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TARRAWANNA MENS CYCLECLUB

Bright Day 2 – “Gaps loop”, “it’s pretty flat, easy ride!”

Known locally as the “Gaps loop”, we set out in search of a “fairly easy” ride to do the day before tackling the stupidly hard 3 peaks loop. At about 115km long, the loop takes you away from the big peaks, north towards Myrtleford, then east across to the Kiewa Valley Hwy. From there you head towards Mt Beauty, going up Tawonga Gap, then descending back to Bright, easy!

Known locally as the “Gaps loop”, we set out in search of a “fairly easy” ride to do the day before tackling the stupidly hard 3 peaks loop. At about 115km long, the loop takes you away from the big peaks, north towards Myrtleford, then east across to the Kiewa Valley Hwy. From there you head towards Mt Beauty, going up Tawonga Gap, then descending back to Bright, easy!

The Gaps Loop is a popular loop for cyclists in Bright. Ride in any other direction from Bright, and one way or the other you’re going to end up doing a 15km+ climb! The loop itself has been popularised by being used as Stage 1 of the Tour of Bright. All grades aside from A, tackle the 90km loop as Stage 1 of the tour. Its 15km shorter then our loop because the finish is held at the Tawonga Gap summit.

Heading north out of Bright, you constantly have 2 things follow you. 1) the “Rail trail“. This is an amazing piece of bike path that goes from Bright all the way to Wangaratta. 2) Is Mount Buffalo. Its jagged peak is almost always visible from the road as you leave Bright.

Fields of hops. You know, like in beer! It’s hard to tell, but there is a complex network of string held up by wooden posts. The hops vine grows up the string. Mt Buffalo as always in the background.
Pretty quiet roads heading towards Myrtleford.
Just before Myrtleford you turn right onto Happy Valley Rd. With a reasonable climb on the road, I don’t know about happy, but it certainly was peaceful. Very little traffic, open fields, surrounded by mountains… nice riding.
Noisy Giant, nothing new! Simple fix this time thankfully, lose bolts on the bottle cage.

The gents enjoying the sun on Happy Valley Rd.
Looking back to where we came from, as the Rosewhite climb starts. And yes, that is Buffalo again in the distance.
Towards the top of the Rosewhite climb “I thought this was supposed to be a short climb!”

Spectacular views heading towards the Kiewa Valley Hwy.
Back to Bright via Mt Beauty then Tawonga Gap. Left takes you back to Albury/Wodonga and NSW.
Taking a left turn off the Kiewa Valley Hwy puts you on a back road with pretty much zero traffic, that follows the river almost all the way to the start of Tawonga Gap.

With no rush at all, we put Tawonga Gap on pause for an hour and headed into Mt Beauty for a coffee.

Here’s a tip. Don’t take the short cut out of Mt Beauty by going the wrong way down the one way street! The local Nannas will not be amused (as some of us found out!)

From Mt Beauty to the top of Tawonga your photographer got a bit lazy with the photos, and a bit too over excited with “testing himself” up Tawonga. 22 minutes of suffering later, I found myself up the top of Tawonga with no friends, almost out of water, suffering in the heat, wondering how that effort will affect tomorrows planned 3 peaks 240km epic!

The view down to the valley below from the top of Tawonga is always spectacular.
It was HOT up there! Hot pink hot! Check out those socks!

With an easy 8km descent down the west side of Tawonga Gap, all we had left was a cruisy 5km of flat back into Bright. Aside from dinner, and a cool off in the river, thoughts were now focused on what lay ahead tomorrow. For all but 2 of us, the biggest ride we’ve ever attempted, and the unknown of what the “back of Falls” brings!

Riding back down the main street into Bright never gets old.
The street we were staying on wasn’t bad either. Such an amazing part of the world.

The final installment of the Bright trip, the 3 peaks loop, is coming. Did we do too much leading up to it? Will everyone make it? Did the local at Mt Beauty speak truth when he said “there’s a nice little surprise for you at the back of Falls Creek”. Check back in a few days (maybe a week!).

With almost 10hrs in the saddle, there are a lot of pics and stories to go through! Thanks for reading.

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1 comment
  1. Christophers Brown says: December 15, 20128:57 pm

    Excellent work capturing the day KOM king!

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