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Nov

13 2013

 Hidden away just 70 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne are the magical roads and unforgiving mountains of the Yarra Ranges National Park, aka cycling paradise. Don’t be fooled by the beautiful forests and innocent lyrebirds that line these flawless roads, this ride is not for the faint-hearted. With 142 kilometres of constantly undulating road and gravel, 3741 metres of total climbing and two mountains above 1300 metres in altitude (Mt Donna Buang and Lake Mountain), ‘Acheron Way’ is one of the most challenging road rides in Australia.

 "Don’t be fooled by the beautiful forests and innocent lyrebirds that line these flawless roads, this ride is not for the faint-hearted"

Starting and finishing in Warburton, a charming little country town at the upper reaches of the Yarra River, the course forms an anti-clockwise loop through the middle of the Yarra Ranges National Park. As the home of the Yarra River headwaters and the majestic Mountain Ash forests, the National Park has long been protected and left largely unspoilt, thus providing an almost surreal riding experience.

  

  

  

  

Reefton Spur

  

The ride begins in earnest on Reefton Spur, a gradual 20 kilometre climb that takes you along the ridge and is said to have over 150 bends. From here the road continues on its upward trajectory all the way to the 10 kilometre Lake Mountain climb, making for a staggering 40km ascent. Although the average gradient of Lake Mountain is only 4%, the exposed roads of the moonscape summit and the tired climbing legs make it much more difficult than it sounds. Savour the stunning views across the bushfire ravaged landscape before taking to the well-deserved 20 kilometre descent into Marysville, home to Fraga’s Café and their live-saving Banoffee Pie! 

  

  

  

  

Acheron Way

  

After another quick descent to the valley floor, the road begins to thin and the gargantuan Mountain Ash trees become more prevalent. Welcome to the famous Acheron Way, etched into cycling folklore and arguably one of Australia’s most stunning roads for riding. Savour these initial feelings of wonder before the road begins to creep upwards and the surface turns to gravel, making it increasingly difficult to breath, let alone appreciate your surroundings.

  

  

  

  

After 15 gruelling kilometres on the dirt (or mud in our case) and when you think things can’t get any worse, you reach the last and the largest hurdle of the day, Mount Donna Buang (9.2km at 5.4%). Use every last bit of energy to conquer this final climb and be reassured by the fact that it’s all downhill once you reach the summit. As if it was purposefully created to maximise pain, the last 800 metres becomes noticeably steeper so that if you weren’t suffering before, you certainly will be by the end.

  

  

  

ACHERON WAY

Start
Warburton
Category
Road
Distance
142 km
Max Elevation
1356 m
Elevation Gain
3228 m

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