Local Video: Shredding the Vic Alps, with Blue Dirt and Specialized

Late November in the Victorian High Country; the snow has almost all melted and the mountain bike trails have been primed for the summer season. Riders David McMillan, Ryan De La Rue & Tom Anderson hit the highway with Blue Dirt Mountain Biking and Specialized Bicycles on a road trip to three of the best mountain biking destinations in Victoria: Falls Creek, Bright & Mt Buller.

These three destinations should be on every mountain bikers hit list. On board the latest 2018 Specialized Enduro and Stumpjumpers with the help from Blue Dirt’s shuttle service, see what all the fuss is about!


Join Specialized Australia riders Dave MacMillan, Ryan De La Rue and Tom Anderson for some loose riding at Falls Creek, Bright and Mt Buller, three of the primo destinations where Blue Dirt offer their uplift services.

Heading to the top of Mt Mackay above Falls Creek, the highest public road in Australia.
Falls Creek chills.
Diving into the pines of Bright.
Morning light on Falls Creek.
Mt Mystic, Bright.
Should’ve zigged when I zagged.
The Victorian Alps are just a stunning place to be.
Buller summit sunsets.
Top of the world.


Video Feature: Ride High Country, The Mountain Bike Road Trip

Grab a coffee, or perhaps an ale (as that’s certainly the theme here), and settle in to watch the full Ride High Country Road Trip


There’s a lot to explore in the Victorian High Country, and so we put our minds to pulling together the road trip to end all road trips. All killer, no filler – seven destinations, each worthy of a riding holiday in its own right, all packed into a week to remember. And so off we went.

The destinations we’d mapped out for our Ride High Country road trip all lie in a pretty tight little cluster in the north-east of Victoria, and our plan was to tackle it from east to west: Falls Creek, Mt Beauty, Bright, Dinner Plain, Beechworth, Yackandandah and finally Mt Buller to wrap it up.

Have a gander below for some of our favourite moments on the Ride High Country Road Trip, and make sure you click the links through to each destination’s own editorial piece to learn more.


Falls Creek

Click here for our full Falls Creek editorial and video. 


This is what Falls Creek does best: incredible vistas. You spend a lot of time riding above the tree line, giving you views forever.
This is what Falls Creek does best: incredible vistas. You spend a lot of time riding above the tree line, giving you views forever.
Hooking into the eerie snow gums on High Voltage, on of the star trails at Falls Creek.
Hooking into the eerie snow gums on High Voltage, one of the star trails at Falls Creek.
Flow Town is the newest addition to Falls Creek, and this trail alone makes it worth the trip. Blasting into the perfect lower berms. From the end of the trail, you can jump on board the shuttle right up to the peak of the mountain and do it all again.
Flow Town is the newest addition to Falls Creek, and this trail alone makes it worth the trip. Blasting into the perfect lower berms. From the end of the trail, you can jump on board the shuttle service run by Blue Dirt Mountain Biking right up to the peak of the mountain and do it all again.

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When the rain came down too hard in Falls Creek, we retreated to the spa at QT.
When the rain came down too hard in Falls Creek, we retreated to the spa at QT.
A fine way to end the day on the trails at Falls.
A fine way to end the day on the trails at Falls.

Mt Beauty

Click here for our full Mt Beauty editorial and video

That iconic Mt Beauty view, looking north up the Kiewa Valley.
That iconic Mt Beauty view, looking north up the Kiewa Valley.
Mt Beauty's very own World Champ, Paul Van Der Ploeg, was on hand to lead us into the wild trails of Beauty.
Mt Beauty’s very own World Champ, Paul Van Der Ploeg, was on hand to lead us into the wild trails of Beauty.
The trails of Beauty are the anti-flow-trail; 100% tech! These are old school, hand built single tracks, and you need to be committed and alert to ride them well. You can see why this place breeds some exceptional riders.
The trails of Beauty are the anti-flow-trail; 100% tech! These are old school, hand built single tracks, and you need to be committed and alert to ride them well. You can see why this place breeds some exceptional riders.
Rocky, loose, unforgiving! If you're having a bad day on Mt Beauty's trails, you're going to have a lie down or two. But when you're riding well, these trails make you feel like a ninja!
Rocky, loose, unforgiving! If you’re having a bad day on Mt Beauty’s trails, you’re going to have a lie down or two. But when you’re riding well, these trails make you feel like a ninja!
Mt Beauty is one of Australia's original mountain bike towns, the trails have been here since the 1980s... which is why team Flow donned some genuinely vintage mountain bike jerseys for the occasion.
Mt Beauty is one of Australia’s original mountain bike towns, the trails have been here since the 1980s… which is why team Flow donned some genuinely vintage mountain bike jerseys for the occasion.
Dragon's Head is one of the Big Hill MTB Park's newest trails - you won't find it on the map, it's too fresh. It's one of the trickiest trails around, but such a buzz to ride.
Dragon’s Head is one of the Big Hill MTB Park’s newest trails – you won’t find it on the map, it’s too fresh. It’s one of the trickiest trails around, but such a buzz to ride.
Lots of body language here in Beauty!
Lots of body language here in Beauty!
Mt Beauty, like most of these great High Country towns, has its own brewery - the Sweetwater Brewing Company is right in town, about 500m from the trails. Drop on in for a tasting.
Mt Beauty, like most of these great High Country towns, has its own brewery – the Sweetwater Brewing Company is right in town, about 500m from the trails. Drop on in for a tasting.
And right across the road from the brewery, you'll find the Rocky Valley Bike Cafe. Good smoothies!
And right across the road from the brewery, you’ll find the Rocky Valley Bike Cafe. Good smoothies!

Bright

Click here for our full Bright editorial and video.

Hello Bright! This town is home to one of Australia's most progressive new trails, the aptly named Hero Trail. It's a monster, and you've got to come check it out.
Hello Bright! This town is home to one of Australia’s most progressive new trails, the aptly named Hero Trail. It’s a monster, and you’ve got to come check it out.
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Lofting into the opening straight of the Hero Trail.
It should be no surprise that Bright is producing some crazy talented riders. Kaia Ellis is one of them, definitely one of the next generation of Aussie mountain bike super stars. He lives at the base of Mt Mystic and rides here everyday.
It should be no surprise that Bright is producing some crazy talented riders. Kaia Ellis is one of them. This kid is definitely one of the next generation of Aussie mountain bike super stars. He lives at the base of Mt Mystic and rides here everyday, shuttled by his dedicated (and fast) dad, Pete.
You can shuttle Mt Mystic, or there are climbing tracks too, if you'd rather earn your turns.
You can shuttle Mt Mystic, or there are climbing tracks too, if you’d rather earn your turns.
Bright Brewery is a real focal point for the town, and they're all mountain bike mad too. With a huge beer garden on the river, it's the ultimate place to wind up your day.
Bright Brewery is a real focal point for the town, and they’re all mountain bike mad too. With a huge beer garden on the river, it’s the ultimate place to wind up your day.
Bright isn't all about the Hero Trail. There's a huge network to ride on the mountain's lower slopes too, with perfect corners like this.
Bright isn’t all about the Hero Trail. There’s a huge network to ride on the mountain’s lower slopes too, with perfect corners like this.
Kaia Ellis, Phil Roubichard and Aaron Gungal.
Kaia Ellis, Phil Roubichard and Aaron Gungal.
Phil from All Terrain Cycles. Always stoked.
Phil from All Terrain Cycles. Always stoked.

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Dinner Plain

Click here for our full Dinner Plain editorial and video.

Dinner Plain is on the cusp of a mountain bike explosion. The setting is superb, and the bones of a great trail network are already in place. Big things are coming here.
Dinner Plain is on the cusp of a mountain bike explosion. The setting is superb, and the bones of a great trail network are already in place. Big things are coming here.
Local guur Karl Gray, of the DP Riders, leads us down Kenny's.
Local guru Karl Gray, of the DP Riders, leads us down Kenny’s in some perfect alpine light.
Golden alpine meadows. Take us back!
Golden alpine meadows. Take us back!
A setting to die for. Dinner Plain is extraordinarily beautiful.
A setting to die for. Dinner Plain is extraordinarily beautiful.
The Blizzard Brewing Co calls Dinner Plain home. Yes, another mountain bike town with a brewery. You couldn't make this stuff up.
The Blizzard Brewing Co calls Dinner Plain home. Yes, another mountain bike town with a brewery. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Dinner Plain's bike rack is heavy duty.
Dinner Plain’s bike rack is heavy duty. How cool is that?!
Another golden day in the bag.
Another golden day in the bag.
Good night, Dinner Plain. See you again soon, we hope.
Good night, Dinner Plain. See you again soon, we hope.

Beechworth

For our full Beechworth editorial and video click here.

Beechworth is classic Australiana at its best.
Beechworth is classic Australiana at its best. This is bush ranger country.
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Evening razzing in the Beechworth MTB Park, just a couple of minutes from town.
Blowing out the cobwebs, and some corners, in Beechworth.
Blowing out the cobwebs, and some corners, in Beechworth.
We love the unique, rocky terrain of Beechworth.
We love the unique, rocky terrain of Beechworth.
The Don't Be a Hero Trail is a new addition in Beechworth.
The Don’t Be a Hero Trail is a new addition in Beechworth.
Away from the mountain bike park, there are loads of other trails to discover. Grab a local to unearth some gold.
Away from the mountain bike park, there are loads of other trails to discover. Grab a local to unearth some gold.
Ben Kraus, head honch of the famous Bridge Rd Brewers.
Ben Kraus, head honch of the famous Bridge Rd Brewers.

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Lock him up.
Standard Beechworth first date.

Yackandandah

For our full Yackandandah editorial and video click here.

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Yackandandah is all smooth, perfect singletrack. The kind that makes you smile.
Dropping into Skull, one of the most unique tracks in Yack.
Dropping into Skull, one of the most unique tracks in Yack.

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The Yack Tracks have some of the best signing we've ever encountered, with all the loops mapped out perfectly.
The Yack Tracks have some of the best signing we’ve ever encountered, with all the loops mapped out perfectly.
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Getting comfy at the Star Hotel.

