The 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen

It's coming.

Quick links

 Last-minute updates NEW
The basics Equipment
Getting there Food and drink
Ride format Post-ride BBQ
Rules and requests Prizes
 Climbs Photos and videos
Bonus climbs Jersey
Course map Signing up
Course profile Questions or comments
GPS file

UPDATE: The Melbourne Dirty Dozen is finished for another year. Thanks to everyone that made it a very special day. Click here to read my write-up and see some cracking photos from the day.

On a wet and overcast day in May 2012, 50 riders gathered at the 7 Eleven in Upwey for the first Melbourne Dirty Dozen. The ride took in 12 short, sharp climbs in the Dandenong Ranges in an event that was inspired by the original Dirty Dozen which has been held in Pittsburgh since 1983.

In the nine months since the first Melbourne Dirty Dozen, the concept has spread. On September 1 Adam Williss held the first Adelaide Dirty Dozen, attracting more than 70 riders to a long and challenging course in the Adelaide Hills. And later that month, Marc Durdin put on the first Hobart Dirty Dozen, a very tough but extremely rewarding ride in the hills in and around the Tasmanian capital.

And now, the Dirty Dozen is back in Melbourne. DD13 is longer and tougher than last year’s edition and, if the Facebook event page is anything to go by, we’re going to see far more than 50 people there come February 17.

This page has everything you need to know about DD13 and it will be updated in the coming weeks as new information comes to hand.

Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you on February 17!

Matt de Neef and David Blom

Last-minute updates

DD13 kicks off between 8am and 9am tomorrow morning but here’s some last minute information we’d love for you to read beforehand:

  • If the carpark at Thompson Reserve is full when you get there, there are many other options in the local area. Click here for more info.
  • There will be a lot of riders there tomorrow. We’re talking 280+. So it’s really important that we spread things up as much as we can. I’ve said this a few times before, but groups must be no bigger than 20 riders and, more generally, we need to work hard to share the roads and respect local residents and visitors to the Dandenongs.
  • We will have maps and turn-by-turn directions available, but there’s only enough for one map pack for every 2 or 3 riders. Grab a map pack for your group, and nominate a navigator (or take it in turns). If you have a Garmin GPS unit, your best bet is to download the appropriate file (click here for more information) and use that to navigate. You can also download a high-res JPEG or PDF of the route to your smartphone and use that to find your way around.
  • If you would like to do the climbs out of order, you are more than welcome to. In fact, this would really help to break up the flow of cyclists that will be heading for the first few climbs. One option is to do climbs #11 and #12 first, then come back and do #1 to #10 before heading to #13 to finish. Or you could start with climb #3 and finish with #1 and #2 before coming back to Thompson Reserve. Or you could go #4, #5, #3, #6 then #7 to #13 before finishing with #1 and #2.
  • It’s going to be a warm day with a forecast top of 30ºC+. Please make sure you’ve got enough water and sunscreen. Note that we pass through many towns in the Dandenongs throughout the ride so there will be plenty of opportunity to buy food and drink.
  • You need to be self-sufficient on this ride. There won’t be any support vehicles, clothing couriers or food/nutrition provided.
  • To go into the running for the prizes (click here for details), you need to show us that you’ve completed the necessary amount of climbs — at least 10 for the 2 x $200 vouchers and all 13 for the Strava KOM/QOM challenge. To let us know how you went (and that you’d like to be in the running for the prizes), send an email after the ride to with your name, the number of climbs you completed and a link to a Strava file (or other verification method) to prove it.
  • As mentioned above, you don’t have to complete all 13 climbs to be eligible for the $200 door prize. You can skip any or all of Mast Gully Road (climb #6), Invermay Road (#8) and Terrys Avenue (#13), but not the other 10 climbs. To skip Mast Gully Road, turn left onto Hughes Street at the end of climb #5 (Olivette Avenue) and follow it to the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road. Then proceed to Mills Avenue (climb #7). To skip Invermay Road, just go straight through Monbulk after descending The Wall and head straight for Priors Road (climb #9). To skip Terrys Avenue, just follow Burwood Highway from the Terrys Avenue roundabout to Chosen Avenue, turn right and head back to Thompson Reserve.
  • Don’t forget to order your very own DD13 jersey to commemorate your participation in this event. Place your order before February 25 and Cycling Express will send over your jersey in March.
  • Make sure you have fun!

