Speakers Confirmed for 2017 Australian Mountain Bike Summit – Mt Buller

Now in its fourth year, Mt Buller, in collaboration with Flow Mountain Bike, is launching a revamped the program, this year designed around the themes Collaborate, Educate, Proliferate. The two-day event features a number of Australian and international speakers, presenting on a range of topics under the overarching themes.

Exploring what ‘Collaborate’ means for the mountain bike industry, Simon French from Dirt Art will share his learnings from his recent partnering with the Tasmanian government on the Maydena Bike Park, and from Western Australia, Jason Dover of Cape to Cape and Port to Port, will focus on the benefits an event / tourism board collaboration can bring. Simon Keane of Trailcare NSW will deliver a practical workshop exploring the challenges and achievements of trail advocacy.

‘Educate’ is considered not only from the perspective of what the industry can learn from each other, but also the important role education plays between the industry and riders. Jen Geale, one of the founders of incredibly successful Mountain Bikes Direct, and known for her superb communications skills, will offer insights into modern retailing, whilst workshops will explore mountain biking in schools (Jason English) and the importance of mountain biking coaching for the industry (Evan James, MTBA).

Speakers under the ‘Proliferate’ banner will examine some broad themes around industry longevity and sustainability – the big ‘where to from here’ questions. Proliferation is critical to the ongoing success of the mountain bike industry; Russell Garlick from TrailFund NZ will discuss the way individuals contribute to trail development in New Zealand, and from Specialized, Jeff Moore and Fanie Kok will look at how ‘big brands’ do more for the industry than sell bikes. A workshop exploring whether e-bikes will grow the sport rounds out the Proliferate sessions.

Covering MC duties will be renowned cycling commentator, SBS journalist and host of The Bike Lane, Matt Keenan.

Gill Dobson, Marketing Manager Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, is thrilled to announce the line-up for 2017. “We are really excited about presenting to the mountain bike community a ‘new-look’ conference for 2017, and believe the collaboration with Flow has resulted in a program with a true industry perspective. We have a tremendous line-up of speakers with a depth and breadth of experience across the industry who are looking forward to sharing their knowledge and expertise with delegates.”

“The Summit is a fantastic opportunity for mountain bikers to come together, not only to learn from industry professionals, but to make new connections and networks, and of course go bike riding. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the Mt Buller Bike Park in 2017”.

Registration for the Australian Mountain Bike Summit is now open. Registration costs $499 per person plus booking fee, which covers the two-day conference, and all conference catering and networking functions including the official Summit Dinner. For further information and to register now, visit bike.mtbuller.com.au.

2017 Australian Mountain Bike Summit at Buller

Mt Buller will host the fourth Australian Mountain Bike Summit on 4 – 5 December 2017, the only conference in Australia dedicated solely to the mountain bike industry. Presented by Mt Buller Bike Park, this year’s program has been curated by Flow Mountain Bike and features the theme of Collaborate, Educate, Proliferate.


Group Marketing Manager for Mt Buller Resort Management, Gillian Dobson, said the Summit is a must-attend industry event. “The Australian Mountain Bike Summit was developed after we recognised a gap in the market for such an event and has become a fixture on the calendar for the industry. We have dedicated ourselves to bringing together key players to educate, share and deliberate the key challenges and emerging opportunities currently impacting the Australian and international mountain bike markets.

“Building on the success of previous years, we are excited to be launching a new-look Australian Mountain Bike Summit for 2017, with a program developed in conjunction with industry gurus Flow Mountain Bike. Flow are renowned as passionate advocates in the MTB industry; in their own words, they exist to inspire and educate, making them the perfect fit for the Summit.”


“The Australian Mountain Bike Summit is a unique chance for as diverse range of people from across the spectrum of mountain biking to get together and learn. This year we’ve been working with Mt Buller to help expand the scope of the Summit to include a more diverse range of viewpoints, and to change up the format to encourage more sharing of knowledge between experts from different areas of the sport.

“We believe the path to a flourishing mountain bike scene in Australia is through building stronger connections between all areas of the sport – from clubs, racers, retailers, events and wholesalers, to trail builders, advocates, coaches and more – hence our theme of collaborate, educate, proliferate. If mountain biking is to continue growing here in Australia, both in terms of participation and local industry strength, we need to begin pooling our knowledge and learning from each other’s experiences.”


This year’s Summit will again be hosted by renowned cycling commentator and journalist Matt Keenan, and will feature a number of local and international mountain biking experts. Speakers, including Russel Garlick of TrailFundNZ, Jen and Michael Geale from Mountain Bikes Direct, Jeff Moore and Fanie Kok from Specialized and Jason English, MTB educator and 24 hour champion will deliver a range of keynote addresses and workshops that allow participants to hear from specialists, share ideas and ask questions in a collaborative environment.

“Importantly, the program also includes a range of networking functions, where delegates are given great opportunities to get out on Mt Buller’s trails, enjoy the hospitality and expand their networks.  Industry leaders come together with business operators, clubs, land managers and retailers to informally discuss topics of interests, make business connections and most importantly enjoy riding” said Dobson.

The Australian Mountain Bike Summit is preceded by the official launch of Mt Buller’s summer season on Saturday 2 December, which includes the full opening of Mt Buller’s trail network.  Delegates are encouraged to arrive early make the most of the freshly opened trails, and get a weekend’s riding under their belt ahead of the Summit.

Registration for the Australian Mountain Bike Summit is now open. Registration costs $499 per person plus booking fee, which covers the two-day conference, all conference catering and networking functions including the official Summit Dinner, and three guided rides. An early bird discount of 10% applies until Friday 20 October 2017.

For further information about the Australian Mountain Bike Summit, visit bike.mtbuller.com.au or email [email protected]

Bike Buller MTB Festival Wrap Up

The 2015 Bike Buller MTB Festival, presented by Orbea, has wrapped up for another year. If you don’t know this event and what it’s all about, let us explain. Bike Buller, as it’s known, is an event for real all-round mountain bikers. Over three days it crams in a huge amount of action, across so many different disciplines of mountain biking it’ll leave you dizzy trying to decide how to set up your bike!

There’s everything from brake burners races, to cross country missions, ridiculously fast top-to-bottom enduro descents, right through to pump track racing. It’s a real test of overall mountain biking skill and fitness, all held in the stunning surrounds of Mt Buller. If you haven’t been to Buller, check out our video below, and lock yourself in for Bike Buller next year as it’s the best way to see all the trails.

Read on below for the official wrap up this year’s racing, with the most amazing spread of events yet.


It was a huge weekend of mountain biking action at the Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Orbea, over the weekend, 7-9 March.

The three-day event consisted of seven serious mountain bike races, two spectacle events (the dual slalom and pump track), a trail running race, three kids’ events and a whole bunch of added social activities.

The crowd was diverse with events to cater for riders of all styles. There were plenty of cross country riders but just as many downhill and gravity riders. There were groups of mates from faraway places such as Bathurst NSW, Queensland and even Singapore; local riders enjoying the increased level of competition; and plenty of families making the most of the Victorian long weekend.

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Alice Hamilton, the overall female winner of Race 11, summed up the weekend nicely.

“We’ve had the best weekend. There’s definitely the festival vibe here with so many events and the pump track and Picnic in the Park. We’ve loved it,” she said.

Alex Swann proved too good in the downhill, taking out three race wins for the weekend, but there was no shortage of competition. Several other riders left the mountain with race titles and prizes; and everyone else left with a huge sense of satisfaction, having enjoyed the magnificent Mt Buller trails and festival atmosphere.

This is how all the action unfolded.

SATURDAY 7TH MARCH:

Race 1 – Schwalbe Stirling Circuit 50km
This was a spectacular – and by all accounts extremely challenging – XC circuit over Mt Stirling and back again including Stonefly, the Corn Hill trails and a chairlift up Mt Buller at the end.

Brad Clarke from Berwick Victoria was the clear winner, finishing nearly 12 minutes ahead of the next rider.

“It was good fun; I really enjoyed it. I went out really hard from the start and managed to take an early lead. The best part of the course was definitely the descent on the Stonefly Trail,” said Clarke.

Overall winning male: Brad Clarke
Overall winning female: Melissa Anset
Race 2 – Fox Stonefly Circuit 35km
This rewarding XC race took riders also took riders to Mt Stirling and back on the phenomenal Stonefly trail with chairlift at the end.

“It’s my first time riding at Mt Buller. The downhill section after the 50km and 35km split was just fantastic, so flowy and so much fun. I’m not used to the altitude but I loved the trails,” said Rebecca Payne from Sydney.

Overall winning male: Brad Tregoweth
Overall winning female: Rebecca Payne
Race 3 – Fox Outlaw All Mountain Trophy
In this mind-blowing all-mountain race on two of Mt Buller’s DH tracks – Outlaw Express and Yellow Post – riders completed 5 timed descents with an untimed chairlift back to the top. The fastest 3 descents made up their overall race time.

There were plenty of smiling faces and great tales told at the end of the descent as riders caught their breath as they jumped on the chairlift with their bikes.

At the end of the day, it was Alex Swann who posted the fastest men’s times and highly accomplished mountain biker Clare Kovarik who won the women’s event.

“I didn’t ride particularly well but my favourite bit was the one long straight section where you could go pretty fast so it was good fun,” said Vaughan Blom from Aspendale.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Clare Kovarik
Race 4 –Fox Kids Village Ride
Kids had a ball with this super-fun 5km cross country ride on the friendly trails around the Mt Buller Village. There were no winners as such but ever participant walked away with prizes and high grins on their faces.
Race 5 – Fox 16” Dual Slalom
There was plenty of noise from the crowd, encouraged along by the Red Bull Energy DJ, as two riders went head to head down a grass dual slalom track on Bourke Street, on 16” kids bikes! There were loads of stacks and jeering from the spectators as 32 riders took on the challenge. In the winner-takes-all elimination format Connor Feardon won the final round in a hot contest against Tim Eaton.

