Cycling the Grampians

Cycling the Grampians

Postby sambo3 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:53 am

Hi all, I am heading over for the Stawell gift with my son over the Easter weekend and we are staying at Halls Gap.
Hoping to cycle, Boroka and Reeds lookout as well as Mt William. Will spend three days there.
Mt William seems quite a challenge. We don't have mountains here in Perth so it will be my largest climb to date.
How does it compare to other climbs in Vic? Its not up on the Climbing Cyclist as I generally use this to compare Vic climbs.
I have done Kinglake, Mt Macedon, 1 in 20 and the Wall for comparison on a previous trip.

I also would like to do another climb close to Melbourne as we will be there for two days on our return from Halls Gap.
Happy to drive and climb on a day trip from Melbourne, any suggestions, was thinking Mt Buller?

Cheers
Sambo
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by BNA » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:00 pm

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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby Mike Ayling » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:00 pm

Try Mt Donna Buang out of Warburton.

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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby DavidL » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:25 pm

The ride up Mt William isn't to bad to the carpark. Gets a little steep beyond the carpark and I strongly recommend you to try that if the road is wet as there will barely be enough traction on the road to slow you on the descent.

Have fun up that way, but the heat cant be what makes the rides the hardest out that way.

- David.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:42 pm

I was thinking about a short little holiday up that way soon for exactly those three climbs. The biggest I've managed is Benwerrin out of Lorne at 416m a couple of weeks ago, and the Grampians sorta not too far from Geelong.

According to Strava, Mt William looks like a slightly shorter Mt Baw Baw just on numbers. Mt William is 11.5km at 7.1% for 817m and Mt Baw Baw is 12.5km at 7.7% for 962m (and a HC rating!!).

My not-very-thought-out plan was to do Reeds and Boroka lookouts on one day and Mt William the next, figuring the two shorter climbs with the break in between would be a good practice run.

Good luck and please post a report if you're in a writing mood :).

Cheers,
Simon.
Phil Liggett, TdF 2011, Alpe-d'Huez: "I reckon tonight in hindsight he may have won the Tour de France tomorrow."
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby il padrone » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:33 pm

snark wrote:According to Strava, Mt William looks like a slightly shorter Mt Baw Baw just on numbers. Mt William is 11.5km at 7.1% for 817m and Mt Baw Baw is 12.5km at 7.7% for 962m (and a HC rating!!).

The killer about Mt Baw Baw is the last 6kms after the old gatehouse that is much steeper, about 14-15%+ I think. A killer for me with a 40-26 bottom gear, rode 1km then walked 5 :( . The climb before the gatehouse is probably only 4-5%, quite easy going.

I have been through the Grampians quite a lot, would love to get back there for some rough-stuff touring through the national park's wonderful back roads. Not likely now this year with the bushfire that is still burning there. A real shame as the Grampians has had a series of disasters that have made touring there difficult over the past few years - bushfires in 2009, severe floods two years ago, now another bushfire. If you do go there and want to go MTB touring on the gravel and sand fire-trails, spring is much better than Easter. At Easter you will wallow in the soft sand roads, while in spring they are much firmer. Summer has lots of soft sand plus very hot and shortages of water.

I've never climbed Mt William though.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby sambo3 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:06 am

Thanks for the info, I will arrive on the Sat arvo and may just go for a short ride. On the Sunday I will do Reed and Boroka morning and arvo.
On Monday morning I will do a flatter ride and then tackle Mt William on Tuesday morning before we leave.
I will be putting on a 11-28 instead of my 11-25 which I use here in Perth.

We don't have any long climbs here but a few short steeper hills.
Here is a Strava link to a climb I often do (not my ride).
http://www.strava.com/activities/37477825
The Haddrill rd. climb is about 2km long with a average around 10% with a few bigger ramps in it.
I managed (just) this on my 25 but I am really grinding.
Hopefully I will have the legs left at the top of Mt William to do the same.

One last question where would Mt William rate compared with Mt Buller?

Cheers
sambo
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby toppity » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:43 pm

It's been a while since I have done it, but the start of Mt.William is o.k to the carpark as mentioned above, but then it gets nasty. I've never tried riding it, knowing that I'd never get up it, but if I did, I'd struggle stopping on the way dow. From my recollections, IMO it's steeper than the last 6km of Baw Baw.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:29 pm

Hey Sambo,

How did your Easter go? Get a chance to give any of these climbs a go?

Cheers,
Simon.
Phil Liggett, TdF 2011, Alpe-d'Huez: "I reckon tonight in hindsight he may have won the Tour de France tomorrow."
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby sambo3 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:34 pm

Hey Snark it was a great trip.
Climbed Boroka, Reeds, Mt William.

Boroka was my first climb and I did it in the rain and low cloud. Very cold at the lookout. Great ride though gets tougher than I thought it would be after the Mt difficult turn-off with a few steep ramps.
The descent was sketchy on wet roads and low cloud with carbon rims.

Reeds is essentially Boroka but instead of turning off at Mt difficult rd you keep on going. A bit easier ride.

Mt William is a beast after the carpark. I made it to the top with a 39/28 but struggled and could have used a compact, was never really on top of my gears over the last two k's. Really cold up the top, well for a Sandgroper anyway.
This is a real gem of a ride.