The basics

Date: Sunday February 17
Start time: 8am – 9am
Start and finish point: Thompson Reserve, Upwey
Distance: 62km
Climbing: ~2,100m
Cost: Free

Getting there

The 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen will be held in the Dandenong Ranges, roughly 40km east of the Melbourne CBD, starting and finishing at Thompson Reserve in the suburb of Upwey. If you’re driving to the start, there are plenty of parking spaces on the north-west side of the oval (the red X in the image below):

Parking at Thompson Reserve

If that carpark is full, there is also some parking on the south-east side of the oval near the bowls club (the green square in the image above). Otherwise, your best bet is to head to Talaskia Reserve, Belgrave Recreation Reserve or Upwey South Reserve and ride the short distance to the start.

If you’re riding to Upwey from the west, the Ringwood-Belgrave Rail Trail is a nice track that takes you virtually to the start.

If you’re catching the train to Upwey station (less than 1km from the start) be advised that the first train from the city arrives at Upwey at 8.56am.

Ride format

Please note: this is going to be a very challenging ride. At only 62km in length it mightn’t sound that tough, but the amount of climbing and the steep gradients involved ensure that all but the strongest riders will find this a very tough day out.

If you haven’t done much climbing, this probably isn’t the best introduction to the joy of cycling uphill. But then again, why not come along and see how you go? You can always pull out after a couple of climbs …

How it will work:

In last year’s Dirty Dozen we rode as one big bunch, regrouping at the top of each climb before moving on. This year we’re going to be doing things a little differently. Why? For a start, it looks like we’ll have well over 150 riders there on the day.

Trying to get everyone to regroup at the top of each climb will clog up the roads and will be frustrating for the fastest riders who will have to wait for slower riders. But mainly we just don’t want a group of 150+ riders snaking through the Dandenongs together, annoying every resident and visitor on the mountain.

Instead, we’re going to spread things out a bit, Melburn-Roobaix-style. The plan is simple: rock up sometime between 8am and 9am, come and get a rider pack from us (which will have a map in it among other things) and then get going. Ride at your own pace without having to worry about holding other riders up or having to wait for them.

Sure, this means we’ll lose some of that big-group atmosphere, but you’ll be crossing paths, catching up to and getting dropped by riders throughout the ride so you’ll never be alone.

To that end, make sure you bring along a couple of mates, or jump in with another group at the start. It’s not going to be a whole lot of fun slogging away up 13 brutal hills on your own so tag along with others for a bit of support. We just ask that the groups don’t get any bigger than 20 riders.

To make sure we get things off to a good start, we’ll be asking riders to leave a few minutes between the group ahead before setting off from Thompson Reserve. Please help us to do everything we can to respect local residents and other road users.

Regrouping after every climb might have worked with 50 riders. It won't with 150+. (Image: Andy van Bergen)
Regrouping after every climb might have worked with 50 riders. It won’t with 150+. (Image: Andy van Bergen)


So how will you know where to go? Well, you’ve got a couple of options. Your options (from most attractive to least attractive) are:

  • Download the GPS file of the course route, upload that to a compatible GPS unit (such as a Garmin Edge 500) and use the Course function to guide you through the ride. See below for links to download the GPS file.
  • Download the high-res JPEG or PDF version of the course map onto your smartphone and use that to guide you through the course.
  • Use the map and turn-by-turn instructions we’ll give you at the start of the ride. These will show you where the climbs are, how to get between them and what you can expect when you reach them (spoiler alert: pain).
  • Follow someone else who’s got a map/GPS unit and knows where they’re going. Of course, if they get lost and you’re following them, you’ve got no-one to blame but yourself!

