The Old Mans Valley Bike & Film Festival Returns to Hornsby

The Old Mans Valley Bike & Film Festival returns to Hornsby on Saturday, November 7 2015 – featuring a day of off road bike racing and free kids races. Followed by an outdoor cinema under the stars in Hornsby Park – all wrapped inside a tongue-in-cheek, spaghetti-western theme.

Over 2000 people, and some of NSW’s best riders, are expected to make their way to Hornsby for the Festival, which includes cyclocross racing (the fastest growing 2-wheeled sport in the US*), cross country mountain bike racing (XC) and the house specialty – the Bomber/Whippet relay.

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Developed by SNORC (Sydney North O Road Cyclists – the originators of the Festival) specially for the Festival, the Bomber/ Whippet relay features teams of two; the Bomber (downhill rider) and Whippet (climber). Combining the best of mountain biking disciplines, the Bomber is let loose on an adrenalin-pumping downhill course, tagging in the Whippet to weave his or her way back up the brutal pinches to the top. “Last year was popular with both elite riders and beginners, making for a great spectator event. Hornsby is easy to get to and the low entry cost makes it accessible to everyone. It’s about the community coming together in a celebration of bicycles and having places to ride them – regardless of your age or skill level”. Campbell King, President of SNORC.

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Not that it is all serious racing – anyone can ride the trails in the morning, on provided state-of-the-art demo bikes. There will also be kids racing, a BBQ lunch and lots of activities for the entire family. The outdoor adventure theme then continues in Hornsby Park with a screening of unReal, the most talked about MTB film of the year, as well as a selection of short adventure films.

All are invited to bring a picnic blanket and celebrate under the stars with a pop-up bar, range of food trucks and a mechanic on hand to look over your bike – offering something for everyone.

“It’s fantastic to see the trail being used in this way. This is exactly why Council invested in this recreation space.” Steve Russell, Hornsby Shire Mayor.

For more information, visit www.oldmansvalley.com.au Old Mans Valley Festival is free (with the exception of race entries) and proudly presented by The Spokes People, Hornsby Shire Council and SNORC.

The Potbelleez and Big Name Riders Announced for Thredbo’s Cannonball MTB Festival

With less than two weeks to go until the first ever Cannonball Mountain Bike (MTB) Festival in Thredbo this 6 – 8 December, the resort has announced The Potbelleez – arguably one of Australia’s best live acts – as the headlining act for the weekend long event.

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Big name act – The Potbelleez will be playing on Saturday night, party time!

Not only is the music line up expected to be epic, the Cannonball MTB Festival will also attract some of the sport’s biggest names including; dual World Downhill Rider Champion Troy Brosnan as well as Mick Hannah (aka Sik Mik) and Tracey Hannah, who recently bagged 2nd and 3rd place in the 2013 World Championships for Australia.

Troy Brosnan is confirmed to race in Thredbo.
Troy Brosnan is confirmed to race in Thredbo.

The festival will see hundreds of riders, both pro and amateur; push themselves to the limit over four events – The Australian Open Downhill, Flow Motion Cup, ROCKSHOX Pump Challenge and Whip Wars Big Air Bonanza – in an attempt to get their hands on up to $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Tim-Eaton
Tim Eaton
Thomas-Crimmins
Thomas Crimmins
Tegan Molloy
Andrew-Crimmins
Andrew Crimmins
Ben-Cory
Ben Cory
Chris-Kovarik
Chris Kovarik
David-McMillan
David McMillan
Graham-Mudd
Graeme Mudd
Jack-Moir
Jack Moir
Mick-Hannah
Mick Hannah

Wrapping up the first day of the festival DJ Nino Brown, Australia’s #1 urban DJ, will hit the decks on Friday night under the lights at the Pump Track Finals, before heading into the Keller where the party will continue. Carrying on the fun of the festival through to Saturday evening, head-lining act, The Potbelleez will play their ultra popular line up of electro-house tunes, including; Don’t Hold Back, Magic Number and more.

“Mountain biking is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia and we are thrilled to be hosting a big event that encourages more people to get involved with the sport”, says Angus Thomson, Thredbo Marketing Director. “The weekend is ramping up to be a huge event– particularly with the news The Potbelleez will be headlining on Saturday night”, adds Thomson.

Thredbo is well prepared for the massive weekend long event and is offering great options with three night accommodation packages for the price of two available starting from $88 price based on per person, per night that includes an All Mountain Resort Pass, giving athletes access to Thredbo’s great mix of activities.

Registration for the event is still open for anyone interested and considering there are events and catagroies for any level it’s a mountain bike event not to be missed. Visit thredbo.com.au/cannonballfestival for full event details OR join the Thredbo MTB facebook page facebook.com/ThredboMTB for all event updates.

