrian Dickinson Well done Adam. Great achievement. ..way better you than me 🙂
- Paula McGovern Any excuse Adam not to change nappies!!!!
- Distance: 213 km
- Elevation: 8,848 vertical
- Riding time: 16 hours 40 mins
- Overall time: 22 hours 59 mins
- Adam Dawson Unstoppable. I would have chucked it in at halfway with the luck you were having.
- John Van Seters Now that’s one heck of an effort after all the mechanicalls thrown at you, well done Andrew, that’d some grit and determination!
- Martin English Maaaaaate!! This is amazing!! Well done you mad determined bastard!!
- Distance: 223 km
- Elevation: 8,920 vertical
- Riding time: 16 hours 9 mins
- Overall time: 18 hours 27 mins
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
Halloween is set for Adams horror story. A tale about going up and down one of the Dandenong Ranges steepest paved climbs not once, not twice but over 102 times. Kia Ora Parade was one of those climbs that was on my short-list to Everest a couple of years back. Ever since I discovered it in 2012 I fell in love with the climb. I remember my first ascent thinking “sh#t! I can’t even see the top of this thing. WTF”.
Ultimately I took it off my to-do list to Everest. It was simply too hard, & the descent far too crazy for my liking. When Adam Dawson told me that he planned to do his very first Everest on it.
Adam was no stranger to doing an epic. On the 23rd April Adam had taken on the Hells 500 cchallenge High Roulers which challenges riders to complete 10,000 vertical in the one ride over two days. Adam rode 427.5 km & a massive 10,478 vertical metres. This still left one box that he wanted to tick. Everesting. There was always this allure to be known as Hells 500.
Kia Ora Parade
Adam began at 3:30am, riding from home on the 31st October. It was Halloween and Adam was trick or treating. Melbourne weather threw a trick in producing one of the coldest Halloween days in history. A day where there was a forecast top of 14 degrees and showers, and it was a cold start to the day at 4 degrees. This is the kind of day you would expect during winter, not the end of October. Nothing would deter Adam who got straight into the business of Everesting.
I joined Adam at 4:30am and he was flying. I’ve been out of sorts all year and don’t know whether it was lack of fitness or whether he was super fast (probably the later). He killed me over the first five laps. It was a battle to keep up and right from the outset was getting a sharp stabbing pain in my hip & through the synaptic nerve. I foolishly battled through it & kept the pace until other Sherpas rocked up & dropped off to ride at my own pace (slow).
Andrew was the first to show up, and only lived around the corner. The u-turn at the end had a tonne of loose rocks and debris & we were blown away when we’re riding though Kia Ora & Andrew’s climbing this nasty 20% pinch with a broom under his arms, and continued to spend much time clearing away all of the rubbish to make the Everest as comfortable as possible.
Having ridden so many Everests myself, I’ve gotta say that Sherpa’s can be awesome. The name Kia Ora is a Māori word and means to be well/healthy, and is also used as an informal hello/farewell and an expression of thanks, and this piece of road really brought the best out of people. If you asked Adam, fairly certain that he would say that Kia Ora is a word which he will relate with pain and suffering.
I pretty much rode my own ride from now. Admitting that I had no hope of keeping up with Adam, and had the day free & still wanted to roll as many laps as possible. My aches got worse and worse and every time I hit that 24% pinch of Kia Ora Parade my mind and body had to battle every single pedal stroke. Every fibre of my body wanted to get off and walk, but I kept at it. If Adam was suffering through 8,848 metres surely a handful of laps wouldn’t be that bad for me.
The meaning of Kia Ora
The surprise of the day were the people of Kia Ora. Like the Maori word, they were all friendly. One lady asked what we were doing & she told me “we were wondering what you guys were doing going up and down the hill. How do you get up it even once?“”. Another guy came and sat out the front for about 15 laps, chatting with us every lap, and walked a lap with us. We also happened to park right in front of a couple of cyclists homes.
Their hospitality was amazing, offering us Coffee, & help in any way. They even came out to ride with us for some laps. Across the road was a triathlete who offered the service of his garage if we needed any repair work done. We were blown away by the hospitality of Kia Ora Parade. Whilst riding past a family reversing out of their drive, one of the passengers, an old lady told me “you so strong“. She must have thought more of Adam because he was told several minutes earlier “you so handsome….”