Once you’ve completed all 13 climbs, or even if you’ve just managed a handful, come back and join us at Thompson Reserve for a post-ride BBQ and a chat about the epic ride you’ve just been part of. If you do manage to complete all 13 climbs, you can go in the draw to win a couple of great prizes courtesy of Cycling Express. See below for more information.

Rules and requests

While this is a casual group ride, a few guidelines will help make the ride safer, more enjoyable and hopefully more memorable for everyone:

  1. Obey all road rules. This should be very obvious but please, let’s do the right thing. Please also note that this ride takes place on open roads — there are no closures in place for DD13.
  2. Show some respect for local residents and other road users. Yes, we’re allowed to ride two abreast, and yes we’re allowed to take up a whole lane if we deem it necessary. But please, if you’ve got a line of 50 cars behind you, it’s probably time to single up. Let’s use some common-sense, be courteous and share the road in a friendly manner.
  3. If you’re waiting for other riders, please get off the road. There’s enough room at the top of each climb to ensure you aren’t blocking traffic while waiting.
  4. It’s not a race. There’s no prize for finishing the course in the fastest time. If you want to race against your mates, please do it (safely) on the climbs. (Hint: most people will be knackered by the second half of the ride. Attack your mates then.)
  5. As per Velominati. The ride is supposed to be hard. Just remember: the harder the ride, the greater the feeling of satisfaction at the end.
  6. If you need to walk your bike, that’s fine. Some of these hills are bloody tough and we won’t blame you if you feel like you need to walk up some of them. That said, bragging rights belong to those who get up all 13 climbs without stopping.
  7. Be careful on the descents. Coming off at 4km/h while you’re climbing Mast Gully Road is funny (and yes, I’ve done it). Coming off at 104km/h is not even close to funny (see rule 1).
  8. Have fun! Sure, it’s going to be a hard ride, but it should also be a whole lot of fun. Try to enjoy yourself and make sure you get back to Thompson Reserve afterwards for some lunch and for a chat with other riders.
Time to get your painface on. (Image: Luke Yeatman)
Time to get your painface on. (Image: Luke Yeatman)


In keeping with the trend started by the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen (and continued in Adelaide), the 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen will feature 13 climbs. Of the 12 climbs that appeared in last year’s Dirty Dozen, 7 are back in the mix (climbs 1-6 and 13, see below) and climbs 7-12 are new additions.

Please note that the average gradients and elevation gains listed below are approximate:

# Name Starts at Length Ave. grade Elev. gain
1 Frame Avenue  1.4km 300m 14%  49m
2 The Serpentine  2.5km 700m 13%  93m
3 Wright Avenue  7.1km 600m 12%  73m
4 Hughes Street  8.6km 1.9km 9%  161m
5 Janiesleigh/Jones/Olivette  13.0km 1.5km 9%  121m
6 Mast Gully Road  16.3km 1.5km 14%  230m
7 Mills Avenue 22.3km  400m  13%  51m
8 Invermay Road  32.1km 1.4km 11%  152m
9 Priors Road  37.7km 800m 9%  72m
10 Brae/Braeside  44.6km 400m 16%  65m
11 Maskells Hill Road  52.2km 400m 13%  55m
12 Bolton/Batesleigh  53.8km 1.2km 9%  109m
13 Terrys Avenue  58.5km 700m & 1.6km 13% & 11%  244m

Bonus climbs

The 13 main climbs of the 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen don’t account for all of the climbing on the day. Why? For a start, we need to do a little bit of climbing to get between the main climbs. Also, if bonus climbs are good enough for Pittsburgh (and Hobart!) they’re good enough for us.

