Maydena Bike Park – It’s OPEN, Get To It!

Maydena Bike Park’s opening weekend went off; we were there with bells on, we rode the trails, tested out the whole operation (including the bike patrol and medics). We rode their bikes, drank their beer, swam in the river, and got a proper feel for what this place is all about.
Oh, Tasmania, you’re spoiling us, it’s all just too good!


Watch our full road trip video below!


What, where, how?

In a nutshell, Maydena Bike Park is a brand new privately run gravity mountain bike park with some massive amount of elevation for trail builders Dirt Art to carve out a vast network from scratch. Think Australia’s own version of Queenstown or Whistler with uplift services running all-year long.

It’s one hour drive from Hobart in Tasmania, and it is now open with all systems go. It’s more than just trails though, Maydena Bike Park is a pretty sweet place to hang out!

SO MUCH VERT, 820m of it!

We’ve been harping on about this place for a while now so that we won’t repeat ourselves on the known facts, all the details are right here – Tell me all about Maydena!


Flow loves a road trip, so, how was the road trip?

Getting to Maydena has all the right ingredients of a cracking road trip, for the mainlanders a flight to Hobart or taking the car on the ferry to Tasmania is a fabulous travel experience and a great escape from the major cities. Travelling about or to Tasmania is terrific, its natural beauty, fascinating and well-preserved history, and healthy tourism industry make it worthwhile over an overseas trip any day.

Those who’ve travelled around the Apple Isle would know how much fun can be had, it’s a kooky place with its free-and-easy flavour, it’s another world.

Beautiful Hobart, there’s so much to do in this city, we love wandering the old town of Battery Point, the historical port area and the majestic Mount Wellington.

For residents of Tasmania, and especially lucky locals of Hobart, Maydena is a worthy day-trip or weekender to fill your boots with loads of time descending great trails. We expect a fast new generation of gravity racers to come out of this place; it’s going to foster talent into big names, for sure.

Jumping in the car from Hobart the drive to Maydena is a beautiful one, while it’s around 1-1.25 hour journey, we’d suggest slowing it down a little, take in the surrounds. Check out the old town of Hobart, swim in the River Derwent on the way, explore the historical sights like Australia’s first asylum – Willow Court – in the historical and unique town of New Norfolk. The drive takes you through some seriously epic scenery too, past rows of hop farms that smell like the best beer ever, and along picture-perfect rivers begging for a swim.

En-route to Gordon Dam.
Eye-boggling sights of the South West Tassie region.

For the ultimate South-West-Tassie experience, take an afternoon and drive past Maydena to Gordon’s Dam which holds back Lake Gordon which at full capacity is the largest lake in the country, the spectacle of the dam and the incredible story behind its history and application makes it one of the most iconic developments in the country.

Just 15 minutes short of Maydena is one of Tasmania’s most popular day-trip tourist spot – Russell Falls – a postcard-perfect waterfall in the National Park with many walks and sights amongst classic Tasmanian Wilderness.

A 20-minute drive from the bike park is sights like these – Russell Falls.

See, there’s plenty to do!


Anything happening in the town of Maydena?

Hmmm, well, yes, sort of. Maydena is a tiny town that time forgot, a stop for fuel and a sandwich on the way into the deep south-west, en-route to Strathgordon and Gordon Dam. There’s a pub up the road at National Park which looks pretty authentic when we passed by, and there’s a small milk bar that provides an essential service and a service station that makes a good lunch, breaky and coffee too.

The road to Maydena is a pretty one.
A dip in the River Derwent is hard to pass up.

But don’t get caught out with no dinner plans, it’s pretty quiet around town when the riding is done, for now.


A bike park with a restaurant and bar next to a pumptrack…?

Part of the Bike Park’s appeal is that not only will the town benefit from hoards of hungry mountain bikers coming from all over the place, with no doubt more food and accommodation sprouting up, but they have also launched a new cafe and bar at the bottom that is set to expand.

So, right now you can roll out from the trails, rack your bike and take just five paces to the bar to order pizza, burgers, rolls, beer, cider, drinks and coffee.

Pizza in the bike park!
The re-purposed school is a perfect place for a bike park, the undercover beer garden and bike rack area was cranking with good vibes all day long.

Take a seat in the beer garden, watch the pump track and fuel the stoke for more runs. Pretty bloody sweet!

Yeooo, pump track!

The repurposed school now hosts the Maydena Bike Park HQ.

Bike hire, test ride a Canyon, bike school, complete workshop and retail store, the whole lot.

It’s the complete package of this place that impresses us, like the way you can go to Thredbo with no gear and hire everything you need Maydena also has you covered. There are currently ten Canyon Senders, and ten Canyon Strives in the hire fleet. A full complement of Canyon Torques and Spectrals are on their way soon, too. We rode a Strive on the first day and scored a lucky first ride on the Torque (oh, yes, it’s perfect for Maydena).

Maydena has partnered with Canyon for their hire fleet, this in itself is appealing to a potential Canyon customer as they are sold only online, a demo or test ride is not as simple as regular retail brands. Maydena will provide that opportunity to hire one to test out properly.

Canyons for hire, the best place to actually try one out on legit trails!

The workshop is manned by a fulltime mechanic operating like a proper bike shop with spares and loads of trick stock from the likes of Deity, Maxxis, FOX, Dharco, SRAM, Rockshox, 100%, FIST, Krush and much more.


What’s at the summit?

It’s pretty hard to tear your eyes away from the view of the summit and get riding; it’s a massive view that lies below you, stretching as far as the eye can see. The Eagle Eyrie building is a striking structure and currently hosts a cafe and plans are to lift the capabilities of the building to host sunset functions, as well as more food and drink options for everyone, not just mountain bikers.

Sunset summit beers with trail builder and absolute shredder, Brad Segda.
A meal with one of the best views in Tasmania?
Breathtaking stuff, this view won’t ever grow old.

What did we think of the trails?

Yes, it’s nice to drive there, there are pizza and beer, but that’s not what you’re there for, how are the trails!??

We’re not going to beat around the bush; we were pretty blown away by the trails, everyone was. Partly due to the amount of trail that was finished and ready to ride for the open day, the flow and feel of them, the variety on offer, and the fact we can’t remember going to a destination in Australia and having our asses handed to us like we did that day, Maydena is legit!

Spot the human. This is the final jump on Maydena Hits, the big jump line that scared the daylights out of us but was amazing to watch riders soaring overhead.
Shelly Flood going large.
Trail builder – Jai Motherwell – brings his wild riding skills to the build crew.

Mark our words, this is a gravity park, and the trails are fast, steep and very long. While there are plenty of blue-grade trails they err on the darker side of blue, it’s the daunting gradients and how you need to manage your speed well to avoid exploding on a simple piece of track that turns a trail with simple features into something more tricky. The jumps are epic, from small-ish to enormous they are the biggest jumps we’ve seen in this country! The jumps are safe though, well designed and never a nasty surprise as you rip down the descents, visibility is excellent and it makes you push your comfort zone. Spend some time here, and you’ll come away a better rider and jumping bigger than before, guaranteed.

There’s a real mixture too, one run you could take in insanely fast bike-park style runs with superbly constructed berms that catch you and send you hurtling into the next one if you’re committed and hundreds of jumps. Then on another lap down, you could be sinking your tyres into a lush and loamy wonderland on one of the natural hand-built trails that dart and weave through the dense and ever-changing bush.

You think you’ve seen steep trails…? We walked away from this one, it was practically vertical!

Diving into ‘Zen Garden’ one of our favourites, a natural hand-built run with some seriously lush loam and natural technical sections.
Connor Fearon in deep.

We could have ridden on that dirt for weeks; it’s so nice to shred hand-built trails that are designed to drift and roost soil everywhere.

Because the whole project is privately run, there are billions of benefits over a public facility most notable is that trail builders are freed of any ‘sanitising’ influences – steeper, wilder trails, with more challenging lines than you’ll find on public lands are in abundance in Maydena.


How many runs can you do in one day?

Bike park laps, yesssss!

The uplift is around 20 minutes long with a new more direct route up the mountain and in the new turbo diesel bus fleet (unfortunately red tape got in the way of us experiencing the turbo vans this weekend) will provide a rapid and comfortable uplift.

On average five runs (totalling about 5km of vertical descent) in one day would be comfortable, it takes a long time to get down! Though if you are mad keen and quick seven-eight runs (a whopping 6.5km of vert earnt) in one day is also achievable.


How many runs to do them all?

There are currently 34 trails open, totalling a mighty 32km, it would take you 14 runs to do each track right now. The challenge is set!


Shred hard in safe hands.

As Tasmania doesn’t have significant ski resorts like NSW or VIC, the safety program is second to none, and they have had to write their own state code practically. The fees to uplift and use the park go toward a full-time bike patrol medical team. They have already put in the time to work on a comprehensive safety and extraction system that covers the whole park.

Trust us on this one, we personally tested this out, though an unfortunate accident, we were indeed in safe hands.


What bike to bring?

We started on a Canyon Strive, their burly enduro race bike with 160mm travel forks and found it to be quite ample. The park is varied, but a long-travel (150mm and up) bike is highly recommended. Make sure you have plenty of meat on your tyres and have brakes that bite and are not prone to fading on longer descents, if there was a place to test out brakes, Maydena would be on our list.

After the Strive we stepped it up a notch to the new Canyon Torque, their recently released 180mm travel ‘park bike’ which gave us a lot more confidence to let the speeds trickle up and commit harder to the turns and let it hang out on the natural tech lines.

Team builder and phenomenal rider, Baxter Maiwald on the new Canyon Torque.

Even a downhill bike would be great there, we’d just recommend that whatever you bring, make sure you can control it on long and steep descents!


The bike park is big, the riding level is advanced, so what is next?

We expect a lot of experienced riders to rock up to Maydena and find the trails a bit daunting, but that was the plan from the outset, Maydena is its own place, setting it apart from other hot spots in Tassie like Derby. Right now the park will appeal to the more experienced riders, but the next six months will see the place exploding with variety as they embark on construction and continue to introduce more trails to maintain interest. We won’t get bored!

  • A climbing trail is under construction which will take riders up to Midline Trail, (not to the top, that’d be too brutal to climb) where you’ll have 13 trails to choose from to descend back down.
  • ‘Flow’ and ‘technical’ intermediate level tracks are in the works, designed to provide a stepping stone for riders, an introduction to more blue grade trails.
  • An intermediate jump line will be under construction soon, a contouring track with multiple table top jumps, like B-line or Crank it Up in Whistler.
  • Green/beginner 15km Flow Trail, early summer season 2018/19.
  • A 25km wilderness trail, like Blue Tier Derby with twice the vertical. Contouring, short climbs, a proper wilderness adventure. Taking you to beautiful rivers and viewpoints. Completion early 2019.

Oh, and there are events!

Yep, alternating fortnightly there will be a Fat Friday social, for $20 the crew will provide an evening uplift with a beer after, with a new track to be raced selected before the day.

And alternating each Sunday, a Turn Earner event, $5 with a beer a 10km trail ride/race up the climbing trail and down again, a social affair, and sounds pretty good fun to us.


Maydena Gravity Fest!

But the big news is this coming April 2018 is the inaugural Maydena Gravity Fest! 

  • Ultimate Flow Challenge

Race to find your flow down 820m vertical of incredible flow trails! We’ve pieced together the ultimate combination of trails to find Maydena’s Queen and King of flow!

  • Air DH

Australia’s first ever full-scale Air DH Event! This event will test riders ability to rail corners, scrub jumps and maintain momentum through the absolute best selection of the park’s jumps trails.

  • Tech Assault

Rocks, roots, loam and hand-built trail goodness, the Tech Assault is a top-to-bottom race through some of the park’s most technical trails.

  • Pump Track Challenge

Race a series of laps around the park’s mega pump track, or simply spectate from our trackside beer garden!

  • Dual Slalom

Dual slalom is back! And we’re not sure why it ever left. Side by side racing down our ‘old school’ dual slalom course, with a mix of flat turns and built features.

  • Whip off (invite only)

A collection of jump legends sessioning our whip off jump for the battle of who can get most sideways!


See, it’s big!

Visit the Maydena Bike Park site or their Facebook page for more.

Or want to see really good riders riding Maydena? Click here.


Photos supplied by Flow, Jasper da Seymour and Ryan Finlay/Maydena Bike Park.

Enduro World Series 2019: Derby is Back

After a hugely successful event in 2017 that well and truly put the region in the top tier of Mountain Biking destinations worldwide, it was an easy decision to return for the next Australian visit by the EWS.

Event Management Solutions Australia will again deliver the event that will attract 500 riders, thousands of spectators and a strong contingent of international media.  Event Director Ian Harwood said that return of the Enduro World Series, as well as the second tier Continental Series to be held in November of 2018, would not have been possible without the support of the Tasmanian Government and the community in Derby.  Everyone had so much fun, despite some challenging weather, I am sure that this news will be welcomed by all of the teams and riders that make up the Enduro World Series.

It is expected that the event will continue to grow with the addition of a kid’s event as well as an expanded Challenger race for amateur riders.

The 2017 event saw an economic impact to the area well more than $1.5 million with visitor numbers almost doubling since the announcement of the 2017 event as well as winning the coveted “Specialized Trail of the Year award” for stage 2 Detonate.

What’s so good about Blue Derby? Let us show you.

About Enduro World Series

The Enduro World Series is about finding the best Mountain Biker in the world.  Riders will tackle a range of stages, similar to a car rally with combined times determining the overall winner.  To be successful, riders must be able to manage their bikes with limited outside assistance, be physically fit enough for 7 hours of riding, whilst having a high level of technical skills.

About Event Management Solutions Australia.

Event Management Solutions Australia is a Brisbane based event delivery company that has been working in the Mountain Bike and Charity sector for 10 years.   In 2017 in addition to delivering the first ever visit of the EWS to Australia, they also acted as Race Director for the Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns.

For additional information check      www.enduroworldseries.com

Maydena Bike Park Update: Maximum Sickness Coming Soon

The Maydena Bike Park crew have been working like dirty trail building dogs, pumping out a huge amount of trail ahead of the 26 January opening date. As you can see, it looks ridiculously good. Moving to Tassie, anyone?


Don’t know what the Maydena Bike Park is all about?

Check out our site visit vid from earlier in 2017 here, or read more here. 

Check out the first trails teaser here:

Or visit the Maydena Bike Park website here.


So what will be open come January 26? 

A lot! The first stage of the 20+ trail gravity network is just about complete, with the finishing touches underway in readiness for open day. This includes the first stage of jump trails, offering a wide range of jump options for beginner through to pro-line trails.

There’s been a lot of talk about the hand built nature of many of the trails, and come opening day eight or more hand built trails will be ready to roll, providing a more natural, technical trail experience.

Team, this place is going to be sick. Can you believe just how insanely good Tasmania has become for mountain biking in just a few years? It’s mind blowing.

In addition to all out gravity trails, there are two contouring link trails that will be completed for open day. These  allow the network to be ridden in a ‘trail riding’ fashion, taking longer to get down the hill, for those who may be a little overwhelmed by the massive 820m vertical offered in the park.

The multiple building fit outs are nearly complete too, which will house the park’s two cafe and beer garden. Plus a massive pump track will be in place, fully asphalted, of course.

Team, this place is going to be sick. Can you believe just how insanely good Tasmania has become for mountain biking in just a few years? It’s mind blowing.

 

Video: First Tracks Down Maydena’s Loam Labyrinth

Nothing gets us quite as excited as a fresh, loamy trail. Multiply that trail 15 times and point them all down an 820m mountain, and we’re almost lost for words. So, we’ll just shut up and let you watch.


Maydena Bike Park’s construction team, Dirt Art, currently has 15 staff and seven excavators working on site constructing the first stage of trails, with more than 15 gravity trails set to open on the 26th of January 2018.

Construction teams have been working through challenging spring conditions but have still managed to construct an incredible network of trails. 12 gravity trails have now been completed, ranging from smooth, beginner flow trails through to double black diamond technical trails.

A huge 20-tonne excavator has just arrived on site, with works now underway on the park’s massive ‘jump zone’, which will see the construction of beginner, intermediate and advanced jump trails. These jump trails will offer opportunities for riders of all abilities to safely progress their jumping skills.

This video is the first of a regular monthly video release, which will showcase completed trails and other progress at the park. Next months video will include a range of footage from in and around the park’s summit and base building, showing the full extent of facilities in this major bike park development.

The park operates on a pre-booking model, with sell-outs likely at peak times. For more information or to make a booking, head to www.maydenabikepark.com

Local Video: Humble & Hidden Episode 1 – Sascha Kim

Sascha doesn’t have the luxury of close access to mountain bike trails like many of us do; this hasn’t appeared to have held him back from pursuing his passion.

His thirst for dirt has led him to design and create a diverse mini trail network surrounding his home from scratch

Over the past 3 years, Sascha has spent every spare moment he has teaching himself to ride bikes, developing his skills and knowledge on the bike from watching numerous videos online, learning from riders all over the globe. His thirst for dirt has led him to design and create a diverse mini trail network surrounding his home from scratch, loaded with loamy berms, rollers, jumps and drops that many of us could only dream of having in our backyard.

Did I mention he still manages to go to school and also happens to be very handy on the guitar and drums?

Sascha’s committed approach to his chosen sport of mountain biking and the attitude he brings with it is what we need more of, he is one driven young man with the most level head and positive outlook I have had the pleasure of meeting and shooting. A young role model amongst his peers and riders alike, he continues to push himself further in the sport at any opportunity.

Under that berm destroying exterior is a dedicated, hard working quiet and humble kid we could all learn a thing or two from.

Humble and Hidden, this is Sascha Kim.

See more from Jasper da Seymour on Instagram @jdaseymourphotography.

Maydena Bike Park – Uplift Bookings Open

Maydena Bike Park is a gravity-focused mountain bike park that will eventually offer over 120km of gravity trails, across 820m vertical elevation. The park is located a 1-hour drive from Hobart, in the stunning Tasmanian wilderness. The park is set to open to the public January 26th 2018.

With construction now well underway, bookings for uplift, bike school and bike hire are set to go live at 6pm September 20th. Bike park members have had one week of priority access to the booking system, and during this period have already started filling up key dates. Daily uplift spaces are strictly limited, with pre-booking the only way to guarantee access to the parks complete gravity trail network.

Bookings are available through the Park’s website www.maydenabikepark.com

Maydena Collective Membership Program

Why so excited?