Overall winner: Connor Feardon
Race 6 – LEZYNE Kids Pump Track
This was a great opportunity for the kids to have a go on the rolling Pump Track, proudly strutting their stuff to their supportive parents and onlookers.
Race 7 – Flow Pump Track Pursuit
The trackside bar and BBQ and Red Bull Energy DJ kept the crowd pumping and after some thrilling head to head racing on the pump track in a do-or-die elimination format, young rider Jackson Frew managed to take the crown.

Overall winner: Jackson Frew

SUNDAY 8TH MARCH:

9.5km Trail Run
A spectacular and challenging trail running race took runners along the scenic alpine walking and riding trails and up to the Mt Buller Summit, with a beautiful 3.5km descent back to the Village Square.

“It was a beautiful run. I was waiting for someone to pass me on the way down so I just wanted to hold on and get to that finish. My husband raced in the 50km mountain biking yesterday so it was my turn to have some fun today,” said Caitlin Wade from Sydney.

Overall winning male: Ross Hopkins
Overall winning female: Caitlin Wade
Race 8 – SRAM Guide Brake Burner Enduro
The most popular race for the weekend was the multi-lap enduro down a 7km XC/DH course to the base of the chairlift and back up again until the final 12km Super-D (Race 9) to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.

“I managed to get 6 laps in before hitting the Super D. I had a nice clean run down the trails and a really nice stranger stopped to help me on the trail when I had I had a flat. It’s been a great day,” said Helen Yates from Melbourne.

Overall winning male: Jason Archer
Overall winning female: Leah Childs

 

Race 9 – Fox Mt Buller Super D

This exhilarating 12km Super-D race took riders from the top of Mt Buller all the way to the bottom – descending over 1100m in a single run. Riders flew down the Delatite River Trail to finish in the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.

There were a few thrills and spills on course as competitors lapped up the downhill sections, and a fierce battle between Alex Swann and Tim Eaton to capture the win.

“That was awesome. We were both flying down. It was a great trail and we haven’t done the event before. It was great fun,” said Joel and Aidan Geysen from Melbourne.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Daniela Ruoss

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Race 10 – Fox Kids Picnic Ride
It was a diverse field of kids that put their hands up for the Picnic Ride in the Picnic in the Park festival in Mirimbah, with children as young as 3 years on balance bikes through to 13 years on some serious looking machines. They started off with a skills course, progressed to five-laps of challenging off-course circuit and finished brilliantly with a fun “bike limbo”. Cheered on my eager parents in was a great event to encourage young riders.

 

MONDAY 9TH MARCH:

Race 11 – Adidas Eyewear Corn Hill Crankfest XC 22km
It was a tight race on the challenging XC 22km Crankfest on the flowing single track around the Mt Buller Village and neighbouring Cornhill trails. There was a strong lead pack of five riders setting the pace until race favourite Joey Esterhuysen managed to break away on one of the downhill sections.

“It was an interesting race; the guys were pretty strong at the start but I managed to get away from them so I just went for it. It’s been a really good weekend with the mix of events, the trails are awesome and the volunteer course marshalls have been great,” said Joey Esterhuysen.

Overall winning male: Joey Esterhuysen
Overall winning female: Alice Hamilton
Race 12 – Bell Super 2R Gravity Enduro 20km
A gravity enduro around the most popular Mt Buller and Cornhill trails with 5 timed descents interspersed with untimed climbs and transit stages.

“That was the best race of the weekend for me. It’s been a sic weekend, just loved it,” Scott Larritt from Melbourne.

“Yeah, I’ve been having a bit of a go this weekend. I had a really good race yesterday against Tim Eaton so I was definitely feeling it today. The gravity enduro today was really good; good format and a really nice way to finish off the weekend,” said Alex Swann.

Overall winning male: Alex Swann
Overall winning female: Jacinta Nelsson

 

For full results on the 2015 Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Orbea visit www.BIKEBULLER.com

 

Jerome Clementz to Race the RockShox Enduro Challenge

Holy wheel of camembert, Mt Buller’s trails aren’t going to know what hit them!

Insane-fast Frenchman, 2013 EWS Overall Champ Jerome Clementz, is confirmed to race the opening round of the new RockShox Enduro Challenge at Buller! Come on now, Gravesy, you need to show this man who is boss on home turf.

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Read on below for the official word.


 

The level of racing at the RockShox Enduro Challenge Powered by SRAM in Mt Buller in February is set to be hot, with 2013 EWS Champion Jerome Clementz confirmed as a starter for the inaugural Enduro event at Mt Buller on February 1.  Working with Event promotors, Event Management Solutions Australia and SRAM Australia, Jerome has structured his 2015 pre season training around being able to attend this  event.

The 2013 EWS Champion had a tough 2014 sustaining an injury early in the year that put him out of contention for the 2014 series, so is looking to come back to challenge 2014 Champion Jared Graves at the opening EWS event in Rotorua in March.

A number of other Northern Hemisphere riders are looking to come join JC at the RockShox Enduro Challenge events in Mt Buller and Toowoomba.


Learn more, or just enter dammit, at: www.gravityenduro.com.au

And in case you needed any more motivation to head to Buller, watch this vid to get the flavour of the place:

 

 

Bike Buller MTB Festival Gets Super-Sized for 2015

Rapid Ascent have just announced a massive expansion of the Bike Buller MTB Festival for 2015. To be held 7-9 March, the program of events now has 14 races across three days of awesome riding.

Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Amber Gardner, is looking forward to the return of the popular event.

“Mt Buller has solidly cemented itself as a premier mountain biking destination, and we’re really excited to host an even bigger Bike Buller MTB Festival for 2015,” said Gardner.

“The Resort is now home to some of the best trails in the country, including the signature 10km XC trail Stonefly, Australia’s first flow down trail, Copperhead and set to open in December, the 40km Australian Alpine Epic, the very first IMBA Epic trail in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Sensational riding in this spectacular location, combined with plenty of fun activities for non- riders, makes for one seriously awesome weekend on top of the world at Mt Buller,” she said.

The three-day celebration of mountain biking will again coincide with the popular ‘Picnic in the Park’ food, wine and music festival held in the Mirimbah Park at the base of Mt Buller. There will also be a Bike Expo and plenty for non-riders to enjoy, including a range of exciting activities available on and around Mt Buller to suit all ages and interests.

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LONG WEEKEND SCHEDULE OF RACES

 

SATURDAY 7TH MARCH

Race 1 – The 50km Schwalbe Stirling Circuit
A spectacular XC circuit over Mt Stirling and back again including Stonefly, the Corn Hill trails and a chairlift up Mt Buller at the end.
Race 2 – The 35km Stonefly Circuit
A rewarding XC race to Mt Stirling and back on the phenomenal Stonefly trail with chairlift at the end
Race 3 – The Outlaw All Mountain Trophy – NEW
All-mountain racing on two of Mt Buller’s (intermediate level) DH tracks – Outlaw Express and Yellow Post. All riders complete 5 timed descents with an untimed chairlift back to the top, and your fastest 3 descents count.
Race 4 – Kids Village Ride – NEW
A fun ride for kids and off-road newbies with 5km and 10km options on friendly trails around the Mt Buller Village.
Race 5 – The Red Bull 16” Dual Slalom – NEW
Two riders going head to head down a grass dual-slalom track on Bourke Street – on 16” kids bikes! – conducted in an elimination format with a ‘winner takes all’ final to the roars of the crowd.
Race 6 – Kids Pump Track – NEW
A fun event for kids aged under 13yrs on the Pump Track – it’s their time to shine.
Race 7 – The Flow Pump Track Pursuit
Thrilling head to head racing on the pump track in a do-or-die elimination format. It will be a ‘winner takes all’ final in front of a massive crowd.

SUNDAY 8TH MARCH:

9.5km Trail Run
A spectacular trail running race along the scenic alpine walking and riding trails leading to the Mt Buller Summit and back again. Great for non-riders or those who want to mix it up.
Race 8 – The 4.5hr Brakeburner Enduro
A multi-lap enduro down a 7km XC/DH course to the base of the chairlift and back up again until the final 12km Super-D (Race 9) to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain
Race 9 – Mt Buller Super D
An exhilarating 12km Super-D race from the top of Mt Buller all the way to the bottom – descending over 1100m in a single run. Tear down the Delatite River Trail to finish in the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the mountain.
Race 10 – Kids Ride at Picnic in the Park
An (other) opportunity for kids to get out on their bikes with a fun little ride in the Picnic in the Park festival at Mirimbah. Balance bikes, trikes and little ones all welcome.

MONDAY 9TH MARCH:

Race 11 – The 22km Corn Hill Crankfest XC
A challenging XC race on the flowing singletrack around the Mt Buller Village and neighbouring Cornhill trails.
Race 12 – The Adidas Eyewear 20km Gravity Enduro – NEW
A gravity enduro around the most popular Mt Buller and Cornhill trails with 5 timed descents interspersed with untimed climbs and transit stages.
Race 13 – The Buller Cup – NEW
Two timed descents on the legendary ABOM DH track with chairlift return back to the top – but there’s a twist… the winner is the rider with the two closest descent times. Anyone can win – fast or slow!
Race 14 – The ABOM Downhill – NEW
A single timed descent down the ABOM DH track from top to bottom. Fastest wins!

 

Entries are now open for the 2015 Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Orbea at www.BIKEBULLER.com

Bike Buller: Holy Sh*t My Milkshake

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“Holy shit my milkshake!”

Decoding Will’s particular blend of babbled enthusiasm, I know that the Delatite River Trail has lived up expectations and has left him, as we promised, as frothy and shaken up as any good vanilla ‘shake should be. Thinking back to my first ever run down the Delatite, I can recall how he must be feeling – the manic speed of it all, the stomach clenching fear as you get off the ride line and big rocks start flicking your wheels about, the disbelief at just how long it keeps it on descending. And finally a mixture of relief at having survived unscathed, and desire to just do it all again RIGHT NOW.