The bonus climbs in DD13 aren’t as tough as the main climbs, but they will start to hurt as the day goes on. Here’s what you can expect:

Name Starts at Length Ave. grade
Blackwood/Oakland  4.9km 500m 8%
 Olinda Crescent 23.5km 600m  8%
 Kallista-Emerald Road 40.3km 2km 7%
 Sherbrooke Road 42.9km  900m 11%
Belgrave-Emerald Road  57.0km 400m 9%


Course map

DD13 Map

For an interactive version of the course map, follow this link to RideWithGPS. To download a hi-res version (6MB) of this map, click here.

Please note that the map above does not show the route from the top of the final climb (Terrys Avenue) back to Thompson Reserve. We advise that you don’t descend Terrys Avenue or Mast Gully Road. Instead, the safest option is to:

  • Turn left onto the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road and follow that to Hughes Street (1.8km).
  • Turn left onto Hughes Street and descend safely to Burwood Highway (1.9km).
  • Turn left and follow Burwood Highway to Chosen Avenue (700m).
  • Turn left and follow Chosen Avenue back to Thompson Reserve (300m).

A map of this route can be found here.

Course profile

DD13 profile
Spiky as.

This profile was created using RideWithGPS. For a full, interactive version, follow this link.

GPS file

If you’d like to download the GPS route file for DD13, we have a couple of options available:

  • TCX file: the best format for the Garmin Edge 500 and Edge 800.
  • GPX file: the best format for other GPS units.
  • KML file: perfect for viewing in Google Earth.

For information about how to upload the file to your Garmin Edge 500, click here. If you’ve got the Edge 800, click here. Hot tip: if dropping the TCX file into the ‘Courses’ folder on your Garmin doesn’t work, try putting it in the ‘NewFiles’ folder instead.


It can get pretty warm in Melbourne in February so please ensure you’re appropriately dressed, that you’ve got sunscreen aplenty and that you’re well hydrated. Given the ride is in the morning we’ll likely miss the worst heat of the day but if a scorcher is forecast, it could well be quite hot in the second half of the ride.

Please check the forecast in the days leading up to the ride and we’ll post any important information here as it comes to hand.



If you haven’t worked it out already, the 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen contains a fair bit of climbing. And most of those climbs are very steep. So, please ensure you’ve got appropriate gearing on your bike before tackling this ride.

What does ‘appropriate gearing’ mean? Well, it obviously differs from person to person, but for almost all riders, climbs like Mast Gully Road, Invermay Road and Terrys Avenue are going to be almost impossible with standard gearing  (39 x 25).

Your best bet is to get either a compact crankset (a 34-tooth small chainring), a larger cassette (a 28-tooth cog or bigger) or, ideally, a combination of both. I’ll be running my 34 x 28 compact setup on the day and I can guarantee I’ll be using every single tooth.

By the time you hit Terrys Avenue, you'll be reaching for an extra gear ... even if you've got a compact. (Image: Andy van Bergen)
By the time you hit Terrys Avenue, you’ll be reaching for an extra gear … even if you’ve got a compact. (Image: Andy van Bergen)


With lots of climbing comes lots of descending. And while we’ve deliberately avoided descending the likes of Mast Gully Road, Invermay Road and Terrys Avenue, there are still some steep descents on the day. So, please, make sure your brakes are in good working order before tackling this ride. You will be using your brakes a lot and you don’t want to start the day with only a millimetre of rubber left.

Food and drink

The DD13 route will take you through many great towns in and around the Dandenong Ranges, including Upwey, Tecoma, Sassafras, Olinda, Monbulk, Kallista and Belgrave. As such, there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for food and drink throughout the ride. If you’re looking for a quick snack or drink on the go, look out for the Upwey 7 Eleven at 8.6km and 15.3km into the ride.