We visited Maydena earlier in the year and what really struck us, was the size of that hill! 820 vertical metres from the town centre to the summit bar and cafe makes Maydena the tallest bike park in Australia. We won’t be riding to the top, either. A year round shuttle service delivers riders to the summit, where they’ll have 30+km of gravity fed trails to choose from on opening day, with another 90km planned over the coming years.

Imagine the airtime on an 820vm descent! That’s twice the elevation of Mt Mystic in Bright.

The bike park is being designed and built by Dirt Art, a company founded in Tasmania, who carry a lot of credibility when it comes to gravity oriented trails. The Hero Trail in Bright’s Mystic Mountain Bike Park quickly got our adrenaline pumping and Thredbo’s All Mountain Track showed us how a fun, flowing descent can just keep going and going. Keep in mind Maydena will be 200m taller than Thredbo, so we can’t wait to experience the variety of trails that Dirt Art create on such a canvas.

Maydena Bike Park is offering a limited number of lifetime memberships to their ‘Collective’. Astute riders who appreciate the epicness of Maydena have the opportunity to secure deals and special offers covering everything from a merch pack to uplift discounts and a VIP shuttle queue. Collective members can feel good too because their investment will help fund even better trails come opening day, which is scheduled for January 26th 2018.

A quaint little town, with something exciting brewing in those hills!

If you live in Tasmania or can see yourself heading there on a regular basis, we think the Maydena Collective memberships are well worth checking out. Find more details in the official press release below, including how you could be in the running for the ‘Golden Ticket’.


Maydena Collective Membership Program Launch

The Maydena Bike Park is a large-scale, year-round gravity-based bike park, located in stunning wilderness in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, a 1:15 hour drive from Hobart. The park is being developed by renowned trail building company, Dirt Art. The park will provide a year-round uplift service, accessing an eventual 120+km of gravity-based trails.

Simon French, the man behind Dirt Art and some of Australia’s best gravity trails, proudly showed us his biggest project yet.

Maydena Bike Park is pleased to announce the impending release of the park’s highly- anticipated membership program, the Maydena Collective. The Collective program replaces a traditional season pass system with a unique lifetime membership program, which offers a large range of discounts and special offers. Collective memberships are available only in limited numbers, and once sold out the offer will not be repeated. Available at both a Premium and Standard price point, priced at $449.00 and $249.00 respectively, memberships provide a lifetime of discounts for the member with no ongoing membership costs. A full overview of membership inclusions, additional details and terms and conditions are available at www.maydenabikepark.com.

Fuel up for your descent at Maydena Bike Park’s summit building featuring a bar and cafe

All members who sign up before July 31st 2017 will go in the draw to have their membership upgraded to a ‘Golden Ticket.’ The Golden Ticket provides unlimited free uplift access for life, without the need to book. The Golden Ticket winner will also win an exclusive VIP ride day with Sam Hill.

Memberships sales are set to go live at 6pm on July 6th, via www.maydenabikepark.com.

Maydena Bike Park, Tasmania – Site Visit and FAQs


So where is Maydena? 

You’ll find the town of Maydena about an hour west of Hobart. It’s a bloody beautiful drive too – passing through hops fields, hedge rows, following the pretty Derwent and Tyenna Rivers. It’s within day-trip distance from Hobart, but there’s already a bunch of accommodation options in town, and more to come, so staying on site and enjoying the vibe of this beautiful area is possible too.

Looking south-west from the summit of Maydena, into the wilderness. Just a few peaks piercing through the inversion on a beautiful Autumn morning.

Maydena is on the cusp on Tasmania’s impenetrable Southwest National Park – a quarter of the state that is as wild as it gets, accessible by only foot, boat or helicopter- and from the summit of the park, you’ve got views deep into the wilderness, not a sign of habitation, just dense forest folded into rolling valleys, stabbed through by occasionally craggy peaks. In short, it’s a magical part of the world.  It’s also just down the road from Mt Field National Park, one of Tassie’s most visited sites, home of the Russel Falls, and the Styx Valley which has some of the tallest trees in the state.

Russell Falls is just ten minutes down the road from Maydena, and is one of the most stunning waterfalls in Tassie.
The summit building will feature a cafe and bar, so you can relax or refuel up top before your next run.

What sets Maydena apart from existing developments? 

The elevation is one thing. The park has over 820m of vertical drop from the summit to Maydena way below. That’s about 200m more than Thredbo, and twice the elevation of Mt Mystic in Bright, to put things in perspective! According to Dirt Art, the average descent length from summit to base will be over 10km. That is MASSIVE.

The summit at sunrise is a stunning spot.

Maydena Bike Park is also a privately run park, just like Thredbo or other lift/shuttle accessed trails, you’ll pay to ride. Obviously one of the virtues of being a privately run operation, not a public facility, is that trail builders are freed of any ‘sanitising’ influences – steeper, wilder trails, with more challenging lines than you’ll find on public lands are definitely on the cards.

Mist clings to the hillsides above Maydena on a classic Tassie autumn morn.

There won’t be any climbing to the top here either – this will be a gravity park through and through. You’ll be shuttled to the top, with buses departing from the centre of town and taking you right to the summit building, where there’ll be a bar and cafe, so you can chill out soaking in the incredible views on the deck before dropping in.

Simon French points out some of the key trail corridors. You can just see Maydena way, way below.

So is this a downhill park? 

There’ll definitely be some more full-on downhill style trails and sections in Maydena Bike Park, but the bulk of the riding will be targeted at the Enduro style rider, on a 150-180mm travel bike.

In addition to the more gravity-focused trails, Dirt Art will also building a longer back-country epic descent, that will head out into some beautiful sub-alpine terrain. The intention is that this trail alone will be around 16km long.

An Aussie version of Whistler? 

There’s certainly that potential. Dirt Art are taking a very wholistic approach to this project, pulling in all their experience not just in trail building, but also in seeing how bike parks and successful mountain bike destinations operate all over the world.

This means in addition to the shuttles and trail building/maintenance, Dirt Art will be running bike hire and accommodation, as well as setting up a brewery and a cafe/restaurant that will use locally grown hops and other produce.

Simon French of Dirt Art. This project really represents the culmination of many years of trail building and mountain bike tourism experience.

So how much trail will there be? 

Dirt Art are planning to launch the park with close to 50km of descending trail, with plans to double this within a couple of years. They’ll be launching with a mix of trail styles too, from machine-built jump trails (in a similar style to the Hero Trail in Bright) through to hand-cut singletrack tech lines.

When is Maydena Bike Park opening?

The final opening date is yet to be confirmed, but early 2018 is the aim. In the coming months Maydena Bike Park will be releasing more information about bookings, pricing and the like. Visit the Maydena Bike Park site, or their Facebook page for more.

As an aside, it’s incredible to see what a positive impact this development is already having on the local economy. Trail building hasn’t even commenced here yet, but locals are reaping the benefits already with property prices doubling in the past few months. Read more about it here. 

The Tassie MTB Road Trip: Hobart


Powered by the sprawling colossus of Blue Derby, Tassie has stormed to the front of the Australian mountain bike scene. Save your Tasmanian jokes, folks, this spot on the map is putting the rest of Australia to shame. And with the world’s attention falling on Derby for the Enduro World Series, we thought it was time to delve a little deeper and see what we could find on a circumnavigation of the state; welcome to the Tassie MTB Road Trip.

Our journey begins in Hobart, a town that will stop you in your tracks with it’s natural beauty, and with the riding to match. Cut in half by the River Derwent, and lauded over by the hulking 1000m beast of Mt Wellington, it’s a dramatic setting for some incredible riding.

One thing that grabs us about Hobart riding is how close it all is to the CBD, no other Aussie capital city can boast so many distinct trail networks this close to town. We teamed up with adopted local ripper Jaclyn Schapel for a tour of three of the best.


Meehan Range

Flow MTB Hobart-006-DSC04800
Clarence MTB Park is the sunset spot of choice.

On the eastern side of the river runs the Meehan range, a lumpy caterpillar of rolling hills and steep cliff lines, that’s riven with trails. It’s a tremendous mix of organic volunteer built stuff, quirky, plentiful and varied, blended with professional machine-built flow. Our time on the Meehan was spent in Clarence MTB Park, the hub of this area, and the easiest region to navigate as a newbie. We barely scratched the surface, but at least we scored a magical sunset over Hobart, with the day’s final rays bending their golden way around the black of Mt Wellington. Magic!

Flow MTB Hobart-043-DSC04954Flow MTB Hobart-023-DJI_0050


South Hobart Trails

Flow MTB Hobart-071-DSC05053
Pride of the south.
Flow MTB Hobart-069-DSC05047
Mt Wellington looms over it all.

If you know much about Tasmania, you may have caught wind of the north/south rivalry, embodied in the battle between the Cascade Brewery (Hobart) and Boags up north (Launceston). With that in mind, the trails of South Hobart might just be the most parochial of all, finishing as they do right on the doorstep of the Cascade Brewery!

This rabbit warren of trails is largely off-the-radar, so to get the most out of them you’re best served by rustling up a local to ride with, doing a bit of research, or just getting amongst it and following your nose!

These trails fall in the pitching, steep folds of Mt Wellington’s lower slopes, and you find yourself plunging into deep pockets where the sunlight rarely reaches, the terrain flipping from dry gums and chunky rock, to loam and mossy decay as you slide onto the southern side of a gully.

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On the south side of the gullies, it’s real rainforest stuff.
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But on the northern slopes, it’s all rock, dust and gums. Jaclyn Schapel knows the trails well.

Flow MTB Hobart-065-DSC05033

Explore away, you know you’re never more than few minute’s descent from a bakery or cafe, such is the beauty of riding in Hobart. If you’re keen to extend your ride a little (ok, a lot) further, then the South Hobart network is a perfect precursor to a run down the North South Track, Hobart’s best-known trail.

Flow MTB Hobart-051-DSC02864 Flow MTB Hobart-038-DSC02822


North South Track

You’ve likely heard of this one before. The North South Track was a marvel at the time of its construction, and it still holds its own; a wide-eyed, tree-dodging, moss slipping, seemingly never-ending descent, you can’t leave Hobart without a ride here.

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Rainbows, good portents for a great ride ahead.
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Check out the trail craft here!

Tracking this trail down is easy: from the mid-point of the road up the mountain, you’ll see the signposts for the North South Track. Follow them into the forest, engage your senses, and let it run! As you pick up speed, the trees seem to tighten up, the rocks whistle past your bars, pedals and derailleur, the number of “I can’t believe I got away with that” moments accumulate. And it just keeps on giving, the brief climbs or traverses offer a chance to reset your brain, but don’t switch it off, as there’s much more to come.

When you hit the open rock scree slope, make sure you take a moment to appreciate where you are and what you’re rolling over. The craft in this trail building is exquisite! Quite how the builders envisioned and massaged a way through this cascade of rubble is remarkable.

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How a path was found across this, we just don’t know.

As the trees open up and you hit the lower regions, you find yourself at the top of the Glenorchy MTB Park, the site of many a National Series race, and a whole other zone to explore. You’ve got options here, so choose your adventure, they all end up funnelling you down to the trail head below. Enjoy the moment, you’ve tamed one hell of a trail!

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Hobart, from the North South track.
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High road, low road, slippery road.

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Dropping into the upper reaches of Glenorchy MTB Park.
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Take us back. Hobart is a hard place to leave behind. Shot from the peak of Mt Wellington, 1000m up.

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Blue Derby’s New Trail: Shear Pin & 23 Stitches

Or if you’re game these two new trails will thrill your socks off and challenge your skills, and like Return to Sender, it’s either pedal up to the top via the climbing trail Long Shadow, or shuttle up to the Black Stump junction with a local shuttle operator, we recommend Vertigo MTB.


Watch video below


Make it a double, double black

Shear Pin and 23 Stitches are both black graded runs, not so much because they’re hard to ride down but if you ride each the A-line options you’ve earned some serious bragging rights.


Shear Pin

Where’s the name come from? A shear pin is a part designed to break before the tool does, World Trail broke many of them wrenching rocks around into place and out of the way, many shear pins were harmed in the construction of this trail and hence the name. They have managed to push a trail through a seriously rocky part of the hillside above Derby, linking up huge off-camber granite slabs and jagged rock-strewn terrain.

Where is it?

Shear Pin leads straight into 23 Stitches and is accessed from the Black Stump junction on Cascade Dam Rd, via a shuttle vehicle or climbing Long Shadow.

_LOW2547
A fast start to a run down some seriously chunky rock.
_LOW2638
The World Trail crew took this trail through the rockiest terrain they could find.
DSC02301
The photos don’t quite do the rock justice, and Rhys and Ryan do make it look too easy.
DSC02325
Huge bare granite slabs offer up options of high and fast, or low and slow. Stay high if you’re lucky.

You can bet your bottom dollar that this side of the hill will feature in the upcoming Enduro World Series in April 2017, it’s well and truly up to the task of challenging the world’s best. DSC02283

It’s a jangly, bumpy, ragged run, while only just under 1km in length it’s hard to keep the wheels rolling through the rock. Then you’ll come across massive slabs of bare granite that will push the limits of your tyres if you take a bad line, or if you get it right you’ll stay high above the ugly stuff and through the other side even faster.

Ryan rides a tight line hard and fast, front wheel holding traction in a natural rut with the rear skipping out. Maniac.
Ryan rides a tight line hard and fast, front wheel holding traction in a natural rut with the rear skipping out. Maniac.
Rhys tipping it in on a bare granite slab.
Rhys tipping it in on a bare granite slab.
Keeping momentum and wheel rolling is the tricky bit.
Keeping momentum and wheel rolling is the tricky bit.

23 Stitches

Quickly becoming a favourite is the new jump line that continues the descent from Shear Pin to the valley floor, riddled with jumps of every shape and size. From straight rhythms to big hits off the side of the trail, to whopping step downs this track will take a few runs to fully master.

Hip to the left, hip to the right, jump long, jump down, transfer to the other side, it’s all coming at you fast on this trail!

To get you into the mood, 23 Stitches begins with another huge chunk of off-camber granite.
To get you into the mood, 23 Stitches begins with another huge chunk of off-camber granite.
Past the Great Race, a water race from the mining era built in the hillside to carry water to mine sites.
Dropping in past The Great Race, one of the many water races from the mining era that had dug and built into the hillside to carry water to mine sites.
And boom, the first hit is a big one.
And boom, the first hit is a big one.
Rhys off the wide kicker, boosting high.
Rhys off the wide kicker, boosting high.
Kicking up roost, holding mega speed.
Kicking up roost, holding mega speed.
Berms with absolute support.
Berms with absolute support.
DSC02458
One of the more mellow jumps is a right hand hip jump which can give you some serious pop and height if you want it.
Ryan eyes the landing on a big hip gap.
Ryan eyes the landing on a big hip gap.
And back to town for another shuttle run.
And back to town for another shuttle run.

www.ridebluederby.com.au

Blue Derby's New Trail: Shear Pin & 23 Stitches

If gnarly rock and big kickers ain’t your jam then stay clear of these two new descents in the Blue Derby network. Shear Pin has been cut from pure rock and 23 Stitches is a jump-riddled playground trail that’ll have you spending a whole lot of time floating in the fresh Tasmanian air.

Or if you’re game these two new trails will thrill your socks off and challenge your skills, and like Return to Sender, it’s either pedal up to the top via the climbing trail Long Shadow, or shuttle up to the Black Stump junction with a local shuttle operator, we recommend Vertigo MTB.


Watch video below


Make it a double, double black

Shear Pin and 23 Stitches are both black graded runs, not so much because they’re hard to ride down but if you ride each the A-line options you’ve earned some serious bragging rights.


Shear Pin

Where’s the name come from? A shear pin is a part designed to break before the tool does, World Trail broke many of them wrenching rocks around into place and out of the way, many shear pins were harmed in the construction of this trail and hence the name. They have managed to push a trail through a seriously rocky part of the hillside above Derby, linking up huge off-camber granite slabs and jagged rock-strewn terrain.

Where is it?

Shear Pin leads straight into 23 Stitches and is accessed from the Black Stump junction on Cascade Dam Rd, via a shuttle vehicle or climbing Long Shadow.

_LOW2547
A fast start to a run down some seriously chunky rock.
_LOW2638
The World Trail crew took this trail through the rockiest terrain they could find.
DSC02301
The photos don’t quite do the rock justice, and Rhys and Ryan do make it look too easy.
DSC02325
Huge bare granite slabs offer up options of high and fast, or low and slow. Stay high if you’re lucky.

You can bet your bottom dollar that this side of the hill will feature in the upcoming Enduro World Series in April 2017, it’s well and truly up to the task of challenging the world’s best. DSC02283

It’s a jangly, bumpy, ragged run, while only just under 1km in length it’s hard to keep the wheels rolling through the rock. Then you’ll come across massive slabs of bare granite that will push the limits of your tyres if you take a bad line, or if you get it right you’ll stay high above the ugly stuff and through the other side even faster.

Ryan rides a tight line hard and fast, front wheel holding traction in a natural rut with the rear skipping out. Maniac.
Ryan rides a tight line hard and fast, front wheel holding traction in a natural rut with the rear skipping out. Maniac.
Rhys tipping it in on a bare granite slab.
Rhys tipping it in on a bare granite slab.
Keeping momentum and wheel rolling is the tricky bit.
Keeping momentum and wheel rolling is the tricky bit.

23 Stitches

Quickly becoming a favourite is the new jump line that continues the descent from Shear Pin to the valley floor, riddled with jumps of every shape and size. From straight rhythms to big hits off the side of the trail, to whopping step downs this track will take a few runs to fully master.

Hip to the left, hip to the right, jump long, jump down, transfer to the other side, it’s all coming at you fast on this trail!

To get you into the mood, 23 Stitches begins with another huge chunk of off-camber granite.
To get you into the mood, 23 Stitches begins with another huge chunk of off-camber granite.
Past the Great Race, a water race from the mining era built in the hillside to carry water to mine sites.
Dropping in past The Great Race, one of the many water races from the mining era that had dug and built into the hillside to carry water to mine sites.
And boom, the first hit is a big one.
And boom, the first hit is a big one.
Rhys off the wide kicker, boosting high.
Rhys off the wide kicker, boosting high.
Kicking up roost, holding mega speed.
Kicking up roost, holding mega speed.
Berms with absolute support.
Berms with absolute support.
DSC02458
One of the more mellow jumps is a right hand hip jump which can give you some serious pop and height if you want it.
Ryan eyes the landing on a big hip gap.
Ryan eyes the landing on a big hip gap.
And back to town for another shuttle run.
And back to town for another shuttle run.

www.ridebluederby.com.au

Blue Derby’s New Trails: Return to Sender & Flickety Sticks Upper

To say that a lot of the ‘A-line’ features pushed our humble bike skills is an understatement. So we let Ryan De La Rue and Rhys Atkinson of World Trail show us how it’s done.