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We loved the crew we met in Yack. Some of the most diverse and friendly folk we've had the pleasure of riding with.
We loved the crew we met in Yack. Some of the most diverse and friendly folk we’ve had the pleasure of riding with.

Mt Buller

For our full Mt Buller editorial and video, click here.

Mt Buller, last stop for us.
Mt Buller, last stop for us.
Glorious Mt Buller.
Glorious Mt Buller evenings.
Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles. Solid bloke, and a very solid rider too.
Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles. Solid bloke, and a very solid rider too.
Shannon on the charge in perfect conditions on Misty Twist.
Shannon on the charge in perfect conditions on Misty Twist.
We couldn't quite believe how good we got it in Buller. Unreal!
We couldn’t quite believe how good we got it in Buller. Unreal!

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The iconic bridges of the Delatite River Trail.
The iconic bridges of the Delatite River Trail.

Ride High Country: Mt Buller


Of course, you’ve got to grind out a few metres in the other direction to earn all the descending, but thankfully the human brain is awfully good at quashing the hards times from memory and elevating the good. So all you’re left with is a head full of amazing downhills.

Maybe that’s why we always think of Mt Buller so joyfully. All we can remember is railing perfect turns on Misty Twist, screaming at full-speed down the Delatite River Trail, pumping the pure rhythm of Stonefly… It’s almost too good.

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Making the trip to Buller is pretty much an annual ritual for us, but this time our visit to Mt Buller was the final stop on our mammoth Ride High Country Road Trip, a week-long journey through the Victorian north-east’s best trails.

While the other destinations we visited on our road trip are all clustered tightly, Buller stands apart, about two hours’ drive from Beechworth or Bright. But coming to this part of world and not making the trip to Mt Buller would be like not eating dessert. And no one wants to miss out on sweet, sweet dessert.

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You need a big map board when you’ve got big mountains.

To our delight, we scored Mt Buller is absolutely prime conditions. Our guide, the resolute Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles, took us straight to the best dirt on the mountain, at the recently refreshed Misty Twist. This trail has always been a favourite – it’s close enough to the village that you can squeeze it in for a quick afternoon loop, and the trail is a perfect ribbon of loam, draped through atmospheric snow gums. It links back into the fast and furious Clancy’s Run too, which is another iconic Buller fave.

That afternoon, slapping through brown berms, following the trustworthy wheel of Shannon, we locked yet another magical Buller memory away in the vault.

 

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Misty Twist at its best.

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With only limited time up our sleeves before facing the run back up the Hume to the Real World, we headed to the Delatite River Trail. If you’re looking for a uniquely Buller experience, this is it: 1000m of vertical descending, at speeds you frankly have no right to be hitting on a mountain bike!

The trail tapers out with its famous log bridge river crossings, and the icing on the cake is literally cake, in this case a brownie from awesome Mirimbah Store at the end of the trail. A quick coffee to get the brain back in order after the fury of Delatite, and it’s back up the hill on the shuttle, right to the peak of the village. You can see why saying goodbye to this place is always a rough breakup.

For more information on Mt Buller, or riding right across the Victorian High Country, head to ridehighcountry.com.au.

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No, I never want to say goodbye…
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The final stretches of Delatite.

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Ride High Country: Beechworth

Watch the video below! 


This is a town that oozes charm and history, a mix of quaint and quirky, with wide streets, shady verandahs, smiling old ducks at the bakery. It welcomes you, like a favourite wooden jumper, a comfy, relaxed fit. It’s a feeling we’ve always had here, a genuine warmth, and it’s not just the pastie we’re eating, fresh from Beechworth Bakery pie oven.

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Big granite outcrops are a standout feature of the Beechworth trails.

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DSC01344The local crew, the legendary Beechworth Chain Gang, extend the same vibe. Out of towners are always welcome to join the Wednesday night social ride, localism isn’t their bag. Even the location of the trails makes life simple; the Beechworth Mountain Bike Park is only a few minutes ride from the centre of town, and it’s all mapped and signposted for visiting riders to enjoy.

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You can roll out to the trail head from town, it’s just a few minutes’ pedal.
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The new Don’t Be a Hero Trail brings a new flavour to Beechworth trails.

It’s a total noodle bowl of singletrack in the Bike Park, a smallish space, heaped with trails, all of it loads of fun. The trail builders have worked with terrain brilliantly, using the rocky granite outcrops to create rhythm and challenge, and the surface is fast and perfectly drifty at the same time. New trails are springing up too, including the cheekily named ‘Don’t Be a Hero Trail’ – a funny nod to the Hero Trail in Bright, as well as a good-natured dig at the trail builder who broke themselves on the trail not long after finishing its construction!

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Dust, sun and a good crew. Spot on!
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The landscape surrounding Beechworth is Australiana overdrive. This is bush ranger country!

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Away from the bike park, there are plenty of less publicised trails too, which might require some local knowledge to unearth. The best place to acquire said knowledge? At the brewery of course! Bridge Rd Brewers lies right at the heart of town, and not only do they produce superb beer and cater for hungry riders, but head brewer Ben Kraus froths harder than a shaken pilsner for mountain biking.

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All brewed in Beechworth, Bridge Rd is a must see, even if you’re not a drinker. It’s got a great vibe.

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Yackandandah’s new trails are just down the road too, and the locals have a dream to see these two great networks linked up with trails through the great swathes of forest between the towns. It’s a vision we’d love to see realised one day; both of these towns really grab us, and the thought of being able to ride on the dirt between the two is too good!

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Negotiating with some rocks in the bike park.

Beechworth really is a must-do on any road trip through this region, whether you’ve got bikes or not. We guarantee you’ll be charmed, and you’ll keep coming back, just like we do. For more information about riding in Beechworth, or across the whole region, head to ridehighcountry.com.au. 

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The Woolshed DH is one of the less official trails in the area. Seek it out!

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It’s not all beer – cold brew Nitro Coffee will get tired legs hammering once again!
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Chasing mates through dusty berms.

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Beechworth Prison is where Ned Kelly was held after being nabbed at Glenrowan.
Beechworth Prison is where Ned Kelly was held after being nabbed at Glenrowan.
"You're under arrest for wearing two paris of sunnies."
“You’re under arrest for wearing two pairs of sunnies.”
The new Kelly helmet with MIPS technology, made in Beechworth.
The new Kelly helmet with MIPS technology, made in Beechworth.
The Woolshed Cabins are run by passionate club member Chris Doe - highly recommended.
The Woolshed Cabins are run by passionate club member Chris Doe – highly recommended.

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Ride High Country: Yackandandah

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No stress, all smiles. Yack is mountain biking at its relaxing finest.

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This passionate community has paid close attention to the important elements that have made some of the other towns in the region such successful mountain bike destinations, and then found their own niche in the landscape. They’ve absolutely nailed it too.

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Some of the biggest Yack Tracks fans we’ve met have been locals from Beechworth, which lies just 15 minutes’ drive away. Given how great Beechworth’s own trails are, that praise put Yack right on top of the pile for us to visit during our Ride High Country Road Trip.

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Mining has left some interesting features for the trail builders to work with, like these cool old chutes on ‘Skulls’.
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Classic riding like this will never grow old.

Yackandandah brings a much needed pure cross-country experience to the Victorian High Country. The riding here is gloriously simple, you don’t need a shuttle, you don’t need a map, you don’t need to psych yourself up, or even be that fit. These are trails built for the pure enjoyment of it all, not for scaring yourself or finding your limits. You can lose yourself (metaphorically -the signage is too good to get genuinely lost) for a few hours; just you and the bike in the bush, with seemingly never-ending, flowing cross-country singletrack. It’s really interesting terrain too, especially in the areas where mining has re-shaped the landscape, with deep gullies, old water races, and caves gouged into the clay.

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The crew in Yack have got to be some of the most easy-going folk out there, and in mountain biking that’s saying something.

Are the trails tame? Not when you start riding them fast, they’re not. But they won’t intimidate a newer rider either, and we think that’s going to be real drawcard for this town. Experienced riders can bring someone who is fresh to the sport out to Yack, and both are going to love it. The growth of mountain biking depends vitally on trails like this, and we feel that the High Country is going to benefit greatly from having such a welcoming addition for new mountain bikers. It’s the kind of town and trails that can make someone fall in love with mountain biking.

That diversity of riders who can enjoy trails like the Yack Tracks was on full display amongst the crew of locals who came out to show us around the forest. A mixed bunch – men and women, young and not-so-young, some who were new to it all, and others who’d been mountain biking for 20 years or more – they welcomed us with open arms, and after a loop it was back to the Star Hotel for a drink and a chat.

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Top notch way-finding.

As a visitor, it just doesn’t get any easier than the experience offered by Yack – it’s real rock up and ride stuff for out-of-towners. In the car park you’ll find a brilliant map board, with four recommended loops mapped out. All the information is there, from distances to elevation profiles and estimated times. There’s no poking through Strava or phoning a local to beg directions, you simply pick the loops that match the experience you’re after, then follow the arrows. It’s some of the best trail marking we’ve ever encountered, and the effort that has been put into perfecting the navigation can make all the difference between an incredible day on the trails, or a world of confusion.

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We’re very excited that a region like this, already heaving with great riding, can suddenly have an entirely new, and totally unique, option for mountain bikers. Yack is a real feather in the cap of the Victorian High Country, and a spot that is going to play a big role in ensuring a stream of fresh riders find their feet in the sport. We’ll be back, and we’ll be bringing a few potential mountain converts with us too. We’re sure that Yack will woo them nicely.

For more information about riding Yackandandah, or across the whole region, head to www.ridehighcountry.com.au

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Meanwhile, back at the Star Hotel.
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James Lacey, head of the Yackandandah Old Blokes Biking on Sundays (YOBBOS).
Now that was a good day on the trails.
Now that was a good day on the trails.

 

Ride High Country: Mt Beauty

Looking back over Mt Beauty from Tawonga Gap.
Looking back over Mt Beauty from Tawonga Gap.

