Metres Climbed: 145
Avg Gradient: 11.5%
Road Quality: Mediocre
Short, Sharp, Nasty. Kensington Road is one of a host of steep little climbs along the hill face between Greenhill and Norton Summit Roads. Whilst not as long as Coach Road or Coachhouse Drive/Woodland Way, Kensington Road has one of the longest sustained ramps in town. The road is pretty poor quality, with old tarmac riddled with cracks, but frankly, you’ve got other issues to deal with. Making it to the top also rewards you with a fantastic view over the city, if you’re not slumped over your handlebars trying to catch your breath. Start the climb once you make it around the roundabout that intersects Penfolds and Kensington Road.
The first part of the climb is pretty easy. You get to spend about 300m at around 6%. Of course, with an average gradient of 11.5%, that means that the rest of the climb is going to hurt, and it does. As soon as the road takes a turn to the right, it starts getting steeper. For the next 900m, you’ll be climbing at an average of about 13%, with a sustained section of about 15% at about the 700m mark. After this you’ll get a short respite (only 10%) for about 50m, before the climb ramps up to 13% again for the final couple of hundred metres through the turns. My advice is to take a wide line around the turns. If you go on the inside, you’re likely to hit gradients in excess of 25%, and nobody needs that kind of suffering. The climb ends at the end of the road, as you reach the lookout.
If you’re recording with Strava, go up to the top parking bay, because if you only go to the bottom one, it may not record the segment as completed, and this would be sad. I’ve heard tales that if you have a mountain bike or cyclocross bike you can continue through past the lookout along McBeath Drive, but if like me you have skinny road tires, it’s back downhill from here. The road is noticeably smoother one the downhill side, having been quite recently paved.