To create a mountain bike destination out of literally nothing, the aim for the little town of Derby in Tasmania’s North East was to lay down foundations of blue and green grade trails and build up from there to form a destination for every type of rider.

After three years of construction, there’s a whole new batch of blue and black trails, so you’ll be able to rock up to Derby and feast on a massive variety that’ll blow your mind and challenge even the most technically advanced riders.


Return to Sender

Watch video here:

Rhys Atkinson, one of the builders of Return to Sender, scrubbing low and fast.
Rhys Atkinson, one of the trail builders of Return to Sender, scrubbing low and fast.
_LOW1724
Through a tunnel of green on the upper section of RTS.
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It doesn’t get much lusher than this, the moss drips off the trees here.
_LOW1806
Ryan De La Rue bursts through the golden morning light.

What is it?

Return to Sender (RTS) is one of the newer trails in the huge network and it’s a total blast to ride, the name comes from simply that it pops out of the native forest opposite the Derby Post office, right in the heart of town. RTS takes in a completely new area of the hillside and is 5.72km of the bliss that Derby has become world famous for. It’s a real mixed bag, from lush and green fern-lined mossy terrain it becomes drier and even a little dusty towards the bottom.

DSC01788
RTS rewards the creative rider, as it’s been built by some of the most skilled and fluid riders we know.
DSC01710
Minnie Jessop’s Beard as the locals call it, the greenery is growing everywhere in the damp forest.
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The trail slows and mellows around parts of the forest that demand attention, it’s worth looking around.
_LOW1738
Big old trees poke through the fern canopy to the skies above.
_LOW1782
Go on. Plan that trip everyone’s talking about.
_LOW1699
Rhys scrubbing the super-grippy Stumpjumper 6Fattie.
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When the speed of the trail trickles up, you can bet you’ll come across big senders like this.
_LOW1960
A double double for the keen to jump at speed, or pump through the rollers with your wheels on the ground.

Take one run down and you may or may not notice the dozens of ‘A-line’ options everywhere, double jumps, step down gaps and huge senders tempt you off the side of the trail. There’s always options, and the clever people at World Trail don’t build trails with bad surprises, so you can clear the gaps with the natural speed and flow of the trail if you’re game to go for it.

Shuttle me up to the top!

Return to Sender starts at the Black Stump trail junction, a high point on Cascade Dam Road that can be accessed by climbing Long Shadow Upper trail but most importantly and music to many ears, the top of RTS can be via a shuttle vehicle! Yes, Return to Sender is a shuttle-able trail, winner! And because it finishes in town it’s straight to the shuttle pickup and back up you go to nail down the myriad of lines and jumps that you’ll most likely need to work up to. Do half a dozen runs of RTS on the shuttle and you’ll be cooked and stoked.

_LOW1885
How about this for an amazing trail feature! Through the crevice or around the massive berm. The World Trail guys have taken the time to really make the most of the terrain on offer here.
_LOW1908
Rhys hanging up in the green room on one of the larger but remarkably achievable step-down gaps.
_LOW1872
In a train of mates, you’ll be able to swap the lead and make sneaky pass moves to spice things up a little.

Flickety Sticks Upper

Beginning from the same junction at the Black Stump is an extension to one of Derby’s most popular existing trails, Flickety Sticks. It now extends right up high to the shuttle drop-off point on Cascade Dam Rd adding an extra 1.5km of super-fast and flowing trail with massive berms and pumping terrain.

_LOW2006
This rock section on Flickety Sticks Upper is so fast, get the timing right and you can backside the rocks and carry amazing speed.
_LOW2015
The original section of Flickety Sticks is unreal, massive turns through a drier section of the forest where you can really let it slide.

Sawtooth

Since our last visit to Derby, the World Trail crew have given on of the trails that return you back to town a makeover. Sawtooth takes you past an old quarry, through regenerated mine locations littered with old mining relics and up to a high point with grand views of the Derby CBD.

To make the most of the views the crew cleared a space, built a fire pit, erected a bike rack using an old rail and council helped build a fence using recycled timber from a nearby property. Talk about making the most of it!

_LOW2041
The old ruins and relics have been fashioned into a sweet little loop up to the lookout over town, you can see the whole city of Derby from up there…
DSC01952
An old railway to rack your bike, sweet.
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And a short razz back to town, on another prime singletrack descent.
DSC01572
George Clooney of Derby.
_LOW1650
Fresh from Scottsdale, a very fine beer. Little Rivers.

_LOW2045 DSC01944_LOW1693_LOW1689 _LOW1664 DSC01573 _LOW1652 _LOW1647

www.ridebluederby.com.au

Blue Derby's New Trails: Return to Sender & Flickety Sticks Upper

From green trails, darker ones grow. Derby’s latest batch of incredible singletrack adds some more serious stuff to the trail network, we dragged ourselves back to Derby to see what’s sprung up since our last amazing visit.

To say that a lot of the ‘A-line’ features pushed our humble bike skills is an understatement. So we let Ryan De La Rue and Rhys Atkinson of World Trail show us how it’s done.

To create a mountain bike destination out of literally nothing, the aim for the little town of Derby in Tasmania’s North East was to lay down foundations of blue and green grade trails and build up from there to form a destination for every type of rider.

After three years of construction, there’s a whole new batch of blue and black trails, so you’ll be able to rock up to Derby and feast on a massive variety that’ll blow your mind and challenge even the most technically advanced riders.


Return to Sender

Watch video here:

Rhys Atkinson, one of the builders of Return to Sender, scrubbing low and fast.
Rhys Atkinson, one of the trail builders of Return to Sender, scrubbing low and fast.
_LOW1724
Through a tunnel of green on the upper section of RTS.
_LOW1764
It doesn’t get much lusher than this, the moss drips off the trees here.
_LOW1806
Ryan De La Rue bursts through the golden morning light.

What is it?

Return to Sender (RTS) is one of the newer trails in the huge network and it’s a total blast to ride, the name comes from simply that it pops out of the native forest opposite the Derby Post office, right in the heart of town. RTS takes in a completely new area of the hillside and is 5.72km of the bliss that Derby has become world famous for. It’s a real mixed bag, from lush and green fern-lined mossy terrain it becomes drier and even a little dusty towards the bottom.

DSC01788
RTS rewards the creative rider, as it’s been built by some of the most skilled and fluid riders we know.
DSC01710
Minnie Jessop’s Beard as the locals call it, the greenery is growing everywhere in the damp forest.
DSC01726
The trail slows and mellows around parts of the forest that demand attention, it’s worth looking around.
_LOW1738
Big old trees poke through the fern canopy to the skies above.
_LOW1782
Go on. Plan that trip everyone’s talking about.
_LOW1699
Rhys scrubbing the super-grippy Stumpjumper 6Fattie.
DSC01844
When the speed of the trail trickles up, you can bet you’ll come across big senders like this.
_LOW1960
A double double for the keen to jump at speed, or pump through the rollers with your wheels on the ground.

Take one run down and you may or may not notice the dozens of ‘A-line’ options everywhere, double jumps, step down gaps and huge senders tempt you off the side of the trail. There’s always options, and the clever people at World Trail don’t build trails with bad surprises, so you can clear the gaps with the natural speed and flow of the trail if you’re game to go for it.

Shuttle me up to the top!

Return to Sender starts at the Black Stump trail junction, a high point on Cascade Dam Road that can be accessed by climbing Long Shadow Upper trail but most importantly and music to many ears, the top of RTS can be via a shuttle vehicle! Yes, Return to Sender is a shuttle-able trail, winner! And because it finishes in town it’s straight to the shuttle pickup and back up you go to nail down the myriad of lines and jumps that you’ll most likely need to work up to. Do half a dozen runs of RTS on the shuttle and you’ll be cooked and stoked.

_LOW1885
How about this for an amazing trail feature! Through the crevice or around the massive berm. The World Trail guys have taken the time to really make the most of the terrain on offer here.
_LOW1908
Rhys hanging up in the green room on one of the larger but remarkably achievable step-down gaps.
_LOW1872
In a train of mates, you’ll be able to swap the lead and make sneaky pass moves to spice things up a little.

Flickety Sticks Upper

Beginning from the same junction at the Black Stump is an extension to one of Derby’s most popular existing trails, Flickety Sticks. It now extends right up high to the shuttle drop-off point on Cascade Dam Rd adding an extra 1.5km of super-fast and flowing trail with massive berms and pumping terrain.

_LOW2006
This rock section on Flickety Sticks Upper is so fast, get the timing right and you can backside the rocks and carry amazing speed.
_LOW2015
The original section of Flickety Sticks is unreal, massive turns through a drier section of the forest where you can really let it slide.

Sawtooth

Since our last visit to Derby, the World Trail crew have given on of the trails that return you back to town a makeover. Sawtooth takes you past an old quarry, through regenerated mine locations littered with old mining relics and up to a high point with grand views of the Derby CBD.

To make the most of the views the crew cleared a space, built a fire pit, erected a bike rack using an old rail and council helped build a fence using recycled timber from a nearby property. Talk about making the most of it!

_LOW2041
The old ruins and relics have been fashioned into a sweet little loop up to the lookout over town, you can see the whole city of Derby from up there…
DSC01952
An old railway to rack your bike, sweet.
DSC01956
And a short razz back to town, on another prime singletrack descent.
DSC01572
George Clooney of Derby.
_LOW1650
Fresh from Scottsdale, a very fine beer. Little Rivers.

_LOW2045 DSC01944_LOW1693_LOW1689 _LOW1664 DSC01573 _LOW1652 _LOW1647

www.ridebluederby.com.au

Maydena Bike Park Plans Released

The Maydena Bike Park will be a full time, year-round gravity bike park, located in stunning wilderness in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, a 1:15 hour drive from Hobart.

We didn’t think it could get any more attractive to get down to Tasmania for a riding trip, but we’re happy to be proved wrong by this announcement!

With Tasmania already having a bevy of top quality riding locations, we're starting to get pretty jealous of the Apple Islanders!
With Tasmania already having a bevy of top quality riding locations, we’re starting to get pretty jealous of the Apple Islanders!

The Maydena Bike Park is being developed by renowned trail building company, Dirt Art. The Park utilises the currently disused ‘Eagles Eyrie’ building, a multi-million dollar visitor centre located over 800 vertical metres above the township of Maydena.

The disused 'Eagles Eyrie' building will be repurposed by the Maydena Bike Park.
The disused ‘Eagles Eyrie’ building will be repurposed by the Maydena Bike Park.

A network of over 60km of gravity-focused (all mountain/enduro and downhill) trails will connect the summit with the park’s base building in the town centre, offering over 800m of vertical descending across a range of trails for all abilities.

The proposed trail map for Maydena Bike Park, exciting stuff!
The proposed trail map for Maydena Bike Park, exciting stuff!

Recent work from Dirt Art includes the insanely good Hero Trail at Bright in Victoria, and the plan for Maydena is to have each of their trail teams from all around the country make at least one trail each.

It doesn't get much better than the Hero trail at Bright, seriously.
It doesn’t get much better than the Hero trail at Bright, seriously.

As each Dirt Art Team Leader and their team has a unique style of trail building, the variety of riding on offer is sure to offer something for every type of rider.

There'll be jumps and berms at Maydena, but there'll also be tech lines and natural trails- sounds good to us!
There’ll be jumps and berms at Maydena, but there’ll also be technical lines and more natural trails- sounds good to us!

The bike park base building will include; café, bar and beer garden, bike hire, bike shop, skills clinics and tours and retail area.

The old Maydena primary school will be re-adapted to include numerous facilities to complement the Bike Park.
The old Maydena primary school will be re-adapted to include numerous facilities to complement the Bike Park.

Construction is due to start mid 2017, ready for an opening in early 2018.

More project information include concept plans can be found at www.maydenabikepark.com.au or via social media; Facebook- Maydena Bike Park and Instagram- @maydenabikepark

Must-Ride: Blue Derby, Stage 3 – World Class Tassie Trails


It’s been a little over 12 months since Derby announced it was open for business as a mountain bike destination, and we came for a visit. Back then, the name Derby meant nothing to us – a bit of Googling revealed it to be a sleepy, some would say depressed, town of just a couple hundred folk. Halfway between Launceston and St Helens in Tassie’s north east, it’s a stunning piece of the world, and until you look really deeply you’d never guess that the whole region was ripped apart, and sustained, by tin mining until the mid-20th century. But those industrious days had faded, and Derby was at risk of rusting away, like a forgotten old piece of mining hardware abandoned in the forest.

What we found and rode on our first trip was the highlight of the year for us and we’ve been itching to come back to see how the scene and trails had developed. Finally we made it to Derby again, and things have definitely changed, in a big way.

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Derby is the most successful experiment in mountain bike-driven social recovery that we’ve ever seen in Australia. A bold investment in the belief that if you fill the hills with amazing trails, mountain bikers will flock to them like gulls to a picnic. While we’re sure that most of the townsfolk hadn’t had much lycra in their lives previously, they’ve embraced the new legions of visitors too – bike paraphernalia is everywhere, and new bike-friendly accommodation and cafes are emerging too. Why has Derby’s transformation been such a success? It has the winning formula: amazing trails, incredible scenery, just the right amount of remoteness, all backed up with the facilities you need to feed, water and maintain riders and their bikes.

But of those four elements, it’s the trails that matter the most, and the way this network has grown since our first visit here is pretty extraordinary. And it’s not complete yet, not by a long shot. The final piece in the puzzle currently under construction is a mammoth trail from the Blue Tier, which will be almost 25km long, and overwhelmingly descending. When it’s opened in June 2016, there’ll be over 80km of truly world class trail in this most unlikely of locations.

This time around, we were treated to a tonne of fresh riding, including the brand new trails of Atlas and Black Dragon, which open on 30 October 2015. Browse on, and make sure you head to ridebluederby.com.au for all the information on trail conditions, maps, accommodation and more.


Flickity Sticks

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This blue level trail is a fresh addition since our last trip to Derby. You can ride it as a loop, with an insane bobsledding descent back to the huge chasm of Devil Wolf, or peel off from the climb to continue on to Dambusters.

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Flow Nation Derby 2015-85

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Atlas

Representing a huge leap in the development of the Blue Derby network, Atlas is a brand new trail and it’s absolutely epic. About 10km long, it actually begins high up in the hills outside of Weldborough, about 20 minutes drive from Derby. Vertigo MTB are running a shuttle service to the trailhead, or the masochists out there can pedal up from town, but we’d recommend saving your legs for the descent that’s coming.

Flow Nation Derby 2015-111

This trail is a real contrast to those in the drier terrain closer to Derby – it charges through incredible rainforest, under huge ferns. It all feels a lot like New Zealand, all dark dirt, mosses and filtered green light.

Atlas is a complete overload of amazing sights. Everywhere you look there’s another massive, ancient tree, or ginormous rock outcrop, and that’s not to mention the creative and flowing trail features either. World Trail have taken it up a notch with Atlas, offering more A/B lines, some seriously decent jumps, berms that you stick to and insane feelings of surfing through the forest.

Flow Nation Derby 2015-137

Eventually, Atlas emerges from the green and merges with the descent of Dambusters, which is itself is already a standout. A top to bottom run of Atlas is a life changer, no doubt.

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Dambusters

Pack a sandwich and your camera – Dambusters is a great adventure trail. Dambusters has been open for a while (it was completed just in time for the Marathon National Champs here in March 2015) and its reputation is already well known, for good reason.

Flow Nation Derby 2015-210

A complete loop of Dambusters is a solid ride. After climbing out of the valley, you scoot along the side of the water, ducking in and out of singletrack and across the river that feeds Cascade Dam. A look at the elevation profile of this trail shows it ends with a avalanche of a descent, but first you’ve got to climb. As is customary with World Trails work, it’s not a grunt, and the trail takes nibbles at the elevation, until you’re suddenly at Lakeview Drop with nothing but flat-out descending ahead of you.

The run back down is as insanely fast as you’d ever want to go. Huge berms catch your traverses and spit you back across the hill, with poppy rollers and sly doubles keeping you in the air half the time too. It goes on, and on, and on… If your eyeballs are watering too much, you’ve also got the option of splitting off onto another new trail, Black Dragon for a steeper, more technical descent.

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Black Dragon

Handbuilt trails are a rarity in the modern mountain bike park, especially ones like this. Black Dragon is a properly challenging, technical trail, climbing and descending the ridgeline steeply. You can ride it as a loop from Devil Wolf (fair play to you if you clear the whole climb!) or ride it as an alternative descent on Dambusters.

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There’s plenty to think about on this trail, with steep rollers, off camber lines, some tricky rock sections and steep chutes that require a bit of thinking ahead! We love it, and think it’s an awesome bit of spice.

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Maydena Bike Park Gets the Green Light From the Tasmanian Government

The Maydena Bike Park is an ambitious project led by internationally-renowned trail company Dirt Art (www.dirtart.com.au) to re-purpose an abandoned $6.5m tourism development into a large-scale commercial mountain bike park and adventure centre.  

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On Friday the proposal received a green light from the Tasmanian Government, passing stage two of approvals and moving into a lease phase for the site.  The development will offer over 100km of purpose-built trails, focusing on the gravity all-mountain and downhill markets with over 60km of shuttle accessed trails proposed, beginning at the stunning Eagles Eyrie building some 820m vertical above the base visitor centre.  

Catering for everyone from absolute beginners through to world-level elite riders, the year round trail network will offer stunning views and an incredible variety of natural technical and machine-built flow/jump trails.  

The proposal includes a large retail and food and beverage centre at both the base building and summit, which will include; bar, restaurant, bike hire, tours, skills coaching and a large events centre.  Building on the gravity network, a free-use cross country trail network of 40+km is proposed to be developed around the township of Maydena.  Pending final approvals the facility is slated for an opening in Summer 2016/2017.  

‘This is one of the most unique and exciting projects we have been involved with, it’s an opportunity to present our absolute best trail design and construction in a stunning wilderness setting, with the largest elevation drop of any purpose-built mountain bike trail in the southern hemisphere.  

Our company are strong advocates of the gravity (all mountain and downhill) mountain bike scene, and this is our chance to truly showcase this style of riding’, Simon French (Managing Director- Dirt Art)

Happy New (Bike) Year: Here’s Our 2015 Top Five

With Eurobike done and dusted, just about every bike brand has now shown us their wares for the new season. But before we begin afresh, riding whatever wheel size it is this year, we thought we’d take a look at our personal five top mountain bike ‘things’ of the past 12 months. These are just our personal picks – what would you put on your list?


