When I first rode Falls Road (gravel). I found it to be an awesome climb, but wasn’t really suited to a Road bike as it was heavily covered in gravel. A year later I had returned. The council was nice enough to clear away the gravel & smooth out the road and it was now schweet to ride a Road bike on.
I was on Annual Leave & Gary Beazley contacted me. He said that he was planning to Everest that Saturday on a gravel climb. Having no idea what gravel climb to do contacted the climbing master. I suggested a few climbs. Given that there had been recent storms that caused a fair bit of damage. He had no hope of knowing what condition the roads were in. I was heading out that day for a ride, but figured I could head up to the Dandenong’s instead. Offering to check out a couple of climbs for him. There had been some big storms recently & I worried that there wasn’t going to be anything suitable in the Dandenong’s. The first one I looked at Coonara Road, had enough storm damage to rule it out. I then drove up Falls Road and it looked fairly good.
I was recovering from illness, and needed to get back in shape.
Smashing myself on the Magic Roundabout segment, and surprisingly did well on it, but was left gasping for breath. I didn’t like my chances of doing well on Falls Road, but gave it some gas. Absolutely flying until my chain jumped off. I may have gotten close to the KOM if that hadn’t happened. But was happy to finish 3rd on the leader board considering the circumstances. I told Gazza what the road was like & sent him photos of the road. He said why not. Gary headed out there late Tuesday night. Riding a few laps of Falls Road, and was hooked.
The day Gary was doing his Everest I was riding in the Slog. This is a 150 km event in Pakenham. I killed myself on the event. But committed to heading up to the Dandenong’s afterwards to roll laps with Gary. I was buggered as I made the drive from Pakenham to Olinda. The day was really starting to heat up, and I needed a Frozen Coke along the way. When I showed up, Gary was happy to see something other than a car on Falls Road. He said that when he rode there on Tuesday night, the surface must have just been resurfaced. Gary said that it was still damp and hard packed, and felt smooth as hotmix. Commenting that the road had dried out. There had been a lot of cars which must have driven over it, as they had started to loosen up the gravel.
This made holding a straight line difficult at times.
I had thought that Falls Road would be an excellent Everest. Knowing that the National Rhododendron Garden was on this road. But didn’t even think to consider how much traffic would go through here over the weekend. I really felt for Garry, as he had been riding since the wee hours of the morning. Starting at Midnight, and had been barraged with traffic shortly after the sun rose. Some laps we would see up to a dozen cars. With the road really dusty. Whenever a car passed us we had difficulty to breath, and could be blinded by the dust as well.
Gary had no experience riding on dirt, and did not enjoy the descents. He still did well overall, but had to really work hard on each climb. Really had to work for this Everest. I enjoyed the climb, but had burnt a lot of energy during the day, and was really having to work hard each lap. My energy was up & down like a yo-yo. I had set off to ride in the Slog at 6:00 am. Now riding as the sun was setting, and starting to get very, very tired. I knew that what I was feeling was nothing compared to what Gary must have been going through. So tried to hide my pain as best as I could. It was a very long day in the saddle Riding a fair bit of the night section with him. I would have finished the ride off with Gary, but was really cooked. Having to work really hard to knock out lap after lap. After it got dark I almost rode into a Wombat crossing the road, which gave me a bit of a scare.
We got sick of seeing cars
It was a busy day, and there were only a small handful of laps where we didn’t see any cars. Once they stopped, it was quite peaceful to ride. Gary had it in the bag, or I wouldn’t have left when I did. Not too many riders have completed dirt Everests. Given that Gary now has Everested Mount Alexander, the Serpentine & Falls Road. All of his have been very difficult climbs, and he has an approach to Everests. I’m really happy I’ve been along to two of his Everests now. I managed 11 laps with Gary, and rode 53 km’s & climbed 1,806 vertical. For the day I rode 203 km’s @ climbed 3,200 vertical
Gary wrote this nice message on Strava: Cheers all! Maaaasive thanks to Brendan for the 11 laps he rode after already smashing himself on the 150km Slog earlier in the day. It really helped to keep the willpower strongSo much 10% on that climb, the long false flat was very welcome. Definitely hard to maintain a line at times. Again, great to have you there