The GOAT rolled into Victoria’s High Country over the weekend, a four-day stage race showcasing some of the best trails in the country. With just over 400 riders taking up the challenge across e-bike, xc, and enduro categories, The GOAT had all the right ingredients for an epic weekend and would leave riders bleating for more.
The course itself covered a total distance of 136.5km over the four days. Now, this might not sound too tough but with over 3,340m of vertical to be climbed and multiple stages each day, the event proved to be a real test of endurance. The focus for the event was to provide a competitive but social environment to get out on your bike and it did just that.
Each day the courses provided timed descent sections for the Gravity GOATS, while the XC and E-GOAT categories would be timed over their entire course.
Watch video highlights here
Day One: Yack Tracks
Day 1 would kick off in Yackandandah, delivering a smattering of Yack’s very best singletrack. The Yack Tracks provided a great start point for the riders’ longest day of the event, with just over 44km of riding to be done and just shy of 900m vertical.
The Gravity GOATS had 3 timed descents to attack, while the Yack track’s offered XC and E-GOATS riders the perfect opportunity to size up their competitors and come out swinging.
The GOAT ambassador and local legend Paul Van Der Ploeg said “the vibes were high out there, plenty of chat and banter being thrown around but people were leaving it all out on the course.”
Paul added that after chatting to people on the trails, there were folks from Canberra, NSW, and TAS who had never been to or ridden the area before. He said, “it’s awesome to see events like The GOAT bring people into the region, riding these awesome trails and giving them a taste for just how incredible this area is”.
Day one wrapped up with riders returning to The GOAT Village at Bright Brewery. The GOAT Village offered displays of all things mountain biking with a selection of delicious food and beverages to recharge the riders.
Day Two: One for the mountain goats
The second day of four would see riders tearing up some of the region’s best trails at Mystic Mountain Bike Park in Bright. With a similar amount of climbing one over a much shorter distance, day two was set to be a tough one.
Another 3 timed stages awaited the Gravity GOATS, with all riders climbing the entire 886m straight out of the gate without any chance to descend or rest. Once riders reached the peak it was relatively all downhill from there. For those of you who don’t know, the Bright trails take in a mixture of natural bushland and pine forests, offering a delectable selection of chunky rock tech mixed with some of the fastest flow trails around.
With so much climbing to be done, E-GOAT riders were going to have to be very careful about how they conserved their battery throughout the day.
When asked how the stage went, ambassador and pro cyclist Tilly Field said “it was tough out there today, but my god the views made it all worthwhile. The pain of the climb was long forgotten by the time I’d made it to the bottom of the second descent, Shred Kelly” she then said “Mystic really turned it on for us today, everyone’s stoke levels were sky high”
Riders once again finished up their day at the GOAT Village at Bright Brewery, feeling slightly wearier than the day before as the fatigue started to set in.
Day Three: Hand cut delights of Mount Beauty
Now, onto day three! Day three would see riders take to Big Hill Mountain Bike Park in Mount Beauty. Some riders definitely seemed a little slower to get started than others. We were guessing they were likely feeling the effects of either the two days’ previous trails or the aftermath of a fun night in the GOAT Village, who’s to say?
Lucky for them Stage 3 is the shortest of the 4, with 25.5km being covered, Course Director Justin Lane headed the warning “don’t be fooled, this is by no means an easy stage with 693m of vert and some of the most technical trails of The GOAT ahead”.
The mini shredders and future GOAT champions got a chance to get amongst the action as the Billy GOAT skills clinics took to the Big Hill MTB Park. They had an absolute blast. Day three got the energy pumping with a best-dressed prize on offer and weekend-only riders joining the rest of the field.
The Mount Beauty trails offered riders something quite different from what they may traditionally be accustomed to. Course Designer, Shannon Rademaker said, “these trails are hand-cut gems and don’t follow the standard recipe of modern trails.”
Day Four: Back to Bright
The fourth and final day of The GOAT would take riders back to Mystic Mountain Bike Park for a final, gruelling day. The weather turned up the heat for day four, testing riders as they tackled two 16km loops.
The Gravity GOAT had two chances on each of their three stages to set their fastest time during the two loops.
Course Director Shannon Rakemaker said, “it was a tough slog out there today in the heat but the riders had a lot of fun on the flowy trails of Mystic.” He said, “we designed today’s stage to be the perfect mix of fun descents with challenging sections weaved throughout.”
We’re big fans of multi-day stage races and The GOAT certainly didn’t disappoint. There were huge grins from riders across all four days and the GOAT Village offered something for both riders and spectators.
If you’re on the fence about getting involved next year, go for it, grab a goat by the horns, and have a crack.
For all the results and more details on the unique format of the event – check the official page here.