16 February 2021
By Joe Grace
Victoria Divide 550 - 2021
On Feb 27th, 2021, just before the light of dawn peeks over the horizon at 6am, the Victoria Divide 550 will be rolling out for what is set to be yet another great race, tour or jaunt through Victoria's section of the Great Dividing Range. An amazing route and a definite test of fitness and mental strength, the Vic Divide will be sure to challenge all who choose to tackle it. Check out the ROUTE.
The Victoria Divide 550 is, as the name suggests, a roughly 550km self-supported bikepacking event that covers a variety of off-road terrain from Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga along the Great Dividing Range.
Created by Lewis Ciddor, a good friend of Curve, the event is in its third year and is drawing many returning adventurers, new riders and even an eager following from the famous dot-watching community! For those wishing to race the route or those just wanting to tour through the mountains, the Vic Divide attracts and welcomes all walks of adventure cyclist to challenge themselves against some of Victoria's most testing terrain.
As can be seen from the stunning map above, created by the talented Alex Hotchin to commemorate the Vic Divide, the route wiggles its way from the start point at Wurundjeri Spur Lookout on the Yarra Boulevard, along the Yarra River towards Sugarloaf Reservoir at the Christmas Hills before continuing in a north-easterly direction towards Toolangi and onto the higher mountains of the Dividing Range covering a mixture of dirt roads, 4x4 tracks and some singletrack.
The elevation starts to kick up from Toolangi onwards, with undulating terrain and numerous sharp climbs between Marysville and Jamieson. A fair number of riders may set up camp near Jamieson with it being one of the first big milestone of the route. Whilst some may rest up in just a bivvy on the side of the road, there are numerous camp spots dotted along the route near major centres to get some sleep.
Specific to the area, there are also some High Country Huts built by the cattlemen of the 1800s amongst the Howqua Hills. Built to house the cattlemen during the summer cattle drive, the huts are still there to provide shelter for weary bikepackers and walkers. Some of the best riding on the course happens along the picturesque Howqua River walking tracks and Feeder Track.
From Jamieson, the road just keeps on going up and up to the top of Mount Buller! With stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Buller is the highest point on the course, and after the long climb you are treated to an equally long and technical descent into Whitfield.
With just under 150km to go from Whitfield, the end is definitely in sight yet there are still a few stings in the tail before reaching the finish line. Sharp ramps into Myrtleford and up to Stanley make sure that every ounce of energy is spent, before the twisty run through Yackandandah's single tracks, Wodonga and the finish line over in Albury!
Whatever happens during this year's Vic Divide, it's bound to be a challenging, yet greatly rewarding experience for all of those that choose to take on the course. Stay tuned for more content around the event, including a run down of kit and preparations by some of our very own Curve Crew that are going to be taking on the Vic Divide!
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