Why does this town grab us? Maybe it’s the nostalgia, maybe it’s the setting, maybe it’s the company? Or maybe it’s that Mt Beauty continues to fly in the face of the gentrification of mountain bike trails. Mt Beauty’s trail builders cling proudly to a gritty, raw and downright challenging style of construction, the polar opposite of the groomed predictability that typifies a lot of new trail development. These trails are scratched into the slopes with hand tools, you won’t find any 900mm-wide excavator shaped contours here!

Lining up to thread another challenging descending switchback on The Kraken.
Lining up to thread another challenging descending switchback on The Kraken.

Mt Beauty’s trail builders cling proudly to a gritty, raw and downright challenging style of construction

Dragon's Head. Get ready for some tech!
Dragon’s Head. Get ready for some tech!

“It’s us versus technology,” cackled Bernie McArdle, the notoriously prolific Mt Beauty trail builder, when we asked him about his philosophies. The way Bernie sees it, as bikes get better, trails must get tougher, an equal and opposite reaction that ensures mountain biking never gets too easy. And if staving off boredom is Bernie’s aim, then he’s sure succeeding; getting in a rhythm here takes concentration and commitment. The benches are narrow, the trees often tight, the rocks always pointy.

Plenty of body language on Dragon's Head.
Plenty of body language on Dragon’s Head.

It’s us versus technology.

On our Ride High Country road trip, we met up with one of Mt Beauty’s loudest ambassadors, the irrepressible Paul Van Der Ploeg, for a tour of some of Big Hill’s newest trails. Yes, they’re still building up there, and somehow new nooks and crannies of this landscape continue to be discovered and threaded with fresh singletrack. The trails he had lined up for us were Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Trail, two recent McArdle creations. Riding these trails is a complex negotiation, a constant balancing act of traction and momentum, played out with plenty of body language. On a bad day, they’ll reduce you to buckled frustration, swearing off mountain biking forever. On a good day, you’re hooting and yelling, eyes like saucers, as you thread the needle, you’re Nino Schuster and Sam Hill rolled into one.

Momentum is your friend!
Momentum is your friend!
New map boards, plus signposted loops, has made navigating Mt Beauty a lot less challenging for visiting riders.
New map boards, plus signposted loops, has made navigating Mt Beauty a lot less challenging for visiting riders.

For visiting riders, Mt Beauty’s complex network is now a little less mystifying than it once was, thanks to the recent addition of signposted loops. Choose your colour, follow the arrows. Unless you’ve snagged a local guide, this is the best way to experience what Mt Beauty’s trails are about. Along the way you’ll see countless off-shoots snaking off into the trees – there’s so much trail here, even the locals get tangled up, so we’d suggest sticking to the recommended loops if you don’t have your compass handy.

Vandy surveys his domain.
Vandy surveys his domain.
Old school jerseys for an old school destination, with one of Mt Beauty's bakery treats sternum-mounted for easy on trail nutrition.
Old school jerseys for an old school destination, with one of Mt Beauty’s bakery treats sternum-mounted for easy on trail nutrition.

After your ride, a casual roll down the hill into town will lead you to Mt Beauty’s famed bakery, or cruise on out to the recently opened Rocky Valley Bikes cafe, which is conveniently located directly across the road from the Sweetwater Brewing Company! From a regional perspective, Mt Beauty makes a great launching point for a high country road trip. It sits right at the crux of the eastern High Country’s mountain bike scene; it’s only 30 minutes up the hill to Falls Creek, or jump over Tawonga Gap to Bright.

Rocky Valley Bikes have just opened a great cafe. Pop by!
Rocky Valley Bikes have just opened a great cafe. Pop by!

For the full low-down on Mt Beauty, or riding right across North-East Victoria, head to www.ridehighcountry.com.au.

Ride High Country: Falls Creek

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Dropping into High Voltage from Frying Pan Spur feels like you’re plummeting off the edge of the mountain into the Kiewa Valley below.

Falls Creek specialises in the spectacular: of all the mountain biking destinations slung across this region, it’s Falls that always drops our jaw. There’s something incredible about its location, with the Keiwa Valley funnelling up to meet it, Falls sits like the gate keeper to the alpine plains. The drama of the whole scene is enhanced by the gnarled, skeletal fingers of white snow gums, which frame the trails and give the distant slopes a grey shimmer.

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Ghostly snow gums make a dramatic backdrop on the higher trails.

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But of course you don’t come to Falls Creek for the views alone, you come to enjoy one of the finest mountain bike trail networks in Australia! The rise of Falls Creek in the mountain bike world has been meteoric. It was barely four years ago that the initial humble scratchings of trail building began, but now, with four stages of trail development completed, there’s over 40km of sensational trail to explore, and that’s before you even contemplate the endless backcountry riding that can be done from Falls. When you consider that this place is under snow for a good chunk of the year, it’s an incredible undertaking to have built such a great network in that time frame.

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You can just see the alignment of the road running back down to Mt Beauty far below. Flow Town follows the same contour, for a perfect, fast run to the village entrance gates six kays away.

With the opening of Flow Town just a few weeks ago, we feel that Falls Creek has now really nailed its potential. This epic descending trail is one of the best rides in the entire region, and once you tie it into a loop with some of the existing runs, it becomes a run for the ages – 20 minutes of nearly non-stop downhill shredding. For this run alone, Falls Creek was always going to be a stop on our Ride High Country road trip.

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Berm blasting in the gums on the lower sections of Flow Town.
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Multiple lines options on Flow Town.

Amongst the best aspects of mountain biking in Falls Creek is that the trails all start and finish right in the village, so you can literally roll out your accommodation and be into the thick of it in seconds. This is especially true of Flow Town, which descends from straight from town, ending up at the resort gates after six kilometres of insanely good trail. From there, you can pedal back up the Pack Horse trail, or better yet, jump in a shuttle service provided by Blue Dirt, which is exactly what we did.

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Pete Walsh of Blue Dirt – shuttle driver and all-round good bloke.
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The bike wash is a recent addition, along with a communal work stand and tools. Falls Creek aren’t cutting corners when it comes to making mountain bikers feel loved!

With the shuttle running right to the peak of the resort, you’ve got the entire network splayed out beneath you, all funnelling you back to the village where a coffee, lunch or beer awaits. It’s a surprisingly buzzing scene in town too. With the opening of the Blue Dirt Bike Cafe, there’s usually a good contingent of mountain bikers milling about refuelling or using the bike wash, joined by the constant trickle of roadies who’ve taken on the climb from Mt Beauty. You’re not short of places to stay or dine either; QT hotel runs all the way through summer (which is where we called home during our stay) and their restaurant, Stingray, is open all day too so you won’t be scrambling for a meal, as can sometimes happen in the green-season in resort towns!

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Perfect berms top to bottom on Flow Town.

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Also worth a mention is the development of more beginner and intermediate trails right on the edge of the village too, which opens up the appeal of Falls to rider who aren’t interested in tackling the whole mountain. We can see how this place is going to be very popular with family groups in the future with so much kid-friendly riding just moments away from the accommodation.

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Taking refuge in the spa at QT after a rain storm cut our day short on the hill. Paul Van Der Ploeg and SRAM’s Dave Evans enjoying the apres vibes!
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Doesn’t get much better! We didn’t expect to be sparking up the open fire in summer, but that’s the way it goes in the alps – the weather can change direction faster than Troy Brosnan in a switchback.

From Falls Creek, one of the newest mountain bike destinations in Victoria, it’s just a short 30-minute drive back down the mountain to one of the oldest mountain biking destinations in all of Australia, the legendary mountain biking town of Mt Beauty, for a totally different trail experience. There mustn’t be many places in Australia where you can go from riding high-alpine, machine-built flow trail after breakfast, and then be on some of the absolute original mountain bike singletracks in the country, by lunch time! It’s exactly this kind of diversity, all condensed into such a tight region, that has us so pumped on the Victorian High Country right now.

For more information about riding in Falls Creek, and across the whole region, head to http://www.ridehighcountry.com.au

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Must Ride: The Dirty Dozen – Mt Beauty

Mt Beauty was the fourth stop on our Dirty Dozen road trip, an exploration of twelve iconic trails across Victoria’s north-east.  And while Mt Beauty officially only has one trail in the dozen, don’t think for a moment that it’s a light on singletrack – there is a huge amount of riding here, though it does help if you’re with a local to unearth all the real gems.

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What a place!

The You Beauty loop has been assembled to really give you an overview of what Mt Beauty is all about, provide you with the lay of the land so you can continue your exploration of the endless spiderweb of trails. All you’ve got to do is follow the blue arrows.

Like all the destinations in the Dirty Dozen, the trails are right on the edge of town – it’s only a two-minute pedal from the cafe to the trail head of the Big Hill Mountain Bike park. The riding is true old-school singletrack, all hand built, with a lot of character. Don’t expect the groomed flow of Buller or Falls Creek here at Beauty – these trails have more in common with Bright, with a raw, challenging edge that won’t forgive riding on autopilot.

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Classic hand built singletrack.

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Because Mt Beauty’s trail network has evolved over such a long period of time, with volunteers and club members each adding their own touches, the trails all have their own personality and the network has a more random, organic layout to it. As such, if you can nab a local to play guide for a morning or afternoon it’s a great help.

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A day in Mt Beauty will give you a good feel for the trails, but allow for two to really get into the vibe of the town – head to the rock pools for a dip, visit the Sweet Water Brewery. If you’ve got time, we highly recommend taking in a particularly epic run from Falls Creek back to Mt Beauty down the legendary Fainter’s Track too, for an amazing back country experience.

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Dropping into a high-speed gully on the Shoot and Boot.

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The main descent back to the Big Hill car park is riddled with great berms like this.

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Must Ride: The Dirty Dozen – Bright

Bright was stop number three on our Dirty Dozen road trip, an exploration of 12 trails handpicked by local riders in the Victorian High Country, and it’s home to three great loops that form part of the ‘Dozen.  We could have spent a week here, exploring all the trails, but if you don’t have quite that much time, following the three carefully selected loops is a great way to unearth most of the gems.


 

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Bright is surrounded by peaks, covered in pines.