And then there’s always the post-ride BBQ to look forward to …

Post-ride BBQ

Location: Thompson Reserve, Upwey
Time: Noon to 2pm

While there’s no entry fee for DD13, we do have a charity that we’d like to support: the Belgrave Preschool. The friends of the Belgrave Preschool will be running a post-ride BBQ at Thompson Reserve, selling food and drink, with proceeds  going towards learning materials at the preschool. We’d be delighted if you came back for the BBQ post-ride and if you could make a small donation to their fundraising efforts on the day — even a dollar or two is fine.

The friends of the Belgrave Preschool have been generous in sharing local knowledge which has helped in the planning of both Melbourne Dirty Dozens. We’d like to thank them for their assistance, and recommend that you support their worthy cause.


CyclingExpressOur good friends at Cycling Express have been good enough to come on board and support DD13. We’ve got 2 x$200 Cycling Express vouchers up for grabs on the day — one for a lucky male rider, and one for a lucky female rider.

To go in the running, just complete 10 of the 13 climbs (you can skip any or all of Mast Gully Road, Invermay Road and Terrys Avenue), come back to Thompson Reserve after the ride and give us your name and details. We’ll also need you to prove that you’ve completed 10 of the 13 climbs. That’s not to say we don’t trust you, but there is 2 x $200 up for grabs!

The simplest way is to email us a link to the Strava file (or Garmin Connect, or equivalent) from your ride. If you don’t have a Garmin GPS unit, but you do have an iPhone or Android smartphone, download the Strava app and use it on the day. If you don’t want to do that, but you’d still like to go in the draw, you’ll have to find another way to prove you completed 10 or more of the climbs. Perhaps you could get a mate to take a photo of you at each of the summits?

Update: We also have a $50 Cycling Express voucher to give away to the rider (male or female) that collects the most Strava KOMs/QOMs on the day. Note: you must complete all 13 climbs to be eligible for this prize.

To help with your planning, here’s a list of the number of riders (male and female) that have completed each of the climbs on Strava (see the climbs table above for links to each of the climbs on Strava):

  1. Frame Avenue: 0 women, 47 men
  2. Serpentine: 1 woman, 124 men
  3. Wright Avenue: 0 women, 56 men
  4. Hughes Street: 1 woman, 105 men
  5. Janiesleigh/Jones/Olivette: 1 woman, 90 men
  6. Mast Gully Road: 3 women, 133 men
  7. Mills Avenue: 2 women, 21 men
  8. Invermay Road: 0 women, 93 men
  9. Priors Road: 2 women, 54 men
  10. Brae/Braeside: 0 women, 5 men
  11. Maskells Hill: 3 women, 31 men
  12. Bolton/Batesleigh: 1 woman, 4 men
  13. Terrys Avenue: 1 woman, 249 men

While there are a few opportunities for new KOMs on the day, I’d be very surprised if the voucher doesn’t go to the ladies …

Photos and videos

There will be a number of people taking photos throughout the day and images from the ride will be available here and on Facebook in the days after the ride. If you happen to take photos throughout the day, and would like them included in the write-up and/or on Facebook, please email them through to Matt.

Similarly, if you’ve got a GoPro or other camera and will be taking video on the day, let us know and we’ll make the footage available.


Order yours now.
Order yours now.

What better way to remember the 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen than with a commemorative jersey? Order yours before  February 25 and Cycling Express will deliver the jersey to you in March. The cost is just $39.95 and you can order online here.

Signing up

The 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen is totally free to join. But, if you are coming, all we ask is that you let us know, either via the Facebook event page or by sending Matt an email. And if you would like to donate a couple of dollars, please help out the Belgrave Preschool (see above).

Questions or comments

If you’ve got a question or comment, please get in touch with Matt via email, or leave a message below or on the DD13 Facebook event page.

30 Replies to “The 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen”

  1. Thanks David and Matt for such an awesome course!
    I only started cycling a few months ago so wasn’t around for this, but went out this morning with your course map and had an absolute blast!
    Having mentally prepared myself for the climbs, I found that some of the transitions were extremely tough as I wasn’t ready for them! And no amount of mental preparation got me prepared for the monster that is Terrys as the last very last hill.
    Thank-god for the unwanted Maccas afterwards where I just smashed down over $20 of junk!
    Keep up the good work, I visit this site weekly to help plan the next weekend ride.