Video: THULE Gravitate 2013 | Australia’s Biggest MTB Festival

In 2013 Gravitate MTB Festival entered it’s 4th year with the support of THULE. The 4 day event in Cairns showcased FNQ’s jungle trails sporting a mix of events across different disciplines of the sport.

This year saw a revival of our Dual Slalom course after a decade of neglect, a brand new Pump Track and of course, the infamous Sunrise to Sunset DH. The weather blessed the Far North and the event was as successful as ever.

Video: THULE Gravitate 2013 | Australia's Biggest MTB Festival

In 2013 Gravitate MTB Festival entered it’s 4th year with the support of THULE. The 4 day event in Cairns showcased FNQ’s jungle trails sporting a mix of events across different disciplines of the sport.

This year saw a revival of our Dual Slalom course after a decade of neglect, a brand new Pump Track and of course, the infamous Sunrise to Sunset DH. The weather blessed the Far North and the event was as successful as ever.

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.

Two Men, Three Bikes and a Subaru Outback – The Melrose Fat Tyre Festival 2013

Cram two men and three bikes into a Subaru outback, turn left and trek from Adelaide to the 2013 rendition of the froth fest that is the Melrose Fat Tyre Festival – the FTF. A quick look at the program and we had flowing singletrack, epic riding, rides with gravity legend Darren Berrecloth, and super D challenges ahead of us. Basically we were about to have a ridiculously good time.

Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.
Big beautiful vistas on the Bartagunyah estate trails.

The journey across the South Australian outback to Melrose is something of postcards. Old abandoned homesteads that look older than the hills litter the field and thoughts of Grand Designs can’t be ignored. Three hours later we arrive at Mt Remarkable, home of Melrose and the FTF, my heart murmurs as I think about the sweet single track I’ve heard so many stories about.

We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.
We loved the vintage feel of Melrose. The Fat Tyre Festival sets up shop in the main drag, closing the road letting riders safely noon around on the street.

Held over the June long weekend the FTF brings a relaxed feel to a mountain bike event. You want to ride? (Eurovision Trail, thumbs up) Check out the shop? (it’s bling everywhere) Coffee? (of course) Learn about your bike? (Bike maintenance class) See a dude back flip a car on a BMX? (Crazy Kids). It’s all possible at the FTF and it’s up to you what you choose.

The super D challenge on Saturday was a highlight for the racer types (and no, I didn’t win). But the race was just the prelude to a great night which saw us having a BBQ and maybe just a few beers in the surrounds of an old shearing shed. The smell of a shearing shed might be the same the world over but this was a perfect backdrop to a uniquely Australian event. Great fun, a few drinks and good company, all talking bikes. Perfect.

The beginning of the "relaxed" super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn't pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.
The beginning of the “relaxed” super D on top of the Eurovision trail at Bartagunyah estate. The trail was fast and fun. If you couldn’t pump and jump before the trail you could by the bottom.

The FTF is a relaxed ride with your mates. It’s a bacon and egg roll before a ride (not recommended). It’s a mountain bike froth fest with riders of all abilities and styles all speaking the international language of mountain biking.

Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.
Bacon and egg rolls flowed in the morning before the ridding commenced. Coffee came from inside Over the Edge shop.

Anyways, there really isn’t any better way than to tell the story of the festival through what I saw. A collective of images that captured the event, from the people with the smiles, with the love of bikes and trails sandwiched in between.

Go and check out next year’s Melrose Fat Tyre Festival, it’s a peach.

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Crankworx Les 2 Alpes – July 2013

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes in France is back to showcase nine days of intense mountain bike competition July 6-14, 2013. New events, and the inclusion of Les 2 Alpes’ long standing Free Raid Classic, pack in even more for spectators, families and enthusiasts who want to get blown away by the action and experience the festival firsthand.

Also new this year, Polygon has signed on as the title sponsor of the Polygon Air DH presented by Fox.

“Having Polygon’s support for the Polygon Air DH presented by Fox makes perfect sense for Crankworx Les 2 Alpes,” says Seb Chovet, Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Event Manager. “We’ve adapted the track for this year’s event so amateur athletes are able to race alongside the World Cup pros who will be competing here. Polygon will also be on-hand throughout Crankworx Les 2 Alpes to release their 2014 line of bikes during the festival.”

While the Polygon Air DH presented by Fox is a highlight for downhill race fans and riders, Crankworx Les 2 Alpes has added enough events to its schedule to keep families, spectators and riders entertained for the full nine day line-up.