The Morses Creek Loop

Following the rolling banks of Morses Creek and the Ovens River, this loop is the ideal way to get into the swing of Bright’s hand built singletrack without having to bite off any real climbing. The scars left by decades of gold mining have healed into great contours and the way this loop has a tight, rollercoaster feel to it. Bank on about an hour or so to knock this trail over.

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Classic, sometimes tricky, pine forest trails. This is high up on the 24 Carat Loop.
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The Eiger, on the 24 Carat Loop.

The Mystic Baker

This loop is the longest of Bright’s three Dirty Dozen trails at 15km and takes in a really good variety of terrain. From rolling riverside trails, to flowing pine forest singletrack, some machine built trail and a good chunk of trail in native forest too, it has an excellent mix.

A couple of hours is enough to explore the Mystic Baker. Because of the large, roaming loop this ride takes in, it’s a good one for getting a feel for the layout of the Bright trail network should you wish to head off the marked loops and explore the trails.

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24 Carat Loop

The most challenging of Bright’s three Dirty Dozen loops is 24 Carat. This loop really showcases the technical, hand built pine forest singletrack which Bright is famous for. You’ll want to bring your climbing legs as the loop takes you right up high on Mt Mystic, before bombing down some tight, off-camber and super engaging singletrack.

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Getting into the rhythm of the narrow pine forest singletrack benched into the steeper slopes is an awesome feeling – you’re right on the edge a lot of the time, with little room for error. This is what it’s all about!

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Following the river early in the Mystic Baker loop.

Bright really is a sensational place to spend some time. Beyond the three Dirty Dozen trails, there is an absolute tonne of riding to be done, and if you’re a road rider too you’ll be in seventh heaven. For more information about the trails of Bright and the Dirty Dozen overall, make sure you head to http://thedirtydozen.com.au

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The Mystic Baker loop takes on a bit of a journey past the reservoir into some cool native gullies.
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Slider is the only machine built trail in Bright, but could be a taste of what’s to come.

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For more info, trail maps and more – click here.

Must-Ride: High Voltage, Falls Creek, Victoria.


 

Falls Creek is one of the Australian alpine resorts currently accepting that 97% of scientists are right and that our winters aren’t likely to ever again be as cold or long as they once were. Less of the white stuff and more of the green means that mountain biking is a big winner, and at Falls that’s especially true. This stunning resort, high above Mt Beauty on the Bogong Plains, is in the midst of a massive program of trail building.

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Accessing High Voltage means a short cruise out along the picturesque Frying Pan Spur.

In late 2014, we paid a visit to Falls Creek to see how their mountain bike park was developing, and we left in complete awe of not only the new trails, but the landscape and the amazing back country riding on offer. From shuttled runs of the village trails, to ranging explorations of the region’s historic huts, and huge all-day rides into the Keiwa Valley below, Falls has great diversity.

This season, Falls Creek has added another key trail into their network, with the opening of High Voltage on 21 November, 2015. Trail building gurus World Trail have worked their magic again, this time applying the love to Frying Pan Spur, which lies to the north of the existing mountain bike park.

High Voltage fires off from the end of the spur, offering an alternative intermediate descent to the black diamond Thunderbolt. Descending for nearly its entire length, before plugging back into the final portion of Wishing Well, it’s got all the flow you’d expect, plus some of the most inviting, loamy berms going.

We were lucky enough to get a cheeky preview of High Voltage with National Enduro Champ Chris Panozzo, a couple of weeks prior to its official opening date. It’s fair to say we now know how this trail can be ridden, and we doubt it’ll see a set of wheels this quick again for some time.

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The trail building at Falls is far from complete too. There’s yet another stage of development slated for 2016, with a swathe of new climbing tracks and a huge blue-graded flowtrail descent ‘Flowtown’ (we approve of the name). There’s already more than enough trail on offer at Falls to keep you and a crew occupied for a couple of days, so lock a road trip in for summer now, before the snow ruins the fun for a few months again.

For more info on riding in Falls Creek, check out their super comprehensive website here: TAKE ME TO FALLS! 

Falls Creek Map

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The gnarled snow gums are such a cool feature of riding in the alps.

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Big granite features are part of all the trails at Falls Creek.
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The lower part of High Voltage is a great run of step downs, transfers and doubles.

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Must-Ride: Falls Creek, Victoria

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This is just the second season that Falls Creek has been up and running with its new trail network, and already they’ve got more than enough quality trail in place to put themselves on the map in a region where mountain bikers are truly spoilt for choice. World Trail, the same team responsible for the magic of Mt Buller, have been handed the shovels at Falls Creek, so the calibre of the trails certainly aren’t in question. Think of the best bits of Buller, but closer to the village, and more easily accessed – because the Falls Creek resort has a ‘bowl’ layout, with the village at the bottom, a burger is never too far away.

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The trails are right above the village. A beer is always close at hand.
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World Trail have made the most of the natural features, like these big rock rollers.

They’ve already got four trails in place – two cross country trails which begin right in the village, and two descending trails that can either be ridden to, or shuttled with the help of the guys at Blue Dirt Mountain Biking. Between all four, there’s more than enough riding to keep you going for a full day, and once the whole lot is completed, taking on all the trails at Falls will be a multi-day affair.

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Cracking berms? Tick.

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But the bike park is only one feather in Falls’ cap, and the alpine trails across the Bogong High Plains are something pretty special too. The whole region is criss-crossed with aqueducts that feed water into the hydro-electricty plant, following the gradual contours terrain. Alongside each watercourse runs a fire trail, and there’s near endless exploring to be done, with huts along the way if you’re keen on an overnighter.

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Backcountry huts dot the plains.

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The Fainters Track is another must-do backcountry ride, descending from Falls all the way to the valley floor at Mt Beauty. This 40km ride is one of the best out going; it’s a tough half-day affair, real, raw mountain biking at its finest. Leg burning climbs, eye-popping views and brake cooking descents. You’d be mad to ride Falls Creek and not give this one a try while you’re there.

Already a must-ride destination, we’re looking forward to re-visiting Falls over the coming years as even more of the vision for this beautiful spot is rolled out.

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High on Fainters Track. Way in the distance is the Kiewa Valley, where the ride finishes up at Mt Beauty.
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Blue Dirt Mountain Biking are the crew to handle all your shuttling needs at Falls Creek.
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There’s a lot of hand-ravaging descending on the Fainters Track!

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Stay: 

Snow lands Apartments – Big, roomy apartments, right in the heart of the village. Just metres to the trails! http://www.snowlands.com.au

Eat:

Last Hoot Pizzeria – Generous and well-priced pizza, pasta and other suitably rider-fuelling food. http://www.fallscreek.com.au/LastHoot

Stingray, QT Hotel – The sunniest deck in the village, perfect for lunch or mid-morning coffee. http://www.qtfallscreek.com.au/food-drink/stingray/

Shuttles and guiding:

Blue Dirt Mountain Biking – these the only guys you need speak to for all your shuttling and guiding services in Falls Creek. Not only will the whisk you to the top, but they know all the backcountry trails like the back of their hands. Give them a bell to get the most out of this place. http://bluedirt.com.au/mtbriding/

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Must-Ride: Mt Beauty, Victoria

Mt Beautys butts right up against some serious mountains. There's no concept of travelling to the trails, they're right in town.
Mt Beauty butts right up against some serious mountains. There’s no concept of travelling to the trails, they’re right in town.

Beauty breathes mountain biking; from the second you roll into town and spot the dozens of little jumps that locals have shaped into the roadside embankment, you know this a town that loves riding on dirt. The riding and the town are enmeshed, in a physical as much as a notional sense, with the singletrack fingers of the Big Hill Mountain Bike Park stretching out to stroke the main street.

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Getting into the trails is as easy as crossing the road. But once you’re in the trees, you quickly see why the Mt Beauty locals are so fit and such great bike handlers. These are physical, technical trails with some grunty climbs to be had, and the kind of whizzing singletrack that doesn’t excuse sloppy riding. It’s this challenge, and the local culture of laconic competitiveness, that has seen local talent like the Panozzo clan and XCE World Champ Paul Van Der Ploeg rise to international prominence.

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Current 24hr National Champ, Tory Thomas is just one of the elite riders who call Mt Beauty home. This place is the perfect training ground, whether on the dirt or road.

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Unlike so many of the bike parks around the place now, Beauty has been built by hand, not a machine. Benched, scraped and chipped into the tough earth by locals who never seem to stop building. There are plenty of old favourites, but new trails seem to raise their heads almost as frequently as the black snakes that love this woodland too. Because it is such a complex web of trails, grabbing some advice (or a local) from the local bike shop is worthwhile – there’s so much there, it’s easy to miss the best bits.

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Local Chris Panozzo, giving his side knobs a work out.

Outside of the bike park, your options are as limitless as your legs will allow; there are fireroad routes that disappear over far flung peaks and valleys, or if you’re a fan of road riding too, some of Australia’s best climbs are within easy reach. When the days get too hot (and they do in summer, after mid morning), the rock pools can’t be missed, they’re just a ten minute ride from town.

What really appeals about Mt Beauty is that it’s not an isolated destination; drive half an hour across the Towanga Gap and you’ll find yourself in Bright, or climb up further into the Bogong High Plains and you’ll soon reach the rapidly growing trail network of Falls Creek. This entire region is alive with cycling, and Mt Beauty is at its heart.

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The social riding scene in Beauty is a lot of fun. Mid-week arvo session with the local lads.

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Where to stay: Flow stayed at the Svarmisk Apartments. These stylish, funky standalone apartments have private bike storage, epic views, are totally setup for self-catering groups. They also have the advantage of being literally 30 seconds from the trails.

Where to eat: In the off season, Mt Beauty can be quiet in the evenings, so plan ahead. Lunches at the Mount Beauty Bakery are the ticket. And, of course, it’s vital you try a local ale or two. Sweetwater Brewery is Mt Beauty’s own craft brewer. The brewery bar is right in town, so drop by for a tasting. Check their site for opening times: http://www.sweetwaterbrewing.com.au

Sweetwater Brewery is the local craft brewer. Drop by for a tasting - they're open over the weekends, but check their website for exact hours.
Sweetwater Brewery is the local craft brewer. Drop by for a tasting – they’re open over the weekends, but check their website for exact hours.

