Got up this morning and did a nice 60km ride from West Beach to the Bollards then Mt. Lofty
and then back down Greenhill Rd. and home again. I have been up to Crafers twice before but this is the first time I pushed on (all though I still stopped at Crafers for the obligatory Donut). I managed the Bollards run in about 36 minutes which I am not to unhappy with given that it is only my third time and I have been relegated to my old flat bar as my Litespeed was killed by a car about two weeks ago.
The main reasonfor the hill climbing is to try and prepare for the 100km Amy's ride in about 3 weeks time. The question that I have is what is the best way to do the ride? Is it a harder ride doing the Greenhill Rd. leg first or is the Bollards leg the hardest?
I am thinking that I might try the Greenhill Rd leg first as I think that it would be better training and I also noticed today that if I over cook a corner (or get forced over by a car) on the descent I might find myself flying down a very steep hill which would be bad. The descent down the old freeway seems a fair bit safer and my wife is already pretty nervous about me ridding after my car bonnet surfing episode.
I think Greenhill Rd would be a gentler gradient. That was the preferred road for small cars going beyond LittleHampton before the freeway was built, because of the stiff climb on Mt Barker Rd. The section between Mt Osmond turn-off and "Ye Old Mountain Hut" (the kennels) was reputed to be the steepest part of the road between Adelaide and Melbourne.
Even after the original freeway was built beyond Crafers, we still preferred Greenhill Rd if we had a full load in our Austin A30. (We drove to the Sunbury Rock Festival for our honeymoon.)
And I have climbed Greenhill Rd on a bike, but not (yet) gone up Mt Barker Rd, aka "the old freeway", which, technically, it isn't, even though the original freeway project involved duplicating "the mad mile" and abandoning the road on the Mt Lofty side of the hill (the "bridle path", the temporary road during the Crafers Hwy construction, and now the bike track).
Greenhill is a long hard slog...harder than the climb to crafers IMO because it's long and no real chance for a rest. The road is narrow with no run off and so you do risk life and limb with any nutters that may come flying around corners. I've done the climb once..it was nice but I doubt I'll do it again. It's much more fun to come down. I've only come down once and followed more other more experienced looking guys to use as guides... we ended up caught behind cars anyway. I'd rather ride up Norton or Crafers any day...but I guess if it's training you're after then Greenhill will give you a good work out... but so will the bollards.
I wonder if the better ride might be to go up new Norton Summit Road and then across to Crafers via Woods Road & Mt. Lofty Scenic Drive and then back down the old freeway. I hear that the Norton climb is pretty good and quite safe as there are lots of bikes and not may cars. It would also stretch the ride out to about 70km according to Google Earth. Might be a better training tun for the Amy ride.
I reckon this in the better (& harder) way to get to Lofty. Have only done it once and loved it. Might actually give it another crack tomorrow. The weather looks perfect.
Greenhill is steeper on average. I prefer it to the old freeway because it is a constant gradient. Most car drivers are pretty good when climbing up Greenhill and are mostly the same when descending. Watch out for buses coming up when descending, however. They tend to look like they're using more of the road than they actually are. Just stay calm, stay in your lane and everything should be fine. Also don't ever keep to the left to let cars past when descending, just claim the lane. Cars would only be going about 10km/h quicker if at all anyway.
Where did you get the donut from exactly....hungry now
Just from the little coffee shop in Crafers. Don't tell everyone or there won't be any left next week when I get up there...
I find Greenhill a harder workout; it's a longer consistent grade. But then, any hill is as hard as you decide to make it. Do GH early or when there's not a lot of traffic, and the freeway is much safer to descend than Greenhill.