Friday, December 13, 2013

Dirty Dandenongs

Harry the horse, and friend...
Today we covered some more new ground in the Dandenongs. There are lots of popular road-riding routes through the 'Nongs, and we've done the usual ones many times - 1:20 (The Basin-Sassafras), Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, The Wall (Olinda-Monbulk Rd), Skyhigh etc - but occasionally we like to go exploring lesser used roads. This is great fun, despite usually involving unsealed roads and steeper climbing !!

Our route took us up the Dandenong Ck Trail, all the way to Liverpool Rd, then Pevitt's Lane and Sheffield Rd to the start of Basin-Olinda Rd. This is a gravel road climb that avoids the traffic on the 1:20 and gets you straight to Olinda in 6kms. From Olinda we plunged down the east side of the main ridge, taking Falls Rd, Doughtys Rd, Barbers Rd and Olinda Ck Rd, which is a beautiful flowing road across a relatively level section of forest within the Bartlett-Olinda State Forest Reserve.

A small weir on Olinda Ck Rd
At Silvan Rd we turned south, skirting the Silvan dam catchment reserve to the east and the RJ Hamer Arboretum Reserve to the west. This presented a challenging but satisfying gravel climb all the way back towards Olinda-Monbulk Rd, with great views north towards the top at the lookout on Chalet Rd.

We decided against descending Basin-Olinda Rd (it had recently been resurfaced with loose crushed rock and needs a few more weeks to settle down) and instead took the quick route back down to Sassafras and the 1:20, and then The Basin.

Relieved the descent is over...
After all that climbing, we opted to stop there for coffee, hot-chokky and delicious cherry danish pastries. We still had the ride home ahead of us, after all...... We paused to do a little horse whispering and then headed home. A long day, over 90 kms for me and 100+ for Justin. Good preparation for the the Audax Alpine 140 in just 6 weeks time.

Heading up Silvan Rd

View from the lookout on Chalet Rd

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