December 23, 2015

The best of 2015 and the year ahead

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With Christmas just around the corner and 2015 rapidly winding to a close, I’ve found myself reflecting on the year that’s been. For me personally it’s been a quieter year on the bike – I’ve averaged less than 100km a week for the whole year, largely due to training for the Melbourne Marathon — but when I look back, there’s still been plenty of memorable moments that I’ll long remember.

So, for those of you that are interested, here are some of my favourite rides from 2015 and the blog posts (and videos) I created as a result:

More cycling in the Adelaide hillsJanuary 30

A return to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under gave me the chance to do some awesome climbs in the nearby hills. The Adelaide Hills really are a road cyclist’s playground!

Domestique 7 Peaks Series: Mt. Baw BawFebruary 18

The final event in the 2014/15 Domestique 7 Peaks Series and a great day out on arguably the hardest of all seven climbs.

Cycling New Zealand: the Port Hills of Christchurch – March 4

The first of many great rides on New Zealand’s South Island. Christchurch has an amazing selection of climbs just minutes from the city, some of which I sampled on this ride. (Includes video)

Cycling New Zealand: Franz Josef Glacier to Fox Glacier – March 6

Riding through rainforest near the coast, between glaciers. Must be New Zealand! (Includes video)

Cycling New Zealand: climbing The Remarkables – March 11

Almost certainly the hardest climb I’ve ever done. Relentlessly steep (10%+) for 13km, all on loose, rocky gravel. Brutal, but incredibly scenic. (Includes video)

Cycling New Zealand: climbing Coronet Peak – March 13

A surprisingly tough little climb just out of Queenstown. My second visit. (The feature image on this post is from Coronet Peak)

Cycling New Zealand: a return to Christchurch – March 21

There’s just so much great riding to explore near Christchurch. In two visits I barely scratched the surface.

Cycling the Snowy Mountains: Khancoban to Jindabyne – March 30

For years I’d been planning to go to the Snowy Mountains. In March I finally did. This first ride was amazing, but very very hard. (Includes video)

Cycling the Snowy Mountains: climbing Mt. Kosciuszko – April 7

A ride and then hike to the highest point on the Australian mainland. Truly memorable. (Includes video)

Exploring Kinglake: Bowden Spur and other new roads – May 20

There are any number of great climbs around Kinglake just begging to be explored. Bowden Spur is a tough beast but well worth checking out. (Includes video)

Ol’ Dirty 2015 – September 2

The latest instalment in Hells 500’s annual dirty group ride. A cracking day out. (Includes video)

DD15: the 2015 Melbourne Dirty Dozen – September 23

The fourth edition of the Melbourne Dirty Dozen, an event I organise with David Blom. A terrific day out in Warburton in what turned out to be perfect conditions.

Bikepacking the Strzelecki Ranges – November 9

My latest bikepacking trip with my mate Nick. Three days of riding through West Gippsland on some truly magic roads.

Domestique 7 Peaks Rides: Lake Mountain – November 18

The first of the Domestique 7 Peaks Rides for 2015/16. Our biggest event ever. Amazing.

The inaugural CyclingTips Giro della Donna – November 25

CyclingTips’ first ever gran fondo-style event held out in Warburton. Amazing day.

Normally at this time of year my good friend Andy and I are dashing about trying to get everything organised for three days of Domestique rides in the High Country between Christmas and New Year. It certainly feels strange not to be doing that this year and I know we’ll both miss being up there. But as I wrote back in October, there are good reasons why it’s just not possible this year, as much as we love doing it.

We’ve heard that quite a few of you are still heading up to Bright between Christmas and New Years anyway and we couldn’t be happier about that. It’s an amazing part of the world and riding in the mountains at that time of year is something special.

For me, I’ll definitely be getting out on the bike between now and New Year’s Eve, if only to burn off those inevitable Christmas calories. I’ll almost certainly stay closer to home than I have done in previous summers but I’m looking forward to riding in the Dandenongs and elsewhere around Melbourne — something I’ve done significantly less of in 2015 than in previous years.

Beyond that I’m looking forward to a great 2016 which will almost certainly contain more riding than this year. I’m looking forward to heading back to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under in January and, hopefully, getting a chance to ride in the hills there. I’m also looking forward to the two final Domestique 7 Peaks Rides for this season: Mt. Baw Baw on February 13 and Mt. Buller on March 5.

(Those links above will take you through to the Facebook event pages where you can click through and sign up for the rides. Or, if you don’t use Facebook, head to the Domestique Cycling website to sign up.)

In closing I’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone that’s visited The Climbing Cyclist in 2015 — your support and interest is greatly appreciated and I hope you’ve found some inspiration or useful information within these pages.

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year with family and friends and I look forward to speaking with you again in 2016!

What were your most memorable rides in 2015? And what are you hoping to achieve on the bike in 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

2 Comments

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  1. Don Noble / Jan 10 2016

    G’day Matt,
    Happy New Year to Ya!My standout ride was in September when I did the La Sal Mountain Loop;from and back to Moab,Utah.Hired a Pinarello Rock from Poison Spider Bicycles and it was fine.The Loop was 100 kms long with an ascent of 4300 ft and the Locals call the tough part “The Big Nasty”.Moab is very into Mountain Biking,but there are some great Skinny Tyre rides in the area.
    Already done the 7 Peaks for this season,so no plans for 2016.Probably just continue riding up to Kinglake at the weekends.
    Regards,
    Don Noble.
    PS-Have you done the Ghin Ghin ride up to Highlands in the Switzerland Range,outside of Yea-nice climb?

  2. Jon Thornton / Dec 23 2015

    My most memorable rides in 2015 were all gravel rides. The Jam for Jamieson Audax ride stands out. 320km and 6,000m mostly on gravel.

    I can’t tell you what I hope to achieve on my bike in 2016 because my plans scare me. I’ve got some big rides (for me) planned.

    Merry Christmas and thanks for being such an integral part of the Melbourne cycling community yet again this year.

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