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Grinning at Will’s excitement, and with the alpine sun scorching in a perfect sky, dust in my nostrils and one of my favourite trails in the whole world ahead of me, I remember once again why I love coming to Bike Buller. This event is one of the best, an event for true mountain bikers, one that rewards a blend of skills, fitness and insanity, not just the strongest legs.

Continue reading “Bike Buller: Holy Sh*t My Milkshake”

Must-Ride: Mt Buller, Victoria

Over the past half dozen years, Mt Buller has really stepped up the game in Australian mountain biking. Working with trail building powerhouse World Trail, the Buller team has doggedly pursued an audaciously ambitious plan to craft the slopes of Mt Buller, Mt Stirling and surrounds into an absolutely stunning network of trails.

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Riding in Buller is simply amazing. Far from your normal trail centre experience (park the car, ride a loop, go home) Buller offers something far more substantial, immersive and rewarding. The hills are huge, the distances big, the trails challenging – this is mountain biking as it should be.

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As Buller’s reputation has spread and as the rider numbers have increased each year, so to have the facilities in the village to support the influx. More and more accommodation options have flung open their doors, there’s quality bike rental, guiding, great food and coffee.

We’ve showcased just a sample of Buller’s wares here, but there’s plenty more to explore, and come late 2014 there’ll be another 40km once the Epic trail opens!  Enjoy the video, soak in the glory of the photos below and don’t hesitate to plan your own road trip to Buller.

Get all the low down right here.

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Sunsets from the summit, just behind the village, are unmissable.

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The new Gang Gangs climb makes the return loop to the village much nicer than in years past.
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Perfect turns on Copperhead.
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Misty Twist, definitely a favourite.
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The summit of Stirling is a rewarding climb, the views are sensational and gives you a real sense of just how much terrain the Buller trail area covers.

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The Delatite River Trail.

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There’s even a Buller app with trail maps, trail conditions and more.

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The trig station on top of Cornhill has become a bike sculpture. Some nice XTR chain rings on there actually!
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Descending Cornhill.
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Quality on-trail signage.
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Wild flower season in Buller.

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Following Ryan on Misty Twist.

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Shuttles, bike rental and servicing and food. What more can you ask for?

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STONEFLY. How can one trail have Australia’s nicest climb and one of the best descents too?

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More Stonefly goodness.
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Insert sound of your brain exploding in joy here.
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We lost count of the number of bridges across the river on the Delatite River Trail – maybe 13? Amazing trail building.
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Text book singletrack perfection.


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More Delatite. More awesomeness.
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Soaking away your cares at Merimbah.
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Riding the thermals.

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Tested: Specialized Camber Expert Carbon Evo 29

This bike was never intended to be a review item for us here at Flow, but after a three-day love-in with the Camber Evo whilst filming for our next Flow Nation video in Mt Buller, we had to let you in on this bike’s dirty little secrets. A gentleman always tells.

When planning our trip to Mt Buller, the conversation soon turned to selecting the best tool for the job. A bike worthy of tackling Buller’s rocky, steep and fast trails, something that wouldn’t flinch at three back-to-back eight-hour days in the saddle. Given that Specialized have close ties to Mt Buller, a bike from the big S made sense. But which one?

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If you’d asked us the same question three months ago, we probably would have opted for a Stumpjumper FSR 29er. But having recently spent some time on the Camber series, we weren’t so sure. The Camber truly exceeded our expectations as an all-rounder. In the end, we decided on a middle ground and chose to ride the 2014 Camber Expert Carbon Evo 29.

Build:

We won’t dwell on the build too much, as this bike shares many of the same construction features we noted in our review of the S-Works Camber here. It’s a truly awesome piece of work. What makes this bike different from the regular Camber line up is the Evo tag.

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The Evo framset uses a different rear shock mount/link to the regular Camber frame, which slackens the frame by a degree and delivers 10mm more travel.

Essentially the Evo label means that Specialized have given the bike some muscle, some grunt. The geometry is a degree slacker than the regular Camber, with 10mm more travel (120mm front and rear), there’s a beefier fork, and the bars are and tyres are wider too. In other words, it reflects the kind of tweaks that an advanced rider might make to the bike in order to boost its performance in technical terrain. And with Buller’s mix of tough climbs and ludicrously fast descents (think the Delatite River Trail… 60km/h easy), this bike really ticks the boxes.

Spec:

When a bike leads with the Rockshox Pike, it’s starting on the right foot. Chopped down to stocky 120mm, this is a seriously stout fork and we can’t think of a better option up front at the moment. It’s even relatively light in spite of its 35mm legs. Rear bounce in handled by a lustrous FOX Float CTD Factory shock that is further enhanced with the foolproof Auto Sag system.

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The best suspension product of the last 12 months? Yes.

The SRAM theme continues with a XO1 drivetrain, the 11-speed 10-42 tooth cassette paired with a 32 tooth ring. This gear range was enough to get us up the steepest Buller climbs while carrying heavy packs and gave enough top-end speed for the fastest fire road descents too. We didn’t drop the chain once or miss a single shift.

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An X01 drivetrain running with custom SRAM carbon cranks,

The Camber Expert Carbon Evo rolls on a set of hoops that even Serena Williams would be envious of. Wide Roval Traverse rims are fat enough to keep the whopping 2.3 Butcher and Ground Control tyres stable in the corners and the bike comes ready for tubeless conversion – just add sealant and atmosphere.

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Formula’s T1 brakes are light and stayed quiet in the dusty conditions.

Formula’s T1S brakes wouldn’t be our first choice, but they wouldn’t be our last either. Their feel takes a bit of getting used to, as the engagement is more vague than a Shimano or Avid brake, and they do seem to heat up a bit. That said, they look fantastic and are very light, and the effortless lever action is really nice.

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Clockwise from top left: The XO1 mech is big, but we’ve never damaged one. A Formula made clamp combines the shifter and brake lever neatly. Specialized’s own Command Post has a very effective little lever that actually forms the clamp for the lock on grip. You have control over both lever reach and brake engagement point with the Formula T1S levers.

Ride:

The Camber Expert Carbon Evo hunts out grip like a boozer searches for a kebab. In the dust of Buller it was pretty inspiring really; just lean it on in and the Camber would worry about all that pesky traction stuff. A combination of excellent big-volume tubeless tyres and near frictionless suspension gives the Camber the kind of stickiness that you expected from bikes with more travel.

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The IR (internal routing) version of the Command Post is significantly lighter to operate than the previous version of Command Post.

After a few hours on the trail we noticed that we hadn’t yet used full travel on either the fork or shock. This came as surprise as the bike certainly didn’t feel too stiff. We dropped the fork pressure 15psi and reset the rear shock’s Auto Sag a couple of times and the transformation was immediate. Suddenly the Camber went from ‘very smooth’ to ‘buttered Teflon’. Both the fork and shock have a progressive spring rate that lets you really use every millimetre of the bike’s travel without smacking the bottom-out bumpers. Charge hard and the Camber won’t make excuses.

We’ve mentioned the bike’s great cornering abilities above, but we do think a small setup change could make it even better.  With its large amount of back-sweep, we found the Camber’s handlebar a bit too lethargic for such a confident bike. We’d have preferred a bar that pulled us over the front a bit more to really drive that Butcher tyre into the ground even harder.

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The stem feels perfect at 65mm, but for our tastes the back-sweep on the 750mm bar is too extreme.

When compared to the non-Evo Camber, the climbing position is a smidge more relaxed and upright. You tend to go at the climbs one gear lower, with confidence that the huge amounts of traction, as opposed to sheer momentum, will get you up the steepest and loosest pinches. On tight switch backs, the slacker head angle and rather long chain stays (451mm) ask that you take a wide entry or you risk the front wheel pushing or lifting. Of course the upside of the overall bike length is stability when you’re bombing the descents.

Overall:

The Camber Expert Carbon Evo was a perfect choice for Mt Buller’s trails. This bike makes line selection and cornering technique an afterthought, without punishing your legs the way a longer-travel bike would. For long days or rides into the unknown, the Camber Evo’s ability to fill in that gap where the unexpected happens or the talent evaporates makes it a fine steed indeed. Grippingly good stuff.

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Test rider: Chris Southwood

Height: 172cm

Weight: 63kg

Tested at: Mt Buller, Victoria

Setup changes made: None, completely stock bike. 

Flow Nation: Mt Buller, Day 3

Stonefly has been named as Australia’s best trail many times, no wonder why.

This single track loop is the crown in the jewel of the incredible trail network around Mt Buller. World Trail have created a masterpiece, a truly wonderful experience in the form of a single track climb and descent that blurs the line between a scenic tour and a real thrill.

Check out first and second days in Buller here.

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Stonefly takes you through the full range of vegetation that Buller has to offer, from green, fern-filled rainforest, to open woodland and all the way up to alpine above tree line.

It’s quite an undertaking to ride Stonefly, it climbs up alongside the summit of the mighty Mt Stirling, the other big whopping mountain you can see clearly from the Mt Buller village. But although it may sound a bit backwards, we believe the climb is as good – if not better – than the descent back down. It’s not one of those climbs that grinds up, and up and up, it has been lovingly built to take in the best parts of the climb, and provides the rider with many moments to rest and recover.

From the greenest of green ferns, to open gum tree woods dripping with bark and up higher into the ghost-white alpine forests, the trail also crosses bubbling stream and waterfalls with delicious cold water. It’s a trail built to last, with extensive armouring and a great mixture of natural and imported features to help the delicate terrain withstand years of happy tyres humming along.

When you make it to the top, it’s time to make the call – slog the 1.5km diversion to the summit of Mt Stirling – or begin the ball tearing descent down Stonefly straight away. You’d be crazy not to visit the top at least once, the views are gargantuan, so vast, it makes the whole Buller experience a very special one, with views of where you have been, going and where the Epic Trail is under construction. Sit under the lone tree, an old wiry gum that must have made it through the wildest of conditions over hundreds of years.

