DD16: the 2016 Melbourne Dirty Dozen


DD16 is the fifth edition of the Melbourne Dirty Dozen, a tough but rewarding recreational ride in which cyclists tackle 13 short but challenging climbs near Melbourne.

In 2016, the Melbourne Dirty Dozen returns to the township of Warburton, roughly an hour east of the Victorian capital, and will again feature a combination of sealed and unsealed climbs.

Basic info

Here’s what you need to know about DD16:

Date: Sunday September 18, 2016
Start location: Cog Bike Cafe, Warburton
Start window*: 7.30am to 9am
Course length: 57km
Elevation gain: 1,750m
Ticket price: $20 (includes a BBQ lunch)

Facebook event page: Link
Buy a ticket: Link


We’d like to say a big thank you to Winners Cycling for coming on board to support DD16. Not only will Winners be supplying bars, gels and chews for you mid-ride, they’ve also got a sweet discount offer for ride participants. Simply head to the Winners website (see link above) and use the discount code “DD16” to get 20% off your order!

DD2016_Facebook Image copy

Climb list

1. Madeline St/Croom St

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

The top of the climb.
Turn around here.

The first climb of DD16 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. Yuonga Rd

Length: 1.8km
Average gradient: 11.4%
Surface: Sealed/Unsealed


When you include the short opening section on Donna Buang Rd, climb #4 is the longest of the day. It’s also among the most picturesque thanks to a stunning upper section that takes you into the temperate rainforest of Mt. Donna Buang’s lower slopes.

The first 900m of this climb are sealed and then it’s all hard-packed gravel to the top. The steepest section comes just before the top with a short section approaching 20%.

Much like the first two climbs, the Yuonga Rd ascent ends at a gate saying “Keep Out: Private Property”. This is where you need to turn around and retrace your steps, keeping left and leaving plenty of room for people still climbing.

5. Ferntree Ave/Brides Pde

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


From one wonderfully scenic climb to another. Climb #5 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. It was certainly the most talked-about after last year’s edition!

After starting off sealed, Leila Rd soon turns to gravel. And then when you turn right onto Story Rd, the gradient increases up considerably. Stay seated, if you can — this will help you maintain back-wheel 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 cracking “bonus climb”, Milners Gap (north-east side) is a reasonably friendly return to the action. 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. 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. Four climbs to go!

10. 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.

11. Hooks Rd

Length: 300m
Average gradient: 22%
Surface: Sealed


Hooks Rd is one of the shortest climbs of the day. It’s also one of the very hardest. With an average gradient above 20%, this 300m rise will be all kinds of challenging on tired legs!

Please take great care on the way down and be sure to give way to people coming up!

12. Surrey Rd/York St/Sussex St

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


The penultimate climb of the day is another very challenging one, particularly in the steep, unsealed section of York St (go left at the fork) that takes you to the top of the climb at the entrance to the Aqueduct Trail. If you’re looking for a slightly less challenging option, keep right at the fork then take Sussex St to the top.

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 2016 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!

Previous editions

To get a sense of what the ride will be like, check out the following reports and photos from previous editions:

Buy a ticket

Follow the link to buy your ticket to DD16.

* All you need to do is turn up to the start 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.