I've been wanting to ride the 'quick' way up to Olinda from The Basin for ages ! But as usual with these things the right opportunity had yet to arise. Justin and I had postponed the ride a number of times and once again this week we are out of sync with our rides so we each decided to tackle it alone. Today was my chance !!
I have just acquired a new set of ín-between' wheels (Fulcrum 7 CX) and some new 28c tyres (Continental Grand prix 4Seasons), as well as a new climbing cassette with a low gear sprocket of 30t and these were all fitted to the CAADX yesterday ... so off I went !
I picked up the Eastlink/Dandy Trail at Bayswater Rd after heading up Canterbury Rd to save a bit of time. The Dandy Trail drops you straight into Chandler's Lane and it's an excellent connection with just a short but not busy section of Liverpool Rd to cross, then Pevitt Lane and Sheffield Rd to Basin-Olinda Rd. After Liverpool Rd the signs are a bit scarce and I had to ask directions (or rather was offered them) at Sheffield/BORd as I wasn't sure where I was at that point ! From there it's about 400m of bitumen before the gravel climb begins ...
Immediately you encounter 3-4 kms of 6-10%, very scenic, few vehicles but they know the road and drive a bit fast. Also this section is a bit wet and sloppy today but may dry out by Friday with little or no rain. I was a bit wary on the descent but it was fun - you will love it. It's an interesting ride and far preferable to the 1:20 and Tourist Rd>Olinda. It's very smooth most of the way, with only a few small potholes and areas of corrugations. From Sheffield Rd to Skyhigh is just over 9kms in a fairly continuous climb so it's a good workout, a bit similar to the back road up Donna Buang.
|CAADX with new wheels/tyres and cassette|
It was a good debut by my new Fulcrum 7CX wheels and the ContiGP4S28s, not to mention the 11-30 cassette which was in use from the get-go, and also made the pinches up to Skyhigh more amenable. It was chilly at the top but no wind today so it was OK to stop for a hot chocky, but then a bit cool on the descent.
Overall though this route is a much better ride than Mountain Hwy and 1:20. Even the narrow trail along Dandy Ck is fast, flat and fun. It is really quiet up through there and a complete contrast to the road ride beyond Heatherdale where, as we know, the traffic can be a bit feral. It took 2 hours up and 2 hours back via the trails, so I could get back in probably 1hr 45min if I took Maroondah Hwy from Ringwood, but I still don't think I could squeeze it in on Friday when Justin plans to ride it. But maybe next week ......
All up I did just over 80kms and 1000m of climbing so 'twas just the ticket !