And when you get back to the post the signals the start of the Stonefly descent, you’ve got a lot to be excited about, so much to look forward to lies ahead!

The descent is fast, and bloody exciting. By the time you get rolling, you don’t really slow down until the bottom. Built by riders who love to shred fast, the flowing singletrack makes the most out of the hard-earned elevation.

Riding behind someone accentuates the flowiness of the trail, when you turn one way, the rider ahead turns the other, and it repeats over and over again. The corners are bliss, and there are plenty of sneaky lines to jump next time, or if you’re a bit reckless, go for it.

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Large parts of the terrain around Buller have been logged, way back in the early 1900s. Many of the original bench cuts put in by the loggers are still visible and sometimes form backbone for the new trails.
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The Mt Stirling summit isn’t actually part of the Stonefly loop, but it’s only a 700-metre diversion. It’s a real grunt of a climb to the peak, but the view is definitely worth it.
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The views from the Stirling summit are incredible.

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That’s the Buller village, way, way in the distance. To ride the full loop of Stonefly from the village is a decent old undertaking, so leave yourself three to four hours.
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The lone tree on the Stirling summit. Who knows how long this fella has been up here fighting the elements.

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It’s a great time of year to be in Buller, with all the wild flowers out the trails look fantastic.
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Letting it all hang out on the Stonefly descent. There’s a reason so many people rate this as the best trail bike descent in the country – you forget the climb pretty damn quickly!

Flow Nation: Mt Buller, Day 2

On day 1 in Mt Buller, we got chatting with Norm Douglas, a fella who spends a lot of time up here. His favourite ride? “The Delatite River Trail,” he said, “it’s got something for everybody.” And so taking that recommendation on board, that’s where we pointed ourselves for our second day on the Buller trails.

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The Buller team have developed a great smart phone app to help you get the most out of your time on the trails. It has trail maps, trail info and loads more – definitely worth the download (it’s free).

As you begin the long, winding drive up the mountain to the peak of Buller, you pass a beautiful park and camping ground at Mirimbah; this is where the Delatite River Trail exits, right at the very base of the hill. And its start? Well that’s way, way, way up the mountain – this is a long, generous run, the likes of which are almost unknown in Australia.

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The sky-high eucalypts that surround the Delatite River trail are beautiful, just don’t hit one.

There are many, many aspects that make the Delatite a ride that is guaranteed to stick in your memory. There’s the sheer speeds you reach, fast enough to leave you short of gears; the lingering threat of potential carnage should you stray off the ride line in the rubble strewn fireroad fringe; the towering gums that stretch out of the gullies; the thirteen bridges that span the bubbling waters of the Delatite River… But for us, it’s the way the Delatite Trail just keeps on giving which really stands out. Just when you’re 100% certain you’ve reached bottom, the trail begins descending once again, and you’ve just got to laugh – “it’s still going!”

A dip in the river and a coffee at the excellent Mirimbah store is the perfect way to finish it all off before jumping in the shuttle bus back to the village. Paradise, or what?

Our afternoon was spent on a very different trail, Copperhead. Where the Delatite is raw and natural, Copperhead is a manmade, sculpted flow trail that snakes its way down the ski runs. It’s the ideal trail bike friendly accompaniment to International, Buller’s downhill race track. Berms aplenty, massive corners and a surface that keeps you on your toes, Copperhead doesn’t need a bike with lots of travel for you to have a good time. it’s also the ideal trail for when your legs are blown and the thought of riding back up is enough to send you to the pub.

Tomorrow, we’re taking on Stonefly, a trail we’d have to rate as one of the best in the country.

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World Trail’s Ryan De La Rue joined us on the trails again today. He carries a telescoping fishing rod in his pack – what a legend! He normally bags a trout or two on every outing, but they weren’t biting today.
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There are 13 of these bridges that span the Delatite as you hammer towards Mirimbah. Talk about iconic.
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A quick foot spa in the refreshing (cold) waters of the river before jumping into the shuttle bus.
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Copperhead lets you make the most of the chairlift for some quick vertical, even if you’re not riding a downhill bike.

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MAGICMAGICMAGICMAGIC!


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Flow Nation: Mt Buller, Day 1

It’s been a good half dozen years now since the Mt Buller team embarked on mission to become Australia’s leading alpine mountain bike destination. No doubt, it’s a mission well accomplished.

We’ve been coming to Mt Buller, making the solid drive down the Hume, for a long while now. Originally, back in the nineties and early two-thousands, it was the downhill track that drew us here. But now it’s the staggering quality and quantity of the Buller cross country trails that keeps us coming back.

Every time we’ve returned to Buller since 2007, we’ve been surprised by the pace of the trail development. And we’re not just talking a few new sections of trail here and there, but massive projects – huge, beautiful loops like Stonefly, or lifted flow trails like Copperhead. This time around, Buller’s embarking on an even bigger undertaking, a 40km IMBA-recognised ‘epic’ trail. The IMBA Epic tag isn’t one that’s given out lightly, and when this trail is completed it’ll be the first of its kind in Australia.

But that’s in the future, and for now we’ve got three days to soak up everything that Buller has to offer. Here’s a taste of our first day on the trails; come back tomorrow for more, and hold tight for a Flow Nation video soon too.

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The scrappy fireroad descent that once linked the village to the rest of the Buller trail network is long gone. In its place is the new Split Rock trail, a punchy, rocky, bermed trail. Fantastic stuff.
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If you’re ever looking for a reason to stay the night in Buller after a day on the trails, this is it. The sunsets from the summit will blow your mind.
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With the wild flowers out at the moment, Buller is prettier than ever. Pity about the rider.

 

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Trail builder Ryan De La Rue showed us around the trails this afternoon, as we tried to keep up. This is the view we saw a lot of.

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Climbing back up the village was once a serious mission, but a new, mellow singletrack now makes the ascent a pleasure. In places where the terrain is impassable, bridges have been brought in to get you through.

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Warm days, dusty trails. Feels like summer!
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Norm and Jess Douglas, of Forrest fame, have recently opened up The Corner Store in the Buller village. It’s a great little hangout, with excellent coffee and food, and really fun vibe. It’s cool to have a place like this in town.

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World Trail’s Ryan De La Rue, a super relaxed mountain man. When he’s not building trails, he’s planning his next backcountry adventure or making the most of the mountain lifestyle.
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Misty Twist is looking, and riding, better than ever. The trail has formed into a perfect flow line, 12-inches wide, carving through the wildflowers.
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Hooking in at the peak of the Cornhill descent.

Trails: First dirt turned on Mt Buller’s ‘Epic’ Mountain Bike Trail Project

Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management has announced the beginning of construction on what is set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail.

The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program.

Designed and constructed by Glen Jacobs and his team at World Trail, the 40.39km trail will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride on terrain within the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts (managed by the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management), Mansfield State Forest (managed by the Department of Sustainability and Environment), and the Mt Russell Education Area (managed by Parks Victoria).

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Upon completion next summer, IMBA will undertake an assessment of the trail and if EPIC status is attained, it will be one of the few trails outside of North America to receive this endorsement, meaning that it is recognised as a world-class trail that offers an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry ride experience.

“While Resort Management has already invested over $1 million into the development of a dedicated mountain bike network at Mt Buller, we understand the importance of continually evolving our offering to maintain our position as a market leader,” said Amber Gardner, Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management. “The launch our Epic trail project in summer 2014/15 will truly solidify Mt Buller’s role as the premier mountain bike park in the State, delivering significant tourism benefits to the Mansfield-Mt Buller region.”

To date, the project has received $125,000 in federal funding through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants, and $375,000 in state funding through Regional Development Victoria. Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has contributed $225,000 and the Mansfield Shire Council a further $25,000.

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Mt Buller is Australia’s first and only accredited IMBA Ride Center, recognised as offering world-class mountain bike facilities for all levels of riders. This iconic mountain bike park features over 100km of cross country trails including 40km of dedicated singletrack; Australia’s best cross country trail (Stonefly); two skills parks; the country’s first flow-down trail (Copperhead); Australia’s first modular pump track; and the only chairlift accessible downhill course in the State.

For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

For further information on Australia’s National Landscapes, visit http://www.tourism.australia.com/campaigns/national-landscapes.aspx

Mt Buller To Celebrate Summer Season Opening With Films, Food And Fun On The Trails

The season of mountain biking and summer fun will officially kick off at Mt Buller on Saturday 30 November, with the Resort hosting several events to mark the beginning of what is set to be a sensational summer in the High Country.

Mt Buller’s entire cross-country mountain bike trail network will be open, after several months of trail clearing and maintenance following the snow season. Mountain bikers of all ages and abilities can take part in a free Peak to Park Poker Ride, a participatory event where riders collect five playing cards from designated checkpoints on the trails between Mt Buller and Mirimbah Park. At the end of the ride, the participant with the best hand will be rewarded with a sensational prize – a brand new 2013 Specialized mountain bike.

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Saturday evening sees the stunning Mirimbah Park transform into a twilight cinema, complete with local food, wine and beer stalls. Once the sun sets, visitors will be entertained with over two hours of adventure action films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival, with a collection of awe-inspiring films about skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and more.

Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Amber Gardner, is looking forward to launching into the summer season. “This is summer is set to be huge here at Mt Buller, and we’re celebrating the official launch of the season in style with events for everyone. The Peak to Park Poker Ride is a great way for riders of all levels to get out there and enjoy our world-class mountain bike trails with the focus on fun, and the film festival is sure to be a fantastic night under the stars with a collection of great films from the ever-popular Banff Mountain Film Festival.

“The coming summer looks like it will be the biggest one yet, with a huge calendar of events planned across all interests, including mountain biking, road cycling, trail running, food and wine, motor racing and much more. Join us on top of the world at Mt Buller for a cool change this summer!”