Trick or treat
Things were looking good. Halloween was delivering some treats until it hit 8:00am. Adam went to do the u-turn at the base and somehow landed flat on his arse. He wasn’t hurt so no dramas. The following lap at the same spot he fell flat on his arse yet again. This time he wasn’t so lucky. He destroyed his bike. His rear chain was dangling loosely off the back. There was no need to panic. I offered to drive Adam home to pick up his spare bike. I left my bike in Dave Smith’s car & we drove off. This cost Adam close to 40 minutes, but he had time on his side. No need to panic. There was more concern about his muscles going cold in the meantime.
The return of the Kia Ora kid
We got back and Adam threw himself straight back into it. I had hoped that the 40 minute rest would have given my legs a chance to recover. Sadly my first pedal stroke brought immense pain. My legs weren’t liking me & wanted to throw in the towel. Sitting on 1,500 vertical, I had to question whether to pull the plug. I pushed myself through several laps, and knew I needed a rest.
Out came my SLR & I spent the next hour taking photos of everyone. No one would have known that I was mainly doing it because I was struggling to ride. More and more Sherpas rocked up to dance up and down this incredibly steep hill. Adam continually burning through more & more Sherpas who just couldn’t match his strength and pace up this mighty monster. There was always someone by his side keeping him company. Halloween was not giving my aching body any treats. Halloween is yet another one of those holidays where the true meaning has been lost over time.
Hollywood has popularized Halloween in countless horror movies, and a clever marketing campaign from companies that produce chocolate. Candy & lollies, has convinced people to spend a small fortune on their products for trick or treating. Halloween today is about dressing up in Halloween costumes, the Jack-o-‘lanterns, telling scary stories and watching horror films. The true meaning of Halloween is in fact is a celebration of the eve of the Western Christian feast of ‘All Hallows’ Day’, which is a day to celebrate the dead. It is believed that Halloween originally originated in Britain and Ireland, although Hollywood will tell you otherwise.
At 2,000 vert my legs were screaming in pain. Several more Sherpas were there, and Adam had it in the bag. I didn’t need to ride to make a difference, and I don’t know why I did it, but I kept rolling lap after lap. Taking countless breaks in-between. Everything was a blur and somehow I made it to 3,000 vert, and then said that I was done. Then did several more laps and said that I was done. Then several more and I was done.
I was about to throw the bike in the car when a group of 4 trick or treaters came out & I gave them a bag of Twirl chocolates that seemed to make their day. This cheered me up which gave me an excuse to roll a few more laps. My Garmin said I was at 3,746 vertical & 70km. It was very tempting to roll a couple of extra laps to make it to 4,000 but my body was gone. I could barely move and Adam was on 72 laps at that stage. He only had 20 laps to go & there were half a dozen riders rolling laps with him. It was in the bag.
Done and dusted
This is my 26th Everest that I’ve been to now & easily up there with some of the hardest Everests ever completed. Adam has certainly earned a well earned reputation as a climber, and deserved the praise:
Marlon Bautista: Magnificent work Adam. A tough one but you did it with ease
Ashley Douglas Hats off my friend. Huge respect and admiration goes to you and your day
Mr Macchiato Phenomenal effort Adam top shelf stuff mate sorry i couldn’t be there to ride with you a couple of laps #RESPECT
Mesh Gammuné Inspirational stuff, Adam!!!! Brilliant amazing effort!
All up 21 riders came out to Sherpa, and Adam’s Everest on Kia Ora Parade has helped to introduce a number of new riders to this great climb which was climbed a whopping 400 times today. Many of the Sherpa’s had never met Adam before & an event like this helps to unite the cycling community, and to inspire others to get out there to ride. Who know’s whether someone who came along developed the bug to Everest themselves….
Elevation: 8,960 elevation
Riding time: 13:27
Overall time: 16:38
Click here to be directed to Adam’s Strava Activity. Please give him some Kudos as he is now the king of Kia Ora Parade.
