Hobart’s Top 10 Climbs, #9: Nelson Rd

Bend 3 of the 7 famous hairpins.

This is the second post of a series on some of the great road cycling climbs around Hobart. You can be notified of new posts in the series by following me on Twitter.  I have ordered these climbs according to my own preference.  No doubt you’ll disagree with me: just tell me in the comments!  I hope this will inspire you to go and ride these climbs 🙂

Enough blather, what about the climb?  I was in two minds as to whether or not I’d include Nelson Rd in this catalogue of climbs. It is quite a suburban road, and doesn’t have the quiet back road feel of most of the other climbs around Hobart that I’ve chosen for my top 10. However, the road has some unique and fun features, particularly 7 hairpin bends, and it is also well suited to a tempo style climb for each straight. This allows you to build up a nice rhythm with a high tempo run to each corner, out of the saddle to power around the hairpin, and then back on the seat and into your previous cadence on the next straight. Unfortunately, the lumpy road surface does throw your rhythm as you bump over driveway ramps, but I guess that’s all part of the fun!

I mark the start of this climb at the intersection between Churchill Ave and Nelson Rd, although Nelson Rd does start down at the Casino at sea level. The section of the climb between the Casino and Churchill Ave has a lot of traffic and the intersection with Churchill Ave is a hassle because of the traffic, so I’ve excluded that from the climb.

As I said above, the best features of Nelson Rd are the seven hairpin bends, which make great waypoints on the climb. Although after Bend 4 one starts to lose track and there’s always a bend or two more than you hope!  In future years, no doubt these will be commemorated with the names of famous cyclists who have conquered this climb.  I think I’d like to have Bend 3 (pictured above); you can claim one of the other ones.

After the seventh bend, marked by two big water tanks, you crest onto the “plateau” of the hill and follow the climb, which continues at the same gradient, albeit without all the zigzagging, to the finish at the intersection with Olinda Grove. This section of the climb is not very interesting but you will need to keep the power on all the way to the very end if you want to take the KOM in Strava!  (I should mention that the KOM is currently mine and I’d like to keep it that way, okay?)

Take a left at the end to ride to Mt Nelson Signal Station for incredible views over south eastern Tasmania (definitely recommended) and coffee. Turn right to take the quick way down on Proctor’s Rd. Or if you are crazy, down the Southern Outlet.

Your Challenge: ride 3 repeats in a lunch break

The next post describes a climb with a very different feel

Nelson Rd
Distance 3.9km
Category 3
Elevation 232m
Gradient 6%
Maximum Gradient 10%
Time from city 10 minutes
Traffic medium (watch for buses)
Strava http://app.strava.com/segments/628934

How to get to the climb: Take Davey St south, and turn left onto Antill St, and follow Antill St/Regent St/Churchill Ave through the University. Nelson Rd is on your right just after the University.
Nelson Rd: the climb starts here.  Bend 1 is immediately ahead

Nelson Rd is made up of long straights, and …

… Hairpin bends.  This is Bend 2

Lumpy driveways to negotiate ahead

Pleasant scenes on the climb

Bend 3

And another long straight!  Keep that tempo going

Bend 4!

More trees provide some shade

Bend 5…  Two to go.

Bend 6 ahead

Gardens to distract from the pain

Bend 7, no more hairpins after this, just a slog to the top

And here’s the top

You can ride back down Proctor’s Rd — take it easy though, it’s busy!

Other posts in this series:

4 thoughts on “Hobart’s Top 10 Climbs, #9: Nelson Rd

  1. Checked this one off today! Was my first ride into Hobart from my place out in Lewisham, a 115km round trip with a couple of detours. That’s three of the climbs ticked off now with Grasstree (both sides) and Rumney ridden earlier this year. Building up to Wellington in the summer. Maybe.

      1. Oh wow that’s some route! 😮 I ticked Strickland off the list yesterday, turning right at the end to continue up to Neika before flying back down the Huon into Sandy Bay for another trip up Nelson. Went all the way to the lookout this time for a cheeky photo. Some great roads!

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