I just did my longest ever ride (by an 800m margin over the Audax Noojee Loop ride I did back in October 2010), with metres climbed almost as much as the 200km Alpine Classic
. This was definitely an all-day bike ride, with me leaving in the pre-dawn darkness at 0500 and getting home when it wasn't quite fully dark at 2010. It contained a bit of everything: great scenery, perfect weather, lots of hills, a race against the clock heading home, and even an exploding tube!
The following description may contain links to material obvious to many of you, but they're in here for the benefit of my relatives, who will also (when time permits
) read this. As I included about 40 pictures, just click on the 200-pixel wide thumbnails to see the full-size pictures
(I did this so this trip report won't take forever to load).One peak ridden, six to go.
As I missed out on the Hell's 500 crew's organised Lake Mountain ride as part of the 7 Peaks Domestique Series
due to another committment, I resolved to ride to Lake Mountain myself. In fact, I'd been planning it for at least 6 months, ever since I plotted the route on MyTrails
, an Australian bicycle-trip logging website which I highly recommend. The only thing stopping me was time and resolve, because I knew it would be a tough ride. But damn was it fun!
One peak ridden, six to go:
Below is the route I took: from Ringwood North to Lilydale via Maroondah Hwy, then the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail to Warburton, then up Mt Donna Buang Rd to the Rainforest Gallery and Acheron Way turnoff, then down the Acheron Way and Marysville Rd to Marysville, where I stopped for lunch. After lunch, I rode up to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort carpark, walked the bike the 1km up to the summit lookout, walked it back down to the carpark again, then retraced the entire route back to home. The bottom of the scale marker shows 5km.
As I mentioned, there was a lot of climbing, as the elevation profile below shows:Metres climbed/descended depends on data smoothing.
The actual metres climbed/descended depends on your source. The SportTracks application tells me it was 3899/3890.8m. But SportTracks does some odd things with data smoothing: in the elevation profile above, it shows the distance as 249.25km, but the Garmin Edge 705 (and the bicycle-trip analysis application I wrote in Java for myself) shows it as 250.2km. If I set my application to do a small amount of data smoothing (averaging the last 4 1-second data points), it has the metres climbed/descended as 4225.63/4216.46m, whereas if I configure it to average the last 10 data points, it gives 3995.66/4027.61m. In other words, the more data points you average over, the lower the figures get. But whichever way you dice the data, the total is only a bit below what I did in the 200km option in the Audax Alpine Classic
in January 2011.
The elevation profile above also shows that the riding time (moving time) was 12 hours 18 minutes, and as I said the total time was 15 hours 10 minutes, so I think with a bit more practice (and the upcoming road bike!
), I'll ace the ACE
!The Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail.
Of course, it never happened if there were no pictures, right? Well, a significant chunk of the approx. 2 hours 50 minutes stopped time was a lot of 30-second photo breaks, because there was no way I was going to ride all that way without maximising the opportunity to capture all that magnificent scenery for posterity. So here it is.
After an early Friday night, I left at 0500, and rode to Lilydale, where when I reached the start of the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Trail, it was just starting to get light.
After it got lighter, I rode over Mt Evelyn, and passed the site of the old Cog Cafe, now no longer
. As the sign suggests, something is due to replace it. Hopefully this will contain a cafe, because it's very handy for tired cyclists using the trail.
Continuing on, the trail was as beautiful and tranquil as always.
The slowest part of the Lilydale-Warburton Trail, the long bumpy bridge. I don't know if it has heritage value or not, but it sure needs rebuilding
Numerous sections of the trail are a picture of pastoral splendour, including this bit, one of my favourites because of the pond.Mt Donna Buang.
After a short break in Warburton, I headed up Mt Donna Buang Rd, noticing along the way that one section has been resurfaced in a moderately coarse aggregate, but no doubt it will smooth out over time. It was certainly better going down, as my tyres gripped it better than the slightly bumpy surface it replaced and it had a slowing-down effect, so it was definitely safer (in my opinion). I had another short break where Mt Donna Buang Rd meets the Acheron Way.
While there, I had another look at the Rainforest Gallery, or at least the first section. I didn't go down the stairs to the lower bit, because I didn't want to leave the bike alone. When you ride up this way, I recommend you interrupt the ride for 5 minutes, and check this out. The Acheron Way.
Suitably refreshed, I then headed down the Acheron Way towards Narbethong and Marysville. Here's the start of it, viewed from the Mt Donna Buang Rd intersection with it. I think roughly the first/highest third of this road is unsealed, and the remainder sealed.
The Acheron Way is isolated and beautiful. At one point I even saw one of the reclusive and shy lyrebirds sprinting across the road, with that unmistakable large tail sticking up behind it
The only drawback of the Acheron Way is that it is literally covered in deep potholes, and so I was continually on guard for them, because riding over (into) them wouldn't have done my bike or me much good. A lot of them have been filled with a soft concrete-like material (see 1st pic below), but then I guess they ran out of the stuff (see 2nd pic below).
Actually, there is another drawback: although the motor traffic is minimal, I did see a few 4WDs moving along this relatively narrow, winding road at a speed high enough to cause problems if another car had been coming along the other way. But no worries: although enjoying the scenery, I was also paying attention, and expecting this to occur.
After about 100m of climbing from Mt Donna Buang Rd, I reached the signpost at the Acheron Gap. It wasn't this askew when Martin, Igor and myself rode up here almost 2 years ago, so it's clearly fallen on hard times
Further on, I rode through spectacular tracts of forest like this one, as the road wound its way beside the river:
At one point, I stopped to take a short video showing how peaceful the forest is: all you can hear is the trickling of water in the river, and the occasional bird chirping/tweeting.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au_9zm2Ui4s
At one point, partway along the sealed part of The Acheron Way, I passed what looked like an old quarry.