Bike shops: Rocky Valley is the local shop, right on the main road into town.

Local knowledge: Head to the rock pools, on Rockpool Rd, to cool down after a morning shred.

Local Video: Spring Equinox

This video still holds the title as the most feel-good mountain bike clip we’ve watched. It’s a few years old now, but there’s just something about it. It was filmed, edited and ridden by Pete Walsh (AKA Digital Hippie – check out his great site here) on the trails around Castlemaine.

Pete Walsh: “Heya, here’s a little video I’ve made — it’s been a wee labor of love the last month or so. I guess it’s about the Spring wildflowers, magpies and mountain biking… or it could be about a mid 40’s guy having yet another immensely enjoyable mid life crisis. Humor a hippie and watch it. If you think the video sucks, close your eyes and just enjoy the music — Old Pine by Ben Howard — it’s groovy music!”

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Racing: Brosnan and Hannah Win Downhill Gold at MTB Nationals in Bright

Troy Brosnan (SA) and Tracey Hannah (QLD) are the 2014 National Downhill champions after a day of spectacular action at the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships in Bright, VIC.

Elite and U19 DH Champions (c) Tim Bardsley Smith
U19 and Elite champions – L-R: Andrew Crimmins (U19), Troy Brosnan, Tracey Hannah, Tegan Molloy (U19)

Racing on the final day of the Championships took place in the Downhill and Cross Country Eliminator disciplines.

In Downhill, the star-studded Elite Men’s field was headlined by two of our best riders over the last decade, Mick Hannah (QLD) and Brosnan.

World championship medalist Mick Hannah (QLD) was the fastest rider in Saturday seeding. Young gun, former dual junior world champion Troy Brosnan had severe mechanical issues with his bike on seeding day. Instead of starting in his customary position with the fastest riders at the end of the field, he would start first.

Brosnan set the weekend’s fastest run with a 3:42.90, leaving the field to chase his time. He summed up how to ride in Bright “I made a couple of mistakes but I didn’t really lose too much time, in the end on a track like this you have to make mistakes to go fast”.

As widely predicted, Brosnan would sit in the Subaru hotseat for a long time, making it a long and nervous wait to see if his time would hold up.

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A crash of Mick Hannah kept him off the top stop.

Hannah came down the hill last, but it wasn’t to be his day. “I felt like I was having a really good run and just had a little mistake. I started to lose the front a bit and couldn’t get my foot out in time and hit the ground, getting tangled up in the trees and tape.”. He would go on to place 5th.

It was clear before Hannah finished that Brosnan was the Elite National Champion for the second time, 2012 being his first Elite title.

“It feels amazing to win, my run was smooth, fast, I was feeling fit and strong” said Brosnan. He has high goals for 2014. “I definitely want to get in a World Cup win this year, there are a few tracks that I know I can win on”.

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Troy Brosnan now officially wears the Aussie colours.

Connor Fearon (SA) has been racing with Troy since juniors, and he would ultimately come the closest to Brosnan today with a 3:45.14. Jack Moir (SA) took 3rd and Todd Madsen (WA) finished 4th.

Under 19s action saw Andrew Crimmins (NSW) took the win from Aiden Varley (VIC) and Max Warshawsky (QLD).

“It’s great to be national champion, it’s my first year in U19s so it’s a bit different stepping up” exclaimed Crimmins.

In the Elite Women’s racing, there was a stunning field, and then there was Tracey Hannah (QLD).

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Tracey Hannah.

Hannah today won her sixth national championship, with the last three being consecutive. Hannah was last rider down the hill and blitzed the field by phenomenal 35.91s recording a sensation time of 4:22.44.

“It feels good for the first serious race of my season to come away with the win, and to be able to wear the Aussie flag on my sleeve for another year overseas is the best” said a proud Hannah.

It’s been a tough few years for Hannah with injuries since returning to the sport in 2011. “Coming back from a few seasons of injury I’d just like to get through the whole season and hopefully get some pretty good results the World Cups”.

Emma McNaughton (NSW) won the silver and Shelly Flood (SA) took the bronze.

In the Under 19s racing the Women’s National Champion is Tegan Molloy (NSW). “It’s pretty special to win, I didn’t really have the best run but I’m still happy to come away with the win and ride such a fun track all weekend”.

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Tegan on her way to the win.

Trails: Falls Creek opens new downhill flow trail

For the past 2 years Falls Creek Resort Management has been busy at work bringing to life a dream shared by those who love the resort. In 2014 this dream is realised with the opening of the first 2 of 4 brand new mountain bike trails.

Under the commission of World Trail – the best bike trail builders in the business, months of development has joined years of planning to bring the new trails to completion.

The 2 intermediate cross country trials now open can be ridden as one big loop, the network consists of one riding uphill and one downhill. The trails are intersected by the Aqueduct trail which means you can ride each as a separate loop. Whilst classified as cross country, there are some great downhill features and corners to navigate at speed. There are some spectacular viewpoints along the way to stop and enjoy the picturesque surroundings.

An intermediate downhill trail will open by the Australia Day long weekend. Starting at the top of the Summit Chair (those familiar with Falls Creek in Winter, will know this well), the trail winds down under the Poma line before zig-zagging down Grand Coer ski run and cutting through Short & Curly to the base of the Summit Chair.

The 4th trail coming on line this summer is a 3rd intermediate cross country trail connecting the popular ‘Wishing Well’ spot to the Gully region at the base of the International Poma and Gully Chairlift at the entrance to the Resort.

A third party operator will shortly be commencing a downhill shuttle service, to take riders to the top of the trails together with offering bike hire options.

At this stage, Falls Creek Resort Management is two years into a four year mountain bike development project funded by the State Government of Victoria. Construction for stage three will commence this summer and be ready for us in 2014/15, ending in stage four operational by 2015/16. In total, 3 downhill and 11 cross country trails will be built in and amongst the Resorts ski runs.

Flow Nation: Mt Buller, Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MAGICMAGICMAGICMAGIC!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mt Buller summer season opening weekend

November 30-December 1

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

Bright, VIC To Host 2014 And 2015 Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships

The beautiful township of Bright in Victoria will host the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships in 2014 and 2015.

Long the season’s focus of elite and amateur riders throughout the country, all roads now lead to Bright. With the majestic Ovens River running through its centre and the Victorian Alps looming large over a collection of brew pubs, cafes and accommodation, Bright has a distinguished history of embracing cycling from across all disciplines.

World Cup champion Bec Henderson at last years National Round in Bright.
World Cup champion Bec Henderson at last years National Round in Bright.

“Alpine Shire has aspirations to secure a reputation as the standard for national, and potentially international, mountain biking.” Mayor of Alpine Shire, Cr Peter Roper, says. “The opportunity to secure the Australian Champs is achieving our greater ambitions for the sport in the Alpine Shire. We are looking forward to working with CA and the mountain bike community to run a successful event.”

With a change of venue reflecting the changes afoot in the sport, Cycling Australia’s Technical Director of Mountain Biking, Tim Sheedy, sees this announcement as a key step in the evolution of the sport.

“The introduction of a new venue as host of the National Champs for the next two years breathes new life into mountain biking.” he says. “The integration of the Real Insurance XCM series into this event is a key development in the evolution of the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships. I am thrilled for all MTBA members and the broader mountain bike community who are sure to have the time of their lives next March in Bright, a spectacular location to host MTB’s flagship event. There’s a lot planned for mountain biking at Cycling Australia.”

Hailing from the hill overlooking Bright, Australia’s newly crowned Cross Country Eliminator World Champion, Paul van der Ploeg, clearly sees the potential of this marquee event.

“You could turn up to the champs with your mountain bike, your road bike, your children’s’ bikes and a tent and have the weekend of your life.” he says. “You’ll do some racing, watch the big dogs go round, swim in a river with your kids and eat great food. It’s mountain bike heaven.”

David McMillan in the downhill, the dust and the rocky terrain is so very unique to Bright.
David McMillan in the downhill, the dust and the rocky terrain is so very unique to Bright.

As the sport of mountain biking grows throughout the world, so does the need for trail development.

Mountain Bike Australia President Russ Baker congratulated Alpine Shire for securing the National Championships stating, “Bright is a location that our members love to visit and compete at. I’m particularly pleased that the arrangement secured by Cycling Australia includes trail development funds which will further enhance the growing reputation of Bright as a MTB destination and are a welcome injection for the Alpine Cycling Club. I can’t wait to attend the event and enjoy all that Bright has to offer.”

President of Alpine Cycling Club, Aaron Smith, says. “This announcement is a crucial step in securing funding for trail development which the entire mountain bike community will benefit from. It creates a direct connection between the grass roots and the top flight of the sport.”
All five UCI World Championship formats will be on offer for all Australian mountain bikers to dip their toe in. Trials, XCO, XCE, DHI and XCM on a range of world class trails and across all categories.

Autumn in the High Country never looked this good.

Video: Swift Rocky Mountain Project Season 2, Episode One

The Swift Rocky Mountain team is back at it.

This episode follows the team to Shepparton for the first race of the VDHS, and then off the Barjarg for the first round of the Alpine Gravity Elevation Gravity Enduro Series.

Swift RockyMountain Project Season 2 ep1 from Jake Lucas on Vimeo.

Baw Baw Set For Massive Mountain Bike Season

The single track season is about to step up a notch in eastern Victoria with Mount Baw Baw launching its mountain biking ‘green season’ on 30 November.

Kicking off the mountain bike action will be a Pin It To Win It downhill event for all comers, plus the Resort’s Seasons of Pain multisport event which features cross country mountain biking.

Since re-focusing its summer activities on single track action back in 2012, including a reinvigoration of its cross-country and downhill biking trails, Mount Baw Baw has earned a reputation as a quality mountain biking destination, something the mountain is out to leverage with more investment due in 2014.

The Resort, located 2.5 hours east of Melbourne, is already home to the ‘DH1’ – dubbed ‘The Beast’ – a national-standard downhill mountain bike course open from December to April.

Rated as “up there with Australia’s best DH trails” by Victorian Downhill Championship Series commentator and local Gippsland mountain bike guru, Nick King, DH1 has drawn high praise from competitor and recreational riders alike.