July 6-7 a new event will kick off Crankworx Les 2 Alpes; the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes. This event is the third stop on the newly formed, and highly anticipated, Enduro World Series. The best enduro athletes in the world have been announcing their commitment to the Enduro Mountain Bike Association and the Enduro World Series and this event promises to showcase some of the best enduro terrain and athletes in the world.

Another addition to the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes line-up is the Les 2 Alpes Pumptrack Challenge, presented by RockShox. This event is one of Crankworx Whistler’s most exciting spectator events and the Les 2 Alpes version will follow the same format as Whistler; riders will race each other in a dual format on a closed, hand-built track featuring rollers, berms and jumps.

The Free Raid Classic has been a Les 2 Alpes mainstay for the past decade and joins the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes’ roster for 2013. Free Raid incorporates bike demos with epic guided rides suited for bikers of all abilities.

Crankworx Les 2 Alpes and Free Raid Classic Schedule:
July 6-7                NEW: Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes (part of the Enduro World Series)
July 8                   Hutchinson Dual Climb
July 9                   NEW: Les 2 Alpes Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox
July 10                 Polygon Air DH, supported by Fox (qualifications on July 9)
July 11                 GT Dual Speed & Style
July 11                 Free Raid Classic – Free Trail: An big mountain bike challenge beginning at the base of the Les 2 Alpes Glacier including 1500m of elevation gain and 3000m of descent.
July 12                 Teva Best Trick
July 12                 Free Raid Classic – La Biker Croute: A fun and easy downhill traverse through Les 2 Alpes terrain.
July 13                 Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle, presented by iXS
July 13-14           Free Raid Classic – The Mythical Bike Ride: A challenging 4935m ride along Les 2 Alpes’ landscapes and a mountain top lunch.
July 14                 Free Raid Classic – The GIANT Black Enduro: GIANT riders and participants will follow the route taken by the pros who competed in the Enduro World Series third stop in Les 2 Alpes.

Registration and information about transportation and accommodation for Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, including the Free Raid Classic, can be found online at www.crankworx.com. Phase two of registration for the Cannondale Enduro Les 2 Alpes will open at 12:00am PST (9:00 CET) on May 2, 2013 and will offer limited registration availability for those not on professional teams or who missed their chance at registration in February.

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.

The Forrest Festival

With an event t-shirt that has a tricycle on it, the Forrest Festival was always going to be about more than just racing flat-tack to a finish line.

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We’d heard the rumours: Forrest, a tiny town in the Otway Ranges, 160 kilometres southwest of Melbourne, was reportedly the mountain biker version of heaven. With 60 kilometres of singletrack, its own boutique brewery and the newly-opened bike shop café, Forrest certainly seemed to have everything a singletrack fanatic could want. Nevertheless, we felt it was necessary to dip our toes in the waters, so we packed ourselves off to this year’s Festival Forrest.

With a race format that sees competitors spending as much time at the café as on the bike, the two-day, five-stage Forrest Festival seems handcrafted to send competitors back to that first-bike frame of mind.

At Forrest, innovation is the word: from viking ship-inspired fences to the Forrest Brewery’s Otway Ale, this place is just spilling over with good ideas. Cue the Forrest Festival, now in its second year, which has a race format with a distinctive Forrest edge.

The festival’s stages are shorter and quite varied – there’s a 15km ‘So Fo Sprint,’ a 5km hill climb up Balidjaru Hill, a 5km Super-D down the rightly famous Red Carpet track, and a 5km time trial (raced in pairs, on twisting trails through dense native rainforest), called Caspers Revenge, on the first day, and the Forrest Fiddy, which covers a more conventional race distance (50km), on the second day. The downtime between stages gives riders stacks of time to recover, chill out and, well, to lounge about at coffee shops like a pack of roadies at St Kilda.

Jess Douglas in one of her many multi-tasking activities of the weekend.

‘We want people to feel like rock stars,’ said race director and Forrest local Norm Douglas.

Norm and Jess and the other riders in Forrest put together the cunningly scheduled event line-up, even creating a computer program with a special algorithm to ensure that riders had enough space between their arrival at the top of the Balidjaru Hill climb and their start time for the Red Carpet descent. With the stages being short as well as quite varied, and the breaks between stages being long enough to allow plenty of recovery, every stage felt like a fresh opportunity.

‘It was all part of the plan,’ said Norm. ‘I wanted to make it so everyone would feel like they could go quite hard, knowing they didn’t have a six-hour day ahead of them.’

‘The Elite riders ended up doing less than four hours of actual racing for the whole weekend. So the average rider would do five to six hours of actual riding, and they had those gaps in between, so they could go pretty hard in each effort.’

Those breaks, together with the time-trial format for stages two, three and four, meant there was plenty of jockeying for position during stages as riders at every level rode to their limit, giving us all something to yarn about over those essential recovery coffees.