Shimano XT 11-speed:

XT-11-speed-6

It took a long time for Shimano to come up with an 11-speed mountain bike grouppo that was a viable contender for SRAM’s plethora of 1×11 drivetrains; SRAM had already released XX1, X01 and X1 before Shimano showed us their XTR 11-speed groupset. But not only was XTR mega bucks, it also topped out at with a 40-tooth cassette, which wasn’t low enough for many people to consider going 1×11.

And then, finally, came the XT version. Not only was it a shitload more affordable, but it also comes with a 11-42 cassette, which is a nice low granny gear. The use of a standard freehub body means it’s an easier upgrade to 11-speed too. Plus it works flawlessly too.

Read our full XT review here. 


 

Tasmania:

Ok, so Tassie has been around a lot longer than the last 12 months. But it’s only in recent times, thanks to the development of new trail centres, that we’ve been happy to call it Australia’s leading mountain bike state.

Tasmania-Flow-Nation-68
Riding the Juggernaut at Hollybank.

In particular, the amazing Blue Derby and Hollybank MTB parks, both not far from Launceston, really put Tassie at the forefront of Australian mountain biking. We were lucky enough to spend some time at both of these trail centres last year, and they blew us away. Since our visit, Blue Derby has undergone a whole stack of new trail building too, and we’re itching to get back.

Flow-Nation-Blue-Derby-19
The Blue Derby trails are stunning.

But there’s far more to Tassie’s mountain bike scene than just these centres – Hobart has killer riding too, the west coast has some of the best adventure/back country trails going, and there’s a healthy race scene too (take the Hellfire Cup or Wildside for example).

It’s a little nugget of mountain bike awesomeness. Read more about Hollybank, Blue Derby and Hobart.


 

Crankworx Rotorua:

Crankworx’s first foray to the southern hemisphere was a huge success, in every regard, and Rotorua further cemented its status as one of the coolest mountain bike towns on the planet.

Crankworx-Slopestyle-52
Slopestyle at Crankworx Rotorua.

The courses were great, the town was totally buzzing, the locals got right behind it all and it all went smoothly! It was great to see how many Aussies made the trip over too, filling the forest trails in between the events and getting into it.

We’re bummed to hear that the Enduro World Series won’t be combined with Crankworx Rotorua next year, but apparently there will still be an enduro, just not an official part of the EWS. Given how much the riders seemed to froth on Rotorua, we’d imagine a healthy contingent of the world’d best riders will still be on hand.

The Enduro World Series down under.
The Enduro World Series down under.
Crankworx-Day-1.1-17
The local crowds came out in force for Crankworx Rotorua.

Regardless, we’ll be back next year, and if you’ve been thinking about a riding holiday to Rotorua, we think it’s the perfect time to do it.


 

FOX 34 and 36 forks and DPS EVOL shock:

FOX got their arses handed to them when RockShox released the Pike, but they’ve responded with a furious bout of development and the new 36 and 34 forks are the result. Put simply, the Factory versions of these two forks are mind-blowingly good.

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The 36 is lighter than many of the old 32 forks we used to ride, but has proper downhill race-worthy performance, and the 34 is so sublimely smooth it seems to be predicting the terrain.

FOX-2016-14

While FOX have traditionally had the edge when it comes to rear shocks, they’ve been losing ground to RockShox in this arena, but the DPS EVOL shock should stem the bleeding. The new air can shape seems like such a simple change, but the improvement in small bump response in particular is so dramatic it’ll make your old shock feel like it’s filled with Selleys Space Invader.

Read our full review of the FOX 36 here, and our review of the 34 and DPS shock here.


 

Yeti SB5c:

For us, this was the standout bike of 2015 in a field of incredible contenders. We admit to having a soft spot for Yetis, but when you look raw performance alone (and ignore the stunning looks and fantastic heritage) this bike is a winner.

Yeti-SB5-C-16

Yes, it costs a million bucks and can’t fit a water bottle, but as a tool for slicing and dicing the trail, they don’t get any better. Just enough travel, delivered via a suspension system that is both efficient and plush, perfectly poised geometry, low weight, great versatility – this is a bike you can race at an EWS round one day then cross country on the next. In short, it embodies the kind of do-it-all performance that the best trail bikes shoot for.

Read our full Yeti SB5c review here. 


Also on the shortlist:

RedBull’s race coverage: It just keeps getting better and better. We’ve been glued to the computer too many Saturday and Sunday evenings to count this year!

Aussie young gun downhillers kicking arse: We get the feeling we’re about to see a return to that age of Aussie domination in downhill, with Andrew Crimmins, Connor Fearon and Dean Lucas all set to follow in the footsteps of Brosnan and Hill.

Cairns: Rad trails, crazy jungles and even crazier locals. The scene in Cairns just keeps on growing as it undergoes a huge revival. Bring on the 2016 World Cup!

Ibis 741 rims: These 35mm wide rims have been a revelation, transforming out trail bikes into grip seeking missiles!

 

 

Happy New (Bike) Year: Here's Our 2015 Top Five

Happy New Year! The bike industry has done the countdown, popped the cork and, with Rod Stewart’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne on the hi-fi, said goodbye to 2015.

With Eurobike done and dusted, just about every bike brand has now shown us their wares for the new season. But before we begin afresh, riding whatever wheel size it is this year, we thought we’d take a look at our personal five top mountain bike ‘things’ of the past 12 months. These are just our personal picks – what would you put on your list?


Shimano XT 11-speed:

XT-11-speed-6

It took a long time for Shimano to come up with an 11-speed mountain bike grouppo that was a viable contender for SRAM’s plethora of 1×11 drivetrains; SRAM had already released XX1, X01 and X1 before Shimano showed us their XTR 11-speed groupset. But not only was XTR mega bucks, it also topped out at with a 40-tooth cassette, which wasn’t low enough for many people to consider going 1×11.

And then, finally, came the XT version. Not only was it a shitload more affordable, but it also comes with a 11-42 cassette, which is a nice low granny gear. The use of a standard freehub body means it’s an easier upgrade to 11-speed too. Plus it works flawlessly too.

Read our full XT review here. 


 

Tasmania:

Ok, so Tassie has been around a lot longer than the last 12 months. But it’s only in recent times, thanks to the development of new trail centres, that we’ve been happy to call it Australia’s leading mountain bike state.

Tasmania-Flow-Nation-68
Riding the Juggernaut at Hollybank.

In particular, the amazing Blue Derby and Hollybank MTB parks, both not far from Launceston, really put Tassie at the forefront of Australian mountain biking. We were lucky enough to spend some time at both of these trail centres last year, and they blew us away. Since our visit, Blue Derby has undergone a whole stack of new trail building too, and we’re itching to get back.

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The Blue Derby trails are stunning.

But there’s far more to Tassie’s mountain bike scene than just these centres – Hobart has killer riding too, the west coast has some of the best adventure/back country trails going, and there’s a healthy race scene too (take the Hellfire Cup or Wildside for example).

It’s a little nugget of mountain bike awesomeness. Read more about Hollybank, Blue Derby and Hobart.


 

Crankworx Rotorua:

Crankworx’s first foray to the southern hemisphere was a huge success, in every regard, and Rotorua further cemented its status as one of the coolest mountain bike towns on the planet.

Crankworx-Slopestyle-52
Slopestyle at Crankworx Rotorua.

The courses were great, the town was totally buzzing, the locals got right behind it all and it all went smoothly! It was great to see how many Aussies made the trip over too, filling the forest trails in between the events and getting into it.

We’re bummed to hear that the Enduro World Series won’t be combined with Crankworx Rotorua next year, but apparently there will still be an enduro, just not an official part of the EWS. Given how much the riders seemed to froth on Rotorua, we’d imagine a healthy contingent of the world’d best riders will still be on hand.

The Enduro World Series down under.
The Enduro World Series down under.
Crankworx-Day-1.1-17
The local crowds came out in force for Crankworx Rotorua.

Regardless, we’ll be back next year, and if you’ve been thinking about a riding holiday to Rotorua, we think it’s the perfect time to do it.


 

FOX 34 and 36 forks and DPS EVOL shock:

FOX got their arses handed to them when RockShox released the Pike, but they’ve responded with a furious bout of development and the new 36 and 34 forks are the result. Put simply, the Factory versions of these two forks are mind-blowingly good.

Fox-36-First-Bite-8

The 36 is lighter than many of the old 32 forks we used to ride, but has proper downhill race-worthy performance, and the 34 is so sublimely smooth it seems to be predicting the terrain.

FOX-2016-14

While FOX have traditionally had the edge when it comes to rear shocks, they’ve been losing ground to RockShox in this arena, but the DPS EVOL shock should stem the bleeding. The new air can shape seems like such a simple change, but the improvement in small bump response in particular is so dramatic it’ll make your old shock feel like it’s filled with Selleys Space Invader.

Read our full review of the FOX 36 here, and our review of the 34 and DPS shock here.


 

Yeti SB5c:

For us, this was the standout bike of 2015 in a field of incredible contenders. We admit to having a soft spot for Yetis, but when you look raw performance alone (and ignore the stunning looks and fantastic heritage) this bike is a winner.

Yeti-SB5-C-16

Yes, it costs a million bucks and can’t fit a water bottle, but as a tool for slicing and dicing the trail, they don’t get any better. Just enough travel, delivered via a suspension system that is both efficient and plush, perfectly poised geometry, low weight, great versatility – this is a bike you can race at an EWS round one day then cross country on the next. In short, it embodies the kind of do-it-all performance that the best trail bikes shoot for.

Read our full Yeti SB5c review here. 


Also on the shortlist:

RedBull’s race coverage: It just keeps getting better and better. We’ve been glued to the computer too many Saturday and Sunday evenings to count this year!

Aussie young gun downhillers kicking arse: We get the feeling we’re about to see a return to that age of Aussie domination in downhill, with Andrew Crimmins, Connor Fearon and Dean Lucas all set to follow in the footsteps of Brosnan and Hill.

Cairns: Rad trails, crazy jungles and even crazier locals. The scene in Cairns just keeps on growing as it undergoes a huge revival. Bring on the 2016 World Cup!

Ibis 741 rims: These 35mm wide rims have been a revelation, transforming out trail bikes into grip seeking missiles!

 

 

New Blue Derby Website with Trail Cam – A World First

Dorset Council is excited to announce the launch of a new website for the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails! The new Ride Blue Derby website is LIVE  – And the trails will reopen after winter maintenance works this weekend: www.ridebluederby.com.au

In a world first, mountain bikers will also be able to check out the current riding weather on the new website! The Blue Derby Trail Cam will feed LIVE footage directly to the website, with no slow hourly updates or boring single-frame shots often seen on online Snow Cams.

You can now see how hard the wind is blowing, how bright the sun is shining, and if your best mate has taken off to the trails without you!

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In fact, the Ride Blue Derby website has loads of great new features! Merchandise, including jerseys, t-shirts, caps, drink bottles, stickers and magnets can all be purchased from the website. Blue Derby merchandise is only available through the website or, at present, local businesses in Derby. All proceeds from the sale of online merchandise goes directly towards funding the maintenance of our beloved Blue Derby Trails, so buyers have the added bonus of giving something back to the trails that have given them so much enjoyment!

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With an improved layout and content on the new Ride Blue Derby website, riders can easily access all the information they could possibly need for planning their next trip to the trails! Trail routes and ratings are clearly shown on an interactive online map with PDF download option, and you can easily browse accommodation options, places to eat and anything else you could possibly need to know!

The website is designed around the Blue Derby slogan of RIDE, EXPLORE, LIVE. Top of everyone’s list will be RIDE – What trails are in the Blue Derby network? How hard are they? How do I get there? – find the answers to these questions and more! Check out what else is on offer in and around Derby under the EXPLORE menu – What options are there for a meal? Where can I stay? What else is there to do in the region? – there’s plenty to choose from in north-east Tasmania! And for those that just can’t get enough of the trails, come and LIVE a bit closer!

In addition to an awesome network of mountain bike trails, this special part of the world provides the perfect lifestyle with a suite of education and health services, and a full range of work and investment opportunities available in the Dorset and Break O’Day municipalities.

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In addition to all this, there’s the opportunity for riders to provide feedback and upload videos of the trails. Those visiting Blue Derby for the first time will be able to see what other riders have thought of each section of trail, and any hot tips they may have for conquering Dam Busters or perfectly executing Berms and Ferns…

So make sure you check out www.ridebluederby.com.au and see the Blue Derby Trails like they’ve never been seen before!

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And local businesses that would also like to be included on the website listings can easily fill out an online form for their details to be uploaded: www.ridebluederby.com.au/list-your-property 

The Blue Derby Trails were funded by the Australian Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund.



Flow visited Blue Derby, did we love it?? YES!

Click for our destination feature on Derby.

 

Got Wildside in Your Sights?

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

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

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The famous Montezuma Falls swing bridge.

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

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

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

Gold for Blair and Johnston at the Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Blue Derby

ACT riders Brendan Johnston and Jenny Blair claimed maiden Australian titles today, winning gold at the 2015 Cross Country Marathon (XCM) Championships in Derby, Tasmania, presented by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA).

The weekend saw two days of exciting mountain bike racing, with age-group riders competing on the Saturday and Elite riders battling for gold on the Sunday, resulting in hundreds of riders and spectators descending on the picturesque riverside town of DerbyMark Tupalski (ACT) and Brendan Johsnton (ACT) led the Elite Men’s race after lap one, with 2014 champion Andy Blair (ACT) sitting in third.

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Johnston leads Tupalski.
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Elite Men Winner Brendan Johnston crosses the line.

In what may mark a handover to the next generation of marathon riders, young guns Tupalski and Johnston sat neck and neck for the first two laps.

Descending hard on the final lap, Johnston built an insurmountable lead and rode away with the win.

“I wasn’t overly confident coming in to today,” said Johnston. “I’ve been on it for awhile, since the beginning of the National Series, so I’m getting towards the end of my peak I think and I was worried I might be over the hill but I was able to pull this one out so I’m really happy.

Tupalski and Blair finished in second and third respectively. 

Mens podium. Australian 2015 MTB XC Marathon Championships.
Mens podium. Australian 2015 MTB XC Marathon Championships.

In the Elite Women’s race, Jenny Blair (ACT) led the pack from the get go, securing herself a two minute lead by the second lap, which she extended to almost 10 minutes on her way to the title. 

“I took advantage of the climb at the start and got away,” Blair explained.  “The girls got back to me a bit but I knew that I’d been training with a change of pace recently so if I could just keep changing the pace I’d wear them out and keep going on my own and that’s exactly what happened.” Irish-born Blair spoke highly of the Blue Derby trails and said she was happy to now have jerseys from both Australia and Ireland.

Elite womens winner Jenny Blair and elite mens winner Brendan Johnston at the podium_Credit_Heath_Holden
Elite women winner Jenny Blair and elite mens winner Brendan Johnston at the podium.

“It is hard racing on them [the Blue Derby Trails] but for the everyday person who wants to come here for the weekend, it’s just amazing.  “The trails are just so manicured – you can really rail it or you can just enjoy it.”

Eliza Kwan (ACT) and Rebecca Locke (VIC) rounded out the podium in second and third. 

Elite women winner, Jenny Blair finishes the Australian 2015 MTB XC Marathon Championships at Derby on Sunday.
Elite women winner, Jenny Blair finishes the Australian 2015 MTB XC Marathon Championships at Derby on Sunday.
Elite women second place getter, Eliza Kwan is congratulated by third place getter Rebecca Locke.
Elite women second place getter, Eliza Kwan is congratulated by third place getter Rebecca Locke.

In Saturday’s action, local favourite Alex Lack (TAS) dealt well with the pressure of riding at home, taking out the Junior Men’s Marathon title, while Mikayla Wolfe (VIC) won the Under 17 Women’s title.  Spectators were treated to a variety of entertainment over the weekend, including local food stalls and live music.

This is the first time a National race has been held on the Blue Derby trails, with the former mining town enjoying a resurgence, forming a new identity around an ever-expanding mountain bike trail network.

This weekend’s Championship race was also Round 7 of the World Mountain Bike Marathon Series, presented by the UCI, and is a key qualifying criteria for riders to be named on the Australian team for the annual UCI Marathon World Championships.

The Dance with the Devil – XCM National Championships was delivered by a joint partnership between MTBA, Dorset Council and Launceston Mountain Bike Club and MTBA will be returning to Derby next year for the 2016 XCM National Championships. 

Full results can be found at onlineresults.com.au.

Get more info on Derby’s amazing new mountain bike trails here – Flow Nation, Derby, Tasmania.

Massive Private MTB Park Gets Stage 1 Approval in Tasmania

Some incredibly exciting news has just come our way, via Tasmanian trail builders, Dirt Art. In a development that may well set a new precedent for Australian mountain bike parks, the Tasmanian state government has granted provisional approval for a huge new mountain bike development in Maydena, in Tasmania’s south.

The proposal is based around Eagles Eyre, a currently vacant multi-million dollar visitor centre and restaurant, 600m vertical above the township of Maydena, which lies on the main thoroughfare from Hobart to Tassie’s west coast (which is also about to receive a $1.2 million mountain bike trail development).

The Maydena proposal is no toe-in-the-water kind of approach either – what has been slated dwarfs any Australian mountain bike park to date. Proposed features include:

– 100km of purpose-built mountain bike trails (developed over multiple stages)
– A focus on gravity trails (all mountain and downhill) offering up to 600m of vertical descending
– The showpiece trail will be a 20km descending all mountain trail, through stunning alpine rock scree and dense rainforest
– Stunning myrtle forest environment backing onto the Styx Valley, home to some of the worlds largest trees
– Commercial shuttle service accessing the summit of the site
– Free-for-use access to the proposed cross country trail network, with paid shuttle access to gravity trails
– Restaurant, cafe, bar and bike shop retail
– Tours, skills coaching, bike and equipment hire
– Proposed future stages include a range of adventure activities, such as; zip lines, four wheel drive tours, eco tours and bush walking.

 

“This preliminary approval will allow us to begin developing a detailed proposal, which will face further assessment in due course,” says Simon French of Dirt Art. “There’s a lot of work to go yet, but this will be huge for mountain biking in Australia.
“We are understandably pretty excited about this proposal getting the nod – the site is a blank canvas where we can showcase our absolute best trail concepts without the typical limitations of publicly funded developments.  And 600m vertical, accessed via a shuttle road, with a multi-million dollar visitor centre at the summit- how good is that!?”

