The indieVelo "A Grand Day Out" Route-51.4km (31.9 mi), elevation 675m (2,214 ft)-something for everyone on this epic route!
One of the eighteen original Beta routes rolled out on The Island in 2023, A Grand Day Out offers an adventure to explore the entire Island from the inside out and outside in.
Spanning 51.4 kilometers (or about 32 miles) and featuring an elevation gain of 675 meters (approximately 2215 feet), this route is an ideal alternative to the lengthy real-life ride you had to cancel due to adverse weather, a late start to the day, or because your dog amusingly chewed several rays of your wheel.
Furthermore, it’s the go-to choice for preparing for a Gran Fondo race, expertly sweet-spotting climbs while keeping your exertion levels on the flats between Zones 2 and 3.
Starting from the east of the Island, after one lap of North Lake Reverse and three minor bumps along the way, the first challenge of the route begins at kilometer 9 with East a Hill: a 3.1-kilometer climb at an average gradient of 5.2%, with steep peaks exceeding 10%. Welcome to the Jungle.
The climb features three sections. The first 400 meters are at a 5.4% gradient, followed by a deceptive 100-meter flat stretch that might trick you into believing the worst is behind you. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as an intense 800-meter stretch at an average 8.4% gradient follows the flat.
Courtesy of Beta-tester Roman Edelhelfer!
There’s a 250-meter descent at a 2% gradient at this juncture, designed to trick you yet again, because a final section of 1.1 kilometers remains at 5.7%, with peaks at 9%. By then, the pack would have exploded into dozens of small groups.
The descent is quite technical, with many autobraking corners that could make your life miserable and threaten to drop you if not managed efficiently.
Next stop: the Velodrome. On your way to the cycling heaven, at kilometer 16.5, stands Velodrome Hill, a 1-kilometer climb with an average gradient of 2.5%. After one lap of the Velodrome and the descent, it’s time to head towards the East Coast pen by completing three-quarters of a lap of the Coastal loop in the reverse direction.
You’d better be with a group unless you are willing to fight by yourself against a pack on the flats for 11 kilometers. Stay switched on for the roundabout at kilometer 22!
Route details and description courtesy of Beta-tester Andras Beck!
Upon reaching the East Coast pen, it’s perfectly normal to start hyperventilating. It’s just your body anticipating the next 10 kilometers, where you’ll have to conquer Switchback Hill Climb and West a Mountain KOM sequentially.
The Switchbacks KOM is a grueling 2.3 kilometers with an average gradient of 6.9%, spiking to 11%. The climb has multiple stretches between 8 and 10% during the first 1.5 kilometers, followed by a brief respite of 250 meters at 3%. You can pretend to catch your breath at 3%, and the last part of Switchbacks is again between 8 and 10% sustained.
The West a Mountain KOM is 2.4 kilometers long with a 5.8% average, peaking sharply at 12.8% near the top. The lower slopes are a steady 6% for 1.5 kilometers, then 250 meters at 3%, as you collect yourself for the last 550 meters, increasing gradually from 6% to close to 13% for the last 100 meters of the climb. The final 100 meters will find riders weaving across the road irremediably and frustratingly losing meters and getting distanced forever.
At the end of the West a Mountain descent, you’ll still have 7.5 kilometers to go. It includes a 1-kilometer false flat at 1.5% before reaching the South of the Island rounding South Lake, and finally, you can see the arrival banner in the same place where you began the ride.
If you still have some faith in your physical and mental condition by this point, feel free to take on an extra lap of Grand Day Out. However, don’t expect many companions to join you.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!