Mt Buller has a range of accommodation options available, starting at just $45 per person. For further information on the Summer Season Opening Weekend and to view accommodation, visit mtbuller.com.au.

Mt Buller summer season opening weekend

November 30-December 1

  • Peak to Park Poker Ride – Registration at Alpine Central, 12pm. Starts Mt Buller Summit 2pm. Free entry.
  • Rides & Reels Film Festival – Mirimbah Park, 4pm (movie starts 8.30pm). Entry $20 adults, $10 kids (age 8 – 17). Tickets now on sale through 03 5777 6077.

Bike Buller MTB Festival Back For 2014

Entries are now open for the adrenaline pumping Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Kona, at Mt Buller Victoria over the March long weekend, 8-10 March 2014.

The sixth edition of this unique event brings together a variety of cross country (XC) and popular Super D style races to one spectacular location with competitors attracted from across Australia.


Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Kona is regarded by many as one of Australia’s most revolutionary MTB events, with 2013 Overall Winner Paul Van der Ploeg stating, “Every stage has been exceptional with so much diverse terrain; what an amazing place!”

Event organiser, Rapid Ascent, is expecting another capacity field following 2013’s bumper crowd.

“The festival has become one of the fastest growing mountain biking events on the calendar, growing from a first year attendance of 220, to 700 riders in 2013.” Said Sam Maffett, General Manager Rapid Ascent.

The mountain bike festival provides the ultimate test for mountain bike riders, and is set to challenge participants once again with a number of thrilling races over the three days, including a mix of cross country and ‘all mountain’ courses, plus the new Flow Pump Track Pursuit.

The event will feature a choice of 35km or 50km cross-country (XC) route over Mt Stirling and back as Stage 1; Stage 2 the Mavic Crossmax Enduro utilises the ski lifts for a 4.5hr multi-lap downhill circuit before sending riders flying off down the hill to finish at the ‘Picnic in the Park’; Stage 2b the Super-D, is a flowing 12km 1100 metre vertical descent, also finishing at Mirimbah; and finally Monday’s Stage 3 finale, the Cornhill Cranker, is a 22km XC that uses parts of the Copperhead Trail.

Competitors can attack the weekend as a stage race doing all races, or chose to do one or more of the races separately. Plus there’s a kid’s race included on the Saturday giving the next generative a taste of the infamous mountain bike tracks.

New for 2013, the Flow Pump Track Pursuit will take place on the Saturday evening as a head-to-head pursuit style format that will make for incredible watching and impressive riding.

Overall, the event provides eager mountain bike riders and their families a massive weekend of bikes, single track, fresh air and partying at an internationally renowned mountain bike destination – Mt Buller.

“We’re excited about the 2014 edition as once again we have designed a super fun mountain bike event for everyone, from eager racers to recreational riders, and non-participants can also enjoy the mountain scenery.” Said Maffett.

Director of Marketing, Sales and Business Development for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Amber Gardner, is looking forward to the return of the festival event.

“We’re really looking forward to the Bike Buller MTB Festival returning to Mt Buller for another massive weekend of riding.” Gardener said. “The event is always a highlight on our calendar, giving riders a super fun weekend that showcases the majority of our XC trail network. Sensational riding, great fun and plenty of socialising makes for one seriously awesome weekend on top of the world at Mt Buller.”

The three-day celebration of single track will again coincide with the popular ‘Picnic in the Park’ food, wine and music festival held at the base of Mt Buller. There will also be a Bike Expo and plenty for non-riders to enjoy, including a range of exciting activities available on and around Mt Buller to suit all ages and interests.


LONG WEEKEND SCHEDULE OF RACES

· Stage 1 – A Stirling Circuit: 50km cross country (XC) over Mt Stirling and back again on the incredible ‘Stonefly’ single track and other flowing trails in a magical alpine setting.

· Stage 1b – 35km XC. A shortened version of Stage 1 that still takes In Stonefly and some stunning alpine single track.

· Stage 2 – Mavic Crossmax Enduro: a 4.5hr multi-lap enduro down a flowing XC-downhill course where you catch the ski lift up as part of each 6km lap until the final 12km Super D descent to the ‘Picnic in the Park’ food, wine and music festival at the bottom of the mountain. Suitable for XC bikes.

· Stage 2b – The Mt Buller Super D: a friendly 12km top to bottom race down a flowing 1,100m vertical descent to the ‘Picnic in the Park’. Suitable for XC bikes.

· Stage 3 – Cornhill Cranker: 22km XC: on the flowing single track around the Mt Buller village and neighbouring Corn Hill.

· Stage 101 – The Kids Ride – 10km: held on the single track around the village – designed to give kids their own MTB fun experience.

· Flow Pump Track Pursuit: Head-to-head pump track racing in the village square to the beats of Red Bull’s DJ truck. Winner takes all (cash) prize.

$375,000 Toward Australia’s First IMBA EPIC Mountain Bike Trail

The Mt Buller Mt Stirling EPIC Mountain Bike Trail Project today received a significant funding injection, with the announcement that the Victorian Coalition Government will provide $375,000 toward the project which looks set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail.

The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program, and involves the construction of a 40.39km trail that will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride, providing stunning views across the Victorian High Country.

Announcing the funding on behalf of Deputy Premier Peter Ryan this morning at Mirimbah Park, Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the project would provide a boost to the local economy and contribute to the year-round tourism of the region.

“Showcasing the magnificence of Victoria’s alpine region’s countryside, the new trail will provide new jobs and boost the local economy by increasing tourist and business opportunities,” Dr Sykes said.

“New jobs will be created during the construction stage and, once completed, the region’s hospitality, tourism and other related industries like bicycle hire, repair and maintenance as well as outdoor lifestyle retail businesses will also provide further employment opportunities.”

Mr Ryan said the EPIC Mountain Bike Experience Project was a great example of all levels of government working with the local community to support the growth and development of the Victorian High Country. “The Coalition Government is pleased to be the major funding provider, with $350,000 from our $1 billion Regional Growth Fund, which was created to drive regional development across the state, providing better infrastructure, facilities and services,” Mr Ryan said.

“Our funding is complemented by the Federal Government ($125,000), Mansfield Shire Council ($25,000) and Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resort Management Board ($225,000).

“The Coalition Government is committed to investing in regional Victoria to create prosperity, job opportunities, economic and social resilience and better quality of life.”

Representing the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board at today’s announcement, deputy chairman Dean Belle recognised the contribution from government as well as the partnership behind the project. “It is very exciting to be involved in a project of this scale and we are grateful of the assistance provided by Regional Development Victoria’s Regional Growth Fund to support this important development that will benefit the entire region. It has been the vision of Resort Management to establish Mt Buller as the number one mountain bike destination in Victoria, if not Australia, and to have the support of government to help us achieve this vision is something we are very appreciative of.

“This project is a partnership that requires the input and teamwork of a number of land managers, who I would like to extend a thank you to for all their hard work in ensuring this is a project that has gotten off the ground. Resort Management has worked in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Parks Victoria throughout the lengthy planning process, and getting to this stage of the project would not have been possible without this collaboration.”

Construction of the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail will begin in December 2013. For further information on Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of trails, visit mtbuller.com.au.

Bring it on at Buller

The Bike Buller Festival’s three stages send riders up, down and all around the steep flanks of Mt Buller and it’s neighbour, Mt Stirling. The racing incorporates Mt Buller’s chairlifts as well as rugged fire trail and some of Australia’s most finely wrought singletrack.

Mt Buller – Bikes racing and magic vistas.

Built by Glen Jacobs and World Trail, Buller’s iconic tracks are designed to tempt riders out of their comfort zone and high up onto the berm – and there was plenty of that going on as the weekend unfolded. Alpine environments are known for their surprises, and this year Mt Buller really sprung one on us, serving up an unusually long warm spell in the festival’s lead-up this year, so the track surface was transformed into a dry, slippery dust that kept everyone’s eyes peeled and their faces grimey.

Mt Buller was dryer than normal and the greens had turned to brown and dust.

The gravity enduro is a relatively new format, and Bike Buller’s double-whammy Brakeburner and Super-D format presented a few timing hurdles. The results for that day were initially posted with rankings organised by total riding time, much to the delight of those backbenchers who completed just the Super-D. For one night, first-time racer Ninna West was ranked 6th overall, ahead of Pete Kutschera and Adrian Jackson, and well ahead of her nearest female rival, women’s overall winner (and rightful winner of both gravity stages) Jenni King. We toasted Ninna’s success and planned her imminent pro tour until late into the night. But by morning, the glitch had been corrected.

Despite all the white-knuckled descents and lung-busting climbs, the Bike Buller Festival had a relaxed atmosphere, and the racing was all about fronting up to the challenge at hand. With riders of all levels and areas of strength stepping up to the plate, the air was thick with dust and camaraderie, and the weekend was packed with highpoints, not all of them topographic.

Men’s overall winner Paul van der Ploeg was stoked with the weekend: ‘It’s such a chilled out event. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and this year I finally made it. It’s been a lot of fun, really relaxing.’

Paul’s team mate Josh Carlson came from the cold of Canada to the heat of Buller.

Flow subeditor Nic Learmonth, who rode in the festival, was full of tales of warm-fuzzy moments, including this one, from late in the Cornhill Cranker:

The tank was running on empty and the switchbacks had the gradient and duration of a celestial overpass. Blank-faced with exhaustion but still upright, Nic came across a bloke sprawled across the tracks. She lifted his bike off him and set it down off the track while he staggered about, assuring her he was fine. Then the two guys behind Nic rounded the corner and took in the scene.

‘You look like you need a man-hug,’ the guy at the front called out.

Nic thought they were joking, but the fallen rider nodded: ‘I do, I do need a man-hug.’

And his friends pulled over and swept him up in a big hug.

‘You alright mate?’

‘You ready to get back on your bike? C’mon.’