 

 

Must-Ride: Derby, Tasmania


Slightly fearful that Derek might throw his glass at us, we assure him that he’s been correctly informed – the 21km of trails we’ve just spent the morning exploring in the beautiful wilds around Derby are absolutely world class.

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Despite his volume control problem, Derek (a lifetime resident of Derby) is actually very enthusiastic about the new mountain bike trail development that’s about to put this place on the world mountain bike map. “The whole region’s been rooted,” says Derek, “it’ll be good to see people coming back to Derby.” And come they will, in their droves, because this tiny little town of 200 people is about to become the epicentre of the fastest developing mountain biking region in Australia.

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Derby’s been pretty quiet for a little while now… once upon a time, it was the centre of a tin mining boom that saw its population swell to over 3000 people and brought wealth to the region in a huge way. But when the dam burst in 1929, flooding the mines and killing 12, the town never quite recovered. Mining operations limped on for another few decades, but when the rail line to the town was shut in 1992, Derby slipped into the sleepy state that’s defined its existence for the past 20 years.

But things are about to change. The entire north-east corner of Tasmania is undergoing a mountain bike renaissance, and for the past 12 months, some of Australia’s leading trail builders have been mining the rugged hillsides and valleys around Derby for the kind of gold we like.

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We’d been given a run down of what to expect at Derby over the phone by Glen Jacobs of World Trail, but it wasn’t until we hit the ground that the scope and challenge of building trails in this area really hit us. This is a region that had been absolutely ravaged by mining before words like ‘sustainability’ even existed, but over the past 50 years the Tasmanian wilderness has fought back. What you’re left with is terrain that melds man-made and natural features; huge piles of rubble now swallowed by moss and ferns, deep gorges where rivers have been re-routed, tunnels, dams, massive pieces of abandoned mining equipment. It’s the kind of terrain that would have been near impossible to envisage laying a trail through, and Jacobs is the first to admit that it seemed that way at first. But the challenging terrain is what makes this place all the more special – it’s an area you’d never, ever expect to be able to see on your bike, and the trails take you on a real tour of the highlights, both natural and man-made.

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Flow Nation - Blue Derby 19

The Blue Derby trail development is an ongoing project. Stage 1, opening 7 February 2015, is what we’ve been lucky enough to explore. At a little over 20km, it comprises just a quarter of the total trail that will eventually make up the Blue Derby network, including a mammoth all-day point-to-point ride from the Blue Tier back to Derby, via Weldborough. The trails are of the calibre that we’ve all come to expect from World Trail nowadays (holy hell, we’re a spoilt lot!) – bermed, ludicrously flowy, sneaky jump lines everywhere – with a great natural progression featuring easier trails close to town, getting faster and more involved as you get up into the wilds a bit further.

Flow Nation - Blue Derby 16

Flow Nation - Blue Derby 15One of the great things about the Blue Derby trails is that they are literally on Derby’s doorstep – the trailhead is a 200m ride from the Corner Store (yep, the same as you’ll find in Forrest and Mt Buller) which is a 20m ride from the bike wash which is a 10m walk from the pub! You get the idea – it’s all right there. And the whole place has the kind of character that mountain bikers will love too, an authenticity that you don’t get much in the city, and that’s a large part of this place’s appeal as a mountain bike destination.

Flow Nation - Blue Derby 25

With a lot more trail development in the pipeline, and the awesome riding of Hollybank and Launceston not far down the road already, we’re looking forward to spending a lot more time in this corner of Tassie in the coming years. If you’re in the region this weekend, get along for the first serving of an absolute trail feast that’s coming our way.

For more information about accommodation options, trail maps, bike hire and more visit http://www.ridebluederby.com.au/

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Avantiplus Hellfire Cup: Final Race Wrap

The Avantiplbus Hellfire Cup is a done deal! Read on to learn how it all went down over the final two days.

Hellfire Cup Final wrap 4

STAGE 4: OVERVIEW

The time trial course takes racers out of the village in a 6km cruise stage to the time trial start on the Marchweil property. Special access to the stunning private property has been arranged for the Hellfire Cup which follows the coast and is below the event’s namesake Hellfire Bluff. The course then heads into nearby hills via a plantation fire road. The riders then jump off via a single track gully link which takes them onto the main climb for this short and sharp 14k time trial course.
STAGE 4: RESULTS
Day 3 started cool after a clear starry night over the Kellevie race village. Tasmanian competitors wandering around in t-shirts were greeted by interstate competitors in down jackets and beanies for the race briefing. The cruise stage allowed racers a chance to chat amongst the pack – there’s nothing quite like seeing a huge pack of riders winding their way up the hills on the gravel back roads of South East Tasmania. The chance to chat with pros and just enjoy the scenery was a nice leadup to the time trial stage.
At the picturesque Marchweil property the competitors assembled again surrounded by farm houses and a sea of lycra. The competitors were put into seeded pairs based on their results over the proceeding days, and were sent off in 30 second intervals.
Hellfire Cup Final wrap 7
For the Elite Male category Team Torq had a better outing than on Stage 3, and recorded a stage winning time of 25m 46s. They were followed a little over a minute later by Team 4SHAW who came in at 26m 57s. Team Torq’s strong performance will eat into the lead that 4SHAW and Avantiplus have carved out into the overall standings, but will not take them up a place on the overall podium at this stage. The competitive team of Avantiplus Launceston came looking like they hard worked hard for their time of 27m 12s.
The Elite Female teams Team Torq (Em Parkes & Jenni King) and Willylocke (Rebecca Locke & Naomi Williams) came across the line within 2 seconds of each other with Team Torq sneaking the stage win with a time of 33m 06s.
In the Elite Mixed competition team Jeffy & Pesta (Jarrod Moroni & Peta Mullens) came in very strong and took out stage 4 with a time of 31m 11s. Team My Mountain (Melissa Anset & David Ransom) followed in with a time of 33m 09. Less than a minute later A+ Launceston (Sam Calow & Rowena Fry) pushed across the line at 33m 47s.
 
STAGE 5: OVERVIEW
This afternoon stage is based around the classic Kelleive XC course, made famous by the Kellevie 24 Hour races. This track has been further developed and improved over the course of 2014 by new landowners Mtn Trails. The 9.5k course is all single track, which is ridden as a pairs relay for teams and lone wolves get to enjoy two laps of the course.
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After leaving the race village the riders descend into the Kellevie rainforest. This section is a fast-riding, winding path that rewards riders willing to brave the encroaching trees for an opportunity to separate themselves from the pack. The course also features a short, sharp ascent up the Shimano Switchbacks across the crest of the hill. Following a quick paddock sprint, the riders meet the 4SHAW rock garden. After that they will go into the Jeanneret Electrical Technologies luge which will
The return leg is ideal for riders with big engines as pure power here will be the determining factor on the undulating blast back into the Race village and transition.
STAGE 5: RESULTS
Team Torq has notched up a narrow win (57m 59s) just 7 seconds faster than Team 4SHAW (Tom Goddard & Scott Bowden). There was only a small gap between the top 2 placed teams and Avantiplus Launceston which followed in at 59m 32s.
In the Elite Female category Torq Girls (Em Parkes & Jenni King) continue to dominate with a combined time of 1h 09m 54s. Followed closely by WillyLocke with a time of 1h 11m 48s.
In the Mixed Elite category Jeffy & Pesta (Jarrod Moroni & Peta Mullens) have taken out first place for Stage 5 with a time of 1h 07m 33s. Team My Mountain followed less than half a minute next with a time of 1h 7m 57s. Popular local riders Ride Bellerive (Jason Mennitz & Edwina Hughes) were in top form and took out 3rd with a time of 1h 09m 56s.
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STAGE 6: RESULTS
 
Stage 6 of the Avantiplus Hellfire Cup is an optional night event at the end of Day 3 – it’s an XC dash for cash over 9km. This has the first man and woman across the line racing for $1,000 each from Laser Electrical and bragging rights as the King & Queen of Kellevie for 2014.
In a tight race, the King of Kellevie was won by Chris Hamilton with a time of 24m 58s. Chris was followed by the Queen of Kellevie Peta Mullens with a cracking time on the tough course of 29m 02s.
Stage 6 is a special stage and times do not contribute to final race standings, and was just for the people who felt they hadn’t been punished enough by the proceeding stages. It was only the hardy few who could stomach the prospect of a 3rd race leg in one day, however a good portion of the race village turned up at night to cheer them in across the line.
 
STAGE 7: SUMMARY
 
A beautiful sunny morning met competitors, even though the race village was a little slow in waking up after a few days of racing. Late night hooting and hollering was heard happening at the Iron House bar after a sunny afternoon which may have had a little something to do with this.
The Tuff Torq Elevator is a nasty little hill climb designed to wring the last drops of power out of very tired legs. Tough on a good day, but after 3 days of racing? Utterly Brutal. The course heads straight out of the village and up the hill that looks over the race village. Elevation ramps up quickly and switchbacks turn into an uphill straight push sure to demoralise all but the strongest legs. Elites and punters alike found this tough, and those who got the early run at 8am were grateful when they saw the temperature rise for the noon second wave.
Pairs are split for this stage, and sent off in seeded waves.
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Peta Mullens and Jarrod Moroni – get the pair, for just $5000!
STAGE 7: RESULTS
Team Torq (Mark Tupalski & Chris Hamilton) had a good outing (18m 59s) and nibbled into Team 4SHAW’s lead who placed second with a time of 19m 07s. AvantiPlus Launceston were close behind with a time of 19m 36s.
A great stage for the Elite Women racers Willy Locke who took out the stage with a time of 25m 59s. This placed them well in front of Torq with a time of 30m 15s.
Team My Mountain (David Ransom & Melissa Anset) had blazing fast run of 23m 24s. Second place went to Avantiplus Launceston with a time of 23m 38s, which was followed by Jeffy & Pesta (Peta Mullens & Jarrod Moroni) who came in at 24m 08s.
STAGE 8: SUMMARY
 
The last hurrah for the Avantiplus Hellfire Cup 2014 is the Jettech Hectic Mayhem dirt crit. This repurposed motocross track has sweeping bermed dirt corners that allow for a final fast blast over the short course. The course is hectic and close and provides a great opportunity for spectators and team members to encourage their mates along. At around 3-4 minutes for the lap (fast riders), major mechanicals is about the only thing the elites have to worry about and this last leg is all about having a final blast to wring out the last drop of sweat for Hellfire 2014.
 
STAGE 8: RESULTS
The short course was EXTREMELY closely contested by the 3 leading Elite Male teams. Avantiplus Launceston took it with a time of 6m 20s, followed a second later by 4SHAW and another second later by Team Torq. Insanely close stuff.
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WillyLocke, half impressed, took home the five gorillas.
WillyLocke continued to have a great day on the bike, with a combined time of 7m 10s on the short course. Torq Girls recorded a time of 7m 17s for their last stage of racing.
Avantiplus Launceston had a good hit out (6m 55s) and found themselves another 9 seconds on Team My Mountain (7m 06s). Ride Bellerive came in next with a time of 7m 23s.
FINAL HELLFIRE CUP 2014 OVERALL RESULTS
After 4 days of racing, enjoying the very best Tasmania has to offer in weather (read: All of the weather – sometimes all at once) the 2014 Avantiplus Hellfire Cup is done and dusted for another year. The organisers would like to take a moment to thank all of the volunteers who have contributed to the event, you are filled with the Spirit of Hellfire and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. They would also like to thank our generous sponsors and the the community of mountain biking which has got behind us in a big way. Finally, we would like to thank all our competitors for coming out and racing with us, we hope you enjoyed your brief stay in Hell and will join us next time!
The Hellfire Cup is committed to equal prize money for both genders and the winners in each elite category will go home with $5,000 in prize money, second place takes home $2,000 and third place elite team takes home $1,000.
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Team 4-Shaw, surely must be pretty chuffed to have edged out the powerful Torq team for the win.
Elite Male Competition
The Elite male competition was a close run affair with the 3 leading teams looking like they could all take the event out at any stage. In the end the local knowledge and sheer power on the bike won the day and Team 4SHAW will go home as victors for the 2014 Hellfire Cup with $5,000 cash in their pocket. Their total cumulative time for the event was 6h 16m 28s edging out Avanti Plus Launceston who came in second place overall with a combined time of 6h 23m 55sAvantiplus Launceston will take home $2,000 prize money. Team Torq put in a stellar effort and were on the podium in third place overall with a time of 6h 24m 52s and will take home $1,000 prize money.
Elite Female Competition
The Elite Female competition was tight for the duration of the race – often seconds separating them on return from individual stages. At the end of play on day 4 the honours went to WillyLocke with a massive effort of 7h 39 18s combined time. This category was extremely close, in the end Team Torq trailed by only 31 seconds behind 1st place with a combined total time of 7h 39m 49s.
Elite Mixed Competition
From Day 2 onwards Jeffy & Pesta (Jarrod Moroni & Peta Mullens) looked very strong and they keep building their lead into an unassailable margin. By the end of Day 4 their total combined time was 7h 07m 01s which could not be touched by second placed team Team My Mountain (David Ransom & Melissa Anset) who recorded a total time of  7h 33m 50s. Avantiplus Launceston (Sam Calow & Rowena Fry) will take home third place overall in the mixed competition with a final time of 7h 35s 08s.

 

Avantiplus Hellfire Cup: Stage 3 Race Wrap

The Avantiplus Hellfire Cup is underway! After getting burned out of existence the first time around, then swamped by rains the next, the race finally seems to have got lucky this year! Read on for the latest from Tassie’s newest stage race. (Stage 1 and 2 race wrap here! http://flowmountainbike.com/post-all/avantiplus-hellfire-cup-stages-1-and-2-race-wrap/)
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Racers make their way out of the Kellevie race village.


STAGE 3: OVERVIEW
Stage 3 is the toughest day on offer at the Avantiplus Hellfire Cup – the Adidas Evil Eye Assault is a 48k loop that takes riders out of the race village and the onto the 4SHAW nutcracker. This climb gives racers a good opportunity to work hard on the pedals and question all their life choices that have brought them to this point, and, onto Jacobs Peak. The good news is that what goes up … must come down! Kingos tramline descent defies description – originally cut for sawmillers into the hills of Weilangta forest a century ago, the long abandoned tramlines now have a second life as a mountain bike trail.
The tramline descent is fast, flowing and goes forever. Next up riders hit the most technical descent of the race – Baby Head Alley which requires careful picking of a racing line. There is some respite for racers before heading onto Aub’s track – a great piece of lovingly handcrafted trail which leads onto the main road climb which we’ve titled the The Old Woolstore Head Cracker – this is the second major climb of the day and will really test tired legs. For the return descent, riders will return via Mill Road and Old Mill tramline which will take racers all the way back to Kellevie.
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Juliet Plumb.

STAGE 3: RESULTS
The race village had a cool start for Day 2. The nearby hills were covered in an early morning mist and the mood in camp was jovial. Many racers starting the day with a well appreciated hot shower and a coffee before hopping back into racing gear. Cooler conditions met racers on the start line for stage 3 of the Avantiplus Hellfire Cup. A mixture of patchy showers which increased to rain showers meant that riders came in wet and working hard to cross the line of the 48K course.
Team 4SHAW - Winners Stage 3 (Tom Goddard & Scott Bowden)
Team 4SHAW – Winners Stage 3 (Tom Goddard & Scott Bowden)
In the Elite Male Category, Team 4SHAW (Scott Bowden & Tom Goddard – 2h 0m 30s) came in first in emphatic fashion and still had enough energy to do a little showboating with a manual across the line. Their local knowledge and supreme bike fitness came to the fore in a very competitive field. They were followed by Avantiplus Launceston who trailed the by 6 minutes 57 seconds.
For the Elite Female Category, Team Torq have continued to dominate with a 2h 32m 25s time over the 48K course. They were shadowed in a matter of seconds by Willy Locke (Rebecca Locke & Naomi Williams) who recorded a time of 2h 32m 31s.
Well in the lead for the Elite Mixed category at the end of Day 1, Trek Factory Racing (Bec Henderson & Dan McConnell have fallen out of contention due to a series of mechanicals. Jeffy & Pesta (Jarrod Moroni & Peta Mullens) sailed in with a time of 2h 20m 28s. Team My Mountain (Melissa Anset & David Ransom) followed with a time of 2h 35m 16s.

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OVERALL RESULTS – END OF DAY 2
Over the course of stage 3, the Elite Male category has had a shakeup. A very strong performance in stage 3 by Team 4SHAW has put them in the overall lead with a combined time of 4h 25m 55s. They currently lead Avantiplus Launceston by 5m 20s. Team Torq also experienced mechanical issues on stage 3, and have fallen to third place overall with a combined time of 4h 35m 15s
Team Torq stay in the lead with a combined time of 5h 19m 15s across the 3 stages so far. They are closely followed by Willylocke with a time gap of just 1m 55s.
Jeffy & Pesta now move into the lead for the Elite Mixed category with an overall time of 4h 56m 16s. Avantiplus Launceston (Sam Calow & Rowena Fry) will now move into second place with a combined time of 5h 20m 19s.

Avantiplus Hellfire Cup – Stages 1 and 2 race wrap

The Avantiplus Hellfire Cup is back for a second year. The event, held in Kellevie in South Eastern Tasmania, is a 4 day multi-stage Mountain Bike Race. Attracting elite riders as well as weekend warriors, the event has attracted people from all over the country to 4 days of racing in the Tasmanian countryside. The event offers both pairs racing and a Lone Wolves category for solo racers.

The lead up to, and the actual 2013 Hellfire Cup event, was a gruelling experience for organisers. The Tasmanian Bushfire emergency struck days before it was originally slated to run in January 2013 (nearby Dunalley was devastated by the fires) and the event was rescheduled to run November 2013. Ironically, very different conditions met competitors in November, and torrential rain necessitated a reduced race format, and a race village evacuation that truly demonstrated the spirit of mountain biking.

So, after 3 long years of preparation work, the 2014 event is the first time the full course has been unveiled. On day 1, the race village is, buzzing and full of competitors keen to ride on some of the best trails Tasmania has to offer.


 

STAGE 1: DESCRIPTION

The trails are riding fast and fun, and on return from Stage 1 the nervous smiles of competitors were replaced by grins and war stories from the first hit-out for the event. The Mill Road loop is the 25km opening drumroll to the Hellfire Cup. It showcases a mix of riding experiences, departing from the Kellevie race village on vintage Tasmanian XC trails which lead into a firetrail ascent which literally takes a rider’s breath away. On the return journey, riders are rewarded with the Mountain Trails Serpent – a hard earned downhill section of flowing switchbacks that opens out into a extremely fast riding valley descent with a stunning views as riders emerge from the bush.

