Into the Woods – Kowen Singletrack Goes to New Heights

Words by Damian Breach | Images by Damian Breach

Flow was recently invited into the dark pine forests of Kowen Forest for a tour around the new singletrack being purpose built for the Kowalski Classic on September 22, 2013.

This next section of trails will push the total network of trails in the Kowen area to around 50kms. The plan for the Classic is that the 50kms entrants will be able to stay just in the Kowen compartment to complete their race. ¬†Of course, Kowen’s sister Sparrow will be used, and that’s for the 100km folks.

ss

Sitting in a back corner of the forest is Kowen’s highest peak at around 915m. Previously the domain of illegal dirt bikes this mountain peak has be brought into the mix with an extension to the current singletrack trails. There was an original plan to have that fire road (the one in the middle of the peak) as a climb but lucky for us all they re-thought that and have instead inserted some sweet, easier climbing.

ss

For those who have never been to Kowen you may not have noticed all the stuffed animals nailed to the trees on the side of the access road. These toys sprung up years ago before the road was diverted. Who know’s why they are there?

Web_Feature_Kowen-5

Alan Vogt is proud of the work of the Kowalski Brothers trail crew and this section of the new climb, named Escalator, is another example of how the native land is used to showcase the area. The hill is pretty steep but a network of more switchbacks than Alpe d’Huez makes it a pretty easy journey. Much, much better than the original plan of the fireroad.

ss

It really feels like you are in the middle of nowhere but in reality the new extension is only a few kms from the old trails.

ss

Connecting to the Escalator, and the last 3kms of the new climb, is the Effing track. The Effing track is effing fun, effing flowing, and effing sweet. It’s also a very traditional Kowen trail and if the sun’s not out it’s pretty dark and moody.

ss

Building new trails takes planning and preparation and the Kowalski crew walk every inch of their new trails. Long before the rakes and shovels hit the dirt little pink ribbons show the way ahead.

ss

You can guarantee that time is taken to make sure the trails ride well and hold up to traffic and weather.

ss

“I am George”. Look out for George.

ss

The pine plantation of Kowen is a managed money making venture for the ACT government and over time it will probably be all logged. We’re just lucky they let us use the space in the meantime.

ss

At the very top of the mountain, and at the edge of Kowen Forest, grand views out toward Wamboin, Bungendore and beyond can be had. It’s also rumoured that there may be a refreshment station and coffee machine for the Classic, just so you can relax and take in the views mid-race.

ss

The tall trees of Kowen are the perfect partner for trails. They are the home to a host of animals and not far off the trails there’s always someone (or something) watching you.

ss

The yet-to-be-named (and finished) trail that descends from the mountain peak is a well deserved reward for the climb. Not that the climb is hard but you must always have adequate reward for even the smallest of effort.

close