This is a ride which will touch your heart. Sadly Peter Arnott’s niece Ally passed away. She was only 5 years old and suffered from Dravet syndrome. Which is a rare genetic epileptic encephalopathy which is a dysfunction of the brain. Pete was inspired by the work of Epilepsy Foundation. Wanting to support them by raising money on their behalf. Peter sent out an invitation to join him on an Everesting attempt that he planned to do on 9th July 2016:
“I’d like to help my family in supporting my sister, her husband and her son in the best way I know how… by riding my bike up and down a hill, again and again… again” – Peter Arnott
If you don’t know Pete. He is an Everesting legend. His first Everest on Humevale was simply epic. Peter rode 502 km to earn the Grey stripe. His second on the Yarra Boulevard required him to ride 603 km. Most people wouldn’t be able to drive that in a day. Peter cemented his status as an Everesting legend by going back to back on Henley Road. He Everested both the East and West sides of this climb. Amassing a mammoth 17,769 vertical and rode 456 km.
This took him 43 and a half hours to do……..
Everest no# 5 was a ride dedicated in memory of Ally. A chance for Peter and his family and friends to celebrate her life and to raise money for the Molly Dravet Fund. Click on the following link to read more:
Pete chose to Everest Glen Harrow Heights Road, a backstreet which is located in Belgrave. Right near Terry’s Avenue. 500 metes @ 11% in gradient. This is quite a narrow and technical road and right from the outset it’s steep. Never dipping below 10%. Technically it’s a residential street. But it feels like you’re riding through a forest as it borders the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
I arrived at 9:00 am to be greeted by an army of the Hells 500. There was a who’s who of Everesting legends, and some of Melbourne’s top climbing talent. We were treated to an almost perfect winter’s day in the Dandenong’s, and perfect conditions to ride a bike.
Sadly I wasn’t riding.
I had recently strained my Achilles for the third time this year. Coming along as a course photographer and spent the morning working my way up and down the climb.
I met Pete at the base when he came flying around the last bend screaming out “this is my favorite corner ever!”. He was having fun and I was blown away by how quick he was hitting the climb. Each lap he would average between 9 – 10 km/h & an ascent would take him between 3 – 3.5 minutes, and he was dragging his Sherpa’s along.
The laps flew and Sherpa’s came and Sherpa’s went. Pete burnt through several Sherpa’s who couldn’t keep the pace. Having to drop back and ride at their own pace. He was possessed and pulling out the ride of his life.
The turnout was amazing.
Family and friends came along to offer support and witness a spectacle as Peter delivered one of the finest Everest rides I’ve ever seen.
Peter finished what he set out to do and completed his 5th Everest. Putting Glen Harrow Heights on the map in the process. Over 650 ascents of this climb were completed today, & over 60 riders showed up to roll laps on the day. One thing which I took from the ride more than everything was how the Hells 500 community will get together to support one another. We’ve all gone through something special to get to wear the Grey stripe. A special thank you to everyone who came down to support Pete on the day, and who gave their well wishes on social media.
- Philip Natividad “This is such a great thing you did mate, it was an honour to roll a few laps with you”.
- George Mihailides | www.noboullietacks.com “Congratulations Pete…thinking of you and your family buddy”
- John Van Seters “Congratulations Pete! Was a pleasure spending the day and seeing you get this done! I am sure Ally would have been so proud that you did this in honour of her! Well done mate”
- Sam Jeffries “You are a bloody top bloke and one a hell of a rider. Well done mate!”
- Jarrod Stonham “You’re a dead set legend”
- Cyril Dixon “Inspiring stuff Pete, great to roll a few laps and do it for Ally. Commiserations to you and your family in what is a difficult time. I hope this makes it all a bit easier.”
Before collapsing in a heap, Pete posted a thank you video to Facebook:
“A resident at the top of the street came down his driveway and handed me a $20 note and shook my hand and said it’s a really good thing you’re doing. It really helped me to get through it, and at one point we had close to 14 Grey stripes on the road which was quite something. A lot of family, and a lot of friends. A lot of purple. I could say something witty and insightful cause normally I would but I’m quite f@#ed right now, so I’m going to drink this Beer then go to sleep.”
Here is a link to Pete’s Strava ride. Please give him some Kudos.
Everesting for Ally:
- Distance: 186 km
- Elevation: 8,848 metres
- Riding time: 14 hours 14 minutes
- Total time: 15 hours 38 minutes
At the time of posting this post Pete was able to raise an amazing $4,500. Please find it within yourself to make a donation to the Epilepsy Foundation. Click here:
Allegra Rose Patty
06/11/2010 – 30/06/2016