“On a scale of one to ten, the ‘DH1’ is an eleven,” said King of the ride experience.

A 300 vertical meter drop over a 1.3 kilometre distance ensures that the DH1 is a fast track, descent times only tamed by its highly technical nature, the two factors earning it a double black diamond (very difficult) rating.

Mt Baw Baw

Those attending the season launch on 30 November will vie for a $1000 cash prize pool in the Pin It To Win It competition, which challenges riders to target the most consistent (rather than simply fastest) descent times.

In January 2014, as part of its new Baw Baw Mountain Bike Festival, Mount Baw Baw will host Round 4 of the Victorian Downhill Championship Series (www.vdhs.com.au), with 350 expected to enter across categories to compete for series points, cash and prizes.

The downhill course rests on granitic soil, a foundation common in sub-alpine areas, which also makes for the best riding conditions. The course features wide-open sections with multiple riding lines through twisty alpine heath and snow gums.

Making further use of the stunning snowgum environment, the Mountain Bike Festival, slated for 26-27 January, will also feature a 4-Hour enduro event (www.mountbawbaw.com.au/events/baw-baw-twilight-4hr-mtb-enduro-2/), an 8km cross country loop course challenging entrants to squeeze in as many circuits as possible in four hours.

“We’re gearing up for our biggest season of mountain biking ever,” says Grant Seamer, Mount Baw Baw Marketing and Events Manager. The events are set highlights, but we really want to encourage riders up to Mount Baw Baw for recreational riding – just to experience the awesome single trail at their own pace, no clock to watch. That’s part of the beauty of riding Baw Baw: stopping to smell the roses, or the snowgum in the case of Baw Baw and the big views over the Alpine ranges and back over the Gippsland Valley. It’s a pretty special place to ride.”

In collaboration with the local Gippsland Mountain Bike Club (www.gippslandmtb.com.au/) and specialist trail designers, Resort management has invested in trail building, redesign and added new trails based on old-timer walking tracks. The latter have turned out to be a surprise packet well received by the cross-country crew, with trails now bedded in after a full season of use in 2013.

Mt Baw Baw 3 

“Mountain biking destination tourism is bigger than ever,” says Seamer. “And alpine resorts around the world, not to mention rural locations, are latching onto this growing market by investing in new trails for riding and mountain biking events. We don’t claim to be the first in Victoria to develop our mountain biking product, but we’re definitely the closest mountain-based option for riders in Melbourne looking for both world class downhill and cross country offerings. Plus, we believe the pristine snowgum environment makes for a unique riding experience.”

On the Baw Baw drawing board are plans for a new ‘flow’ style trail which if implemented will create a gigantic loop linking the back country trails on the flanks of the summit, with the village and on down to the bottom of the downhill track to make use of the shuttle bus service.

“We also have thoughts to leveraging access to Baw Baw’s lift lines, perhaps for a new technical trail packed with features to ride. We’re talking big plans that aim to cater to all levels of riders, from beginner up. If we can show the demand this season through recreational visitation and event patronage, we believe we can lift Baw Baw to being a focal centre for mountain biking in Victoria.”

Seamer notes that Mount Baw Baw has also engaged the services of a trail building professional who will work on the sustainability of all the mountain’s trails in the lead up to the opening on 30 November.

“We’re keen to develop our mountain biking proposition with absolute respect to the environment,” says Seamer. “It’s that very environment that makes riding here such a unique experience, so we are keen to develop trails sustainably and sensibly in line with the highest of environmental standards.”

Mount Baw Baw will welcome all riders to its season opening on 30 November, with the Pin It To Win It downhill competition, Season of Pain multisport and plenty more to entertain rider and non-riders alike.

More information at www.mountbawbaw.com.au

Mount Baw Baw MTB roster

30 November

DH1 Season Opening

Pin it 2 Win It ($1000 cash prize pool)

Season of Pain multisport (XC)

26-27 January

Baw Baw Mountain Bike Festival incl:

– Round 4 Victorian Downhill Championship Series

– 4-Hour Twilight Enduro

8 February
Season of Pain multisport (XC)

5-6 April

Kids’ Adventure Festival including junior mountain bike rides and clinics

26-27 April
Baw Baw Super-D

November – end April

  • XC and DH bike hire available
  • DH1 course open to the public seven days a week (excluding major event weekends). $10 trail access fee.
  • DH1 Shuttle bus runs every half hour 10am-4pm on weekends (blockout dates apply)
  • XC trail maps available, 24/7 riding weather pending

Bike Buller MTB Festival Back For 2014

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


LONG WEEKEND SCHEDULE OF RACES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Falls Creek Puts Mountain Biking on Their Summer Agenda in a Big Way

FALLS CREEK – AUSTRALIA’S MOST COMPLETE CYCLING DESTINATION

This green season a trip to Falls Creek Alpine Resort is a must for any cyclist – Road or Mountain, young or old, beginner or pro.

Falls Creek cyclists can expect to see some of Victoria’s most stunning scenery, quiet country roads, alpine ascents, happy-to-help locals and an excellent events calendar. Rides range from beginner trails along the village aqueducts to more challenging trails like Bogong High Plains.

Mountain biking near the summit at Falls Creek.
Mountain biking near the summit at Falls Creek.

Falls Creek is developing new mountain bike trails.  The first stage being the easy trail along the aqueduct trail and a network of intermediate cross country and downhill trails which will be on offer this Summer. Watch this space for announcements on a weekend shuttle service and new events.

Falls Creek offers quiet days where you can find a trail to yourself and busy days with some of the biggest events in Victoria’s cycling calendar.

For those interested in Road Cycling, Falls Creek has been called “the closest thing in Australia to anything in Europe”, often compared to a stage of the Tour de France. Falls Creek plays host to the epic Scody 3 Peaks Challenge – entering its 5th year the event starts and finishes in Falls Creek. Bicycle Network’s one day epic circumnavigates Victoria’s Alpine National Park in a 235km loop.  This has become a riders ‘bucket list’ must do.

Falls Creek is also a climb in the 7 Peaks, The Alpine Ascent Challenge.  It is an at-your-own pace cycling challenge which takes you up winding mountain roads, around steep turns and past spectacular views right to the top of Victoria’s Alpine Resorts.

Falls Creek will be part of Victoria’s High Country Inaugural Cycle Salute between 18th October and 5th November 2013. This is a three week celebration of all things cycle in the region.

Falls Creek offers great altitude training for anybody looking to cycle or play any sport at an elite level. Living, breathing and training at 1600m and higher prepares your body for when the going gets tough and has, in the past, been used by track and field Olympians and AFL  & rugby union teams.

Green season at Falls Creek includes Christmas and Easter, where guests can celebrate the holidays amongst some of the most pristine views and fresh alpine air in the country without the extreme hot temperatures experienced elsewhere.

Accommodation at Falls Creek has a wide range of options for all budgets, from huge lodges to standard hotel and apartment rentals.

Falls Creek not only offers the most complete cycling experience of any destination in Australia but boasts a breathtaking landscape of ancient mountain ranges, glacial lakes, heritage huts, clear springs and waterfalls, and in the summer a plethora of stunning wildflowers.

A trip to the amazing Falls Creek All-season Alpine Resort is a must for any riding enthusiast.

For more information, please contact the Falls Creek Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5758 1202 for the Cross-Country riding guide, or visit us online at http://www.fallscreek.com.au/RoadCycling or http://www.fallscreek.com.au/MountainBiking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wombat 100

Come autumn in the Macedon Ranges, the Wombat is spotted. Will it be cuddly? Will it have its claws out?

Unquestionably one of Australia’s premier marathon races, the Wombat 100 will kick off this weekend from the beautiful surrounds of the Cammeray Waters resort in Woodend, just 90 minutes outside Melbourne. Always a chilly start, the action will heat up quickly on a course that has, over the last five years, garnered a deserving reputation as being, simply, world class.

With over 50% flowing, groomed single track, fast fire trail, pine forest singletrack, isolated 4WD trails and a disused airstrip, competitors will tackle the full range of trails and terrain in the Wombat State Forest and surrounding pine plantation. On either end of the main event is the laid-on hospitality of Cammeray Waters: with on-site accommodation, camping, food, kids races, jumping castles and the nearby towns of the Macedon Ranges in full autumn colour this race is a destination event for the whole family.

And at the pointy end? When the northerners venture south on to his territory, Adrian Jackson is always twitching for a win. Last year Shaun Lewis pipped him at the line and AJ is keen to go one better but will be battling two pairs of legs this time around with Lewis and Blair – two of the strongest mountain bike racers in the country – now riding for the same Swell-Specialized team. Throw in to this mix Tasmanian hard man Ben Mather who has made the trip across Bass Strait, world 24hr Champion Jason English and always threatening Andrew Hall and Andy Fellows and the pace in the men’s field will be frightening.

The women’s field is stacked. With a start line to rival a national championship, Australia’s best female marathon racers will be thrashing it out over the epic Wombat course. In their first marathon meeting since the Highland Fling last year, defending champion and marathon specialist Jenny Fay will be going head to head with national XCO and XCM champion Peta Mullens. Nipping at their heels and more than capable of taking a win will be Rowena Fry, ’10 winner Jenni King, ’09 winner Tory Thomas, Jo Bennett and 100 mile specialist, Naomi Hansen. For fans of top flight mountain bike racing, this is a heart starting field.

Online entries are closing Wednesday 10th May so click on the link there’s:

http://www.maxadventure.com.au/wombat100/

Beware the Wombat.

Fun facts

  •   The 18km junior ride developing the young champions of tomorrow
  •   The accommodation, camping availability, bike demo day and kids activities at the event centre making it a weekend for the whole family
  •   Magellan Strava Segment on the course offering some great prizes

Bring it on at Buller

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

Mt Buller – Bikes racing and magic vistas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘You alright mate?’

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

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

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

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

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

See you all next year!

Beautiful Mt Buller.

Mt Baw Baw Downhill – $50,000 Prize Pool

Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort together with Gippsland MTB are primed to host Round 5 of the KONA Victorian Downhill Mountain Bike Series, and also set are some of the most adventurous DH riders in Australia who have been in training for this event which boasts the largest Australian prize pool of over $50,000 for this gravity fuelled discipline of mountain biking.

