What to expect from the 2018 Melbourne Dirty Dozen

Maybe you’ve seen some social media posts about DD18 and you’re not sure what it’s all about. Perhaps you’re on the fence about whether or not to take the plunge and buy a ticket. Or maybe you’ve already signed up and you’re not quite sure what to expect. Regardless of which camp you fall into, this post should help you out.

Here are some questions you might find yourself asking:

So, what is DD18?

DD18 is the 2018 edition of the Melbourne Dirty Dozen, a recreational challenge ride (i.e. not a race) held near Melbourne since 2012 (this is the seventh edition). It’s inspired by an event that started in Pittsburgh, USA back in the ’80s — an event in which riders challenge themselves to conquer a baker’s dozen of short, steep climbs. The Melbourne Dirty Dozen is based on the same idea.

This year’s event will be held in the bayside suburb of Dromana (as it was last year) on Sunday September 30.

How long is the ride and how much climbing is there?

The course is roughly 65km long and includes about 1,750m of climbing. There are 13 categorised ascents, plus one “bonus climb”.

Which climbs are included?

Great question. Here’s a breakdown of the 13 climbs.

How hard is the route?

Pretty tough! For context, if you did last year’s ride, the 2018 edition is slightly tougher. If you haven’t done a Dirty Dozen ride before, here’s a general overview.

Each individual climb is tough on its own, but when you stack them back to back they become even tougher. It’s all about managing your effort and keeping something in the tank so you can overcome fatigue in the second half of the ride.

Of course, the difficulty of the ride is what makes it super-satisfying. Finishing each climb feels like a win, and finishing the whole thing is a huge buzz.

So how does the ride actually work?

Simple. Rock up to Dromana Recreation Reserve between 7:30am and 9am on Sunday September 30 and give us your name. We’ll cross you off the list (once you’ve signed up, of course), hand you a map and some goodies from Winners Cycling, and then send you on your way. You’re free to ride in a small group, or on your own, and you can do the ride at your own pace.

Once you’re done, come back to Dromana Recreation Reserve for a BBQ lunch from about midday (some vegetarian options will be provided).

I’d rather not have to stop and look at a map to find my way around …

No worries at all. We’ll send you an email in the lead-up with a link to a GPX or TCX file which you can drop into your GPS device of choice. Don’t use a GPS device on the bike and don’t want to use a map? You can always follow other riders … just be prepared to get lost every now and then!

What sort of bike should I use?

A road bike. There are a few short gravel sections but we can confirm they’re all perfectly rideable on a road bike with 23mm tyres. If you want to bring a CX or gravel bike, feel free, but you really won’t need it.

Speaking of gravel: there is one slightly gnarly corner on gravel that you’ll need to watch out for. We’ll point that out in the pre-ride email, and you can also see it highlighted in the route map you’ll get at the start. It’s not hugely dangerous — just approach it with care and you’ll be totally fine.

In terms of gearing, I’d recommend a compact crankset and a 28-tooth cassette. Some of these climbs are steeeeeeep!

Where should I park my car?

Parking won’t be available at Dromana Recreation Reserve this year (there’s a cricket match going on) but there is plenty of parking nearby. The local council has recommended another park just 500m away and of course you can always just park in the quiet Dromana backstreets as well.

We’ll have more info on parking in the pre-ride email.

I’m not quite sold. Where can I find out more about what the ride is like?

I’ve got you covered. Here are my blog posts from the first six editions of the Melbourne Dirty Dozen. They’ll give you a feel for what it’s like to participate in one of these events.

DD17: The 2017 Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Dromana)
DD16: The 2016 Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Warburton)
DD15: The 2015 Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Warburton)
DD14: The 2014 Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Dandenongs)
DD13: The 2013 Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Dandenongs)
The inaugural Melbourne Dirty Dozen (Dandenongs)

Ok, how do I sign up?

Simple! Just head here.

I’ve got a question that’s not listed here …

You’ve got a few options. You can leave a comment on this post and I’ll reply here. You can post your query on the Facebook event page and I’ll do the same. Or you can email me directly and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for reading. I hope to see you in Dromana on Sunday September 30!


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