Backroads ride weekend

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Last weekend a group from the shop left Eltham Station and headed out to Marysville on our bikes. The plan was to ride as much dirt roads and tracks as possible to Marysville , stay the night then head home via a different route.

 

The stats of the ride are 250km, 5000m of elevation over 2 days, 85% dirt roads, trails, bike paths, rail trails and some single track, 11 riders.

Our shop crew for the 25okm ride

We had spent the last few months doing rides over different parts of the course. We had’nt managed to go over all the route so there was a lot to explore for the first time, as we headed up Allandale road the sun was shining and not a cloud in the sky. Perfect!

Gareth on his Specialized Crux, running a 1 x 10 sram groups and Topeak Bikepacking bags

Our group consisted of some different fitness levels so the pace was set around the slower riders. Of the 10 riders we had a mix of riders on mountain bikes, Cx and gravel bikes. It was the first time for a few of us to tackle a “bike packing” weekend ride so we left the camping idea for future trips and booked in at the Vibe Hotel in Marysville. Carry as little as possible was the aim, the biggest issue we had was to carry enough water to go the distance.

Lunch stop at Bakery, with Barbie ;-]

Our day 1 route consisted of roads and aquaduc trails out to the Sugar loaf Resoviour along the aptly named Ridge road and down to the Yarra Valley via Pinacles Lane. From here we made our way onto Old Toolangi Road and onto our lunch stop at Toolangi. Matt and Zeke had driven out to meet us with some food and water at the 50km point. This would be our last fuel stop as we headed into the State park and the Mondo track over Mt St Leonards.

Not all the trails were flat gravel roads.

This track ended up being a  lot slow than we expected. The 4wd tracks had been well used by moto bikes or 4WD over Winter. Our riders on Mtb bike were handling the trail a lot better than the gravel bike buddies. We estimated that our Day 1 ride would take 7 hours, it ended up being over 10 hours, which meant by days end we were out of water and very close to riding in the dark in to Marysville.

More gravel the better!

Day 2 started early with a big Breakfast at The Vibe hotel in Marysville, then straight into the climb out of town, we headed to the Archron way via Neds track, then up the road to Mt Donna Buang. I hadn’t climb this before and found out first hand how hard it was. Our group reformed at the top and we defended down the backside dirt road. The first 4km was in thick mud, but then the fast flowing dirt roads opened up down to the Warburton trail. A quick lunch break at the local cafe  then the long grind home via Lilydale and Ringwood to the Mullum Mullum creek trail. We headed home via the new section of path at the bottom of Park road which is just superb. Onto the Yarra trail then over the bridge to Eltham Lower Park and home, nearly 8 hours of riding for day two. 18 hours of riding 5000m of climbing in 2 days certainly had us exhausted. Apart from the long first day and the lack of water stops n

Our route over two days

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