DD15: the 2015 Melbourne Dirty Dozen

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DD15 is the fourth running of the Melbourne Dirty Dozen, a challenging recreational ride in which cyclists tackle a baker’s dozen of short but very tough climbs near Melbourne. After three editions in the Dandenongs Ranges, the Melbourne Dirty Dozen has a new location for 2015.

DD15 will be held on Sunday September 20, 2015 and will feature 13 challenging ascents (plus a ‘bonus’ climb) in and around the town of Warburton, an hour or so to the east of Melbourne. And that’s not the only change in 2015: this year, for the first time, we’ve introduced a number of unsealed climbs. We’re putting the ‘dirty’ back in ‘Dirty Dozen’, if you will.

Basic info

Here are some pieces of basic information about DD15. Further information will be emailed out to participants in the week before the ride.

Start location: Cog Bike Cafe, Warburton
Start window*: 7.30am to 9am
Course length: 56km
Elevation gain: 1,700m

Facebook event page: Link
Buy a ticket: Link

* Simply turn up any time between 7.30am and 9am, grab your course map and get going! Be sure to come back to Cog after the ride for a BBQ, which is included in the cost of your entry.

To get a sense of what the ride will be like, check out the reports and photos from the 2013 edition and last year’s edition.

Tips and advice

Here are some tips and pieces of advice that might help you on the day:

  • There are four unsealed climbs (and descents) on the route so make sure you have appropriate tyres. We recommend decent 25mm tyres but solid 23mm tyres (like Continental GP4000s) should be fine.
  • When you’re tackling the unsealed climbs, it’s best to stay seated if you can. Keep your weight nicely balanced over the bike so you’re not getting wheel-spin and the front wheel isn’t lifting off the ground.
  • Please ensure your bike has been serviced and that your brakes are in good working order!
  • Please keep left at all times, particularly on the up-and-back climbs where riders might be descending while you’re climbing (and vice versa).
  • Take it easy while descending and be sure to give way to riders climbing in the other direction.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t get sucked into following stronger riders. You’ll want to save something in the tank for the last four climbs of the day!

Climb list

1. Madeline St/Croom St

Length: 400m
Average gradient: 17%
Surface: Unsealed

The top of the climb.
The top of the climb.

The first climb of DD15 is a short but punchy unsealed climb — perfect to get you in the mood for the ride ahead. To begin, turn right on to Madeline Street then left on to Croom St.

Please ensure you keep left at all times, to allow other riders to descend. Please also ensure that you turn around at the boom gate pictured in the image above. Beyond that point is private road.

2. Brett Rd

Length: 700m
Average gradient: 13%
Surface: Sealed

The first section of the Brett Rd climb.
The first section of the Brett Rd climb.

A very challenging climb with a nasty kick at the end. This climb turns to concrete for its last hundred metres or so as the gradient rears up to a maximum of 28%! As with Madeline St/Croom St, be sure to turn around at the sign indicating the start of private property.

3. Brisbane Hill Rd

Length: 500m
Average gradient: 14%
Surface: Sealed


This climb comes at you in two steep ramps: one straight out of the start (the “20%” gradient sign doesn’t lie!) and then another after a moment of brief respite. Take a moment at the top to enjoy the terrific views before heading back down the hill (safely!) and making your way towards climb #4 …

4. Giffords Rd/Pheasant Pde

Length: 600m
Average gradient: 8.8%
Surface: Sealed


After three very tough climbs to begin the ride, this short ascent will feel comparatively easy. In fact, it’s probably the easiest climb of the day. That said, every little bit of climbing contributes to the fatigue and with a bunch of very hard climbs to come, this is no time to get cocky!

Be sure to turn around when you reach the gravel driveways.

5. Ferntree Ave/Brides Pde

Length: 1.3km
Average gradient: 9.7%
Surface: Mostly unsealed


From the easiest climb of the day we head to one of the longest and most scenic. This climb turns to gravel after about 200m and stays that way until the top, taking in a couple of steep ramps along the way. Be sure to turn around at the “Private – Keep Out” sign and please take it easy on the gravel descent.