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STAGE 1: RESULTS

Team Torq came out very strong and took out both the Elite Female (Em Parkes & Jenni King – 1h:25m:38s) category AND the Male Category (Chris Hamilton & Mark Tupalski 1h:12m:40s) with some blazing fast times. Trek Factory racing (Bec Henderson & Dan McConnell – 1h:20m:27s) took out the the Elite Mixed category.

STAGE 2: DESCRIPTION

The second stage is a fast-blast team relay, based on a 4 laps of the 6.5km Kellevie Onetonne rodeo XC Course. Pairs riders do a lap and alternate, but lone wolves find themselves doing all 4 laps. After leaving the race village the riders descend into the Kellevie rainforest. This section is a fast-riding, winding path that rewards riders willing to brave the encroaching trees for an opportunity to separate themselves from the pack. The course also features a short, sharp ascent up the Shimano Switchbacks across the crest of the hill. Following a quick paddock sprint, they riders meet the 4SHAW rock garden. The return leg is ideal for riders with big engines as pure power here will be the determining factor on the undulating blast back into the Race village and transition.

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STAGE 2: RESULTS

A gentle spattering of rain fell on competitors as they gathered on the start line for Stage 2. This went some way towards keeping the dust down and providing a just-so slightly tacky racing surface that riders love so much. The race pack steamrolled out of the village and disappeared into the Kellevie rainforest in a matter of seconds. Dan McConnell put down a blistering first lap to take the early lead overall for stage 2 for the mixed pair elite team, Trek Factory Racing.

Team Torq continues to dominate, with both Elite Female (Em Parkes & Jenni King – 1h21m:11s) the Elite Male Category (Chris Hamilton & Mark Tupalski 1h:08m:07s) on a short sharp course. In the Elite mixed category. Trek Factory racing (Bec Henderson & Dan McConnell – 1h:12m:24s) is leading the Elite Mixed category.

OVERALL RESULTS – End of Day 1.

In the Elite Male category Team Torq will go into day 2 with a 3 minute 10 second advantage over AvantiPlus Launceston (Ben Mather & Alex Lack) who are followed followed by Team 4SHAW (Tom Goddard & Scott Bowden).

For the Elite Female category Team Torq leads WillyLocke (Rebecca Locke & Naomi Williams) by 2 minutes 6 seconds.

The Elite Mixed category is predicted to be extremely competitive with Trek Factory racing leading Jeffy & Pesta (Jarrod Moroni & Peta Mullens) by 2 minutes and 5 seconds.

Must-Ride: Meehan Range, Hobart

While we mainlanders have been making cruel (and basically untrue, of course) jokes about Tasmanians for years, it’s now their turn to laugh at us. Because when it comes to mountain biking, Tasmania is storming ahead of the rest of Australia in the trails-to-population ratio. Tasmania Flow Nation 114

The first part of our whirlwind trip to Tassie was spent unwrapping the brand new parcel of singletrack love that is the Hollybank Mountain Bike Park. Watch the video and read all about this fantastic new development here. Stop number two was in Hobart, or more specifically, the rabbit warren of great trails on the Meehan Range on the eastern shore of the River Derwent. On these steep slopes, a combination of professional trail builders and passionate volunteers have stitched together a network of over 30km of trails, which have now become the backbone of the Hobart riding scene. Tasmania Flow Nation 94 Slotted neatly in alongside the Tasman Highway, these trails bring mountain biking right up to the edge of suburban development; they’re the perfect example of what can be achieved when you have a council which ‘gets it’. Rather than driving the sport into the depths of some far flung state forest, Clarence City Council has encouraged the development of the network within a stone’s throw of backyard Hills Hoists. While we were there, we ran into every possible variant of mountain biker, from racers on a training ride through to groups of kids out for school sport, so the ethos of accessibility is obviously working, and it’s attracting droves of new riders. “Even a year ago, the carparks at the trailheads where typically empty,” says Simon French of Dirt Art, “whereas now you’re lucky to find a park even on a weekday.”

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Local pinner Ben Bradley of the Target Trek racing team. A lot of fast riders come out of Tassie.

Tasmania Flow Nation 89 Tasmania Flow Nation 159 It’s already an incredible playground, with an interesting mix of hand built singletrack, intermingled with machine-built flow trail. The network is also home to arguably the nicest view of Hobart you can reach on your bike, with cliff top trails offering you a beautiful outlook over the city, Mt Wellington providing an imposing backdrop. But as good as the current web of trails may be, it’s the proposed master plan being championed by local trail builders Dirt Art which has the potential to cement Hobart as the premiere mountain bike-friendlly capital city in Australia.

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Looking back east from town over the river towards the Meehan Range.
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The view from the cliff top trails back over Hobart is truly awesome.

In a nutshell, the Meehan Range Strategic Trail Plan seeks to consolidate and formalise the best bits of the existing network, and add up to 70km of new trail, bringing the proposed total up to a staggering 100km of dedicated mountain bike trails, all within a five-minute drive of the CBD. “The plan provides a range of iconic longer distance rides, while also offering a number of flow and technical all-mountain descents,” says Simon French. With mountain biking already booming in Hobart, if the entire strategic plan is realised in full, we could be looking at Australia’s own version of Rotorua, without a word of exaggeration – lucky then that the master plan contains expanded carpark and event centre facilities, because we get the feeling they’ll be needed! Tasmania Flow Nation 151 Tasmania Flow Nation 170 Tasmania Flow Nation 107 Tasmania Flow Nation 90

Must-Ride: Hollybank Mountain Bike Park, Tasmania

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Dropping in to steep slab section high up on Juggernaut at the peak of the park.

Our recent journey to the apple isle had two motivations, the first of which was to check out the brand new Hollybank Mountain Bike Park, just a few minutes outside Launceston. While mountain biking was first slated as a development option for the Hollybank Forest Reserve in 2003, it was only early this year that shovels broke earth and construction began on more than 20km of new trails. Local Tasmanian trail builders, Dirt Art, have been hard at work in the rocky terrain all year and now the goodies are on the table to be enjoyed.

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Surfing the loam.

There are three main trails in the park, all feeding into each other and allowing a natural progression; there’s something for riders still developing their skills all the way through to those looking to put a few dings in their rims on high-speed, rocky hammerfests. The 5.5km No Sweat loop passes through a wide range of vegetation and terrain, with no significant climbing and an all-weather trail surface that should allow year-round riding.

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The trail surface on No Sweat should handle wet Tassie winters and remain rideable year round.

 

While more experienced mountain bikers will likely bypass No Sweat for the more challenging Tall Timbers or Juggernaut, this kind of trail is absolutely key for growing the sport and we’re sure it’ll see a lot of use by tour groups, school groups and those getting into the sport. It also passes right by an incredible swimming hole, so note it down for a hot day. No Sweat eventually drops you back right at the trailhead of the intermediate rated Tall Timbers, which has some of the most incredible, loamy berms. Their perfect, rounded, bowled out shape is like they’ve been carved out the earth with some giant ice-cream scoop. After six kays of ripping flow-trail descending and mellow climbs, you find yourself with the option to take on Juggernaut, the real jewel of the Hollybank park.

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The berms on Tall Timbers are ridiculous. Like bottom out your fork and shock ridiculous.
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Inside lines and gaps are littered everywhere on Juggernaut, the key is spotting them when you’re flying through over the rocks.

Without a word of exaggeration, Juggernaut is amongst the best trails we’ve ridden in Australia.

Juggernaut is technically rideable as an out and back (a 20km return trip), but with the whole trail being easily shuttleable, we can’t envisage too many people will go climbing it. The access road to the top is a gazetted public road, though rather than shake our own car to bits, we took advantage of the shuttle services offered by VertigoMTB who can provide un uplift service for over a dozen riders at very reasonable prices. Check here for shuttle service dates.

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Rob Potter, one of Dirt Art’s team, can seriously ride. Here he takes on the steep line of Juggernaut – it’s a trail that will challenge a lot of riders.

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Without a word of exaggeration, Juggernaut is amongst the best trails we’ve ridden in Australia. Constructed in incredibly rugged, rocky terrain, Dirt Art have managed to blend the best of both machine-built and hand-built trails in one 20+ minute descent. Getting the trail building digger through involved some fairly hairy winching exercises apparently, but the results speak for themselves. Juggernaut possesses a technical challenge that few new generation ‘flow trails’ deliver. It’s fast, rough in places, and uses the natural rock features to find awesome rhythm with some steeper black-diamond lines thrown in as optional extras. Eventually the trail links back onto Tall Timbers to complete the return loop, or you can easily pop back out onto the access road to shuttle till your heart is content and your brakes don’t work any more.

Hollybank is the first cab off the rank in the North-East Tasmania mountain bike master plan, and with a lot more trail on the way we can see ourselves spending a lot of time in this sensational part of the world. Jump on a plane (or the ferry) and take a look for yourself.

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New Trail Opening: Hollybank, Tasmania

Here’s our hot tip: north-east Tasmania is going to become the epicentre of mountain bike tourism in Australia very soon. The investment in mountain biking infrastructure underway here is huge, and the first piece in the puzzle to have been dropped into place is the Hollybank Mountain Bike park, just outside Launceston.

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One of the dozens of sneaky gap lines on Juggernaut.

The Hollybank Mountain Bike Park has been under construction for almost seven months now and the drapes are all set to be lifted this weekend at the trail centre’s official launch. Hundreds of eager crew will get their first taste of the Hollybank trails on Saturday, and we can promise you there’s going to be a lot of frothing going on.

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The perfect mellow flow of No Sweat, Hollybank’s green loop.
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No Sweat passes right by one of Hollybank’s many creeks, making for the perfect mid-ride dip.

Dirt Art are the team who have been entrusted with crafting this very promising site into a 20km+ network of trails, and after a bit of badgering they finally acquiesced and allowed us to take a sneak peek last week. This local crew have done an incredible job creating a park that not only caters for all levels of riders, but really facilitates their progression. There’s a 5km green loop, No Sweat, that makes the most of the varied vegetation and terrain types in the park’s lower reaches, taking riders through open eucalypt forest, pines and rainforest. This trail passes right by a cracking swimming hole too, so it’ll be a popular option come summer. No Sweat feeds into tall Tall Timbers, the 6km intermediate trail which has some of the most luscious, loamy, berms we’ve ever seen. With two incredible descents linked by mellow climbs, it’s the ideal feeder for Hollybank’s crowning glory – Juggernaut.

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The wall ride on No Sweat is going to be a popular feature.

Juggernaut is technically a two-way trail, but we can’t imagine too many riders are going to grind up the 11km descent (yes, an 11km descent) when it’s so easy to shuttle to the top. (A big thanks to Buck Gibson from Vertigo MTB for playing selfless shuttle driver for us – Vertigo MTB will be providing ongoing shuttle services too, so get in touch). A full run down Juggernaut will take most riders 20-25 minutes of nearly pure descending, but it’s the quality and unique nature of the trail that really sets this apart from other iconic descents across Australia.

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You’d don’t see this kind of steep, rugged rock slab riding in many Australian mountain bike parks! Taking the black diamond option on Juggernaut.
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Dirt Art have taken Juggernaut right down the guts of some awesome natural features.

The terrain on the upper half of the trail is what would normally be a trail builder’s nightmare, nearly pure rock. But rather than fight the terrain, Dirt Art have worked with some of the most amazing features like huge rock slabs and chutes to create an experience that blends the best parts of a machine-built trail with the kind of attention to detail and technical features normally only found on a hand-built trail. It’s amazing how this trail manages to find flow in terrain where you’d least expect it – get your timing right and you can pump your way across the rocks like a massive granite rhythm section. Juggernaut is listed as a blue/intermediate trail, but we’d definitely call it a ‘dark’ blue, and there are some optional lines that fall well into the black diamond realm.

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Loving the loam on Tall Timbers.

If you’re a Taswegian, get yourself along this weekend, or if you’re from interstate you’ve now got another very good reason to make that Tassie mountain bike trip a reality.

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Juggernaut once again, dishing up another section of tech rock riding.
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One of Juggernaut’s more open machine-built flow sections.

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Dirt Art’s Simon French pull a few g’s around a Tall Timbers berm. How hard can you hit these corners? Take a look at his rear shock to find out.

Tassie Produce: Mates on the Blue Tier

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There had been talk of organizing a group of avid riders to travel over and ride the Blue Tier track, nestled up in the north east of the state, a trail that never seemed to get off the to-do list. It’s not far geographically from Launceston – it’s less than two hours to the Weldborough Hotel, the central hub for the region, nestled snugly at the tail end of the trail the perfect base for those who ride the trail to come home to.

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On the road out to the Blue Tier the scenery changes from loamy soils to the dolerite boulders and slabs strewn across Mount Stronach, flowing to the east of Scottsdale and it’s quartz laden soils and typical Australian bush. Before entering Weldborough itself, monstrous ferns and dense vegetation cover the road sides rising high above you on either side of the windy little road, providing a very different feel to the trails in comparison to most of the riding in the state.

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The Weldborough Hotel is the perfect place to set up camp, wind down and either recover or prepare for a day of riding. The smiles of our crew were made all the wider thanks to the micro-brewed local ales that the hotel proudly has on tap. By 9pm, everyone had called it a night, ready for a Sunday of shredding.

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The Blue Tier trail originated around late 1800’s, originally pushed in to allow access to the valuable the tin ore strewn amongst the rock. The tier became a mining area, and now is scattered with remnants of old mine shafts.The descent traverses across the side of a mountain range, with the bottom section of the trail being filled with big rock rollers, boulders the size of your head, sticky ruts and bomb holes the whole way down. It’s the kind of trail that makes you stop and push back up, sessioning sections again and again, to rail some of the rutted, rocky sections of trail. It’s difficult riding, for sure, as multiple flat tyres attested, but nothing could dampen the mood.

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All up, we clocked roughly 50km of descending, with breaks in between runs to recuperate and get our senses back together. No injuries, just a lot of laughs. The Blue Tier reminded us once again that it’s almost always worth the effort to leave your backyard and seek out something new and epic.

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Racing: New and Improved AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup Is back for 2014

AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup Is back for 2014 and entries are rolling in.

What: 4 day 7 stage mountain bike race consisting of relays , TT, hill climb, crit, and adventure stages

When: November 20th –23rd 2014.

Format: Pairs mountain bike racing with options for solo riders

Location: Kellevie in the Sorell Municipality in South East Tasmania.

25 minutes from Hobart airport 50 minutes from Hobart CBD

Race Director: Duncan Giblin

Company: Stormbay Promotions

Entries open: Entries Opened on March 1

Entries close: September 7th 2014.

Entrant capacity for 2014: 500 riders

Entry: $445 per rider

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Rider Michael Crosbie, plantation single track

Services:

  • Free camping
  • Lunch included
  • Entertainment
  • On-site child care options
  • Food and coffee vendors
  • After party concert
  • Iron House bar
  • Free wifi
  • Appliance charge station
  • Onsite mechanic
  • Bike retail

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The Gig

In its second year the AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup is again based at Kellevie and rides into different areas of the Wielangta State Forest and surrounding areas each day, riding on private land and forestry land. The race course has myriad of tracks, forest trails, and awesome descents in beautiful landscapes. The event has 7 stages offering a good mix of single track and adventure riding. Our philosophy is that the course should not be too dumbed down and have should have lots organic single track and also require effort to conquer hills making it more rewarding. But we have designed it to still be achievable and enjoyable for someone new to stage races with a reasonable level of fitness.

The event is classified as a stage race but differs significantly from most other events of this type, having one base that competitors start and finish from each day to limit the logistic headaches for riders, support crews and families.

The upgrade

We have made vast improvements from the first event including a new timing system that is state of the art providing preliminary results online instantly. We have received funding from Events Tasmania enabling us to purchase this system. We have also improved rider comfort at the race village with new gas showers and more services on site so people can get comfortable and warm if we have a disagreement with the weather gods. Also upgraded is the food on offer with more substantial lunches and food vendors on site for evening meals.

The booty

The event has one of the largest prize pools for an event of its type in Australia

The 2014 Prize pool includes:

$26,000 cash for elite rider podiums divided equally between genders.

$52,000 in random spot prizes/ competitor giveaways (and growing) is on offer for competitors including two bikes from major sponsor Avanti plus.

The pointy end of the field.

From the word go the Hellfire Cup has attracted significant interest from elite riders. Titles attained by Elite riders who entered the inaugural event last year included: international Stage race title holders , national marathon title holders, world junior champions , Australian multisport champions, national xc title holders, XCO, Short course, enduro , world 24 solo hour champions, 6 Olympic representatives, Australian junior champions, national 24 hour solo champions. This year we already have current World XC Eliminator World champ Paul Vander Ploeg, Australian Women’s Marathon Champ Melisa Ansset , plus national stage race, marathon and xc enduro winners such as Rebecca Locke, Naomi Williams, National Female Masters Marathon champ Traci Lonergan , World number 2 world cup u23 Rebecca Henderson either signed up already or indicating they will be back for 2014.

The vibe of the thing

Equally as exciting for us as the elites attending is the interstate and overseas interest from your everyday riders in this years race, as bringing lots of new people together for 4 days of bike madness is what we love to see.

Last year the event culminated in presentations ceremony and after party with local bands Matt Bayes Blues, Guthrie, and MOFO curator and cycling advocate Brian Ritchie and friends. Elite rider trophies and awards were presented by Mike Tomalaris from SBS Cycling Central. This year we’ve got more entertainment lined up and for us the festival and race village environment is as important as the racing. Ride, relax ,eat and repeat.

Further enquiries: Storm Bay Promotions, Race Director – Duncan Giblin

Phone 0448 599 612

Website www.hellfirecup.com

E-mail [email protected]

F- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Avantiplus-Hellfire-Cup/128392527345522

Racing: Counting Down to Wildside 2014

The four-day stage race takes riders on a journey through the lush landscape from Cradle Mountain to Strahan. Most days feature two race stages, with transit or ‘cruise’ stages in between. These allow riders to spin their legs and catch up with people who bust through the competition stages at different speeds.

‘The journey passes through the very unique landscape of Tasmania’s West Coast. It starts in alpine country, descends through rainforest and ends on a wild beach,’ says Race Director Nic Deka.

‘Along the way, the race follows historical trails, visits small, welcoming communities and provides a diversity of scenery and experiences that are unique in Australia.’

