Distance - 88.3km
Elevation Gain - 823m
The Mollongghip loop is a scenic 88km ride that leaves from Racers Bar and Café, which is directly across the road from Lake Wendouree.
The loop can be done in either direction depending on the wind. If the wind is a north easterly, riding the loop anti-clockwise is your best bet. It will be a bit of a grind getting out to Mollongghip, but once you turn west towards Creswick, it’s smooth sailing.
Approaching the loop from this direction will also tick off almost all of the routes climbing within the first third of the ride. One-third climbing, two-thirds descending - sounds like my kind of ride!
There are no significant hills on this loop, but plenty of undulations. Most of the climbing throughout the loop is made up of short hills of about 1km, and nothing more than 5-6% gradients.
The biggest challenge to overcome will be the wind. As you get further out of Ballarat the ride opens up and becomes surrounded by vast paddocks and fields. As beautiful as these are, they offer little in the way of protection from the wind, so be prepared to put some pressure on the pedals.
The ride is very scenic and goes quickly. The open roads and lack of traffic let your mind wander, and 20 minutes tick by without a thought. Riding this loop with a small group would be a weekend morning well spent. The quiet roads provide safe cycling and plenty of time to chat.
Riders in metro areas will instantly love the fact there are no traffic lights and no need to constantly unclip. The only thing to wonder about on these roads is if it is magpie season. The ride peaks at about 700m above sea level and the total elevation sits at 823m. If you are looking for some more vert. hurt, there are countless options available.
The road between Creswick and Mollongghip allows you to turn back early if you so desire. Great to know if you are struggling or need to get back into town in a hurry.
The road surface is pretty good, although it’s worth noting that all of the local riders were on bullet proof alloy wheelsets, saving the carbon clinchers or tubulars for racing.
If you have a little more time and want to crack the century, the Road Nationals course in Buninyong is only a short 10km ride away. There and back, plus a hot lap of the course will take the ride up to 120km, very deserving of a post ride brew and brekkie.
A sincere thanks goes to the Ballarat-Sebastapol Cycling Club – especially Jenni, Liam, Nick and Tim for their local knowledge and good riding legs!