I never get tired of examining the minutiae of the forest, such as these very tall tree ferns.
One thing that stands out in the forest, though, as you get closer to Narbethong, is the extent of the fire damage from Black Saturday 2009
, with the trees showing a typically black trunk with leaves growing out of the trunk.Getting to Marysville.
When I reached the intersection of the Acheron Way and Marysville Rd (the pic below shows the view looking back at the Acheron Way from that intersection), it was time again to do some hill-climbing.
There is a hill heading north along Marysville Rd to Marysville that provides quite a workout: it is roughly 1.6km long, with a gently winding road and exactly 10% grade along the whole of the 1.6km (it's pretty fun going down, though
). After about 100km of riding, I finally reached Marysville (and lunch, yay!).Climbing Lake Mountain.
After lunch, I started the climb up to the Lake Mountain summit.
As those of you who have done the ride can attest, the first 4.5km is the toughest, with its average 8-10° grade. It wasn't hot, though, with the temperature somewhere around 20°C, but the sun was shining and I sweated a fair bit up that stretch. Spotting a lookout about halfway up the steep bit, I naturally took the excuse to stop for 60 seconds. I'm reasonably sure the lookout showed Marysville below, because the satellite doesn't show any other built-up areas nearby.
After reaching the top of the steep bit, where the road even goes down for a short stretch (yippee!), I paused to admire the scenery again. Trips like these aren't about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, but more for enjoying the vistas along the way, so I hope you're enjoying Victor's vistas (sorry, couldn't help myself
On the way up, I saw more evidence of those devastating bushfires, with more fire-damaged trees. There's a lot of forest that still looks bare, and dead trees litter the ground in many areas
. I wish I could have ridden up here before the fires. I'm not trying to trivialise what the locals went through, of course, just regretting that I missed out on what used to be here.
The road wound its way around many deep gullies like this one.
Here's the Lake Mountain Rd turnoff: here you have 2 travelling options: up the mountain, or east along Marysville-Woods Pt Rd to Cambarville (and thence, either south to Reefton and Warburton, or east to Woods Pt).
More dead trees.
The obligatory panda shot
. Looks like I let the camera's shadow get in the pic, tsk, tsk
... guess I'll have to go back up there and get it right next time.
As I got closer to the summit, I started seeing the summit's communications tower in the distance (it's in almost the exact centre of this image).
And more dead trees.
Looking back at part of the route I'd just ridden
Finally reached the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort's carpark
. This was my 2nd ascent of Lake Mountain, and I think it was easier this time, but then I've had plenty of hill-climbing practise this year.
Because I hadn't ridden all this way just to leave out seeing the actual summit, I walked my bike up the summit walk, a very rocky, bumpy and steep path fit only for goats and mountain bikes. My legs were a bit too tired for me to ride up it, plus the ascent (and even more so the descent) would have chewed up my tyres, as there were a lot of small-to-medium size stones littering the path, some a bit sharp-looking.
So here I am at the summit
. The elapsed (not moving) time for the climb was 01:48:39, which of course includes all the photo stops.Heading home.
Having enjoyed the view, I then headed down to Marysville, dropped in to the Visitor Information Centre, where a smiling staff-member stamped my 7 Peaks Passport without even questioning where I'd been (or perhaps I was just starting to look suitably knackered?). I had another quick bit to eat, grabbed my 4th Powerade, and started riding home. I'd barely ridden 1km when a loud bang interrupted me: my rear tube had just explosively lost all its air in a split second
(the first time I'd seen and heard a tube explode; it makes a very impressive POP
). Being motivated to get home by a reasonable time (I was aiming for about sunset, and was more or less on track with that), I changed the tube over quickly, and continued on.
On descending the steep 1.6km hill, I didn't set any speed record this time, just rolling (with occasional pedaling) down this smooth-tarmac hill at a respectable 75km/h (it has an 80km/h speed limit). That didn't stop an impatient motorist from using his horn at me, though, before overtaking. Apparently I was going 5km/h too slowly. Personally, I think it's more likely that he just wanted to exceed 80km/h and resented me holding him up, or perhaps he just dislikes cyclists. Anyway, this wasn't even close to being enough to spoil my day
This is what my tube looked like when I examined it at home:
At this point, I started noticing that the battery meter on the Garmin Edge 705 was showing it to be running out of battery charge
. I really, really
wanted this ride recorded for posterity, so when riding back up Mt Donna Buang, and when riding home from Warburton along the rail trail and Maroondah Hwy, I pushed myself a lot harder than I'd planned
. I reached Warburton at about 1730, got a chocolate milk, then spent the next 2.5 hours riding home and watching the Garmin's battery meter. I did arrive home before the Garmin showed the low battery warning, so it lasted just over 15 hours, quite nice for such a small unit (particularly one that is 4 years old and has seen just over 52,000km of cycling). The TCX XML trip file it generated was just over 10MB in size.
When I got home at 2010, it wasn't quite completely dark yet, so it was a very full day. My legs were aching like they hadn't since I did the 200km Alpine Classic, my arms were aching from pulling on the handlebars, my hands had deep dents in the heels where they'd been pressed against the drops of the handlebars, and my unmentionables had been rubbed raw in one spot
. I also have more clearly-defined arm and leg tan lines than before, due to being outdoors the whole day. I wouldn't have rather done anything
else yesterday; it was so much fun!
. My trip average over the moving time of 12 hrs 18 mins was just over 20km/h, and average speed over the elapsed time of 15 hrs 10 mins was about 16.5km/h.