And as easy as that, the three of them got back on their bikes and we continued our slow up-hill plod.

That camaraderie did not stop with the race clock. The cafés and bars at Mt Buller hosted plenty of post-race analyses between friends who’d met on the trails. And the gravity events of day two brought riders down the Delatite River Trail to a wine and food festival in Mirimbah, where a dip in the river and a cold bevvie or two was just the thing for post-race recovery.

The river was perfect for two things. Cooling off and cooling your beverage of choice.

Cheers to Rapid Ascent, Giant and Mt Buller for putting on such a fun event, big thumbs up to Glen Jacobs and his team for their artistry with pick and shovel and thanks to all who rode in one, two or three stages at the Bike Buller MTB Festival.

See you all next year!

Beautiful Mt Buller.

Gravity Oz Camps – A Student's Tale

It’s 3 o’clock on a relatively hot Wednesday afternoon in Melbourne. I’ve just moved over from Perth and I’m staring at my fairly sparse apartment that’s still littered with packing boxes. Of course I have my priorities right, unpacking and setting up my apartment…but I can’t help gazing at my freshly assembled, but neglected downhill bike, sitting on the balcony.

I’m jonesing to get out for a ride but don’t know anyone to go shuttling with. Back home in Perth we have neither mountains nor ski lifts, but on the east coast you have the option of Mount Buller or Thredbo. By comparison, downhill trails in the west are around 1 to 1.5 kilometres long but at Buller most are at double to triple that length.  With Thredbo’s cannonball run at 4.5km and over 6 times the vertical drop of anything in Perth, it makes a compelling argument to make a journey.

The big mountains of Victoria are a dream for mountain bikers.

A quick search on the Buller website enhanced the argument. It says there will be a Summer Gravity Camp being hosted on the weekend. So I call the number and speak to a guy named Shannon, who turns out to be the owner of both the Mansfield and Mt. Buller bike shops and chief instructor for the weekend. He gives me a brief outline on the skills they’ll cover but to be honest I was thinking it was expensive. Their 1-on-1 training sessions are a bargain at $70 for 2 hours in comparison to the $795 for the three day camp, but it does include food and accommodations. By the end of the weekend though I found it a worthy investment.

I’m hesitant to put my name down since I’ve been downhilling for 15 years and slightly skeptical as to what they can teach me. I ask who their target market is while hoping he doesn’t say something generic like they ‘cater to everyone.’

Sure enough, I could have scripted his answer.

‘We’ve got a couple of cross country riders, some up-and-coming downhillers, a 55 year old doctor who rides quite a bit and can patch you up if you fall off and a BMXer,’ explained Shannon.

His sales pitch didn’t instil confidence in me but faced with the choice of unpacking the rest of my apartment or shirking responsibility and going riding for three days the choice was clear. So I was on my way to Mt. Buller. Fortunately, as I would later discover, this little overview was just Shannon’s usual understated style.

“The BMXer” turns out to be 22 year old Caroline Buchanan, 3 time World Champion and Olympic Games finalist, who was out to brush up on her skills ahead of her return to downhill racing. Also, one of the “cross country riders” would be World Cup rider Katherine O’Shea.

Both Caroline and Katherine went to the Gravity Oz Camp as students. Caroline went on to finish 1st in the women’s downhill a weekend later and Katherine won the XC eliminator. Both of the girls acknowledged that the Summer Gravity Camp improved their skills to help them win.

As for Shannon, I learned his last name was Rademaker, a former pro BMXer who would be teaching the camp along with Australian World Championship team mechanic Tim Chadd and top Elite downhill racer Rhys Atkinson. It quickly became the who’s who of the Aussie riding scene.

Gravity Oz instructors (l-r)  – Rhys Atkinson, Shannon Rademaker, and Tim Chadd

On Friday morning the group assembled in the second floor lounge of the lodge to be given the rundown of events for the next few days. There were 18 of us in total and we were split up into three groups of six with one instructor per group. That morning started with a free ride session to get us warmed up and to blow out the cobwebs followed by a cornering class in the afternoon.

Before we head out though, there was a massive continental breakfast waiting for us in the kitchen that’s wafting through to the lounge while we do the introductions. The first breakfast also gave the group the opportunity to meet and greet and I met my roommate Paul, who’s another Doctor in his mid 30’s. Paul explains that he’s got two young kids at home and his wife has let him out of the house to come riding. We put in our best effort to devour all the food in front of us but come out well short. Catering 1, Team 0.  We gear up and hit the hill.

My first run was good but the altitude was killing me. It was either that or I had more cobwebs to shake than I thought after not having a proper downhill session in 4 months. Either way that combination was doing me no favours. That afternoon we break up into our groups with Shannon as my first instructor discussing lines through berms, entry, exit, apex and clipping points. His main technical critique of my riding was to “get my arms out”.

‘What?’ I asked puzzled.

‘Like a chicken,’ he explained.

With my freshly opened stance and new positioning more over the bike a few clumsy berms later I could get the bike low enough to scrape pedals. Maybe he was onto something. We finished up that afternoon when the ski lifts closed at 4pm and headed back to the lodge. Our chef cooked up a feast so large that no one touched dessert… Catering 2, Team 0.

That evening, while everyone sat in the lounge retelling war stories of hitting gaps that earlier in the day were only 5 feet and have now become 50, I was putting ice and anti-inflammatories on my swelling fingers to keep them at bay.

While trying to minimise movement I talked with Shannon for a while.  Turns out he studied outdoor education at the university and is a lecturer at TAFE for MTB instructor and guide course. He also instructs at the Gravity Oz camps and tells me that his favourite thing is running into ex students from the camp and seeing their improvements.  Clearly what he says holds some merit.

Being taught by some of the best in the business help everyone on the camp improve their skills and confidence.

Shannon bids us all goodnight and pretty soon everyone clears out leaving the lounge vacant at a mere 9:30pm. Everyone was exhausted, happy and sound asleep by 10pm. The only downside I can see was the lack of an in house masseuse – I was hurting!

Day Two, Saturday

A huge continental breakfast started the day again and was now convinced that catering would win on all counts. Next Tim gave a talk on bike maintenance and setup. Then we were on the ski lifts for first runs. We had free ride for the first few runs then get into hitting jumps – setting up, bike control and landing.

For the Saturday afternoon activities we piled into a shuttle bus and headed down to Mansfield to a private property owned by one of Shannon’s friends. On arrival we grabed our bikes for a big air session followed by a pump track course, which inevitably turned into a competition.

Graham (the 55 year old doctor) had lent Paul a GT hardtail for the afternoon, which he had nicknamed ‘Chucker’. I asked how the name came about and he explained that it’s the bike they use as a dam jumper, which is something I’ve always wanted to try. Graham extended me an invitation but I felt like I couldn’t leave the group. Then he extended an invite to everyone – none of us realising he lives on the property right next door.

What a fun afternoon it was.

Chucker getting a workout.

After Chucker got a good workout and we all got a chance to cool off we headed back up the mountain to the lodge in the same spirits as the afternoon before, equally exhausted. After another spectacular meal prepared by the chef, Paul and I climbing into our bunks. He mentions that he found some cheap dirt jumpers online and now is tempted to pick one up. Paul had that much fun on the pump track and dam jumper.

We switch out the lights and a few minutes later his phone rings – it’s his wife.

‘You can’t buy another bike!’ she expressed.

Confused, we had no idea how she knew we were just talking about it. No she wasn’t hiding in the closet, as it turns out they share an eBay account and she had just seen his search history.  Caught!

The Final Day (Sunday)

After one last continental breakfast, it was off to the ski lifts for the final day. We started off with a free ride for the first few warm up runs again. Sunday’s session was on rock gardens and picking lines to link it in with our previous sessions on berms and jumps.  Rhys shows us a line that made me think he’s ADD and been given a bottle of red creaming soda to wash down the bag of sugar he just ate. He did a demonstration run that showed why he’s a top Elite male in Australia, it was spectacular.

Rhys Atkinson showing us how to corner like a pro.

After lunch we were given the last couple of hours to practice and work with the instructors 1-on-1 for any extra help we needed. Before heading back to the lodge everyone got a bag of goodies, a free tyre from Specialized, and the guys picked winners for a pile of extra high ticket giveaways.

They say you should never acknowledge it’s your last run of the day because it’s the one you always crash. Sure enough my one and only fall for the weekend was on my last run. I was actually in better spirits after the crash because I’ve figured out just how fast I could hit that corner – only 150 more offs and I would have that whole run dialled.

Would I recommend the camp? For sure. They have a high rate of satisfied riders as evidenced by the fact that more than 70% of their business is referrals from previous customers and because many people come back two or three times.

I might be one of them.

Mt Buller is a perfect place to improve your skills with all kinds of terrain and obstacles to progress your riding.

 

 

 

Gravity Oz Camps – A Student’s Tale

It’s 3 o’clock on a relatively hot Wednesday afternoon in Melbourne. I’ve just moved over from Perth and I’m staring at my fairly sparse apartment that’s still littered with packing boxes. Of course I have my priorities right, unpacking and setting up my apartment…but I can’t help gazing at my freshly assembled, but neglected downhill bike, sitting on the balcony.

I’m jonesing to get out for a ride but don’t know anyone to go shuttling with. Back home in Perth we have neither mountains nor ski lifts, but on the east coast you have the option of Mount Buller or Thredbo. By comparison, downhill trails in the west are around 1 to 1.5 kilometres long but at Buller most are at double to triple that length.  With Thredbo’s cannonball run at 4.5km and over 6 times the vertical drop of anything in Perth, it makes a compelling argument to make a journey.

The big mountains of Victoria are a dream for mountain bikers.

