200km of adventure including 120km of gravel and 3,000+ metres of climbing… interested? Well the Gippsland Gold is for you.
Run by Audax Australia since 2010 and set in the stunning Strzelecki Ranges this ride will take you over hills, through valleys and along one of Australia’s most spectacular tourist roads, Grand Ridge Road.
Words – Brendan Edwards
The Gippsland Gold’s highlight is clearly the chance to ride Grand Ridge Road. It’s a road that just has to be experienced. The ride is both beautiful and challenging. Time passes quickly on Grand Ridge Road as you pass amazing vista’s and tradition from gravel to tarmac to dirt and back along its 135km course. Following the ridge line of the Strzelecki Ranges from Seaview to Currajong you’ll experience impressive views of Wilsons Prom plus 360 degree vistas.
Gravel grinding is an adventure, and a fair bit of luck is required to get through a ride like this in one piece. You hope to avoid punctures and mechanicals.. the ride attracts the type of rider that us tough as nails, who’s not afraid to go out and try something adventurous.
Each rider is given a map to follow, being able to orientate reasonably is essential to avoid getting lost. You can sit back in a group and allow others to lead the way, but if the rider ahead of you picks the wrong road, then it becomes the blind leading the blind.
It’s great how you will show up for a ride like this and see a bunch of strangers, but those strangers are likely going to become your friend as you all have a common goal in purpose, to survive the Gippsland Gold.
You will likely experience many emotions from joy to pain along the way. Riding on dirt is unpredictable, and the road conditions can change depending on weather conditions, and no one knows what they’re truly in for.
This is an event like none other. When you finish you will be treated to a home cooked meal, desert and a Beer from the Grand Ridge Brewery. Yes a bike event where you’re rewarded at the finish with a Beer! It’s an amazing feeling finishing an event like this.
You could argue that a ride like this is almost, if not tougher than riding the Peaks series, and you’ve got to be willing to put your bike through the grinder to survive the Gippsland Gold.
All that finished should wear the label “tough as nails!” with pride. No other ride could you see so many great sites and truly appreciate the nature around you. This was a truly epic event, and hopefully one day that you can experience for yourself.
When: Saturday 2 April 2016
Where: Yarragon, Victoria
What: Can be ridden on a Road bike, however at least 25 – 28mm tyres are recommended. There is only a couple of places on the route where you can buy food and it’s important to bring adequate food & mechanical support to get you through as this is not a supported event.