Epic Rides. Donna from your Doorstep.
20150927-Up where we belong.jpg

Epic rides.  We love them.  But what does ‘epic’ really mean?  What makes a ride an epic?

 Rides - Presented by Find Your Freedom

Rides - Presented by Find Your Freedom

Words - Brendan Edwards     Images -  Brendan Edwards and Gary Beazley


Epic rides.  We love them.  But what does ‘epic’ really mean?  What makes a ride an epic?

It’s a ride that pushes you through your comfort zone and out the other side.  It’s a true experience, a journey, something that you set out knowing that you might fail.  But you make it, and there’s a story.  An epic story.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have a mental list of rides just sitting there in the back of your head.  Perhaps you avoid doing them as you think they are just plain crazy or way too hard.  Today we challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and go for it.  Take on that epic.

If you need an idea of where to start here’s one for you.  Donna Buang.

Donna Buang provides you with 16.8km of awesome climbing at an average gradient of 6.4%.  If it’s a clear day you’ll be treated to some of the best views in Victoria on the way up and from the tower at the top.  We think that it’s probably one of the best climbs within reach of Melbourne.  1,000+ vertical metres to get to the top.  Daunting but exciting.

But we’re not just talking about the Donna Buang climb.   We want something truly epic….

To take on Donna by starting from your front doorstep, ride out to Warburton, climb Donna & then hope you’ve got something left in the tank for the return trip.

No matter where you live in the Melbourne area this will make for an epic.  We’ve done it.  Brendan Edwards shares his experience.  If you like the sound of it, set a date and go for it.


It’s great when you wake up to realise who or what controls your life.  You or your fears? 

I had put this ride off for years. I have a small hill called Mount Dandenong situated right between my house and Mount Donna Buang. It’s scared me off this ride.   I had plotted dozens of different routes, but no matter which way I went I was facing an incredibly long ride, and a ridiculous amount of vertical.

I just set that date and went for it.  The route wouldn’t be easy and meant over 250km of riding and close to 5,000 vertical.  The alarm was set for 2:30am and I was lucky that a friend of mine, Gary Beazley, didn’t mind foregoing sleep in the name of a good ride.

Starting a ride at 3:00am may sound crazy, but the great thing with starting so early is that you get the roads to yourself.  We didn’t see a single car until 59km into the ride, it gave us a chance to chat which helped the k’s flow on by. 

It was cold, down to 2.7 degrees at one point. We were both fortunate that we packed extra clothing.  Although cold, it was one of those incredibe climbs through the Dandenongs. There was a low hanging mist and we were treated to a glorious sunrise as we started our descent down the Wall.

From the Yarra Valley, we took the Lilydale Warburton Trail to avoid traffic, and to let the legs recover from all the climbing on Mount Dandenong.  The closer we got to Warburton the bigger Mount Donna Buang seemed. I was getting nervous about the climb.


A ride like this was all about Donna.  Just to get to the base of the climb we had to ride 120km and climb over 2,200m.  We weren’t even near the halfway point. 

We were soon going to be entering the hurt locker… but it’s the experience that we were here for so pushed on.  It was a clear day and we were treated to some great views along the way.  We were careful to pace ourselves and tapped out a steady tempo, making the ascended in a comfortable 1 hour and 18 minutes.  One thing I love about Mount Donna Buang is the descent.  It is fast and furious & fun.


Well that was a bit of a blur.  A combination of a slight headwind and tired legs left me in the fighting for the final 50km.  Back at Montrose we had the option of taking the easy way around the Dandenong’s or the hard way over them. 

You could call us sadistic but we took the hard way, heading up the 1:20 and across to Ferntree Gully. We’d be disappointed if we hadn’t.


The notion of climbing Mount Donna Buang from your front doorstep is certainly a bucket list ride.  It is also exceptional training for events such as the Alpine Classic and Three Peaks.

The great thing about these rides is that everyone would have a completely different experience, but still get to have the satisfaction of completing the same goal.

We love our epics and would love to hear your thoughts on what makes a good epic and what you would think are your favourite epics close to Melbourne. Send us a really good epic and we’ll give it a go. Perhaps you can ride with us…