Category Archives: Strava

Apparently, Strava is killing cycling. So sayeth the slow.

Bright to Freeburgh via Hillsborough Track

I have resolved to blog more in 2018, and as part of that, I thought I might post up some routes I’ve ridden, or that I’m planning to ride, with a map and a description. I thought perhaps I’d start with a short-ish evening MTB ride in my new neighbourhood.

This route starts in Porepunkah, though obviously you could start down the road in Bright. It crosses the bridge opposite Punkah pub, and takes the riverside track upstream. It’s a fun little ride, taking a nice flat gravel path aongside the Ovens, over a suspension bridge and onwards, emerging at the Porepunkah roundabout and onto the Rail Trail. This is followed to the Bright info point. From here, we hop onto the Great Alpine Road for a bit, then turn left at Fraser’s Lane and follow the Canyon walk into town. From here we head out to Wandiligong. The route isn’t hat important, but on this occasion I followed Wandi walk up Morse’s Creek through the (frankly packed) caravan park and into Pioneer Park

At this point, you’re officially into Mystic Mountain Bike Park, and there’s a plethora of possible routes out to Wandi, ranging from the road, the bike path or firetrail and even tricky singletrack. I mixed a few up, starting on The Highway, then Flying Solo, then a little firetrail which dumped me out onto the bike path, which I followed into Wandi, then round Centenary Avenue to Wandi Pub.

Opposite the pub, you turn onto Growler’s Creek Road, which is where the ride proper starts.

I called this ride “Banjo Country”, for no other reason that riding out along Growler’s Creek Road from the Wandi pub and vanishing into the bush does feel a little… backwoods. You follow that for a bit over a kilometre until you reach Hillsborough Track on the left. This is the beginning of the proper climbing, about 350m (or thereabouts) of it, from about 400m above sea level to a little over 700.

In the early part, you cross a couple of creeks and start climbing in earnest. On the evening I rode it, the lower part was a little sticky from a short spell of rain, and the track had obvioulsy been churned a bit from 4WD traffic, and there was definite evidence of heavy machinery, which made going a bit rough and slow. The humidity was fairly punishing too, but this would be fantastic on a drier, cooler day. You climb steadily until just under half height, at which point you find the first of a series of hairpins which zig-zag you up to about 650m elevation. This was probably the smoothest going of the ride, as the very last section, after a hard left turn, brings a less consistent gradient and some decent-sized loose rocks, which made climbing a little tougher. However the gap soon appears ahead of you and it’s a last blast to the junction with Wet Gully Track and the Reliance Track, which is the chosen descent.

Bit warm out.

Bit warm out.

Reliance Track is pretty steep, and with a fairly loose surface, which would make it very tough going in the opposite direction, but heading down is fun. I guess it’d be more fun with full suspension and 200mm discs. I did it on my XC hardtail, so kept the speed down to avoid boiling my brakes too badly, but in the lower sections the surface firms up, the gradient evens out and there are some fun waterbars to catch a little air from, before you fly happily down past the Bright Storage reservoir and onto Great Alpine Road.

From here, turn left and then shortly afterwards head right onto Old Harrietville Road for a quieter road experience.


Once at the end of Old Harrietville Road, you have the choice of turning right and then left onto Back Germantown Road, which will take you back to Bright, or just taking the main road into town for refreshment. In my case, I hopped onto the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail and followed that back to Porepunkah Roundabout, at which point I reprised the Porepunkah riverside path back to the bridge.

This is about 40km round trip – about 30 if you start from Bright, and takes in a nice middle-sized climb over the ridge back into the Ovens Valley. There’s an alternative version of this that starts further up Morses Creek Road from Wandi, and drops you out at the old Harrietville Cemetery, but that’s a story for another day. And besides, it may be better ridden in the opposite direction, so I’ll save that one.

So that’s what I got up to the other night. More to come later.

Focus on a segment: Lilyfield Road

With the news that Leichhardt Council is planning to put speed bumps in on Lilyfield Road – in part to slow ‘speeding cyclists’ – I thought it might be an idea to focus on this much maligned and much ridden section of Sydney road and see if we can come up with some numbers on just how fast riders are going, and see whether Leichhardt Council is right in their decision.

