The Dirty Valda - FAQs and more!

The Dirty Valda - FAQs and more!

What IS the Dirty Valda?

The Dirty Valda is whatever you want it to be. The spirit of the Dirty Valda, is that it’s a route and a start time, it gives people something to aim for and an excuse to go and ride their bike. It's not an “event” in the traditional sense; if you’re expecting aid stations, any kind of organization or support then you will be very disappointed! This route is simply intended to be a bit of fun, a flexible course that might catch the interest of a wide variety of riders in terms of experience and skill sets. 

Curve Cycling x Whippets Workshop

Who is Valda? 

The route name is a tribute to the legendary Valda UnthankValda Emily Unthank (née Garnham, 1909 – 21 June 1987) was an Australian cyclist who held numerous outright records for long distance cycling, mostly set during 1938-39. What first established Unthank's reputation was the ride in October 1938 from Adelaide to Melbourne covering 475 miles (764 km) in 33 hours 43 minutes. 

Is the Dirty Valda a Race? Is there an entry fee?

The short answer is NO on both counts. If people want to push themselves to see how fast they can ride it and whether that speed is faster than their friends, they’re welcome to. There will be a MAProgress page for people that want to reduce themselves to a dot on a page so that family or friends can see how they’re progressing and cheer them on.

What sort of bike should I ride?

A gravel/ adventure/ bikepacking/ not a road bike will be best for this ride. It’s possible to ride the route with 40mm off-road tyres but it won’t be very comfortable. A bigger tyre (think 2.1inches) will help make corrugated and sandy sections more comfortable and reduce the chance of punctures. The roughest part of the route is the section of the Goldfields Track from Daylesford to Vaughan Springs - you’ll be riding over rocks and tree roots. As with all of our longer rides, we strongly recommend using robust tyres that are near to new. We also strongly recommend running tubeless tyres with your sealant topped up (AKA Adventure Ready).
Curve Cycling Titanium GMX+ Bikepacking Bike

1280km is a long way, do I have to ride it all?

The short answer is nope! There are many ways to jump on or off this route, to make it just the right amount of adventure for the wide variety of riders that I hope will be keen to get involved. For example, it would be easy to shave off up to 556km (and plenty of climbing) by taking your Kevin (or Not Kevin) and your bags on the train to Swan Hill to join the course there. There are many other train stations between Melbourne and Swan Hill. 
On the South Australian side of things, Stateliner buses services operate from several locations in the Riverland to/ from  Adelaide. Stateliner is bike friendly, for an additional $30 you can leave your bike fully assembled (bags and all) and they will let you put it in the luggage hold in the bottom of the bus. 

What is the terrain like?

There is about 30km of Goldfields Track (rocks, roots, singletrack and lugging your bike up/ down stairs), you can also expect to find bike paths, short sections of significant sand, chunky, loose and champagne gravel. There are some sustained sections of corrugated dirt roads and quite a bit of bitumen too. Be warned that there are some dirt roads that might not play so well in the wet.
Curve Cycling Dirty Valda Bikepacking Quest Q&A
Curve Cycling Dirty Valda Bikepacking Quest Q&A

Will the route change?

The route will stay largely the same, unless there are some unexpected road closures closer to the time. During the reconnaissance mission there were some road works on the way out of Melbourne; these will be checked in August and minor changes will be made as required. Given the length of the route, it’s possible that riders may come upon hazards or closures that were not apparent during the reconnaissance ride. Riders are their own ride organizers and should be prepared to make changes on the fly if the conditions require it. 
Curve Cycling Dirty Valda Bikepacking Quest Q&A

Do I need to use a SPOT or other tracking device and sign up to MAProgress?


No. People can ride the route with as much or as little tracking as they would like. There is no need to sign up to the MAProgress page (rider tracking page for dot watchers) unless they want to. The MAProgress page can be a fun way for family, friends and other riders to follow along the journey with you. The MAProgess page for the Dirty Valda will open for entry in early August, the tracking for the event will be open for a 4 week period to allow riders plenty of time to reach Adelaide. If you don't want to carry a tracker or use MAProgress that's fine! Be advised that there will be sections of the route where there is no phone reception. Satellite communication devices (like the Garmin Messenger, Garmin Inreach and SPOT trackers) provide additional safety but it’s up to riders to make the decision as to whether they would like to take one with them. 

