Route: Eltham to Sky High Mt. Dandenong return, via The 1 in 20 and The Wall
Duration: 4 hour 12 minutes
It’s interesting how much of a role the weather plays when you are out riding. I knew it was going to be about 33 degrees today but I didn’t count on in having as much effect as it did. According to the Bureau of Meterology it was about 35 degrees in the areas I was riding and I’m feeling it now.
I set off about 1pm toward Mt. Dandenong with the aim of doing about 100km with some solid climbing. I had picked my bike up earlier that morning from the LBS and while the new cassette ensured that the chain didn’t slip gears during the ride, something is still wrong with the derailleur and every time I pedal I get a sort of clicking sound.
I didn’t feel that strong as I left home and the sizeable hills between Eltham and Doncaster didn’t help things. Eventually I made my way through Mitcham, down along Boronia Road through to Boronia and along Forest Road to The Basin.
Being such a hot day I was churning through the water and the water I hadn’t got to was disgustingly warm. I refilled at The Basin before heading up The 1 in 20 at a fairly pedestrian pace. I was more interested in doing some tempo climbing rather than trying to set a new PB.
From the top of the 1 in 20 I headed up the few short kilometres to Olinda, turned right and headed down The Wall. Although The Wall is quite steep in parts it’s never really a massive problem at only 5km long. Today though, in the heat, I didn’t feel strong at all and it was a great relief when I finally reached the top.
Heading back through Olinda I turned right onto the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road and followed that to the Sky High turn off. I turned left and struggled my way up the few kilometres to the summit.
Despite making sure that I kept drinking lots of fluid and reapplied sunscreen the sun and the heat really got to me today. Climbs that are normally easier felt like a real challenge and so it was with the last few kilometres to Sky High.
At the restaurant/cafe I grabbed a bowl of wedges and a Powerade and gave myself a chance to cool down before the slog home. The bowl of wedges that Brendan and I usually get would seem to be too much for one person and for the whole way home I felt bloated and like I was going to be sick.
So, eventually, I willed myself back onto the bike, reapplied sunscreen and headed down Ridge Road to the Tourist Road. Turning left I rode down to Montrose and enjoyed not having to pedal very much. The downhill run along Canterbury Road from Montrose to Bayswater was rather enjoyable apart from the incessant heat and the inescapable feeling of fatigue.
Climbing up to Bedford Road I turned right and followed it out to Maroondah Highway. By the time I was climbing the hills just before Mitcham my body was telling me that I needed a rest. I pulled over into the service lane and stood in the shade for around 15 minutes until I no longer felt like I needed to vomit.
The remaining 15km home were quite the struggle as well. On top of dehydration, dodgy derailleur, heat exhaustion and dead legs I was starting to get a sharp pain in my right knee. Luckily the pain wasn’t constant but it was enough to force me to pedal with one leg when it struck.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to get home. Tired, sore, hot and bothered I limped into the yard and proceeded to pour three bottles of cold water over my head in an attempt to cool down. I finished the day two kilometres short of the century but I didn’t care – I was just glad to be home and out of the heat.
It’s around 10pm now and I’m just about to head to bed. I’m supposed to be commuting to work tomorrow for an 8am start meaning a 5:45am wake up call. Sounds like fun.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check back soon for footage of today’s ride including some of the stunning Dandenong Ranges National Park.
36 days to go…