At the sharp end of the field, this resulted in very close competition, though in the end, the Petas dominated, with Peta Mullens and Peter Kutschera claiming hard-earned top spots on the podium at the end of the weekend. The turn-out for the women’s Elite field was particularly strong: Peta Mullens rode every stage like it was her first, with Jenni King hot on her tail and Jess Douglas, Jaclyn Schapel and Katherine O’Shea close behind.

Norm Douglas interviews Peta Mullens after her win.

In the Elite men, Scott Chancellor and Ben Mather kept the pressure on last year’s Forrest Festival winner Peter Kutschera as the three of them traded places from one stage to another. By the end of the weekend less than a minute separated third-place-getter Ben’s final riding time from Peter’s tally.

The competition between these riders would have been inspiring to watch, but just about everyone else in Forrest was out on the trails and involved in close racing of their own.

Scott Chancellor on his way to 2nd overall with 1st place Peter Kutschera right on his tail.

Going for gold

Most tellingly, Caspers Revenge (the stage four five-kay sprint) was a favourite with the crowds, despite it being the last stage of the first day, when we were all feeling the exertion we’d put into the first three stages of the day.

‘For that one stage, regardless of where they were in the field or in their class, everyone had a shot at winning,’ said Norm.

‘They were lined up against someone with a similar overall race time. For that point in time, on that track, on their bike, they were the winner.

‘I think that was why people loved stage four so much.’

Norm credits Jess with the idea for this recent addition to the festival line-up, and for setting the course that made it such a success – ‘It was gold. I’m rapt with it,’ he said.

At least one member of the Flow team had trouble wiping the grin off her face during that stage, despite the pain of the lactic build-up in her quads. But this was not unique to stage four – thanks to the well-set courses, the superb singletrack and the joyous atmosphere in town and out on the trails throughout the Forrest Festival, we all found ourselves in full beam far too often as the weekend unfolded.

Stewart Wood, in the woods.

How did we get so lucky?

The Forrest Festival is just one more gift from the riders at Forrest to the wider mountain biking community.

This ten-street town started out as a logging town. Relics from that time are now part of the décor in the Forrest Brewing Company and the Forrest Country Guesthouse (which even has a sawmilling-themed bedroom). When the logging came to an end, in the 90s, the residents discovered a new gold in Forrest’s tree-dense slopes: mountain biking.

Today, Forrest just less than 200 inhabitants. But since the development of singletrack in the area, Forrest has attracted a steadily growing stream of mountain biking visitors, and a few of them – including Norm and Jess Douglas – now call Forrest home. During this year’s festival weekend, Forrest accommodated over 500 people, including 280-odd riders.

Some of the local delights. Beer, bikes and coffee. The perfect recipe.

The Forrest Mountain Bike and Cycling Club’s membership list includes ‘Forresters’ and out-of-towners from as far as Geelong and Melbourne. The 16 volunteers who helped run the festival hailed from the club (they deserve a huge thumbs-up for choosing to leave their bikes in the shed so everyone else could ride that weekend).

Forrest has a thriving event calendar – standout events include the Forrest Six-Hour, the ‘world famous’ New Year’s Day Red Carpet Repeats and the weekly social ride. Having fun is a serious business here, and the ‘Brew Crew’ social ride (the brainchild of local rider Sandy Maxwell) usually involves singletrack and a catch-up at the Forrest Brewery.

Nick Morgan flows on one of the many, many sweet trails at Forrest.

As the festival-goers discovered, Forrest has three cafes – one is also the local boutique brewery, the second is also a quirky guest house and the third is Norm and Jess’s recently-opened café and bike shop, the Corner Shop.

Before this little gem of a local hangout opened, any visiting rider with a mechanical faced a long drive to the nearest bike workshop. Now, riders can chat over a coffee under the verandah or perch on the sofa in the store and watch the Corner Store crew lavish TLC on their two-wheeled steed.

But bike bling and top-notch riding fuel were not the only things we found at the Corner Store. It is rapidly becoming the hub for the local riding scene, and it is the place to get the low-down on trail conditions and find yourself a riding buddy.

‘Friends have said the Corner Store is like an extension of our kitchen,’ laughs Jess.

‘So in that sense, opening up this particular store is like opening up our hearts to the world and saying “Here we are.”’

Judging by the numbers of riders in the store and chilling out under the verandah during the Forrest Festival weekend, Forrest and its local riding scene – and the Corner Store – have hit the radar. You want to cut it up in a mountain biker heaven? Visit Forrest.

The Forrest Festival is what you make of it. Smash at the start if a stage or chill at the end of the weekend.

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