Classic Mixed Terrain Randonnée in the Strzelecki Ranges. Take the path less travelled to discover some of Gippsland best cycling country. Plenty of unsealed roads and hills. Ride is fully supported, food and drink before, after and during, cause we like to spoil ya. Come and check out the world best Mixed Terrain Randonnée, you wont be disappointed
Saturday 18th March 2023
Location: Yarragon, Vic
Route: 200 km (50% Pure Gravel Gold)
Lite(ish): 160 km (Grand Ridge Road)
Short Cut: 100 km (Condensed)
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Starting from Yarragon this ride uses unsealed, low traffic roads as it attempts to follow the most scenic route through the Strzelecki ranges to Foster and back.
It will be a long way between drinks on this ride as you stay well off the beaten track, and although you wont see much traffic you'll need to carry enough food and water to manage the distances.
The last checkpoint is at Mirboo North where you can grab a coffee for a caffeine hit before the final climb of the day or take the more sedate approach and savor a glass of Gippsland Gold at the famous Grand Ridge Brewery. Pure liquid heaven.
Remember to allow more time than for a conventional 200km event when planing to do this ride, as there is approximately 3000m of ascent and a considerable amount of unsealed roads.
Route - No Easy Options
In total there are approximately 120 km of gravel sectors on the Gippsland Gold course. Although these gravel sectors are generally well graded and in good condition, there can be a few surprises from time to time. Several of the sectors pass through areas of logging activity, so the conditions can change quickly depending on the amount of truck traffic. Treat these descriptions as a guide and ride to the conditions you find on the day.
Sector One - Yarragon South
Starts at 4km
Length: 17 km
Starting soon after leaving Yarragon, this section is well graded and leads out of the Latrobe Valley towards Childers and the heart of the potato country. Nothing technical, but there are a few down hill off cambers.
Sector Two – Ten Mile Creek Road
Starts at 39 km
Length: 15 km
This section transitions from the rolling potato country into the forestry plantation. The road starts well but soon deteriorates after crossing the Strzeleki Hwy. The finale two km can be sandy.
Sectors Three, Four and Five, The Queen Stage or L'enfer du Gippy
This is essentially a single 45 km section comprising three subsections.
Sector Three – Morwell River Road
Starts at 64km
Length: 16 km
After a gentle start the bitumen soon gives way to well compacted sandy gravel as it follows the river gradually upstream. From the Roeburn Road the climbs steadily for five km to the GRR, and steadily deteriorates as it does so.
Sector Four – Grand Ridge Road
Starts at 80 km
Length: 13 km
On joining the GRR, the road has now a rough logging track. The quality of the surface varies from very good to very bad, as sections a renewed and then gradually deteriorate again.
Sector Five – Boolarra Foster Road
Starts at 93 km
Length: 15 km
From here the road gradually loses altitude through a series of long rolling undulations. Recent logging traffic has degraded the otherwise well graded surface in patches. Views of the Prom make for a spectacular final decent to Foster.
Sector Six – Amy’s Track
Starts at 123 km
Length: 4 km
Probably one of the best in terms of road quality and also views, if you manage to get a look at the Prom as you climb out of Foster. Always well graded.
Sector Seven – Ridge Road
Starts at 130 km
Length: 17 km
Another good quality section. After a bit of undulation the road follows the eastward ridge of the Tarwin Valley. Good views and hero gravel.
The ridge that divides the east from the west branch of the Tarwin River.
Sector Eight – Old Foster Road
Starts at 154 km
Length: 5 km
Short and sweet! Another well graded section, but watch out for the undulations. If you can carry enough speed you may well get over them. Good luck.
Sector Nine – Allambee Road
Starts at 172 km
Length: 18 km
Saving the best until last. Another good section of quality gravel. The section begins with a long climb from the crossing on the Tarwin River to the Allambee hill top. Once you crest the first climb there are plenty more to follow, before finally reaching the long downhill to Yarragon.
You’ll want to get your camera out for the descent into Yarraon. The views over the Latrobe Valley can be stunning on a clear day.
If you chose to keep your eyes on the road, the descent is a feast of smooth tarmac and sweeping bends.
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