Beware. Nerdery follows below the fold.

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Public Service Announcement: Give your Garmin a Chance

These three images came from my Strava feed today.

3 1 2

Look at those elapsed times. Look at them! Would you have me believe that you were riding for as much as 52,000 hours? That’s nigh on six years in the saddle!

No, what’s happened here is that these three riders have set off and pressed their ‘start’ button before their device has acquired a satellite signal.

This has to stop. Garmin devices all over the country are desperately confused about which decade they’re in. Don’t let yours be the same. Wait until you’ve got full signal before pressing start. You know it makes sense.

Strava: Classic segments

Just a quick short post to say: Strava’s  classic segments page is fantastic.

And I’m very glad to say one of my own favourites, Mount Hotham, has made the list

Why Strava, Lance Armstrong and Rule 5 will be the death of me

I did a 170km ride yesterday, in an average temperature of 32°C. On a mountain bike. Because Strava wanted me to.

I rode the MTB because the weather in general has been thrashing rain alternating with periods of blasting humidity – and I didn’t want to be caught out in a potential downpour on my road bike, since that thing is frankly terrifying in the rain.

But that’s not the thing that’ll kill me.

When I arrived home, I had – not surprisingly, given the distance and temperature – some issues with chamois-area soreness. In my house are several tubes of a topical corticosteroid (prescribed to my girlfriend but sitting unopened in a drawer) which, had I used it, would have cleared up the problem a treat. However whenever I see the words “topical corticosteroid”, I think of Lance-fucking-Armstrong and can’t use it. So I have to HTFU and, at best, use a simple moisturiser or chamois cream

So I’m still sore. But that’s not the thing that’ll kill me.

This week, the day after I complete the Quarq Power Trip Challenge, Strava again wants me to hit a goal on the bike – this time it’s 15 hours in the coming week. I could simply decline the challenge and ride in moderation, given that the opening race of my season is due for this coming Saturday. But rule 5.

So, tired as I was, and sore as I was, I was back on the bike this morning, wincing all the way and averaging roughly 5km/h slower than my usual commute pace.

In and of itself, that’s not the thing that’ll kill me

It’s all of it together – which combines to form a thing we call “cycling”.

That’s what’ll be the death of me.

See you after race weekend, folks, I’m off to prep the bike for a few more hours in the saddle.


Seven things I hate about Strava

No, really

Strava. What it's really all about.

Lots of people whine about how Strava is destroying cycling, what with the whole “added competition” aspect and all. Or something.

These people are of course entitled to whine as much as they want about whatever they want. But the fact remains that Strava, and similar apps, are enormously valuable to cyclists, and not just competitive testosterone-driven street racers out for a new KOM. The key thing being the fact that your detailed data allows you not just to compete against others, but to compete against yourself. And even excluding the competitive aspect, it’s really quite nice to have a record of how many kms you’ve covered, how much uphill you’ve done and how often you’ve done it, and how much you’ve improved over time.

And I’d be a whole lot slower and a lot less fit if I didn’t have some kind of self-challenging tool to kick my arse of a morning. Or, to be more accurate, some kind of self-challenging tool that turns every commute into a gut-wrenching interval session.

That said, there are things about Strava that piss me off. Royally.

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THIS is how you HTFU

It’s Strava’s Base Mile Blast challenge this month. One rider from Adelaide seems to be doing extraordinarily well

Good work, Peter, on completing 35,876.8 miles in 11 days. Whatever a mile is. You’re certainly flying the flag for Australia

I’m languishing down in something like 4500th place with a bit over 200 miles right now. Makes you think I ought to pedal harder, huh?

(By the way, I’ve confirmed that Peter hasn’t been doing nefarious things like flying his Garmin from Sydney to London and back – it’s a bug on Strava’s side)

All the kids are doing it

Found on Strava, a moment of indelicate wording from a phArmstrong fanboi, or an indication that everyone’s doing it now?

Yo yo yo we's all jacked up on da juice if yous knows... oh whatever

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