1566m Vert
Max grade 9.6%
86% Dirt
101% Good times

The Course

A route designed by Australian local Cameron Bird, this course was ever-changing and striked a balance between technical, challenging and fun. It was exhilarating as it kept us on our toes and in adventure mode at every turn. Vast landscapes welcomed us as we got to traverse through private farm lanes, bush track, fire roads and some rail trails on gravel bikes. 

The Catalyst

The seeds for attending the MAAP sponsored event in Beechworth were planted when I came across a photo of my bike that was featured on Beechworth Granite Classic’s Instagram event page. Curious to find out more, I continued scrolling to see what it was all about. Even though I am no stranger to being in Australia as a person with a mountain bike background, I was yearning to cycle off-road and was keen to experience what the dirt roads of Northeast Victoria High Country had to offer. An Instagram story I posted sparked interest amongst my friends and some of them spontaneously decided to sign up.

Event tickets booked, we were set for a 2-wheeled exploration in Beechworth, Victoria.

The Nutrition Plan

They say that what we eat and drink before a big ride is essential to fuelling our bodies right? So, we collectively decided that we should pop by Bridge Road Brewers (one of the official event sponsors) for their famed pizzas and beers (carbs galore!). Coincidentally, we bumped into the MAAP crew and had a drink (or two) while rifling each other up about the ride we were all very excited about.

The Journey

The weather conditions were far from what I was used to in Singapore. I tried my best to keep warm as I waited in anticipation at the start line with the rest of the Singapore crew. Eager to get my legs spinning, I was excited at flag off as that signaled the start of the long awaited 115km of gravel goodness.

There were smiles all around as we navigated our way down the first sketchy descent. It was characterized by fast, loose gravel and I was sliding around some of the bends while trying to find grip. Subsequently, we were greeted by a fine champagne gravel section across the stunning private property in Byawatha.

I was blown away not only by the changing terrain, but equally impressed by the surprises that were in store for us along the way. The party atmosphere was unmissable as we were treated to an epic electric guitar performance and a heart thumping drum tunnel in the midst of our ride. 

After more sketchy descents and undulating climbs, I was wowed as I approached the first feeding station. Well-stocked with treats, the ‘The Gravel Pit’ had piping hot quesadillas (provided by Skratch Labs) and ice cold beers (provided by Geers and Beers). Another highlight of this pitstop was the live band (!!!) that played groovy music throughout. In bid to soak in the entire ambience, we spent a significant amount of time chatting with other riders and refueling with all the tasty offerings available. 

Refreshed and happy, we then went on to the next part of the ride. I pretty much enjoyed this next section of the ride as the sun came out and the course was smooth until.... 

.... I saw this pool of muddy water in the middle of the road. Take it head on or cut to the side? 

Without hesitation, I bombed straight through and got a little shocked by the depth of the pit. But happy to say, I had a splashing good time (obviously haha).

After what seemed like a never-ending uphill climb, we heard loud party music coming from the distance. We felt like we were in an outdoor spin class as we pedaled with enthusiasm towards the music. Exceeding all expectations, the event organizers rewarded us once again (yay) at ‘Frog Hollow’ with the Granite classic tradition of Beechworth Bakery donuts, bananas and gummy worms. As a classic donut lover, there was no way that I would skip this second feeding station. Party vibes all around as I stuffed my face with donuts and moved to the DJ beats. 

The final stretch of the route passed through the picturesque Wooragee private property section where I savored the last of these sights knowing that the course was inevitably coming to an end. 

The organizers AGAIN caught us off guard with a truck loaded with warm gin shots (provided by Barking Owl Distillery). Group cheers as we celebrated the almost completion of the course before cruising back to the event village. 

As we rolled past the finish line, we collected the exclusive event beer and chatted with various people who were an integral part of the event. Satisfied with how the day went, we then gathered around a firepit, excitedly recounting our adrenaline-packed ride experience.

Suffice to say, I was pleased with the variety of surprises along the way and grateful for the opportunity to be part of this growing gravel culture. Not only did I get to experience the beauty of the Victorian landscapes (high country climbs very much included), I got to ride the amazing route that was painstakingly pieced together by the Organizers.

In fact, if you are considering this event, the dates for Beechworth Granite Classic 2024 are already out. Do sign up and expect a guaranteed good time on the bike!

Photo Credits
- Joshua (@joshie_t)
- Mykel (@mykelism)
- Priscilla (@swimminglemons)
- Sufyan (@sufyansairi)
- Terence (@wongkht)
- VJ (@weeejay)

September 09, 2023 — Joshua Tang

Leave a comment