Ballarat is home to the Australian Road Nationals, but far from being a one-trick pony this country town offers some sensational riding.
We have mapped out six great road rides for you to tick off when you come to town.
The rides vary from a short hot lap of the Road Nationals course to a longer adventure cracking 100km and 1,000m elevation gain.
There are plenty of Strava titles up for grabs on the many short sharp climbs, and road riding in Ballarat offers the best chance to test yourself against Australia’s elite cyclists.
Road Ride #1 – Mollonghip
Distance - 88.3km
Elevation Gain – 823m
The Mollonghip loop is a ride in two parts depending on which direction you tackle it. Counter clockwise is probably the most enjoyable with the majority of the climbing done and dusted in the first third of the ride. The loop offers some great views and plenty of quiet time away from traffic.
Road Ride #2 – The Australian Road Race Nationals
Distance – 10.1km
Elevation Gain – 208m
The Australian Road Race Nationals course has all the ingredients of a classic professional road race packed into 10km. The first third of the course has two challenging climbs that will test the legs and raise the heart rate. The second third of the course is mostly flat, requiring a lot of drive to keep the pace high before the final descent. The Fisken Road descent provides a great reward for your earlier efforts. This short downhill flows beautifully, enabling you to carry a lot of speed without a lot of effort. The final descent down Geelong Rd is fast and open. It leads to the finish line, or the start of another lap.
Road Ride #3 – The ‘short’ Road Nats option
Distance – 50km
Elevation Gain - 584m
This ‘short’ ride option begins at Racers Café and Bar, completes one lap of the Road Nationals course before returning to Ballarat through Navigators and Eureka. The inclusion of the Road Nationals course makes the loop a challenging one, lifting the vertical gain to an impressive 584m in only 50km.
Road Ride #4 – The ‘intermediate’ Road Nats option
Distance – 88.5km
Elevation Gain – 985m
The ‘intermediate’ Road Nats option follows a similar route to the ‘short’ option, but extends to include Mt. Egerton. The Mt. Egerton climb is not too dissimilar to the Road Nationals climb. 1km in length and an average gradient of 8.0% will have you in the hurt locker, but not for long. The return to Ballarat travels through Springbank, Claretown and over White Swan Rd.
Road Ride #5 – The ‘long’ Road Nats option
Distance – 114km
Elevation Gain – 1,307m
The ‘long’ Road Nats option follows the same route as the ‘intermediate’ option, but picks up extra distance via the road out to Mollonghip. In addition to an extra 25km, the ‘long’ loop picks up an additional 300m of elevation gain.
Road Ride #6 – White Swan
Distance – 20km
Elevation Gain – 326m
The White Swan loop is perfect for all abilities and can easily be turned into a longer ride with some great climbing options. The majority of the loop is ridden on the outskirts of town meaning you are never too far from home. There are lots of short hills to get the heart rate up, and equally as many descents to enjoy.
A sincere thanks goes to the following for helping make this Destination series such a success:
Ballarat-Sebastapol Cycling Club – especially Jenni, Liam, Nick and Tim for their local knowledge and good riding legs!
The Avanti Racing Team – thanks to our superstar tour guides Pat Shaw and Matt Clark
Rapha – for some sweet jerseys
Specialized – for some equally sweet kit and the opportunity to take the Specialized Roubaix out for many spins