Troy Brosnan will be in attendance (pictured racing at the recent Australian Nationals in Canberra).

Mt Baw Baw is located 120 km east of Melbourne and 50 km north of the Latrobe Valley. Mt Baw Baw is a year-round resort, catering for snow enthusiasts during the white season, and outdoor adventurers, hikers and bike riders during the green season. During the warmer months, Mt Baw Baw comes alive with spectacular wildflowers. The Resorts walking trails link to a wider network of trails within the Baw Baw National Park and also the Great Alpine Walking Trail. The Resort is home to the ‘DH1’, a national standard downhill mountain bike course which is open from December to April during the Green Season. The Village Restaurant is open all year round offering great food and spectacular views across West Gippsland.

Late last year during its official opening the ‘DH1’ course was coined as being “…up there with Australia’s best DH trails” by Mt Baw Baw Mountain Bike Ambassador Nick King. “On a scale of one to ten, the ‘DH1’ is an eleven!”

Due to its fast paced and technical nature the aptly rated black diamond (very difficult) course ‘DH1’ starts at the village hub and descends 300 vertical meters over its 1.3 kilometer distance. Held on the 23rd and 24th of March, approximately 350 downhill mountain bike riders are expected to compete for series points, cash and prizes. Spectators up on the mountain will be treated to some of the best downhill action in a competitive racing environment against the clock. The fastest ‘pinners’ from start to finish in various categories from elite riders to first timers will take home the spoils.

The course for this series event is not for the faint hearted.  With the likes of former Junior World Champion and 2012 Australian National Champion Troy Brosnan attending the event, racing and spectating is sure to be wild! The VDHS is hotly contested by some of the fastest and most skilled DH riders in Australia and there is some hair raising helmet camera footage of this fast-paced ride that can be accessed on the event website.

King says “This is a pinnacle event for mountain biking in Gippsland, with a downhill course that is a huge favourite on the racing circuit many riders are sure to be tested”.  Spectators can make the easy day trip up the mountain to see all the action unfold on the Saturday and Sunday. “Believe me you will be awe inspired watching these riders gravitate themselves down the mountainside!”

Spectator entry and parking is free. There is onsite catering supplied and many of the competitors have chosen to stay at accommodation on the mountain side providing a welcomed financial boost to the alpine resort.  The event schedule, competitor entry details and helmet camera footage for the race can be found at the website www.vdhs.com.au and further information can be obtained from the www.gippslandmtb.com.au and www.mtbawbaw.com.au websites.

A Sensational Weekend at the Bike Buller MTB Festival

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

The village atmosphere of Bike Buller.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s Premier Podium
Women’s Premier podium.

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

 

Australia’s Toughest MTB Marathon – 17th March 2013

Big Hill Events will be running the 4th Marathon Challenge; which started with the huge Australian Marathon Championships in 2010.

Each year the event has had fantastic reviews, with great marshals and fully stocked European Feed Zones. The course has attracted all different riding abilities from elite riders to local mountain bike riders – all of which have been well respected in the mountain bike community for tackling the toughest mountain bike marathon in Australia.

Regardless of the number of riders, this event has always been run to the highest quality; with Big Hill Events investing time and money into building and maintaining trails, mapping over 90k of course, managing our army of friendly volunteers, setting up the best feed zone stations and offering an event which gave it all back to the riders.

Unfortunately, with such a legendary reputation, the majority of the mountain bike community has been put off by the challenge. Which is why Big Hill Events will be running the last Marathon Challenge of its kind at Avoca on Sunday 17th March 2013, just a week and a half away.

For those riders out there who thought “One day, I’ll tackle the Marathon Challenge” Sunday the 17th will be your last chance.

We’d like to thank all the sponsors who have been on board in the past, including Tourism Victoria, The Pyrenees Shire, Mt Avoca Winery, Blue Pyrenees Winery, Peerick Winery, Ground Effects, Degani Bakeries, Total Rush, Nemisis, Shimano, Sport Recovery, Endura and Fitzroy Revolutions.

We’d also like to thank all our volunteers who have helped out over the years, including a special thanks to the Avoca Primary School, Kyneton 4wd Club, St. Arnaud Motorcycle Club, Ballarat District 4wd Club and the Avoca Golf Club (with their fantastic gourmet burgers).

Most importantly we’d like to thank all the riders who have continuingly supported this event, who have toughened up and taken on the challenge every year.

Big Hill Events will continue to support the area, building and riding trails in the Pyrenees state forest, along with organising the trail running event “Run From The Hills” in November each year.

For 2013, this event will be a celebration of the 4 years spent running the Marathon Challenge; Degani bakeries and Endura are supplying food for the feed zones and Ground Effect clothing are supporting our prize packs. With so much activity in Avoca on at the same time – including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – this is set to be a weekend to remember.

The Marathon Challenge – 90k or 45k distances and the 4.5-ish hour Enduro around the vineyard this event is a great day out on the bike for all abilities.

Yet again the event has attracted a great mix of riders, including elite riders Adam Cobain, Warrack Leach, Jessica Douglas, Naomi Hansen and Amity McSwan – All up for the challenge.

Online entries for both the Marathon Challenge and the 4.5-ish Enduro will close on Wednesday the 13th March.

www.bighillevents.com.au

 

Australia's Toughest MTB Marathon – 17th March 2013

Big Hill Events will be running the 4th Marathon Challenge; which started with the huge Australian Marathon Championships in 2010.

Each year the event has had fantastic reviews, with great marshals and fully stocked European Feed Zones. The course has attracted all different riding abilities from elite riders to local mountain bike riders – all of which have been well respected in the mountain bike community for tackling the toughest mountain bike marathon in Australia.

Regardless of the number of riders, this event has always been run to the highest quality; with Big Hill Events investing time and money into building and maintaining trails, mapping over 90k of course, managing our army of friendly volunteers, setting up the best feed zone stations and offering an event which gave it all back to the riders.

Unfortunately, with such a legendary reputation, the majority of the mountain bike community has been put off by the challenge. Which is why Big Hill Events will be running the last Marathon Challenge of its kind at Avoca on Sunday 17th March 2013, just a week and a half away.

For those riders out there who thought “One day, I’ll tackle the Marathon Challenge” Sunday the 17th will be your last chance.

We’d like to thank all the sponsors who have been on board in the past, including Tourism Victoria, The Pyrenees Shire, Mt Avoca Winery, Blue Pyrenees Winery, Peerick Winery, Ground Effects, Degani Bakeries, Total Rush, Nemisis, Shimano, Sport Recovery, Endura and Fitzroy Revolutions.

We’d also like to thank all our volunteers who have helped out over the years, including a special thanks to the Avoca Primary School, Kyneton 4wd Club, St. Arnaud Motorcycle Club, Ballarat District 4wd Club and the Avoca Golf Club (with their fantastic gourmet burgers).

Most importantly we’d like to thank all the riders who have continuingly supported this event, who have toughened up and taken on the challenge every year.

Big Hill Events will continue to support the area, building and riding trails in the Pyrenees state forest, along with organising the trail running event “Run From The Hills” in November each year.

For 2013, this event will be a celebration of the 4 years spent running the Marathon Challenge; Degani bakeries and Endura are supplying food for the feed zones and Ground Effect clothing are supporting our prize packs. With so much activity in Avoca on at the same time – including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – this is set to be a weekend to remember.

The Marathon Challenge – 90k or 45k distances and the 4.5-ish hour Enduro around the vineyard this event is a great day out on the bike for all abilities.

Yet again the event has attracted a great mix of riders, including elite riders Adam Cobain, Warrack Leach, Jessica Douglas, Naomi Hansen and Amity McSwan – All up for the challenge.

Online entries for both the Marathon Challenge and the 4.5-ish Enduro will close on Wednesday the 13th March.

www.bighillevents.com.au

 

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Announces ‘Epic’ Mountain Bike Trail Project

Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management has announced an exciting new project for the region, with the construction of a mountain bike trail that is set to become Australia’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) EPIC mountain bike trail. The project is a partnership between the Australian Alps National Landscape Committee Inc, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and the Australian Government through the T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants program.

The Mt Buller Mt Stirling IMBA EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project involves the construction of a 40.39km trail that will offer visitors to the region a long distance, cross-country descending ride, providing stunning views across the Victorian High Country. The proposed trail crosses terrain within the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Resorts (managed by Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management), Mansfield State Forest (managed by DSE) and the Mt Russell Education Area (managed by Parks Victoria).

The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project builds on the success of Mt Buller’s comprehensive network of mountain bike trails, which has steadily been developed over the past six years and has seen the Resort become a premier mountain biking destination. This commitment to developing quality mountain bike trails has led to Mt Buller recently being crowned Australia’s first IMBA Ride Center, meaning the Resort joins a select group of mountain biking destinations around the world that represent IMBA’s Model Trail recognition for large-scale mountain bike facilities that offer something for every rider. If EPIC status is attained for the Mt Buller Mt Stirling EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project, it will be one of the few trails outside of North America to receive this endorsement, meaning that it is recognised as a world-class trail that offers an iconic, diverse and high-quality backcountry ride experience.

T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants aim to benefit the tourism industry by providing targeted investment of up to $1 million (+ GST) for nationally significant, innovative projects.

The Australian Alps is one of 13 National Landscapes across Australia sharing in $1 million funding under the Australia’s National Landscapes Strategic Tourism Investment Grant. The Commonwealth’s funding contribution of $125,000 (+GST) for the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project has been matched by $125,000 (+GST) from Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

The Australia’s National Landscapes program is a partnership between Parks Australia and Tourism Australia that aims to achieve conservation, social and economic outcomes for Australia and its regions via the promotion of iconic nature based tourism experiences to the global Experience Seekertourism market. The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project was identified as a priority project in the 2010 Australian Alps National Landscapes Tourism Strategy.

Speaking at the launch of the EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project in Melbourne last night, Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Chief Executive Officer, John Huber, said the construction of this new trail would benefit the region and provide a boost to tourism.

