Banger of a day; scenic views? Check. Gravel section? Check. Gut busting climb? Check. Fast descents? Check. Closed roads? Check.
I hadn’t done a lot of long rides in the months leading up to the Giro della Donna, so I was a little anxious about tackling Donna Buang for the first time after 100k’s of riding. I tried to keep a bit in reserve during the early stages and felt pretty good for most of the day. The never ending climb up Reefton Spur and onto Deliverance was rewarded with a super-fast descent down to Marysville where we were welcomed with bananas and energy bars.
Feeling I was starting to stiffen up, I headed off towards Acheron Way, which is a magic back road which winds through the forest – super smooth with just the sound of rubber on asphalt and the odd bird call. That turned into a 13k gravel section which had me glad I put the 28’s on. Not particularly difficult, but still enough potholes and loose gravel to keep me on my toes.
A short gravel descent ended with the final climb of the day up Donna Buang. While I started without too much difficulty, the previous 100k’s were starting to take their toll and by the turn off to the summit I was in a world of pain. I just kept turning the pedals and welcomed the sound of cow bells indicating the finish where I laid down in the grass and, like a New Year’s Eve hangover, swore I would never do it again.
The hardest part of the day was picking myself up to descend back into Warburton, but I just let gravity do its thing and before long the beer and pizza flowed freely.
My vintage bike rose to the challenge and didn’t miss a beat all day. Even got some complimentary comments from fellow riders along the way, which was nice. Did pass a dude on a vintage Olmo early on, but apart from that didn’t see a whole lot of steel. (Titanium Baums don’t count.)
Here are some crappy photos: