Words by Flow | Images by Wildside MTB

16-19 January 2016, it is on again. Wildside MTB, the long-standing classic mountain bike stage race from Cradle Mountain and down the wild west coast of Tasmania, makes its return.

The RACT Wildside MTB is a must-do event for Australian mountain bikers. Why? It’s all about the unforgettable journey, the unique Tasmanian landscape and the wild trails that you race over. There’s no other race out there that gives you access to these parts of Australia. Wildside feature 6

Day 1 begins high up in the grasslands of Cradle Mountain National Park. If the sometimes temperamental Tassie weather gods allow it, you’ll be able to see Cradle Mountain itself. The day’s second stage takes you to Que River, and through the remnants of the mining operations that once dominated the economy here.   Wildside feature 20 Day 2 is a wilder affair, beginning with an incredible up-and-over on the Stirling Valley stage. The rooty singletrack descent into Roseby is a real highlight – it’s definitely one of the faster, wilder bits of trail we’ve ever ridden in cross country race! The day’s second stage through Montezuma Falls, is perhaps the most iconic part of the race with its elevated swing bridge high above the falls and the valley below. The stage finishes with 10km of awesome, undulating descending along ancient tramways into Melba Flats before rolling into the pub at Zeehan.

Wildside feature 2

The famous Montezuma Falls swing bridge.

Day 3 is an awesome journey in its own right. The day kicks off with an paired 6km time trial around Zeehan, just to get your heart started, before a long neutral cruise stage towards the stunning, untamed coastline at Trial Harbour. This tiny little township is the starting point for the day’s second stage, our personal favourite of the whole race. The 22km run from Trial Harbour to Granville Harbour is amazing mountain biking – fast, rough, and with amazing natural rhythm. The setting is spectacular too, with the pounding surf off to your left and towering peaks to your right. An unforgettable day on the bike.

Wildside feature 11

Wildside feature 12 The Trial Harbour stage takes place mainly on stark white granite-based fireroads, which form incredible shapes to play with.

The fourth and final day of Wildside is a glorious finish. At 36km, it’s the shortest day of the race, which leaves plenty of time at the end of the racing to soak up the awesome vibes of Strahan with a few lagers and some fish and chips on the harbour dock. After some fast, sandy forest riding, you hit the iconic hammerfest down Ocean Beach, which is a seriously exciting way to cap it all off, swapping turns at high speed. Just pray for a friendly tide and a tail wind, as your legs will want all the help they can get with 200km already under your belt!

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