The Dirty Rat 2022

It was so nice to run this low key event for the first time since 2019. It’s no secret the past few years have been very challenging running a small business. Long hours at work, constant disruptions to opening hours and shipments and a general reduction in fitness left me feeling pretty unmotivated to plan events as rolling lockdowns shut down any idea of planning anything beyond tomorrow.

After a three year hiatus, the return of the dirty rat this past weekend has refuelled my passion for long rides in the bush with friends and planning rides for those less fortunate to have the years of knowledge i’ve aquired riding around Victoria and further afield.

The Dirty Rat started it’s life in 2013 as a 200km day ride out of Ararat, west into Gariwerd. Click here to see the original route we took. Last weekend was the metamorphisis of this route into a 3 day ride with a choice of three “choose your own adventure” loops on day two. This allowed everybody to self seed themselves for the days challenge and leave their gear behind for a big day out.

Day one saw us meet at Ararat station for a 12pm rollout. As soon as you hit the edge of town the gravel starts and you are met with rolling green farmland. Soon after views out to Mt William, the highest peak in western Victoria are revealed. The Moyston general store at the halfway point gave everyone a chance to have a break and regroup. Beyond Moyston a bit of reprive from the pinchy climbs and gravel is given by a 10km stretch of tarmac. Mt William looms larger as you get closer to the wall that is Mafeking road. It was on this hill a few participants questioned why they had signed up. The final 2 km has an average grade of 10% and a few pinches around 16%. The final 9km beyond the pass is mostly downhill to camp at Jimmy creek.

Mafeking road, 2km at 10%
Rest break on Mafeking road

On day two there were three routes to choose from 65, 115 and 145km.

Most of the crew opted for the crusiey 65km ride. It still has two signifigant climbs at the start and end to get you over the Serra range.

The graveltrain

The mid sized route is twice the length of the cruise but definitly more than twice as hard. There’s a bail out at the base of the Victoria range (km65) for those of were feeling a little ambitious or decided to take a detour up to the summit of Mt Thackery. One group opted for a summit while another 5 did the entire loop in just under 11 hours

Meags and co about to descent the goat track
Peak bagging Mt Thackeray 47km into the longer routes

The longest route I set each year is always a tough challenge, you need everything to work in your favour to have sucess finishing the very big day out. With average speeds hovering around 12-14km/h for most, you really need to get going at sunrise if you want any chance of making it back before dark. Like most years there weren’t many takers but it was probably the most sucessful with 2 from 2 finishing in 10 and 11 hours ://

Big rig big mountain

A huge thanks to everybody who came, the stoke for bike adventure has been reinvigorated!

Campfire vibes with Finn
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Commuter Cycles acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional custodians of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Brunswick, and pays respect to their Elders past, present, and emerging, as well as to all First Nations’ communities in Australia.