Can I start the ride earlier or later than the scheduled start time? 

Absolutely! This is your adventure and it’s your job to make it as much fun and as workable for you as possible. Start and finish whenever and wherever you like! 

Is it possible to flashpack (stay in accommodation) instead of camping?

If you’re confident in calculating how long things might take you and the distances you can manage each day, with some careful planning, the route is very flash-packable. If you’re taking this approach, it’s best to be conservative with the distances you’re planning to cover each day. In the event of adverse weather, mechanicals or with the added amount of faffing that can occur when the kilometers accumulate, things can take longer than you think!
Curve Cycling Dirty Valda Bikepacking Quest Q&A

What do I need to take?

This will depend on your approach to the ride. If you want to flashpack (stay in accommodation), Sarah has compiled a packing list for flashpacking that can be found on the Curve website HERE. If you’re camping along the way, then simply add your sleeping kit to this. The gear you pack will depend on how much comfort you’re in the market for. If you need a hand working out how to pack your kit onto your bike, have a chat with the Curve crew or come along to Curve HQ for a demonstration on the 24th of July at 6pm. 
A few notes about essential items
Lighting is important: Maybe you’re not planning on riding in the dark, but what if things take longer than you think? Imagine you find yourself on the Goldfields Track in the dark; pack lights that make daylight to ensure it’s much less scary! Bring a good rear light for those road sections too. 
Repair / emergency: tubeless repair kit, small sealant bottle, spare tube, puncture repair kit, pump (check that it still works), chain quick-links, and multi-tool (with chain breaker).
Food / water: take enough food and water to travel the distance between towns. The longest distance between towns is 133 km. The distance doesn’t tell the full story, for the uninitiated things can take longer than you’d expect when you’re bikepacking. Carry extra food and water in case things don’t quite go to plan. We suggest at least two large (1L) water bottles, you may need to carry more in hot weather.
Clothing for the ride: take clothing suitable for the weather conditions; arm warmers and leg warmers if needed, and wet weather gear. Fatigue impacts your body’s ability to regulate temperature and you can waste alot of energy trying to stay warm. It’s good to have a warm vest or jacket in your pack just in case. 
Bags: Make sure you have sufficient storage on your bike for what you need to carry and some spare space so that it’s easy to get things back where they came from when you’re tired. Standard bikepacking bags are a good choice. A saddle pack is a smart option and can fit a lot of stuff. Feed bags are a great option for carrying food in a way that's readily accessible on the bike.
How should I get back to Melbourne?
There are many ways to get back to Melbourne from Adelaide with your bike. 
Here are some ideas: 
Plane- Traveling by air and taking your bike with you is easy. The Curve Crew have traveled all over the world with their precious bikes packing in the humble bike box. If you’re unsure how to pack your bike in a cardboard box you could make a booking in advance for Whippets Workshop in Adelaide (where the route ends) to box it for you. Make sure that items like power banks (and SRAM AXS batteries) are removed from the bike as they need to go in your hand luggage. Make sure that your packed bike weight is within the luggage allowance for the flight you’ve booked. For what it’s worth, 23kg is usually enough for me, but sometimes it’s worth buying a few extra kilos. 
Train- The Overland train departs Adelaide bound for Melbourne on Sundays and Thursdays. It costs $50 (on top of the standard fare) to take your bike on the train, this needs to be arranged when you book your ticket. Your bike doesn’t need to be boxed.  
Bus- Firefly Express operate regular bus services between Adelaide and Melbourne. Bikes are accepted for an additional $30, this must be booked in advance and is subject to space on the bus. Bags can generally be left on the bike. Bikes are transported with luggage items under the bus. 
Curve Cycling Dirty Valda Bikepacking Quest Q&A

 Who’s going??

This is a question that I’m not able to answer. I can say that there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm to embrace the spirit of Valda and head out on a Quest! 
Feel free to use the ‘discussion’ area of the Dirty Valda Facebook event page to connect with other adventurers in advance of the grand depart.

Have a question that hasn’t been asked?? Feel free to reach out!
Comment on this blog, post it on the Dirty Valda Facebook event page or send it through in an email to 

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