6. Leila Rd/Story Rd

Length: 800m
Average gradient: 14%
Surface: Mostly unsealed


It might look nice, but climb #6 is among the hardest of the ride. After starting off sealed, it soon turns to gravel. And then when you turn right onto Story Rd, the gradient ramps up considerably. Stay in the saddle to keep traction!

It’s incredibly important to take it easy on the descent of this steep climb. This isn’t just for your own safety — it’s for the safety of riders coming up the hill.

7. Milners Gap (north-east side)

Length: 1.5km
Average gradient: 8.4%
Surface: Sealed


After a short transfer out of Warburton and a beautiful “bonus climb”, Milners Gap (north east side) is a reasonably friendly return to the day’s main climbs. It’s not horrendously steep, but it does contribute to the fatigue that’s been building up in your legs to this point.

8. Milners Gap (south-west side)

Length: 1.6km
Average gradient: 7%
Surface: Sealed


An average gradient of 7% mightn’t seem too hard, and in the context of other climbs on the day it isn’t. But don’t underestimate this climb.

There are a few steep ramps on this climb that will have you working hard but more importantly, this climb is all about fatiguing your legs. With five super-tough climbs to come, this isn’t the time to get cocky!

9. Bacchus Cres/Damon Ct/Pythias Ct

Length: 300m
Average gradient: 17%
Surface: Sealed


After a somewhat easier middle section of the ride, the tough climbing resumes on climb #3 with the combination of Bacchus Cres, Damon Ct and Pythias Ct. Turn left to begin the climb, right on to Damon Ct, and then left on to Pythias Ct to complete the climb.

It’s only a short ascent but with an average grade of 17% it will have you working hard. Enjoy the great view at the top before heading back down.

10. Dee Rd

Length: 1.6km
Average gradient: 9.3%
Surface: Almost entirely sealed


The average gradient mightn’t be as high as some of the other climbs on the day but make no mistake: Dee Rd is one of the hardest climbs of the entire ride. After a beautifully scenic start at a pedestrian gradient, this road just gets steeper and steeper as you go along.

There’s a brief gravel section before the road bends around to the right and into an asphalt carpark at the top. Climb the steep ramp into the carpark and enjoy the terrific views off to the right when you get there. Just three climbs to go!

11. McKenzie King Drive

Length: 900m
Average gradient: 9.1%
Surface: Sealed

This climb is a real tease. After a couple of bends the top of the climb seems to be right there in front of you, within reach. But in reality it’s a long, slow, steep grind to the top on very tired legs.

12. Surrey Rd/Kent St/Sussex St

Length: 1.5km
Average gradient: 8.3%
Surface: Mostly sealed


The penultimate climb of the day is another very challenging one. Keep right at the fork to stay on Kent St then turn right on to Sussex St to climb the last little section to the Aqueduct Trail.

If your legs are still feeling good and you’re up for an extra challenge, take York St (left) instead of Kent St at the fork. Beware: York St may be beautiful, but it also features a ridiculously steep unsealed ramp that makes getting traction nigh on impossible.

Either way, enjoy the views on the descent (see above), ensuring you stay within the speed limit, of course.

13. Martyr Rd

Length: 300m
Average gradient: 20%
Surface: Sealed


Here it is: the final climb of the 2015 Melbourne Dirty Dozen. You’ll want to save something in your legs for this beast of a climb as it’s hard going even on fresh legs.

It’s only 300 metres long but with an average gradient of 20% and a maximum of close to 30%, this brutal ramp is the perfect way to cap off a very hard day’s climbing.

Buy your ticket

Entry to DD15 costs $15 per person, with the price of the admission helping to cover the cost of traffic management and public liability insurance. For your $15 you also get a souvenir route map and a BBQ lunch after the ride. Follow the prompts below to buy your ticket. If you have any questions or concerns about the ticketing process, please get in touch via email.

Online ticket sales are now closed. Some tickets will be available at the start location on the day.