The entry list typically sees a 55/45 split between local and interstate or overseas competitors ready for the adventure. Previous winners include Olympians Sid Taberlay (a record five times), Mary Grigson, Lisa Mathison and Dan McConnell. This list exhibits the calibre of the racing on offer and the high regard riders have for this event at the elite end of the field.

The Montezuma Falls stage is one of the best. Fast, lush and with this swing bridge to navigate too.
The Montezuma Falls stage is one of the best. Fast, lush and with this swing bridge to navigate too, it’s certainly memorable.

But Wildside’s longstanding success lies in the way it offers a fun, rewarding and unique experience for riders with a range of goals.

‘We continue to get many people who are not serious riders who set Wildside as a challenge to recover from a serious illness or injury, something to do before they die, or simply to improve their health and fitness,’ says Nic.

‘It’s great to see the excitement and the tension at registration, the buzz at stage finishes, but most of all the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that people get from finishing the event in Strahan.

‘The fact that about 50% of our entrants are returning competitors also adds to our enjoyment because we get to know our competitors and it makes the whole experience more personal both for them and us.’

Canberra Liv/Giant rider, Eliza Eldridge Bassett, is returning this year after sharing the experience with her immediate family in 2012. This year the party list is even bigger.

‘(Last time) my dad, James, and my brother, Til, raced, and my mother Julie did the support and vehicle driving. My mum saw how much fun we had last time and decided she wanted to join in on the action too.

‘This year my uncle and aunt will come along and do the support. We’ve really made it into a whole family affair!’ Eliza’s partner, Mark Tupalski (TORQ Nutrition), will also be along for the journey pushing the field at the pointy end.

‘Mark will be at the race to fight for a position on the podium, I’ll be there to have fun and challenge my time from 2012, likewise with my father and brother, and my mum will be there to have an adventure on her bike and take in the stunning scenery,’ adds Eliza, pointing toward the broad appeal of the short stages that travel through a little seen part of the world.

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‘For me, the biggest draw card is the country we race through. The landscape is stunning, and being able to ride through it adds a different dimension from the usual bushwalking and driving trips I’ve done through the area.

‘I love the format of the race itself. The stages are reasonably short and super fun, although sometimes quite hard! And the cruise stages let you recover from the racing and have some social time.

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‘Starting in waves each stage lets you get to know your fellow riders and have a ‘mini race’ within the race; and when you’re not at the pointy end of the field like me, it means you get to feel like you are!’

The event has a reputation for tight organisation, catering that people rave about, and, most years, at least one stage that sees riders covered from head to toe in mud. Accommodation and transport packages are available, although many riders choose to bring someone along to drive a support vehicle and fill up additional accommodation options nearby.

The physical and mental journey of the race is sure to complement the visual journey. Getting from point to point with a tight crew of family or friends adds to the experience, making it more special still.

‘The fact that families and friends share the experience is something that we encourage,’ says Nic. ‘It’s very much reflected by our organisational crew who are our friends and family members too.’

Over 400 riders will start the journey on Friday January 25. They will take in 140km of competition stages, and 60km of transit sections. Entries are open for a few more days.

 

Trails: Clarence Mountain Bike Park and Belbins Road

We had the right combination of sunshine and time while in Hobart for one more ride. We pulled our muddy rental car off the Tasman Highway to a little carpark just next to the B33 off-ramp. Here we met up with a small part of the Team Hellfire Crew to ride the Clarence and Belbins trails, their pick of the local parks.

Duncan Giblin and his partner, Sarah Kennedy, were enjoying some post-Hellfire Cup recovery now. They were visibly excited to step back on the bikes after over 18 months spent planning the inaugural event. Our guide for the day was local trail builder, Aub Carter, and his Boarder Collie, Jack.

Giblin-Clarence and Belbins-10
Our guide for the day was local trail builder, Aub Carter, and his Boarder Collie, Jack.

Jack likes running so much he got Aub back into mountain biking rather than the other way around. They started out doing a fire road loop, progressed to more singletrack and now spend days together out at Belbins Road building trails for everyone to use. Aub and Jack helped to build a lot of the trails for the Hellfire Cup course as well.

We’re told that Jason Unwin and his crew work out here at night building trails too. In the heat of the morning they were nowhere to be seen.

The Clarence Mountain Bike Park features a series of purpose built trails, including a cross-country loop that is typically split in two. Our ride began on a series of very steep, tight, uphill switchbacks, a good test of fitness and form.

More tight switchbacks led us back down the hill, the sort that make you want to be confident in your bike handling skills. It was a fun alternative to the wider bermed corners we’re seeing in a lot of other recently built trails right now.

Giblin-Clarence and Belbins-9
Head out here if you get the chance and feel your way around before it gets too popular. It’s only a ten-minute drive from the Hobart CBD or you can ride there along the Hobart Airport Cycling Route.
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The trails are unsigned at the moment but Google and Strava will help you track down maps online. There is also one at the Clarence trailhead.

A linking track connects the mid-point of this Clarence loop with the Belbins Road/Stringy Bark Gully network. It’s a two-way track, but plans are in place for building a second trail for the return leg.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience on the North-South Track a day earlier, but the looser, narrower, more organic feeling lines out at Belbins are a great throwback to mountain biking from decades past.

In summer the surface becomes glassy smooth with a powdery topcoat. Today it was grainy enough to keep us on our game, but tacky enough that our tyres still had some bite. Long erosion ruts ran down the middle of some long straights, they took some getting used to, as every now and then they were the best line to ride.

Jack ran ahead, clearly used to a faster paced ride. Aub tells us that at peak fitness he runs about 80km a week. He can complete stage one of the Hellfire Cup in an hour and a half, which is faster than most humans. Not bad for a dog who likes to completely immerse himself in puddles before having a drink.

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These trails have a much more organic feel to them. When you look closely, you can see the rock armouring that keeps them in place and it’s obvious that there’s an active group of people who keep them well-maintained.

After some steep and honest climbing we reached the Birthday Loop, a trail that Aub built for Sarah. It’s a twisty five-minute loop that stays dry even in the middle of winter. You can quite happily ride it a few times, work on your skills and keep your mental health in tact when the weather gets it down. Possibly one of the best presents one mountain biker could ever give to another.

Not far from here is another work of art, the Wedge Rock Track. Aub is a self-professed lover of climbs and doesn’t care much for descents, which is strange, because this one that he has built is excellent fun. Long straights, big corners, a trail that makes you feel like you have the hillside all to yourself. It reminded us a bit of the Bridges track in Tathra.

Like a lot of the trails here, it is built with rider habits and the Tassie weather in mind. It’s designed so riders can get around the corners without creating breaking ruts and positioned so the wind and sun keep it primed for quality riding. It lasted forever and was over too soon.

Before long, we were back on the sweeping, flowing descent back into and out of Clarence. Aub rode in front confidently knowing Jack was not far behind. The sound of the highway was a quick reminder of the urban location of our ride, a case of a great trail network on a big chunk of unused land.

Giblin-Clarence and Belbins-6
Built by ‘volunteers and hands’ the Belbins trails are a nice contrast to the machine built trails and wider singletrack that follow grant money and trail building as a business.

Climbing, descending, steep corners, birthday tracks…Commercially built trails are an important part of the growth of our sport and key to seeing locations like this one become established riding destinations.

At the same time, places like this wouldn’t have half their appeal if it wasn’t for a man, his dog, and a quiet band of others who share their passion for quality, hand built trails.

Thank you Tasmania, you certainly are an island full of surprises. We’re looking forward to exploring more of your stunning trails some time in future.

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While Belbins has been home to a growing trail network for several years, it’s only recently that these trails have become legal. It’s a nice example of guerrilla trail building done well and leading to a positive outcome.

Must-Ride: Mt Wellington North-South Track, Tasmania

When a trail is a really good one, you’ll know it’s name before you even know where it starts. Hobart’s North-South Track is one of these masterpieces. A ten kilometre (mostly) descent that takes riders from a signposted car park at The Springs, half way up Mt Wellington, down to Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park.

This is a track that is purpose built but has nothing to do with racing. It’s genius lies in its ability to thrill riders of all types, a carefully crafted journey with a landscape that changes dramatically along the way.

Postcard city views.
Postcard city views.

Our partner for this ride was Simon Townsend, a bushwalking guide in a past life who knows the Tasmanian bush like the back of his hand. The pannier racks on the back of his bike give him away as the father of a bubbling two year old and someone who is refreshingly unconsumed by new bike technology.

We couldn’t have asked for a more local, Tuesday afternoon experience. This is a track where you simply come to enjoy the riding and relax.

Moss thrives in the rainforesty first part of the trail.
Moss thrives in the rainforesty first part of the trail.

Moss thrives in the rainforesty first part of the trail.

Starting in rainforest with thick moss on both sides of the trail it’s hard to decide whether to take in the scenery or focus firmly ahead, pumping the surface for thrills and speed.

Simon says: 'Let's get going already!"
Simon says: ‘Let’s get going already!”

All of a sudden, the wide, hard packed singletrack catapults riders into an enormous rock-scape. An oversized scree slope created by a glacial melt, frozen by time, covers the hillside to the left. While not an uncommon sight in Tassie, it’s not something you’ll see on the mainland.

The rocks take some momentum to get over, but they’re not the type to spit you off line or make you feel unstable on the bike.

The rocks take some momentum to get over, but they’re not the type to spit you off line or make you feel unstable on the bike.
The rocks take some momentum to get over, but they’re not the type to spit you off line or make you feel unstable on the bike.
Better to pack your own food.
Better to pack your own food.

A paved rocky trail shoots you past moss-covered boulders to more closed in bushland. Cast your head right for a quick view of the city.

The rocky scree slope is an amazing sight to take in.
The rocky scree slope is an amazing sight to take in.

If we could ride a trail like this regularly, we’d shoot through here yelling, screaming and holding our speed. Not sure when we’d see such a dramatic landscape again, we had to get off our bikes to take it all in.

The Octopus Tree is hidden off to the side of the trail early on in the journey.
The Octopus Tree is hidden off to the side of the trail early on in the journey.
Raised bridges and a few drops are well signposted on the side of the first part of the track offering extra challenges for advanced riders who aren’t afraid of heights.
Raised bridges and a few drops are well signposted on the side of the first part of the track offering extra challenges for advanced riders who aren’t afraid of heights.

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It was here that were blown away with how many locals we met enjoying the trail as part of their day. The sun was out after a wet couple of months and the quick draining trails were almost dry. It was such a lift to see so many people outside on bikes making the most of the afternoon. A few lycra-clad warriors were riding in the South-North direction but they were less keen to stop and chat.

The half way point, time wise (the first section of the trail has some climbing), is marked by a cabin where you can take a moment to sit and refill your bottle. You can give your arms a rest if you’ve been clenching the bars too tight or are out of practice riding sustained singletrack descents.

Junction Cabin is a friendly place for a break.
Junction Cabin is a friendly place for a break.

The other side of Junction Cabin was built later on in the project under contract by many skilled trail workers. This included Dave Mason from Mountain Trails who built a lot of the singletrack for the Hellfire Cup. The Eucalypt bush is drier here and the grainy singletrack heads almost completely downhill.

It was here that I could feel my calves start to twinge from spending so long standing on the pedals, the only indicator of how long we’d been riding. Time felt frozen for the rest of the experience on the trail.

We started to cross over fire trails and other paths that signalled possibilities for extending the ride into a longer or different loop. We snaked our way left down big, grainy berms all the way to the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park.

Glenorchy Mountain Bike park. Practice your skills, extend the ride, or call for a lift back up the hill.

Glenorchy Mountain Bike park. Practice your skills, extend the ride, or call for a lift back up the hill.
Glenorchy Mountain Bike park. Practice your skills, extend the ride, or call for a lift back up the hill.

Despite the high profile races that have taken place here, the park was almost a let down in comparison to the journey we’d just been on. The rutted trails and weedy landscape a stark contrast to the impeccably maintained singletrack we’d traversed for the last 10 kilometres.

In contrast to the social experience of the North-South Track, there wasn’t a person in sight save a couple of dirt jumpers enjoying the sinking afternoon sun.

What blew us away most about this journey is that this is a trail that brings riders of all types to jump on their bike and experience a place. You can loop it up on your own, or get dropped off at the start and collected again down the bottom.

A lot of money and infrastructure is being invested into mountain biking throughout the country for economic growth, primarily through tourism, in regional towns.  The North-South Track certainly attracts a lot of holidaymakers to experience its thrills.

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But perhaps even better than that, and what struck us most about the North-South Track, is that it adds so much quality of life experienced in a capital city. Imagine if a trail like this was around the corner from your place.

 

Interview: Duncan Giblin – One Hell(fire) of a Battle

The upside is that this crew have been forced to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Flow sat down with Event Director, Duncan Giblin, at the end of the four-day race to talk about some of the battles he’d faced getting this event off muddy ground.

 

Duncan, first fires and then floods. The environmental impact on the event is obvious. Can you talk us through some of the extra challenges you’ve had in putting on Hellfire Cup that riders might not be aware of?

From the outset we wanted to put on a race that we felt suited the riding that we really like doing in this area. It’s a very beautiful area. One of the big challenges for us was the process of change within the forestry industry that was going on, so getting land tenure was pretty interesting. One of the land managers that we use was a major forest holdings group that went into bankruptcy. Then with the Tas Forests agreement going on, where there’s changes to things like logging access, there was uncertainty about who was going was to manage the land and what people were going to be able to do there. So there was a potential risk to access for stuff we’d previously been given permission to use. We now have all this resolved which is great for the event’s future.

Heavy rain before the event meant time went into remedial trail work. The event village was still in construction when competitors started to arrive.
Heavy rain before the event meant time went into remedial trail work. The event village was still in construction when competitors started to arrive.

One of the other challenges is that we’re in a smaller economy here, where unemployment’s really high. That means there’s not a lot of extra government money around for new projects or a lot of cash around for corporate sponsorship.

Financially too, running it again the second time after the postponement, you almost run two events off the one income. For your first major event like that you always take a loss anyway but that made it harder.

Do you think that following the influx of mountain bikers to the regional community over the last week, local businesses might be more likely to come on board for future events?

Yeh. A lot of local businesses and community groups have been fairly heavily involved and inundated with the bushfire recovery itself. Everybody from the mayor to the guy who runs pub are part of the bushfire recovery group. I think they’re at a place now where were they are really able to embrace mountain bike development in the area. They have been really supportive of the event and its future.

 

Do you think that for some of the local community, having seen the amount and the type of people coming in, might be more interested in being involved in future events too?

Totally, they needed to see it first. We had a few concerns about traffic management from community members. Now people in the community are there cooking sausages for riders and asking when the next race is on. They were a major part of providing alternative venues to keep the first Hellfire going.

 

On the topic of the race just past, things were looking good for the rescheduled event, but then the rain came to town. What did you have to do, logistically speaking, in order to keep the stages running each day?

Our goal was to try to make sure that we’ve got a rider experience that people can engage in that’s worthwhile. We also had to work out competitor safety.

What a day like that looks like is we come home from the race village and we look at maps, and weather maps and we then go back out in the bush and we make changes to the trail at night. We reset a whole course while we’ve got a little bit of daylight and then drive back home and do the admin and answer the emails. We also do the work plan to get the next stage happening. We’d do that until about five in the morning, then get up and actually run the stage.

 

Did you also have to deal with road closures and permission to access different areas to hold the redesigned stages?

Yeh, so when we change a stage, people might think it would be a great idea to just go somewhere else. But to get access to the public roads and the management of that, that’s a formal process. We had to use routes within our existing road permit.  Also a big thing for us is that we use properties that have shared use, so if we change something it affects so many other people. It changes the plans and the requirement on the volunteers, it puts them under more pressure too.

We also have to look at the logistics of the race itself when we change; how do we manage our timing, how do we manage our basic rider comfort and safety, how do we manage the concerns and the requirements of the media guys and the promotion opportunities for our sponsors.

 

The event centre was relocated twice during the event. The third one was the best of the lot.
The event centre was relocated twice during the event. The third one was the best of the lot.

Did you ever think of just calling it off?

We thought about it, but basically we didn’t come this far after the fires to just pull the pin on it. People came here to ride and so we were going to ride. That’s basically that.

 

Given the time that has gone into making these decisions, do you think the things you learned from this event make for a much better management plan for next year?

Well we know we’ve got a good fire management plan, we know we’ve got a good flood management plan. Look really, I don’t have any worry about our abilities to adapt the racing, but what we are focused on is dealing with adverse circumstances and maintaining the quality of the event.

 

When the sun turns on, this is a really beautiful part of the world.
When the sun turns on, this is a really beautiful part of the world.

What improvements do you think you’d make to the event overall having seen the experiences riders had this year?

I think anything that supports that atmosphere that we have, which just makes it an enjoyable experience. I have a background putting on raves and other events, and I like to bring that whole feeling to bike races. Our 24 hour events have always had great a great atmosphere, I want to improve that, work on it more.

We’ll have an elite only option so it’s fairer on age category guys competing against them. We had hot showers that we were going to use at the race village and the problem when we had to relocate is that we weren’t able to set those up. And they should have been set up earlier.

We’ve engaged a site manager for next year so we can get earlier set up and more transferable services. The lunches will be more substantial and we are looking at increasing the variety for the evening meals including some more gourmet product. We’ll also have an electronic timing system that will be used for the 2014 event.

 

Some riders have been saying they’d like to see less prize money and more funds going into ‘all you can eat’ kind of catering.  At the same time, the amount of prize money pitches the Hellfire Cup, in terms of the public perception and marketing, as a world class event, which gets people here. What are your thoughts on that?

We are planning to improve of the quality of all services, including food for competitors, without compromising an attractive prize pool for professional riders. We want the experience to be great for all riders punter or pro.

If you build it they will come.
If you build it they will come.

What does it mean having so many people from all over the country, as well as high-profile international riders, come to the event?

It’s really nice to be supported like that. I think for us it makes us more determined provide riders with great trails and good times. It’s been really good for the local community and most people have been really happy about being part of that community recovery, just by coming here and riding their bikes. It also shows that people are interested in what we’re up to and what we want to do. Although it’s been hard over the last 18 months, it makes us more determined to actually provide a better experience and support our local community by having people here.

Come Hell or High Water: The AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup

In the lead up to the AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup we ran a story called ‘Sharing the Holler.’ This article described the pairs format stage race as one born out of a desire to bring people to the kind of trails that inspire you let the brakes off, relax, and yell like a small child on a jumping castle as you rip through the bush.

The pairs format for stage racing added a nice dynamic to the event.
The pairs format for stage racing added a nice dynamic to the event.

