In a previous entry i have written about the main climbs on Mount Dandenong, – our local hill which is very popular amounts cyclists being the highest point in the metropolitan Melbourne area. As we are lucky enough to live so close that means that i get the opportunity to explore the other routes up, these alternatives are mostly from the Fern Tree Gully side and a bit more out of the way. Similar to my previous post i will just give a brief description and link to the Strava segment for each of these.
I have briefly mentioned this climb in my post of the main Mount Dandenong climbs, I think i prefer this one over the Devils Elbow itself. It starts by turning off the main Mount Dandenong Tourist Road down Janiesleigh Road, this is a quiet suburban street without much traffic, it starts off not being too steep but as you look either side down side roads you can see some steep climbs so it is inevitable something is coming. As you get to the steepest part you get to a 3 way junction where you hairpin left back on yourself up Jones Avenue. The steepness continues for a bit then isn’t too bad, just avoid any swooping Wattle birds and try to take in the view to the left over the valley. This road heads towards the 2nd hairpin on the Devils Elbow but at the end you turn right down the first road and up Olivette Avenue. If there is no traffic on the side roads it is possible to do this on the side of the road without going near the main road.
This road provides a brief rest bite before you join up with Hughes Street and the steepness really ramps up, there is a few hundred metres of ~15% before the road levels off a bit for some recovery, not too much though as Hughest street continues to climb in short spurts with 2 brief downhills to rest the legs (or apply the power if you have some energy to burn). At the end of Hughest Street continue straight onto One Tree Hill Road which is where the Devils Elbow climb goes, this seems like a recovery ride compared the the previous parts.
If the Devils Elbow is busy or you feel like some variation this is certainly a route to try and test yourself on.
This climb actually covers some of the Satans Elbow climb above but starts further away from Fern Tree Gully in Upway. The road is just under 2km long but averages 8%, there are a few sections of ~2% to recover on and it levels off a bit towards the end but it is steep from the start and consists of a number of ramps with slightly less steep parts in-between. Not for the fainthearted but also not too bad.
This is very much a climb of 2 parts with a bit of a breather in between. The initial part of Mast Gully Road from Upwey lulls you into a bit of a false sense of security, it is quite a nice undulating road but you certainly need to take it easy and save some energy. When you turn the corner and the end of the road you are presented with the first climb, a 15-20% ramp on a dead straight road, i think being straight makes it look worse but it is still quite a struggle. Once at the junction at the top the road is flat for a bit with a chance for a breather before winding into the wooded part of the climb. Here there are a series of steep ramps some on road that is a bit green meaning the wheel can spin a bit. There is one chance for a small recovery at a junction 200 metres from the top but otherwise you just have to plough on. The end spits you out on the main Tourist Road where you can either continue up into the Dandenongs further or head down the Devils Elbow and do another loop!
The start of this climb is just brutal, you exit the roundabout in Belgrave and the road just goes straight up past the reserve. This initial part only gets steeper until you get a part the levels off, don’t let this deceive you though as the road then goes down a bit before another longer steep climb averaging round 10%. As you head past Sherbrooke forest there are a few points where you think you are at the top only to find it is a false horizon or a very brief levelling off prior to another ramp again. There is a short flat section just before the last climb but barely enough to get some breath back for the end of the climb at around 8%.
Overall i think this is the toughest short climb in have done in the Dandenongs, it might not have the steepest sections but it just keeps going. The short down hill part around 1/3rd in does help but really only means that there is more climbing that needs to be done.
A few weeks ago when my road bike was in for a service I switched to the hybrid, now with gravel tyres on but still fancied some hills. This track runs up a very similar line to the 1 in 20 but is all gravel in fact I would just describe this as the 1 in 20 on gravel. It is actually a very pleasant ride, there is nothing too strenuous and the gradient is very steady throughout. To top it off the track is very quiet and you get some great secluded Dandenong scenery all the way up.