A quick search on the Buller website enhanced the argument. It says there will be a Summer Gravity Camp being hosted on the weekend. So I call the number and speak to a guy named Shannon, who turns out to be the owner of both the Mansfield and Mt. Buller bike shops and chief instructor for the weekend. He gives me a brief outline on the skills they’ll cover but to be honest I was thinking it was expensive. Their 1-on-1 training sessions are a bargain at $70 for 2 hours in comparison to the $795 for the three day camp, but it does include food and accommodations. By the end of the weekend though I found it a worthy investment.

I’m hesitant to put my name down since I’ve been downhilling for 15 years and slightly skeptical as to what they can teach me. I ask who their target market is while hoping he doesn’t say something generic like they ‘cater to everyone.’

Sure enough, I could have scripted his answer.

‘We’ve got a couple of cross country riders, some up-and-coming downhillers, a 55 year old doctor who rides quite a bit and can patch you up if you fall off and a BMXer,’ explained Shannon.

His sales pitch didn’t instil confidence in me but faced with the choice of unpacking the rest of my apartment or shirking responsibility and going riding for three days the choice was clear. So I was on my way to Mt. Buller. Fortunately, as I would later discover, this little overview was just Shannon’s usual understated style.

“The BMXer” turns out to be 22 year old Caroline Buchanan, 3 time World Champion and Olympic Games finalist, who was out to brush up on her skills ahead of her return to downhill racing. Also, one of the “cross country riders” would be World Cup rider Katherine O’Shea.

Both Caroline and Katherine went to the Gravity Oz Camp as students. Caroline went on to finish 1st in the women’s downhill a weekend later and Katherine won the XC eliminator. Both of the girls acknowledged that the Summer Gravity Camp improved their skills to help them win.

As for Shannon, I learned his last name was Rademaker, a former pro BMXer who would be teaching the camp along with Australian World Championship team mechanic Tim Chadd and top Elite downhill racer Rhys Atkinson. It quickly became the who’s who of the Aussie riding scene.

Gravity Oz instructors (l-r)  – Rhys Atkinson, Shannon Rademaker, and Tim Chadd

On Friday morning the group assembled in the second floor lounge of the lodge to be given the rundown of events for the next few days. There were 18 of us in total and we were split up into three groups of six with one instructor per group. That morning started with a free ride session to get us warmed up and to blow out the cobwebs followed by a cornering class in the afternoon.

Before we head out though, there was a massive continental breakfast waiting for us in the kitchen that’s wafting through to the lounge while we do the introductions. The first breakfast also gave the group the opportunity to meet and greet and I met my roommate Paul, who’s another Doctor in his mid 30’s. Paul explains that he’s got two young kids at home and his wife has let him out of the house to come riding. We put in our best effort to devour all the food in front of us but come out well short. Catering 1, Team 0.  We gear up and hit the hill.

My first run was good but the altitude was killing me. It was either that or I had more cobwebs to shake than I thought after not having a proper downhill session in 4 months. Either way that combination was doing me no favours. That afternoon we break up into our groups with Shannon as my first instructor discussing lines through berms, entry, exit, apex and clipping points. His main technical critique of my riding was to “get my arms out”.

‘What?’ I asked puzzled.

‘Like a chicken,’ he explained.

With my freshly opened stance and new positioning more over the bike a few clumsy berms later I could get the bike low enough to scrape pedals. Maybe he was onto something. We finished up that afternoon when the ski lifts closed at 4pm and headed back to the lodge. Our chef cooked up a feast so large that no one touched dessert… Catering 2, Team 0.

That evening, while everyone sat in the lounge retelling war stories of hitting gaps that earlier in the day were only 5 feet and have now become 50, I was putting ice and anti-inflammatories on my swelling fingers to keep them at bay.

While trying to minimise movement I talked with Shannon for a while.  Turns out he studied outdoor education at the university and is a lecturer at TAFE for MTB instructor and guide course. He also instructs at the Gravity Oz camps and tells me that his favourite thing is running into ex students from the camp and seeing their improvements.  Clearly what he says holds some merit.

Being taught by some of the best in the business help everyone on the camp improve their skills and confidence.

Shannon bids us all goodnight and pretty soon everyone clears out leaving the lounge vacant at a mere 9:30pm. Everyone was exhausted, happy and sound asleep by 10pm. The only downside I can see was the lack of an in house masseuse – I was hurting!

Day Two, Saturday

A huge continental breakfast started the day again and was now convinced that catering would win on all counts. Next Tim gave a talk on bike maintenance and setup. Then we were on the ski lifts for first runs. We had free ride for the first few runs then get into hitting jumps – setting up, bike control and landing.

For the Saturday afternoon activities we piled into a shuttle bus and headed down to Mansfield to a private property owned by one of Shannon’s friends. On arrival we grabed our bikes for a big air session followed by a pump track course, which inevitably turned into a competition.

Graham (the 55 year old doctor) had lent Paul a GT hardtail for the afternoon, which he had nicknamed ‘Chucker’. I asked how the name came about and he explained that it’s the bike they use as a dam jumper, which is something I’ve always wanted to try. Graham extended me an invitation but I felt like I couldn’t leave the group. Then he extended an invite to everyone – none of us realising he lives on the property right next door.

What a fun afternoon it was.

Chucker getting a workout.

After Chucker got a good workout and we all got a chance to cool off we headed back up the mountain to the lodge in the same spirits as the afternoon before, equally exhausted. After another spectacular meal prepared by the chef, Paul and I climbing into our bunks. He mentions that he found some cheap dirt jumpers online and now is tempted to pick one up. Paul had that much fun on the pump track and dam jumper.

We switch out the lights and a few minutes later his phone rings – it’s his wife.

‘You can’t buy another bike!’ she expressed.

Confused, we had no idea how she knew we were just talking about it. No she wasn’t hiding in the closet, as it turns out they share an eBay account and she had just seen his search history.  Caught!

The Final Day (Sunday)

After one last continental breakfast, it was off to the ski lifts for the final day. We started off with a free ride for the first few warm up runs again. Sunday’s session was on rock gardens and picking lines to link it in with our previous sessions on berms and jumps.  Rhys shows us a line that made me think he’s ADD and been given a bottle of red creaming soda to wash down the bag of sugar he just ate. He did a demonstration run that showed why he’s a top Elite male in Australia, it was spectacular.

Rhys Atkinson showing us how to corner like a pro.

After lunch we were given the last couple of hours to practice and work with the instructors 1-on-1 for any extra help we needed. Before heading back to the lodge everyone got a bag of goodies, a free tyre from Specialized, and the guys picked winners for a pile of extra high ticket giveaways.

They say you should never acknowledge it’s your last run of the day because it’s the one you always crash. Sure enough my one and only fall for the weekend was on my last run. I was actually in better spirits after the crash because I’ve figured out just how fast I could hit that corner – only 150 more offs and I would have that whole run dialled.

Would I recommend the camp? For sure. They have a high rate of satisfied riders as evidenced by the fact that more than 70% of their business is referrals from previous customers and because many people come back two or three times.

I might be one of them.

Mt Buller is a perfect place to improve your skills with all kinds of terrain and obstacles to progress your riding.

 

 

 

A Sensational Weekend at the Bike Buller MTB Festival

Mt Buller’s premier mountain biking event, the Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Giant, has concluded, with a record 700+ keen mountain bikers converging on the resort for a massive weekend of riding that delivered plenty of action on and off the trails.

The village atmosphere of Bike Buller.

The Festival, organised by Rapid Ascent, the team behind the Kona Odyssey, Salomon Trail Running Series and the Anaconda Adventure Races, is a three-day stage race designed to provide something for all levels of mountain biker. This year, riders battled it out in events including the 30 and 50km Stirling Circuit, the 4.5 hour Brakeburner Enduro, the 1,100m vertical drop of the Mt Buller Super D and the 25km Cornhill Cranker. The kids also had a ball with their very own 10km race on the easier trails around the Mt Buller Village.

Not a downhill race and you still got to use the chairlift.

Blue skies and warm temperatures made for excellent race conditions, and saw Paul Van der Ploeg and Jenni King take out the men’s and women’s premier categories respectively, with both completing all races over the three day event. Van der Ploeg and King both recorded the fastest cumulative time across the three Premier Category races for male and female, to claim their first Bike Buller Mountain Bike Festival Champion crowns.

Bike Buller MTB Winner Paul Van der Ploeg in his war paint.

On Sunday, riders in the Brakeburner and Super-D events met their friends, families and fellow riders at the Picnic in the Park food, wine and music festival at Mirimbah Park. Held in the beautiful surroundings next to the Delatite River, over 1200 guests were treated to a fantastic range of local food and wine whilst listening to some talented local musicians. Warm weather and blue skies made for a sensational afternoon of celebrations.

Sam Maffett, Event Manager of the Bike Buller MTB Festival presented by Giant, said the weekend was again a success and highlighted the first-rate trails at Mt Buller. “The weekend’s just gone so well, beautiful weather, some superb riding up here, plenty of friendly people and everyone’s had an absolute blast. The trails up at Mt Buller really are world class, everyone’s given the trails the big thumbs up and I’m sure they’ll be back many times again.”

The Mt Buller Village was humming all weekend, with riders and their families and friends enjoying the spectacular surroundings of autumn in the mountains.

Men’s Premier Podium
Women’s Premier podium.

For further information and detailed results, visit www.bikebuller.com.

 

Specialized Debuts New Look Team At Mt Buller

This past weekend saw the debut of Specialized Australia’s newly formed mountainbike team, Swell-Specialized. The 6 member squad fought hard over the weekend to stamp their name on the opening round of the Real Insurance All Mountain and Gravity Cups.

Swell-Specialized MTB Team riders (L-R) David McMillan (Elite DH), Jackson Davis (U/19 DH), Andy Blair (Elite XCO/XCM), Shaun Lewis (Elite XCO/XCM), Jenny Fay (Elite XCM), Rhys Atkinson (Elite DH)

The Black Cockatoo Restaurant hosted the team’s official press introduction, with 25 media and invited guests enjoying drinks on the balcony of Mt Buller’s premium hotel.