  2. Hi Matt.
    Looking forward to the ride on Sunday. I don’t know the area well as i do most of my riding/climbing on my side of town, Kinglake. I’m actually more concerned about the descents, I’ve climbed and descended Falls and Hotham, so in comparison to these how steep are the descents we will be doing on the day..

    1. Thanks Irene. I think all of the descents are steeper than Falls and Hotham. But that shouldn’t matter — just make sure you’ve got new brake pads and take your time. 🙂

  3. Love the idea. Thanks.

    Much of this course was new to me. Went out yesterday to test myself on my own as I’m not sure if I can get there on the 17th. First climb up Frame was a shock. Neural fatigue (shaky legs) shifted to neural activation. The Serpentine was fun. Got up Mast Gulley Rd – 2nd ever attempt at it. First time 6 months ago, I stopped 4 times (heavier winter clothing of course). My first look at Inver(dis)may made me react out loud. Ha! Got up it. Pulled the pin after Kallista-Sherbrook Rd – tired and run out of time! My strava said 62kms to that point?

    No GPS or Garmin so found it slow with regular stopping to follow the Cue sheet. Maybe the climbs on the map could be numbered, and riders could implicitly work out how to get to them? Maybe you’ve already covered it/ or I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Thanks again. (For others: 82kg, compact 12-27, and coming back to do it all)


    Scott Barrow.

    1. This is such a great comment Scott, thanks very much. The map we’ll hand out on the day has the climbs numbered, yep. Look forward to seeing you there on Feb 17! 🙂

  4. Hi Matt and David,
    Awesome job with the route and event planning. Your planned route has taken me on a couple of roads that I have never ridden before and inspired me to finally tackle Inver(dis)may road as a test to see if I could complete the dirty dozen. Test complete and I had just enough left to complete Inverness Rd/Full Monty for the first time. I must say that I am still intimidated by Mast Gully Rd and having Terrys at the end.
    I think you may have under quoted the amount of climbing involved, has it at 2460 meters.
    Really looking forward to the challenge of the event and purchasing a jersey when I finish!

    1. Thanks for your kind words Eli – glad you’re looking forward to the ride. I am too!

      In terms of the climbing involved, RideWithGPS has a tendency to overestimate the amount of climbing so our estimation is more conservative. Either way, it’s going to be a very tough day in the saddle! See you then. 🙂

      1. ~2100m of climbing is pretty close. However, a couple of wrong turns and the metres will climb. I rode most of course (, with some additional metres finding the Serpentine and I also missed the Batesleigh climb and came back up Bolton instead (net climbing about the same). Got about around 2200m of climbing on a Garmin Edge 800 on a fine day (this includes an additional 60m climbing on the Serpentine error). Have fun on the DD13. Unfortunately I can’t make it. There are only so many trips I can make to Victoria.

        1. Great stuff Lex, well done! I’ve left the same question on Strava but in case you see this first: is there still a short section of dirt at the top of Olinda Crescent?

  5. LoL….Bonus Climbs…..I think the word Bonus is being misconstrued there but to stop everyone yelling rule #5 at me Im not saying anything. If the website is anything to go by I congratulate you on such fantastic planning.

  6. There, I think we have done everything we can to make the day awesome, now we just need you and all of your friends to turn up, to make it even more awesome.

    DD13. Longer. Tougher. Dirtier.

  7. Sounds awesome Matt and David! Looking forward to the pain but reward at the top of all climbs and at the finish (if I make it!)

  8. If you use Strava, you can now link Instagram photos to the ride. Simply link you Instagram account in Strava and then snap away via Instagram. When you upload the ride, Strava will pick up the photos taken during the ride and add them to your ride page! I tested this last week and it works –

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