Around the Bay in a Day is coming. On 11 October 2015 thousands of riders will be heading out to complete what has become one of the most iconic rides in Australia.
We look at some rides to help you prepare and a few tips to get you through the day.
Words - Brendan Edwards
Images and Video - Provided by Bicycle Network
With just over 4 weeks to go there’s not a lot of time left… but just enough to get some extra conditioning into the legs and prepare for the Around the Bay. With a selection of ride distances, ranging from from the 20km all the way through to the 250km people’s training is going to vary.
At La Velocita we love it when you ride. To help you get over winter and prepare for the Around the Bay we have come up with a few rides to help simulate some of the more challenging parts of the route.
Beach Road is arguably Melbourne’s most iconic ride and of course is part of the Around the Bay loop.
With beautiful scenery, great road surface, a plentiful supply of cafés and a route that would be perfect for any UCI race Beach Road is one of the most popular cycling roads in Australia.
We’d certainly recommend Beach Road as one of the best training runs you could do in preparation for the Around the Bay in a Day. Riding up and down Beach Road will help you build up the k’s while becoming familiar with part of the route you’ll be tackling on the day.
The great thing about this ride is that you can start and finish wherever you like. There’s car parking all along the way, or the option of a train if the cobwebs are slowing you down too much.
If you’re feeling good you can continue past the end of Beach Road and travel as far as you feel like before making the return trip.
Check out our Melbourne to Portsea ride review here
The Yarra Boulevard
The Yarra Boulevard in Kew is one of Melbourne’s best cycling roads. It looks and feels like a racing circuit, and with great scenery and an undulating course, offers a great workout that is suited for both sprinters and climbers.
This is an ideal training route. The course is short so you can do as many laps as you can take and there’s plenty of ‘options’ in the form of side roads with pinch climbs (try Yarra Street). Riding Kew Boulevard is a great introduction to some climbing and helps build some strength in the legs faster than riding the flat lands day after day.
The Boulevard is generally well sheltered, providing good conditions even when the wind is up. There’s close access to cafes at both ends for your pre or post ride coffee and it’s located close to the city, so if you’re a commuter passing by, you can leave that little bit earlier and get some free extra k’s in the tank.
Mornington Peninsula Loop
What better way to prepare for the Around the Day than by touring the Mornington Peninsula. There’s some great climbing at Arthurs Seat and almost endless back roads covering the Cape Schanck and Red Hill area. Getting the k’s and adding in some climbing will help you on ride day!
We would suggest that you make your ride a ‘choose your own adventure’. If you’re down for one of the longer rides, why not pick a start point in one of the bay side suburbs and push over Oliver’s Hill (see below) before making your way down towards Arthurs Seat, from there you can go play around Red Hill before heading back north.
The Mornington Peninsula is definitely a great area to experience by bike and once you’ve been there you’ll be back time and time again.
The Brisbane Ranges
The Brisbane Ranges is one of the hidden gems of cycling in Victoria. Located approximately 95km west of Melbourne, these volcanic ranges offer quiet roads with challenging climbing, and great scenery. There’s only a few shops along the way so make sure you bring adequate supplies with you.
Training for the West Gate Bridge
Around the Bay in a Day allows you the rare opportunity to climb the West Gate Bridge. This bridge is iconic to Melbourne and at 2.5km long is Australia’s third longest bridge. This can be a very challenging climb, with a steep gradient that you don’t fully appreciate in the car!
The bridge also experiences regular strong winds. We could sugar coat it for you, but unless that wind is behind you pushing you up, you could be in for a very tough climb.
The West Gate Bridge is usually closed to cyclists so there’s no practice runs.
We’d suggest heading to Oliver’s Hill in Frankston to get some practice in. This is an iconic climb that is just outside of Frankston on the Nepean Highway. Oliver’s Hill isn’t as long as the West Gate Bridge climb, but is a similar gradient and is just off the bay so you’ll likely experience some cross winds providing great preparation for tackling the bridge for real. You can incorporate this into a bayside ride to build the kilometres and get the climbs in.
Check out the Oliver’s Hill Strava segment here.
Getting some longer climbs in will also help you with the West Gate Bridge and Around the Bay. We’re big fans of Mount Donna Buang. Take a drive (or ride out) to Launching Place and ride the 10km or so to Warburton and the start of the Mt Donna Buang Climb. From there it’s over 20km of climbing. Getting in even one ride like this will build strength and make getting over the lumps along the Around the Bay Route that bit easier.
Know the wind. There’s been several Around the Bay in a Day rides where the wind has changed directions during the ride. You can get some pretty strong winds coming off the Bass Coast and through Port Phillip Bay. If it’s not at your back then you could be in for a tough slog. Work as efficiently as possible in groups to keep out of the wind as much as possible.
Eat. You’ll burn a lot of fuel on most of the rides – eat and drink small amounts regularly. Stick with foods you know. The last thing you want is stomach cramps (or worse).
Keep moving. When you’re waiting or on the boat keep as warm as possible and keep moving around. You’ll be glad you did when you have to get back on the bike.
Ride with friends. Riding with your regular group and those that are at a similar level will help you enjoy the day even more. Time will pass more quickly and it will likely provide a safer environment to ride in.
Take your time. It’s not a race. If you push into the red too early you’ll pay for it later in the day. Ride within yourself. If you’re working too hard to stay with a group, don’t worry about dropping out. There will be another group to get on.
Train. The West Gate, Oliver’s Hill and others along the way are all relatively short, but quite steep. If you don’t feel confident climbing hills then we’d recommend you get out of your comfort zone and trying a few hills leading up to the event.
Train in all types of weather. You’ll be thankful on the day if you’re accustomed in riding in all sorts of conditions.
Be safe. Enjoy the day and stay safe. Get used to riding in larger groups if possible. If you’re not confident don’t wait until the event, contact one of the many Australian Cycling Clubs and ask for help.