Last weekend we headed to Dunkeld at the southern end of the amazing Grampians National Park. We were there to take part in the second running of Dunkeld WheelFun. This participation ride offers rides for all types of riders including distance of 22km, 60km and 90km. The rides all start and finish in the centre of Dunkeld.
We made up part of the 50 plus riders taking on the 90km course. The course offered us a great mix of open flat roads, rolling hills and a couple of great climbs in the last 30km to keep us honest!
Out of Dunkeld we head along the Glenelg Highway for a few kilometres at a easy pace, the group is big and there are all abilities riding. The atmosphere is great with lots of chat and people introducing themselves to each other. We really like getting involved with the rides in this region, the local riders are really welcoming and always happy to get you involved.
After about 3km, we make a right hand turn towards Cavendish, the road narrows, we hit a headwind and the pace lifts. The field is soon strung out as we power along for another 15km.
Most of the guys riding are well used to the windy conditions and soon we are organised into rolling turns on the front, followed by a minute or two of protection from the wind, before it's head down and back on the front.
We make another right turn at the 18km mark. There's now a nasty cross-wind to deal with, but up ahead we see the Grampians National Park in all it's glory. Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt look amazing in the morning light. The road is also great with long rolling hills as we move towards the bush and mountains beyond.
The ride works its way around one end of the western range of the Grampians, before crossing a mixture of farmland and bush. It's here we see the Grampians National Park signs, on Victoria Valley Road.
We start the climb to Mirranatwa Gap. The climb rates as a UCI level 2 climb and is 3.5km long with gradients over 7%. With little shade and the day heating up, the climb is great, it tests the legs nicely. The view at the top is well worth stopping for. Looking south you can take in panoramic sights of the Grampians.
Heading back down the road is good, no fallen rocks or gravel today. We turn right onto the main highway for 30km of open road, the wind is up again and there are a few nice hills thrown in along the way.
As we roll into Dunkeld we shake hands with the guys we have been riding with before joining in the BBQ and grabbing a coffee in town. A really nice loop to do if you are staying in the area.
Ride – Dunkeld WheelFun 90km
Terrain – Rolling hills with long flat sections and a couple of climbs. Open and exposed sections and bush sections.
Roads – Good roads, watch for gravel on the road on some of the descents.
Distance – 90km loop with options to extend.
Hydrate – If you are staying for the weekend check out the Royal Mail Hotel
Tips – Join a ride with the local guys, they will show you the best back roads.
Header photo sourced from Visit Dunkeld (www.visitdunkeld.com.au)