Published: July 11th 2012July 10th 2012 LDTR Epic No. 5 - Operation Mt Donna Buang.
Started out nice enough.
Strava - http://app.strava.com/activities/12172687
So , July came and with it another LDTR Epic ride and wow, was it epic indeed!
The official route was to start at Warburton Cog 2 Cafe, ride up the aqueduct trail, attempt the summit of Donna Buang and back the same way, roughly 70k.
For a couple of us, it didn't seem epic enough so Will and Nuts started our from Mt Evelyn to up the K's to 120+.
The roll out from Mt Evelyn was nice, sun was out a little but the black sky over Mt DB in the background looked rather foreboding. A quick 33k warm up before meeting the rest of the gang at Cog 2 for cake and coffee before the climb.
The aquaduct trail is superb, a great way to get some easy elevation. We were flying up that section. It was pretty misty and damp though, not much in the way of views due to weather.
Where the aquaduct trail hits Don Road, we took the road and settled in for the log climb to the
Meeting up at Cog 2
We lost Martin and Paul at one point, so back tracked to find they had had a puncture.
The closed section of road up to the top was a good gradient for settling into a long climb, but you did need to keep your eyes open as there was a lot of debris on the ground.
It started raining on the way up and was about 2 degrees up to around 900 meters, before starting to drop quite rapidly.
We hit the snow line and the temperature bottomed out at -2. By this time the rain had given way to snow and we were all already very wet from the rain lower down.
Martin bowed out due to a very slow puncture, he turned back and left the rest of us to make an attempt on the top.
By the time we hot the 1k to go mark the snow was quite thick on the ground, and snowing more heavily.
We made the top, but no time to enjoy it. Those that had extra kit got wrapped up as best they could and we turned
around to head back down, just as the worst of the weather was hitting!
As you can see in the photo's, the camera lens froze on the way back down. I had it set to take one photo per minute, and there were 30 photo's like that so you do the maths. That's a long time below freezing, in wet clothes riding down hill.
It was too dangerous to go flat out coming back, with all the debris on the road and the layering of snow. We were so cold due to getting wet on the way up and the effect of wind chill as we were riding down hill. A few of us took to riding with our brakes on just to give some resistance to peddle against and try and get the blood flowing. We had to come a lot lower down to hit zero degrees this time due to the weather front passing over us. By the time we got back to the aquaduct trail everyone was beyond cold, shaking uncontrollably and wondering who would get the first frostbite of the group. I can honestly say I have NEVER been that cold in
my life, and ay one point on the way down it was starting to get a little scary. One puncture would have been enough to see us in some deep trouble.
Will and Nuts split at the aqueduct to head back to Mt Evelyn whilst the rest of the group carried in the way they came. We'd warmed up a little by the time we got to the car, but got another soaking as the heavens opened to a rain storm just as we were trying to pack up and get changed!
All in all, a very memorable and truly Epic ride. Well done to all for surviving!
There are more photos below