Conquering Donna

On the 19th of March (yeah yeah I know…its July now) a group of us Vigor/Melbourne Adventure nutcases headed out to Warburton to ride up Donna. Mt Donna Buang that is.

It’s fair to say I was freaking out a little bit as this was my first time riding up a mountain but as usual I just gritted my teeth and got on with it. It was hard to decide what to wear, I knew I’d get hot going up, but would freeze going back down.

Lucky for us Captain Liam was testing his timing system so was driving up and I could leave my jacket in his car to wear for the way back down. I didn’t want to have to count on my fans offering me newspapers to stuff down my jersey.

One of the girls riding mentioned that the first half of the climb was the hardest, with the second half not quite so steep but still with a pinch at the summit. As soon as we hit the Mt Donna Buang Summit road I thought “what have I DONE”, 16kms of this!! But being the climbing addict that I am, I just dug in and spun away.

The stronger riders left me in their dust pretty much straight away but I was pleased to note I still had four other riders with me and I thought if I could just hang onto them I’d be okay. After sitting on one girls wheel for a bit I felt strong enough to go around so I did. Then I just felt okay…I mean it was hard – but manageable. By the halfway point it was just Pete and I riding either side by side or taking it in turns to sit behind each other.

I was still feeling good, and it was noticeably nicer after the halfway mark, although you wouldn’t think it by looking at the elevation profile.

We kept chatting and turning the wheels over until around the last three kms when I decided to dig in and push to the end. There was a definite pinch at the end, and I was very happy to see the group waiting for me. I’d burned Pete off by now (felt a little bad about that, sorry Pete!) and rolled over the line as #2 female.

Let’s not get into the whosey whatsits about how many girls there were (four alright), lets just focus on me coming second!

It was a great feeling and I was really chuffed after conquering Donna! Unfortunately this is before I thought about times, and I can’t remember how long it took me, it was a bit over an hour, maybe 1:15.

The descent was not fun for me, not because I was freezing but because I’m terrified of descending. I’d love to do it again now, when I’ve got a bit of my cornering mojo back.

–> quick detour, my mate Rach slid out on a corner on the bouley in the wet one morning just before this ride and it shook us all up, not as much as poor Rach though! Don’t worry she’s all good now. Happened on the Wednesday, and she paddled 70kms from the Saturday – Monday. You thought Hoogerland was tough!

Anyway I came last in the descent, although the four others I was riding up with waited for me on the Donna-Warburton road so we could ride back into Warburton together.

After that it was coffee and cake time! A terrific day out, and I really enjoyed it.
Here are a couple of photos:

Warren and Pete in Warburton before heading off..

The riders after ‘conquering’ Donna. I’m on the far left.

Some stats (from here):

Total Distance: 16.80km | 10.44mi
Starting Altitude: 170m | 558ft
Finishing Altitude: 1,250m | 4,101ft
Average Gradient: 6.4%
Elevation Gain: 1,080m | 3,543ft
Surface Type: Smooth Bitumen / Asphalt

– Jen

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One Response to Conquering Donna

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