Wonderful Wombat 100 reconnaissance: in pictures

Late in 2017 an email was sent out from Audax Australia calling for new ride proposals for 2018. Specifically they asked for rides that would showcase the various regions of Victoria, and were looking for rides including dirt and gravel.

Not one to shy away from epic rides, Martin Grannas took Audax up on their offer and proposed a 100km gravel brevet. His description: Quiet fire roads, rail trail and farm roads through and beside the Wombat State Forest. Hilly first 60 km, last 45 km flatter and more downhill. Unsupported. 15 km sealed out of 105 km total. Unsupported but checkpoints at Blackwood, Lyonville and Trentham, all of which have shops, water, toilets. Starts 20 min after 1st Vline train from Melbourne. CX or MTB recommended.

A few riders went out with Marty in September 2017 to recon the ride but unfortunately I was out of state and couldn’t join them. Marty set up another recon so that I could join in. Here’s the story in pictures.

Note: picture credit also to Gareth Evens: the Melbourne Randonneur.

Part 1: The hilly first 60

Up and over
Perfect weather for the ride: low cloud, mist, and not too hot


Nearly 3 hours in… when you start thinking it’s going to be a longer day than anticipated
How many cyclists does it take to fill a water bottle?
60km in. My bike is tired

The first 60km was exactly as Marty had said it would be: hilly. By this point we had been on the go for over 4 hours and had covered the majority of the climbing (around 1500m). The roads were incredibly dusty, and while I was super happy I’d brought the MTB during the descending sections, I was getting very very tired of lugging this beast up all the climbs. I was starting to feel, well, done. Soft sandy ascents due to recent gradings and pebbly descents made for hard work. Gorgeous scenery yes. Great company yes. But I was cooked.

Part 2: The flatter 45km

Rolling around the corner from the 60km mark we hit the rail trail from Lyonville to Trentham, and between the descent into Lyonville, the scenic rail trail, and Red Beard Bakery in Trentham we all perked up again.


Lining up at the bakery
Dusty indeed
Mmm tasty


After being saved by coffee and baked goodness we headed out of Trentham for a few more climbs (shorter) and fire trail (less dusty now) towards Gisborne.

Passing through the triangle at the Wombat meant we were close(r) to the end
Ride of attrition: We were down to 6 at the finish

With one more long windy road and a little tarmac to finish, the Wonderful Wombat 100 was complete!

The official ride will take place Friday September 28th, 2018, the holiday before the AFL Grand Final. Bookings can be made via the Audax website. Cost: $6 for Audax members, $16 for non-members. See: https://www.audax.org.au/portal/rides/calendar. Would suggest a CX as the ideal bike (rather than the MTB) as long as you can handle the bone jarring descents.

The Team

Six riders completed the entire 100 circuit:

  • Martin Grannas (ride organiser)
  • Garath Evans (Melbourne Randonneur)
  • Jon Thornton
  • Matthew Turner
  • D’Wayne Saunders
  • and me

The other four riders did the same distance but varied the route based on their start locations:

  • Mark Rigby (did the official route: we skipped out and did Gibbs Access and Chambers Rd instead, which won’t be possible in September as it’ll likely be underwater)
  • David Mast (started in Kyneton so headed North after Trentham)
  • Blair Calvert (same as Masty)
  • Steve Baxter (left after 40km for more single track before heading home)
Photo by David Mast


  • 102.7km with 1800m elevation
  • Gravel versus tarmac: 87km versus 15km
  • Moving time: 5 hours 34 minutes
  • Elapsed time: 7 hours 3 minutes
  • Nice buns consumed: 2


12 thoughts on “Wonderful Wombat 100 reconnaissance: in pictures

Add yours

  1. Good on you for writing this post. Too often, rides become a vague memory five minutes after they have finished. Your blog post keeps the memory alive.


    1. Thanks Jon. Also wanted to keep a record so that when the ride comes up in September we have something to show potential riders 🙂 Because it was an awesome loop


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