“The EPIC Mountain Bike Trail project will present another quality cycle tourism drawcard for the Mansfield-Mt Buller region, and will complement the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail experience and the purpose-built singletrack mountain biking product currently offered at Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.

“This iconic trail will showcase the stunning landscape of the High Country, embrace the local environment and provide a world-class backcountry ride experience that will be unlike anything else in Australia. It is very exciting to be involved in such a project and we are grateful of the assistance provided by the Australian Government through T-QUAL Strategic Tourism Investment Grants and the Australia’s National Landscapes program.”

IMBA Australia’s National Director, Nick Bowman, said Mt Buller is leading the way in mountain bike trail development. “The team at Mt Buller is showing great drive and determination to get this trail on the ground. It is fantastic that Resort Management is successfully pushing the boundaries of what can be provided for mountain bike riders in Australia. They are indeed setting a new standard in Australia trail network development.”

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

For further information on Australia’s National Landscapes program visit:

Seasons of Pain Lives Up To Its Name

The snowgum-cloaked slopes of the Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort in Victoria welcomed some of Australia’s elite multisport athletes on the Australia Day long weekend with the inaugural staging of its Seasons of Pain trail running and mountain biking event.

The first in a series of four outings for the year, Seasons of Pain Summer Edition lured competitors with a hardy offering of a 9km trail run, 8km mountain bike ride, 6km trail run, 10km mountain bike and a final 1.5km ‘dash’, running a 400m vertical ascent to cross the finish line.

The racing at the pointy end was fast and furious in both male and female categories. The women’s in particular represented a strong field with the added international competition of Swiss professional Xterra athlete Renata Bucher. Also vying for first time honours was Australia’s leading female adventure racer, Deanna Blegg, top end Torquay-based multisporter Peri Gray and Sydney-based Xterra racer Nienke Oostra.

In the men’s, the race was always going to be between perennial adversaries, Jarad Kohlar and James Pretto, both champion adventure racers, with the likes of Gippsland-based Rob Preston and up and coming athlete Alex Houghton determined to put pressure on the two favourites.

As competitors weaved their way along freshly groomed single track, it quickly became a tussle in the women’s field between Blegg and Bucher, the pair coming into the final changeover to the bike within seconds of each other. Bucher found the extra legs needed on what all agreed was one of the toughest multisport courses they had raced, overtaking Blegg to find a healthy seven minute lead by the time she battled up the final incline dubbed ‘The Sting’.

The final 400 metre vertical ascent run over 1.5km took overall winner, Jarad Kohlar, more than 16 minutes to run on his way to victory. Showing just how tough The Sting was some competitors took up to 25 minutes to get to the top where spectators cheered them in.

Throughout the race Kohlar was never headed, however Pretto threatened his lead the entire way, with three of his five leg split faster than Kohlar’s, including both ride legs. With only a second between the pair up The Sting, it was Kohlar’s blistering pace on the fairly technical run legs that handed him the race by 50 seconds.

“It was fast out there; I had to work for every single meter. It was fun though, riding through the snowgums, and having this kind of short sharp racing.

Commenting on the final uphill run, Jarad was unequivocal that the event fulfilled its promise: “It’s runnable. But only just. And you have to hurt.”

“With its bike-run format I believe Seasons of Pain will fill a void on the Australian multisport and adventure racing calendar,” says an impressed Kohlar. “I think it should really take off as something that everyone from triathletes to adventure racers to runners buddying up with a riders can have a go at. And the environment up here is just stunning – absolutely pristine and amazing terrain to race through.”

For her part, women’s winner Renata Bucher, who competes around the world in the professional Xterra off road triathlon series, was also full of praise for the course.

“It’s one of the best events I’ve competed in,” said Bucher.

“It’s one of the toughest single day adventure race courses I’ve done in Australia,” added second placegetter, Deanna Blegg, who is the current Anaconda Adventure Race National Series titleholder. “Looking at the distance on paper we thought that we’d be coming up to Mt Baw Baw for a quick race that would act as part of my training schedule leading in to my race season, but it was a much harder course than expected. There was just no let up as it continued to throw challenges at every turn, with plenty of up and down.”

In the team’s category which allows two people to share running and riding duties, it was the engaged couple Daniel Trevena and Samantha Gash who registered as the first winners. Both are notable trail runners, Gash particular in ultra running having not long ago run across the Simpson Desert for charity.

Renata Bucher continued her winning ways the following morning with the inaugural Dash for Cash, a ‘taster’ event for Mt Baw Baw’s upcoming Trail Running Festival (9-11 March) that saw runners bolt down the same course that was The Sting in Seasons of Pain.

Runners lined up at the top of what is usually the downhill mountain biking course to see how fast they could descent on foot, with an incentive of $100 at the finish line. Spectators lined the parts of the run to see a technical style of running usually only seen in Europe, which is perhaps why Bucher had the advantage in the women’s time trial.

In the men, it was Gippsland-based Rob Preston who flew over obstacles the quickest and managed to defy slippery conditions to set the benchmark for the run with at time of 5 minutes 18 seconds. As a comparison, the super quick downhill mountain bikers do the run in three and a half minutes, showing just how fleet of foot Preston was.

The downhill run will again feature as part of the Inaugural Mt Baw Baw Trail Run Festival on 9-11 March long weekend. Also on the roster will be full and half marathons, two 12km runs (one a night run), a five kilometer fun run and the down and uphill 1.5km runs.

THE NEXT SEASONS OF PAIN EVENT IS SLATED FOR THE WEEKEND OF 13-14th APRIL 2013.

More information at www.mountbawbaw.com.au

Seasons of Pain Summer Edition Results

MEN

1. Jarad Kohlar (VIC) 2:25:44
2. James Pretto (VIC) 2:26:34
3. Alex Houghton (VIC) 2:29:50

WOMEN

1. Renata Boucher (SWI) 2:59:20
2. Deanna Blegg (VIC) 3:06:26
3. Peri Gray (VIC) 3:15:22

TEAMS

1. Samantha Gash & Daniel Trevena 3:02:21
2. Jason Johnson & Becky Herridge 3:20:44
3. Donna Gibson & Ian Gibson 3:26:31

FULL RESULTS

 

Must-Ride: Bikes and Brews Tour Part 3

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It’s Thirsty Work, but someone’s got to do it!

 

For issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, the Flow team of Mick, Chris, Kath, Greg, Damian and Reiner got on the road once again, heading to the Victorian high country. On the program was a three bonanza of bikes and brews, taking in Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright.

Our host, Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles, looked after us in royal style and you can read all about it in issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, on sale now.

Part 3 takes the Flow crew through the sweet trails of Bright, Victoria.  A fitting end to what was one of the best road trips we’ve had.

Filmed and edited by Rainman Productions.

Australian National Series Round 1 Results

Subaru Gravity Cup – Downhill:

Men:

Sam Hill 3:22.02
Chris Kovarik 3:23.68
Connor Fearon 3:24.08
Ben Cory 3:26.31
Graeme Mudd 3:27.66

Women:

Caroline Buchanan 4:06.42
Claire Buchar 4:07.14
Lisa Mathison 4:16.32
Madeline Taylor 4:23.80
Shelly Flood 4:42.75

Subaru All-Mountain Cup – XCO:

Men:

Chris Jongewaard 1:41:19.2
Jack Haig 1:41:41.2
Shaun Lewis 1:44:34.5
Andrew Blair 1:44:39.4
Luke Fetch 1:45:32.8

Women:

Peta Mullens 1:46:01.4
Nathalie Schneitter 1:50:02.4
Tory Thomas 1:50:31.5
Katherine O’Shea 1:51:53.5
Melissa Anset 1:57:19.8

Specialized Debuts New Look Team At Mt Buller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must-Ride: The Bike and Brews Tour Part 2

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It’s Thirsty Work, but someone’s got to do it!

 

For issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, the Flow team of Mick, Chris, Kath, Greg, Damian and Reiner got on the road once again, heading to the Victorian high country. On the program was a three bonanza of bikes and brews, taking in Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright.

Our host, Shannon Rademaker of All Terrain Cycles, looked after us in royal style and you can read all about it in issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, on sale now.

Filmed and edited by Rainman Productions.

 

 

 

Must-Ride: The Bikes and Brews Tour, Part 1

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It’s Thirsty Work, but someone’s got to do it!

 

Mick rides the rocks of Beechworth Mountain Bike Park, located just a short pedal from the centre of town and it’s delicious lamingtons.

For issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, the Flow team of Mick, Chris, Kath, Greg, Damian and Reiner got on the road once again, heading to the Victorian high country. On the program was a three bonanza of bikes and brews, taking in Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright.

Thirsty? We were after a hot day on the Beechworth Trails. Tanswells Hotel sorted that right out.

Our host was Shannon Rademaker, of All Terrain Cycles, who looked after us in royal style. Here’s part one of the journey, of our three part series, Sydney and Beechworth. You can read all about it in issue #2 of Flow Mountain Bike, on sale now.

Filmed and edited by Rainman Productions.

 

 

Must-Ride: Bikes and Brews Tour, Part 1

You know those perfect moments on the trail, when the light is amazing, the riding is mellow and you’re just in 100% cruise mode?

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Just a few weeks ago, Flow headed to Beechworth, Mt Beauty and Bright in north-east Victoria. We were there for the Bikes and Brews tour; three days of amazing riding, delicious breweries and good times.

Along the way, we shot some video to capture what the region is all about. Here’s a little taster from a particularly golden afternoon in Beechworth.

We’ll have the full video up soon and you can read all about the Bikes and Brews tour in issue #2 of Flow, out 9 January 2013.

2012 VDHS Round 3 Kinglake – SBS Extended Coverage

Round 3 of the Victorian Downhill Mountain Biking Series hit the slopes of the newly built Kinglake National Park. The World Trails built track Shepards Run was the battle ground for the Men’s, Women’s, Under 15, 17, and 19’s.

This episodes features full runs from Liam Panozzo, Luke Ellison, Joel Panozzo, Joey Vejvoda, Trent Piribauer, Ashley Maller, Tim Eaton, Rhys Atkinson and Dean Lucas.