Team introductions and a Q&A session entertained the who’s who of the MTB industry, with the Mt Stirling ranges providing a fitting backdrop for the powerhouse team.

Swell-Specialized’s marathon specialist, Jenny Fay made the trip down from Sydney especially for the team launch. “It’s really exciting to finally meet the entire Swell-Specialized team today! We have some super talent across XC, XCM & DH disciplines, I’m so proud to be part of the team for 2013”.

On Saturday it was down to business, with Cross Country athletes, Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair waging a hard fought battle against Chris Jongewaard and Jack Haig to take 3rd and 4th respectively in the Elite Men’s XCO race. The race was a great confidence builder for the Swell-Specialized duo, particularly Lewis whos focus is usually the marathon distance events.

“It’s great to get back onto the podium in these shorter events.” Said Lewis. “In the past few year my results have primarily been in the marathon events, but I still class the XCO as the blue ribbon of cross country, so it’s a great feeling to be back on the podium here at Mt Buller”.

Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair climbing in Saturday’s XCO Elite race

Saturday also saw official seeding runs for the Gravity Cup riders in the downhill event. Rhys Atkinson overcame some mechanical issues earlier in the day, to seed in 5th place in the elite men’s event, with newcomer to the Elite ranks, David McMillan, getting his first top 10 position in 8th on the seeding list against the blown out and rock laden course. 16 year old Jackson Davis who was having his debut in the hotly contested U/19 class seeded a respectable 11th .

With the smoke of the Gippsland bush fires clearing, Sunday’s grueling Point to Point XC race made it’s way down the mountain to tackle the World-Trail designed ‘Stone-Fly’ trail. Once again, Blair and Lewis planned a tactical race and worked together to take out the 3rd and 4th placing’s respectively, behind Jack Haig and eventual series leader, Chris Jongewaard.

Andy Blair (4th from left) and Shaun Lewis (1st from left) had a great start to the season, with a 3rd and 4th place overall finish at Mt Buller

Andy and Shaun now sit in 3rd and 4th overall going into Round 2 in Thredbo in 2 weeks time.

The gravity team had a tough day in their final runs, with Rhys Atkinson suffering 2 small crashes in the treacherous rock sections, but still managing a top 20 finish with 14th place. Jackson Davis made his way down incident free, finishing with a solid 12th place. Standout for the day was David McMillan who was having his first entry into the Elite ranks. David hit all the correct lines he was hoping for to retain his 8th place that was set during seeding. “It was pretty loose out there today!” proclaimed David, “the track was pretty beaten up but I managed to hit all the lines I wanted and am stoked to come away with a top 10 finish in my first Elite race!”.

David McMillan negotiating the rocky Mt Buller terrain in the Elite Men’s DH category

The Swell-Specialized team will move onto Thredbo on the 8th-10th of February for round 2 of the Real Insurance All Mountain and Gravity Cups.

Buller news: IMBA praise and trail conditions update

The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has awarded Mt Buller classification as Australia’s very first IMBA Ride Centre. The announcement, made at IMBA’s World Summit, recognises Mt Buller amongst a select group of large-scale mountain bike facilities that set standard for trail building and diversity of mountain bike experience.

IMBA described Mt Buller as “setting the standard for mountain bike trail development in Australian ski resorts”, something that we’ve known for a long time here at Flow! Louise Perrin, from Buller Resort Management had this to say:  “It is just fantastic to receive this recognition from IMBA. The Ride Center designation represents only the best of the best mountain biking destinations, and it is immensely satisfying to see the efforts we’ve put into the Resort rewarded in this way. The trails at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling are always evolving … Watch this space because we’re not done yet!”

Mt Buller Mt Stirling has steadily developed its mountain biking product over the past six years under the Bike Buller brand, teaming up with renowned trail designer Glen Jacobs and his team from World Trail to construct a range of quality trails as part of a staged development plan. Stages one and two of this plan were completed between 2007 and 2009, with new beginner and intermediate trails around the Mt Buller Village and five new loops between the Village and the Corn Hill area. Stage three saw the completion of Stonefly in January 2011, the Resort’s signature 10km advanced endurance trail that stretches from Howqua Gap to Mt Stirling and back. In December 2011 as part of stage four, the Resort launched Copperhead – brought to you by Specialized, Australia’s very first flow down trail, a unique trail concept that incorporates a flow country style with a downhill edge suitable for both downhill and cross-country bikes and all types of riders. Stage five was partly completed over the summer of 2011-12, and saw the completion of two new linkage trails – Split Rock and Snowgums – which connect the Mt Buller Village with the Skills Park area and Copperhead to the Mt Buller Village respectively. This summer sees the completion of Snowgums, as well the commencement of stage six, which will see upgrades to the Delatite River Trail and improved drainage works on Copperhead. A seventh stage is also in the pipeline for summer 2013-14.

 

Mt Buller’s MTB loyalty program, the Crank Crew, has had a revamp just in time for the festive season. More free stuff, more benefits for members. Several changes have been made to the Crank Crew program this year, which was launched last summer:

  • One level of membership: previously, the Crank Crew was a two-tiered membership system, which for 2012-13 is now a silver membership only. Because we love all our Crank Crewers equally!
  • Frequent Offender Program: Crank Crew members now also qualify for the Bike Buller Frequent Offender Program, which gives access to special offers and giveaways when for repeat visits. Crank Crew members can take advantage of the program by dropping into the Information Centre at Alpine Central to register visits and claim prizes as they go!
  • Personalised membership card: each member will now receive a sweet looking membership card, complete with a photo to show they’re a certified Crank Crew member.
  • Free Crank Crew t-shirts: The first 50 visitors to Mt Buller that drop into Alpine Central with their membership card will receive a very limited edition Crank Crew t-shirt, which are in high demand and low supply!

Visitors to Mt Buller have even more to enjoy this summer, with new trails to explore at Australia’s first IMBA Ride Center. Stage five of the Resort’s trail development plan was completed over the summer of 2011-12, and saw the completion of two new linkage trails – Snowgums and Split Rock – which connect the Village with the Skills Park area and Copperhead to the Village respectively, as well as work to the famed Delatite River plus other minor works. A range of biking events are set to see plenty of action this summer, including the MTBA Nationals on 18-20 January, the Victorian Downhill State Series on 26-27 January and the Bike Buller MTB Festival on 9-11 March.

 

For further details about the Bike Buller Crank Crew, Mt Buller’s trails developments as well as the announcement of the Resort’s IMBA Ride Center status, please visit mtbuller.com.au.

Bike Buller Mountain Bike Festival Entries Open

Entries have opened for the 2013 Bike Buller Mountain Bike Festival presented by Giant with a stellar roster of cross country and downhill biking events scheduled for the March Long weekend (9-11 March).

Luring more riders than ever before will be the fact the line up of races will be on trails recently given the highest seal of approval ever awarded in Australia by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA).

IMBA certified Mt Buller with Bronze level Ride Centre status this month, meaning the mountain joins a select group of mountain biking destinations around the world recognised for large-scale mountain bike facilities.

Now in its fifth year, Bike Buller Mountain Bike Festival presented by Giant will make best use of the newly crowned trails lining up a raft of two-wheel mountain delights on the March Long Weekend (9-11 March, 2013). This year’s three-day celebration of singletrack will again coincide with the popular ‘Picnic in the Park’ food, wine and music festival held at the base of Mt Buller.

Bike Buller is regarded by many as one of Australia’s most revolutionary MTB events, with one eminent mountain biking commentator stating that “Bike Buller epitomises the kind of progressive vision for mountain bike events that Australia needs…”.

The event is unique in Australia for the variety of XC and XC/DH races, the variety of riders who attend, and the fact that they come from all over Australia to compete.

The festival is also one of the fastest growing mountain biking events on the calendar, growing from a first year attendance of 220 in 2008 to last year’s 650 riders.

Event organiser, Rapid Ascent, is expecting a record number of competitors following last year’s bumper crowd and have broadened the offerings to ensure there is something for every rider from elite to beginner and, of course, the kids.

“All in all, the Bike Buller MTB Festival is designed as a super fun mountain bike event for everyone; racers can race, recreational riders can enjoy the trails and the scenery, non riders can enjoy the mountain scenery and we can all get together to enjoy a good party on Saturday night,” says General Manager, Sam Maffett.

This year’s event will feature a 50km cross country stage with a 30km option; the famous Brakeburner Enduro, a 4.5hour multi-lap featuring a life ride as part of each lap; a Super-D downhill and 25km cross country to finish up with. Plus there is a kids’ race to entice the next generation of mountain bikers to get a taste.

There will also be a Bike Expo and plenty for non-riders to enjoy, including the renowned Merrijig Rodeo on Saturday night and a range of activities available on and around Mt Buller to suit all ages and interests.

Entries are now open at www.bikebuller.com

The long weekend schedule is:

Stage 1 – A Stirling Circuit: 50km cross country (XC): over Mt Stirling and back again on the incredible ‘Stonefly’ single track and other flowing trails all in a magical alpine setting.

Stage 1b – A Mountain and Back: 30km XC. A shortened version of stage 1 that still takes In Stonefly and some stunning alpine single track.

Stage 2 – The Brakeburner Enduro: a 4.5hr mutli-lap enduro down a flowing XC-downhill course where you catch the lift up as part of each 6km lap until the final 12km Mt Buller Super D descent to the Picnic in the Park food, wine and music festival at the bottom of the Mt. Suitable for XC bikes.

Stage 2b – The Mt Buller Super D: a friendly 12km top to bottom race down a flowing 1,100m vertical descent to the Picnic in the Park festival at the base of the hill.Suitable for XC bikes.

Stage 3 – Cornhill cranker: 25km XC: on the flowing singletrack around the Mt Buller village and neighbouring Corn Hill

Stage 101 – The Kids Race – 10km: held on the single track around the village – designed to give kids their own fun MTB experience