This Saturday, January 10, a big bunch of us are heading up to the slopes of Mt. Buninyong to support the riders in the elite women’s road race at the Australian National Road Cycling Championships. We did the same thing this time last year and I can confidently say that day was one of my highlights of the entire year.
The race is 102km long and features 10 laps of a 10.2km circuit — plenty of opportunity to support and encourage the riders throughout the race!
So why the women’s race? For a start, we know a bunch of the riders in the race and want to support them. Then there’s the fact that we want to see as big a crowd as possible for the women’s road race. The men’s race the following day (also well worth attending) is quite a spectacle with huge crowds lining Mt. Buninyong. The women’s race isn’t nearly as well supported, and we’d like to do something about that.
Who’s ‘we’? The Climbing Cyclist, Hells 500 and Fondo. Together we’ll be putting on a BBQ on the hill, making a whole heap of noise and yelling in support of the riders until our voices are gone.
The women’s road race begins at 1.30pm but we’ll likely be up there for the U23 men’s road race as well, which begins at 9am. Your best bet is to park in Buninyong or somewhere in the surrounding area then ride your bike up the hill to the KOM/QOM line where we’ll be set up. This will mean you don’t get caught up in the road closures (stay posted to the Road Nationals website for details) and will also give you a taste of the climb so you can appreciate the riders’ efforts all that much more!
And speaking of riding, why not make a day of it and get a decent ride in before the women’s race starts? We can highly recommend the climb all the way to the summit of Mt. Buninyong (the race only goes partway up the climb!), and the nearby climb of Mt. Warrenheip (just watch out for the gravelly descent).
If you’re looking for a nice loop to do, check out these great recommendations from local rider Pat Shaw. And of course, there’s the actual Nationals Road Race circuit to ride as well, but you’ll obviously need to make sure you do that while there’s no racing going on!
And our good friends at Fondo, who are organising the day with us, are putting on a ride to the start of the race. Check out the details in their Instagram post below:
On Saturday we're heading to Buninyong with @Hells500 & @theclimbingcyclist to cheer on our mates in the women's National road race. We'll be hosting a BBQ at the QOM & making plenty of noise! Fondo is leading a women's ride to the event & we’d love you to join us. We’re catching the 8.08am Ballarat V/Line from Southern Cross Station, arriving at Ballan Station at 9.11am. We’ll ride approx. 50km to Buninyong then do a lap (or two or three…) around the Nationals course. Meet us on the platform and don’t forget your Myki! Or if you prefer to take the car, meet us at Ballan Station. Pic: @hells500 #fondoride #roadnats #ridelikeagirl #womenscycling
So, what are you doing on Saturday January 10? If you’ve got nothing planned, we’d love to see you out in Buninyong to cheer on Australia’s best female riders. All we ask is that you sign up to the Facebook event page so we know how many people to cater for.
If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.
I hope to see you on Mt. Buninyong on Saturday!
4 Replies to “Come and support the women's Nationals road race”
I’m planning to ride up saturday morning starting from Sunshine Railway Station at 7am if anybody is interested in joining. roughly 100km to Bunningyong.
Can’t wait to get my cheer on. It should be a hotly contested race as was last years, and there’s the bonus of seeing future stars attack like whippets up that climb in the U23 men’s event.
Having never been but keen to this year – Is it possible to camp overnight on the Saturday near the hill or is it cleared out after the race? What’s the best camping options in Ballarat?
Hi Adam, I imagine there are camping options somewhere in the vicinity, yep. I don’t know of any camping grounds in particular – I’d have to google it. As for the hill: the road opens after the women’s race and then re-closes the following morning before the U23 men’s race.