Light traffic all around except for the heart of Halls Gap and great views everywhere I climbed. I wanted to do some more riding but ran out of time so with have to get back there.

I also did a quick day trip and rode Mt Buller in near perfect conditions. Wow a long climb but pretty easy to get into a rhythm until you hit the last 2kms up to the Blue Bullet where the road ends. That section is tough but not as bad as Mt Williams last two k's. I would rate Mt William a harder climb than Mt Buller simply due to just how tough than last section of Mt William is. From memory Buller war 16.7km to the Bullet and William was about 11.5km to the top.
The Buller scenery if wonderful though. Can't wait to get back to Vic and do some more of your great mountain rides.

Some pics;
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby toppity » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:39 am

wow, getting to the top of Mt William from the carpark is super impressive. I get tired just walking it. What was it like decending?
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby clackers » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:06 am

sambo3 wrote:I also did a quick day trip and rode Mt Buller in near perfect conditions. Wow a long climb but pretty easy to get into a rhythm until you hit the last 2kms up to the Blue Bullet where the road ends. That section is tough but not as bad as Mt Williams last two k's. I would rate Mt William a harder climb than Mt Buller simply due to just how tough than last section of Mt William is. From memory Buller war 16.7km to the Bullet and William was about 11.5km to the top.
The Buller scenery if wonderful though. Can't wait to get back to Vic and do some more of your great mountain rides.


Thanks for your writeup, Sambo - I must get out to the Grampians sometime.

On your way up Buller, did you notice this at the side of the road?

Image

Yep, a tree that has been converted into a gnome's house, complete with chimney and mailbox, into which, disturbingly, letters had been placed. I'd like to think even a fantastical creature has to open some mail starting, "Dear householder, Origin has found a way to cut your energy bills ...."

BTW, if you liked Buller, you'd probably like Buffalo too ... similar scenery.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby sambo3 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:21 pm

Descending was not too bad as it was dry. The corner about 500m up from the carpark where it drops over 20% is a bit hairy but the rest was ok. The road surface itself is a bit on the dead side after the carpark so I think you descend a bit slower than the actual gradient would suggest. Don't get me wrong though I was on the brakes a bit but under control.
I felt less at ease descending Boroka as it was really wet and foggy and the carbon rims hate the wet not much bite on the rims.

I missed the gnome house at what point is it located.? I hope to get back over around late Oct/Nov and base myself at Mt Beauty for four days and explore the climbs there.
I hope you Vics realise how good you have got it over there when it comes to quality climbs.

cheers
Sambo
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby clackers » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:39 pm

sambo3 wrote:I missed the gnome house at what point is it located.?


It's in the first half, on the left hand (Delatite River) side. The gnomes are a novelty theme at the village, scattered around the place, for the kids who try to find them like Wally.

sambo3 wrote:I hope to get back over around late Oct/Nov and base myself at Mt Beauty for four days and explore the climbs there.


What a great idea. Bring your thermals. :D

sambo3 wrote:I hope you Vics realise how good you have got it over there when it comes to quality climbs.


Yeah, I could be wrong but between Hotham and Harrietville may be the highest asphalted road in the country. According to The Climbing Cyclist, Baw Baw, Hotham and the south face of Falls Creek would be HC category climbs.

And yet, in a nation that produces lots of sprinters and track cyclists but few real climbers, for various reasons the Tour Down Under and National Road Championships don't even go there.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:09 am

Great writeup Sambo, and some nice pics. Sounds like you had a ball.

I'll have to plan to get up there myself. I suspect I'm leaving it a bit late now with the colder weather coming on? Although who can judge the weather these days - we might have have a good weekend or two coming up.

Cheers,
Simon.
Phil Liggett, TdF 2011, Alpe-d'Huez: "I reckon tonight in hindsight he may have won the Tour de France tomorrow."
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby wizdofaus » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:28 pm

snark wrote:Great writeup Sambo, and some nice pics. Sounds like you had a ball.

I'll have to plan to get up there myself. I suspect I'm leaving it a bit late now with the colder weather coming on? Although who can judge the weather these days - we might have have a good weekend or two coming up.

Cheers,
Simon.


Matt de Neef (theclimbingcyclist.com) is planning a couple of rides up there next weekend, details on the Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/theclimbingcycl ... ion=stream ).
Would be interested except I'm already doing the Degani Arthur's seat ride on the Saturday.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:33 pm

Thanks Wiz, will check it out. Might be a bit too soon to be that organised, but we'll see.

Cheers,
Simon.
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:06 pm

Well, I got organised enough to show up for the Sunday ride :)

Today a small bunch of six or seven went from Halls Gap up to Reid's Lookout and Boroka Lookout. A plan to visit the Mt William carpark dissolved due to punctures (not me!) and lack of time. The weather was fairly kind - a bit cool and breezy on the descents and just a small shower early on.

Great sightseeing at each lookout - here's the obligatory photo of the bike:
Image

Today really whet the appetite. I'll definitely plan to go back for a couple of days for a bit more riding.

Cheers,
Simon.
Phil Liggett, TdF 2011, Alpe-d'Huez: "I reckon tonight in hindsight he may have won the Tour de France tomorrow."
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Re: Cycling the Grampians

Postby snark » Fri May 03, 2013 10:39 am

Great write up, pics and video of last weekend's Grampians ride at the Climbing Cyclist website. I'm regretting not getting there for the Saturday now...
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