The (new) Freeway
Metres Climbed: 440
Avg Gradient: 5.9%
Road Quality: Excellent
This is one you’ll only get one chance a year to ride, so make the most of it! In Mid March Bike SA puts on the Boileau Velo Adelaide, a community ride through the hills, where they close off the freeway to cars. Apparently enough, the climb is then free from cars, which is nice, but you do have to negotiate your way past a couple of thousand other cyclists. If you’re planning to go fast, try and start at the front. I was about half way back this year, and getting through the first 500m was chaos, even with such a wide road.
The ride is paced up Glen Osmond Road, and the real hill climb starts almost as soon as you get onto the freeway. This climb is really really steady. Once you get into a rhythm, you’ll find that the road does get steeper and shallower, but not by much. It’s basically 6% the whole way. You may get faster or slower by a k/h, but it’ll never be stupidly steep, and nor does it let up. The relentlessness of the climb does get to you after a while, and there is almost always a headwind that funnels down the valley below the tunnels.
The Tunnels are pretty exciting, and some years they’ve had a DJ at the top, blasting music to echo through them. However the most exciting thing about the tunnels is that you’ve now passed half way. On the other side the road continues in much the same way, it might be slightly steeper, but there’s also less of a headwind. You win some, you lose some. The climb finishes as you reach the Crafers turn off.
Of course, you’re not actually finished climbing yet. You’ve still got to go up the road to Mt Lofty, and the ride includes a whole lot of little nasties to tire you out. My suggestion: make use of the refreshment breaks, eat all the bananas, and enjoy the rest of the ride.
Thanks to google for the photos.