Bushfires held back edition one, their impact on the local community still visible nearly a year later. Come November, it was rain and floods that dampened edition two.

Mountain bikers did what they often do in such situations: they stayed positive, hardened up and rode anyway.

‘Come hell or high water,’ said an email from determined event director, Duncan Giblin, which arrived at dawn on day two, ‘We will keep you riding as long as we think it can be done in a safe manner.’

The trails held up really well in the mud…and were great fun to ride.
The trails held up really well in the mud…and were great fun to ride.

The event team were up until 5am each morning negotiating ways to keep things moving forward. On this occasion we’re not actually sure they slept at all. The passion and commitment of this Tasmanian team got them through one bottleneck after another, a commendable effort indeed.

Energy went into rerouting courses and sorting out the logistical side of making the next day’s racing a reality. Unfortunately this meant never fully realising the infrastructure or trail networks that were the main attractions of the event. It wasn’t safe enough for one and there simply wasn’t enough man power for the other.

Road tactics certainly came into play.
Road tactics certainly came into play.

Hot water for showers was never installed in the camping area, dirt jump expos, live music, an open air cinema and kids events were cancelled as well. Disappointed by the catering, riders hung out in nearby towns instead.

Jack Haig and Nathan Earle won the overall classification by one minute after just over three hours of racing. Jack: I was here with Nathan Earle who’s going to Sky next year, a road cyclist pretty much. We weren’t even thinking about winning or anything. To see that Nathan can actually ride a mountain bike pretty well was nice and then we got second on the first stage. We thought, “Hang on a second, this could be possible!”
Jack Haig and Nathan Earle won the overall classification by one minute after just over three hours of racing. Jack: I was here with Nathan Earle who’s going to Sky next year, a road cyclist pretty much. We weren’t even thinking about winning or anything. To see that Nathan can actually ride a mountain bike pretty well was nice and then we got second on the first stage. We thought, “Hang on a second, this could be possible!”

Competitors were very understanding about the impact of the weather and applauded the effort undertaken by Team Hellfire to give riders a positive racing experience. But as an inaugural event there were always going to be a few extra issues that would show their teeth.

‘I think for a first year event, maybe there needed to be more of a focus around infrastructure and getting those sorts of things right, rather than a massive prize pool for the elite riders,’ said Peta Mullens (Target-Trek), who won the mixed pairs category with partner, Jarrod Moroni.

Peta Mullens: I think with the right infrastructure in place it’s sort of like beers, with your mates, in the bush, and maybe a little bit of pedalling in the morning. I think that’s what the atmosphere of the event is trying to capture here, just a good time.
Peta Mullens: I think with the right infrastructure in place it’s sort of like beers, with your mates, in the bush, and maybe a little bit of pedalling in the morning. I think that’s what the atmosphere of the event is trying to capture here, just a good time.

The generous prize pool on offer is a big part of the Hellfire Cup’s appeal and its marketing as a world class event. It is also a big gesture from the organisers who want to see our top riders better supported financially than is typical of the sport in this country. But most riders, including those in the elite field, agree that the $12,000 top up given to the outright winners would have been better spent on the event as a whole.

Peta elaborates: ‘You see people like (World Cup winner) Dan McConnell and (2012 Junior World Champion) Anton Cooper on the start list and you probably go, “Well, I’m not going to win the 15 grand.” As soon as there’s a couple of elite riders at that level, the rest of the guys aren’t in it for the money, they’re just here for a really good time.’

Make some noise!
Make some noise!

It was such a shame then that, despite close racing provided by the rerouted stages, things that would have set this event apart just weren’t able to happen. The singletrack on the morning of day one was a teaser, but a forecast of up to 250mm of rain meant uncertainty for the three days ahead.

‘The first day was amazing,’ said Peta, who has recently signed to the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team but whose heart is still clearly held by the dirt.  ‘Even though it was muddy it probably just emphasised how good the tracks really were.

‘Then there was a hell of a lot of fire trail. We really haven’t stepped off fire trail since that first day, which is a little bit disappointing for an event that was boasting a lot of good trails. And that’s kind of the reason that we came.’

Kellevie. Home of the orginal event centre and an annual 24 hour race.
Kellevie. Home of the orginal event centre and an annual 24 hour race.

The final stage was a twisty loop around a paddock that took the fastest riders about a minute to complete. Despite the short distance, this stage had the best atmosphere of all. Cowbells sounded, riders cheered, and people were happy to have made it through a very challenging week.

As I left the race my heart felt heavy. Everyone had made the best of a tough situation. While the atmosphere echoed the positivity you get from holding hands around a campfire, tough conditions had sapped the buzz.

The cancellation of afternoon stages allowed time to see the sights. Port Arthur was much bigger than we expected.
The cancellation of afternoon stages allowed time to see the sights. Port Arthur was much bigger than we expected.

I got on my bike one more time and headed out to re-ride the trails we’d seen in the opening stage. I was joined by Andrew Hezel, from Mansfield, who we met on Flow’s Bikes and Brews tour earlier in the year.

At the bottom of a valley, the original event area was soaked in water and car tyres had cut countless circles in the grass. The river was running high and it was clear that it had been a good idea to move the racing elsewhere.

With just the two of us in comparison to day one’s muddy crowd of 300, the trails just flowed, literally, as a lot of them resembled small rivers. But they flowed in the regular mountain biker meaning of the word as well. I could imagine the laughter that would have come from riders in the original singletrack relay stages and enjoyed hooking in, leaning my bike through the terrain.

Anthony Shippard heard there were spot prizes for 'Best Chameleon'.
Anthony Shippard heard there were spot prizes for ‘Best Chameleon’.

We saw a long bermed descent bunted out with Mountain Trails tape. I’d heard so many good things about these guys and I was itching to see their work. The soft sand was too steep to ride up, but we soon found an equally well-built climb. This trail was ‘the Elevator,’ designed for the hill climb stage that one team mate would do while another raced a crit.

The climb up had some steep pinches and would have put racers on their limit. The descent featured berm after wide berm, with some long fast straights traversing the in-betweens.

This trail is so good that you wouldn’t just save it for the hill climb stage. Riders would be recommending it to each other during the off time between race stages as well.

We yelled into the crisp air, got covered in mud from head to toe, probably did six months damage to our bikes, and rode back up the climb to do the descent one more time. This was the holler.

The pairs format adds an extra excitement to racing. By splitting some stages each rider still got to unleash the beast and show their strengths on the bike.
The pairs format adds an extra excitement to racing. By splitting some stages each rider still got to unleash the beast and show their strengths on the bike.

In his gentle way, Andy pointed out that while the event team had seen so much positivity from the way riders had banded together to make the most of the previous few days, what they’d missed was seeing people genuinely excited about the trails. Trails that so much work, pride and time had gone into. Trails that were the biggest selling point of the event.

In that moment, I got it. I could understand why Duncan and his team so badly wanted to hold an event and bring so many people to a place. They’re passionate trail builders and what they have here are a collection of some of the best.

Held together with a festival atmosphere, race-branded beers, music, film, sunshine and a sense of festival the days would have gone from one high point to another.

Kath Hellfire-3

The AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup is scheduled for the same time next year, November 20-23. The organisers have already begun communicating their intentions to build on the lessons learned from the last few days: better catering, electronic timing, improved plans for dealing with the unexpected. To attract the field they’re hoping for, their biggest challenge will be to communicate to riders how well they take this year’s feedback and turn it into a reality.

‘Although it’s been hard,’ said Duncan after the event, ‘It makes us more determined to give riders a better experience and support our local community for having people here.’

With the right infrastructure, and the weather on their side, this event could create a holler so loud that you could hear it from the mainland.

Head to the event website, www.hellfirecup.com, for detailed results from all categories and images of these great trails in the dry.

Trails: World Trail Awarded Contract for the North East Mountain Bike Trails, Tasmania

The Mayor’s Barry Jarvis and Sarah Schmerl are delighted to announce that World Trail has been awarded the contract for the design and construction of 75km of mountain bike trails in Derby and Blue Tier, Tasmania.

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“Glen Jacobs, a Director of World Trail, is arguably the best mountain bike trail designer in Australia. Dorset and Break O’Day Councils are very excited to have secured World Trail to deliver this important project for the North East”, the Mayor Barry Jarvis said.

World Trail is the leading Mountain Bike trail design and construction organisation in Australia having designed and built a substantial number of Australia’s best trail networks, with a history of over 250 projects in 18 countries, from Olympic, World Championships, and World Cup courses to Recreational Trails.

The project has bipartisan support from the Commonwealth Government with Council recently receiving affirmation from Andrew Nikolic that the previously announced Federal Government funding commitment of $2.5 million would be honoured by the newly elected Coalition government. The Mayor Barry Jarvis said “The North East has been hit hard with the down turn in the Forestry industry so we are extremely grateful to the Federal Coalition for their support of this project. With this project due to start by April 2014 and the possibility of the Musselroe Bay project going ahead, things are starting to look up for the North East”.

The North East Mountain Bike Trails in Derby and Blue Tier will boost visitor numbers in the region and create new employment opportunities in the area of sustainable tourism.

All enquires in relation to this project can be directed to Ms Susie Bower, Community Services Manager at Dorset Council on 03 6352 6500.

The AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup: Sharing the Holler

The AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup showcases the holler-worthy trails of Wielangta State Forest, 45 minutes from Hobart. The pairs format stage race with a festival atmosphere was ready to kick off in January, only the area surrounding the event was hit by devastating bushfires three weeks from kick-off. The race was rescheduled for November 21-24.

What goes up must come down.
What goes up must come down.

Flow caught up with Duncan Giblin, the driving force behind the Hellfire, to find out how the bushfire recovery effort has impacted the inaugural event. The bushfires didn’t reach the trail network used for the Hellfire so, like all keen trail builders, Team Hellfire have used the last nine months to build more great trails designed with hearty hollering in mind.

The AvantiPlus Hellfire Cup was born from a desire to hold a stage race that combined a festive atmosphere with a course that would make riders holler as they rode the trails. After much planning and a solid effort by our legendary trail team we were ready go in January 2013. We were looking forward to meeting people we had been communicating with from all round the world, sharing the new trail network we had put together.

Experience the Tassie bush through the twists and turns of carefully crafted trails.
Experience the Tassie bush through the twists and turns of carefully crafted trails.

We were ahead of our first year trail schedule and we couldn’t wait. We felt we had great mix of adventure riding, challenging sections and holler worthy trails. All things considered, the planets had lined up pretty well.

Then it happened. We found ourselves in the midst of Tasmania’s biggest bushfire for 50 years three weeks out from the race. We went from finalising things with caterers to jumping in our car, evacuating from our home. We waited anxiously to hear from friends and family who were unaccounted for.

The January bushfires had a big impact on our community.
The January bushfires had a big impact on our community.

Our community was severely hammered. People were homeless, the fire was still active and emergency services, civilian services and community members were now involved in dealing with an epic natural disaster. Fortunately there was no loss of life.

We had mixed emotions – we were so glad that everyone was safe but were very concerned about friends who had lost houses and businesses. With the fire still present near the race village, and everyone involved in managing the race now engaged in recovery and essential services, it was with a heavy heart we postponed the event.

Seeing the forest after bushfires is an eery experience.
Seeing the forest after bushfires is an eery experience.

Slowly some normality returned and Team Hellfire got together and thought about how we could use the extra time. We got busy with working bees and held a six hour mountain bike race as a fundraiser for our community. Then we started to think about how we could improve the overall stage race experience for people who would come to our event from near and far.

We’ve added some new services; like showers, activities for kids and child care bookings during race stages. We already have a massive prize pool for elite riders, but our events are as much about hanging out with people who like to scream in delight as they hit their favourite trails as they are about the racing. So we have focussed on new trail work – that’s why we ride and that’s what we want to share with people.

New works include a trail called “The Elevator”. Instead of riding up and down a fire road for the hill climb, the whole hill has trails cut from top to bottom in sweet, rich, loamy soil.

The more we rode newfound trails, the more we relished the fun we were having screaming and yelling on descents. We started to think about how cool it would be to share some of these trails.
The more we rode newfound trails, the more we relished the fun we were having screaming and yelling on descents. We started to think about how cool it would be to share some of these trails.

When designing the climb for The Elevator we wanted people to feel like they had really achieved something without it being impossible. We came up with a mighty good, short climb that winds along through stands of white gums overlooking open valleys. The race village looks very small, very quickly. When you head back down The Elevator into the race village you are met with 16 grippy berms that slingshot you back to earth.

Race sponsors, MTN Trails, will be adding some more new sections and refining “The Jet Tech Luge”. They are adding hard pack white clay corners in sections where the harder you ride when you swap lines from one corner to the next, the faster you’ll hit the open fire road.

Can you hear the holler?
Can you hear the holler?

“The Serpent” is another flowy trail that has been popular on our ride days – it’s getting better with more MTN Trails activity too. These guys have built a masterpiece of ridgeline single track that uses opposing berms to eject you onto a pump track rollercoaster. Then it shoots you through controlled scree drops before more pump sections. It’s fun. If you work hard, it’s even more fun.

The Serpent takes you to a fast open descent. If you want let the dog off the leash, you can disengage the brake fingers as you hammer out of the bush into a plantation track through more MTN Trails work. All this comes after kilometres of our hand built trails taking you through red clay and fast technical riding.

We wanted to hold a stage race with a festive atmosphere and a course that provided access to a mix of genuine adventure riding and superbly crafted trails.
We wanted to hold a stage race with a festive atmosphere and a course that provided access to a mix of genuine adventure riding and superbly crafted trails.

That’s just the first morning! The full course has stunning coastal trails for the Time Trial, old growth forest with crazy tramline descents in the adventure stages and a hard pack enduro course.

Remember when you first went exploring and found new trails? Did you holler? Did you grin so hard people thought you had something wrong with you at the car park? If so, we have something for you. Come share the holler.

Head to www.hellfirecup.com for more information on the event. Entries are open now, and close on 1st November 2013.

 

 

4Shaw Mountain Bike Team Announces Partnership With Giant

Exciting mountain bike apparel brand 4Shaw has used the recent Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Hobart to launch a Tasmanian team to contest national rounds and other premier events in 2013.

The four man line up consisting of owner Dion Shaw and veteran Nick Miller is balanced by exciting young riders Scott Bowden and Tom Goddard. The 4Shaw team has welcomed support from Giant Australia, with all riders on the superlight XTC 29ers for the year.

This team is an evolution of the growth experienced by the 4Shaw business which has seen Dion Shaw lead the establishment of the humble sock as a fashionable must have piece of cycling kit that have taken rapidly to riders feet across Australia in the last two years. Shaw is no stranger to the bike himself, having been a long time competitor on the national scene, and riding well in 2013 at the National Championships to win the expert men’s title at Stromlo earlier this year.

Shaw’s strategy is to remain heavily involved at the core of his mounatin biking roots, with plans to grow the team’s reach in coming years by adding riders across all major states to develop a truely national representation of the 4Shaw name. Apart from Giant, 4Shaw has a host of race sponsors behind the team including Ventouadidas eyewearSRAMKinchromeAussie Butt Cream and Ironhouse Brewery. Coupled with this the team also is looking stylish in off the bike clobber from Cruex Cycling and Pulchrum shoes. The full Tasmanian line up was an obvious choice for 2013, as the tight knit local community has helped create a strong bond and family environment amongst the team. The youth policy is also an investment for the future, with young Tasmanian riders now having the belief that they can match it with the best, based the the success of fellow islanders Sid Taberlay, Rowena Fry, Ben Bradley and Ben Mather.

Scott Bowden.

Under 19  Hobart student, Scott Bowden is a young rider to keep an eye on for the future. Dogged by badluck and poorly timed illness so far this season, Bowden has still excelled with a win in the Buller national round U19 point to point and 6th place in the national titles. The ex distance runner had obviously caught the eye of MTBA as one of nine athletes that have been nominated to the long-team for Junior Olympic Cross Country in preparation for the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships being staged in Pietermaritzburg, Republic of South Africa, in late August.

“I’m really excited to be part of the 4Shaw team this year. The work that Dion puts into making sure we have the best equiptment possible with attention to every little detail makes it a great team to be involved in.” said Bowden. “I’ve only been on the Giant XTC for a few days and I’m seeing the benefits already, especially on the steep climbs, with the 29er offering more grip.”

Tom Goddard.

Engineering student Tom Goddard also hails from a running background and has adapted the bike exceptionaly well in the last few years. The Launceston rider has already shown enough talent to rack up a top ten finish at the 2011 World MTB Orienteering Junior Championships in Italy, and is starting to put together some consistent results in national rounds of late with 5th placings in U23′s at Buller and Bright. With a few more years in this age group, Goddard is looking forward to more race experience. “I feel like I am improving in certain aspects of every race. It’s great to have 4Shaw behind me, and giving me the opportunity and motivation to get to more races.”

Hobart veteran Nick Miller balances out the quartet with over 12 years riding trails. A focused training schedule from Jenni King in the last few years has helped Miller go to the next level, being competitive at a national level and a recent bronze medal in the veteran men’s at the Oceania Champs. The business executive also offers sound advice and perspective on riding / career balance to the younger members who are are still studying.

With a recent relocation of the 4Shaw business to Melbourne, expect to see increased activity and awesome kit as this small business continues to grow as one of the hottest brands in Australian cycling. Follow the rainbow on their facebook page and on Instagram @4shaw_dion

Hellfire Cup Postponed Until November 2013

We are very sad to say that it is necessary for us to move the date of the Hellfire Cup. We are looking at moving the Hellfire Cup to November this year. We understand that many participants have made travel plans and we’ll discuss options for you below.

Our primary reasons for postponing the Hellfire Cup are:

  • Emergency services that would normally be used in supporting traffic management and ensuring participant safety for the event will be involved in disaster relief at Dunalley, Connolly’s Marsh, Primrose Sands, Forcett, Copping, Taranna, Eaglehawk Neck.
  • The Scale of the devastation in the local community means that people involved in the event as volunteers and supporters are now focusing on their lost homes and businesses. South East Tasmania is experiencing a catastrophic fire event which is not over. (There are many other places in Tasmania that are unaffected so if you were planning to do the event as part of a trip to Tasmania, we’re only to happy to help you find trails to ride).
  • The course itself is currently unaffected, however, the current fire situation is that there are multiple fires in the area with predictions for fires to enter the Wielangta and Kellevie areas under current conditions. (Update – At the time of writing, there is currently an Watch and Act Bushfire Alert for Inala road which is next to Kellevie road).
  • Each of the surrounding towns have been affected by the fires and in many areas, the scale of the damage is unimaginable.