A ripper out to Panton Gap and another great 6am-er Sunday Ride

This is today’s group of 6am-ers gathered at the top of Panton Gap. 11 ks from Healesville and 11 ks from Launching Place. We came up the dirt road between those two towns – from Don Valley.

Twelve of us headed out this morning on a day which gave us many signs of some nicer spring weather to come. Mild temperatures, dry roads and early light. We’re all so very desperate for those more pleasant conditions. It’s been a long winter.

But today was a pearler and it made for a very jocular atmosphere as we headed out the Warby. For example, there was significant discussion as to how and who would give Horny a smashing in a sprint on his return to Oz. And of course a week never goes by without mention of Mick Villani and his hedge-hog (aka HJ) orders at our coffee stops. The Duke kept talking about turning around but never disappeared and was still there for coffee at the end. Short-cut my arse! If we’d added another 50k he would have been there.

It was during racing on these roads years ago that I first met Bruce (The Claw). In those days he used to wonder who the big idiot was (me) that smashed down all of the hills and had the reversing beepers on going up them. Today was much the same. The undulations of the Warby Highway had me going backwards and forwards through the group like a horizontal yo-yo.

Dairy and Don Roads were absolutely beautiful. The new bridge (with no gaps!) and the few ks of smooth dirt road finished off a fantastic climb (photo up top). As usual, Mad Mike and Foggy went a bit crazy down the drop and our cruise back along Maroondah Highway was mostly free of too much traffic. The Station House coffee shop in Ringwood provided us with a new version of The Pearl (ref: Ripe coffee shop in Sassafrass a couple of years ago… just ask Crash Test) and the very good coffee finished of a fantastic Sunday ride with my mates.

The route looked something similar to this although we straightened it out a bit on the way out and back. Go here if you want a more detailed look thanks to Steve Martin’s Garmin file.

About 130k with 1700m of climbing – pretty standard 6am-er.


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