Many of my friends are delighted that the tracks in the northern section of D’Aguilar National Park have been opened up to Mountain Bikes. Today we planned to take a short tour along some of those tracks to let people enjoy some of the new trails that are now available.
Although I expected perhaps a dozen people I was amazed when 26 people turned up for the ride. Large group rides are always a lot of fun.
We started along Laceys Creek Road. Although it’s paved, and has a small amount of traffic, it is a pleasant ride through the rolling hills and numerous causeways.
From there it was a tough half-hour climb up Wirth Road. This steep gravel road is hard work, but it’s the easiest way to get up to the ridgeline along the top of the range. The stronger riders waited at the top for the rest of us to catch up.
The big rains of summer will soon be here, and the trails are still bone dry. The twisted tracks of mountain bike tyres left their mark in the dust, which made it easy to see where the front riders had been. This came in handy for our friend “Zepinator” who turned up late, and was able to catch up with us by following our tyre tracks, even though he hadn’t previously ridden in this part of the National Park.
When a couple of dozen of us rocketed down the track, the riders at the back were engulfed in a dust cloud.
Towards the bottom this track turns through a couple of tight hair-pin bends which demanded some careful cornering.
The trail had become narrower and much steeper. I found it hard work just pushing the bike up these hills.
But at the top we enjoyed some more descents. This time the gradients were much sharper, with less room to move. At some points all we could do was keep our weight as far back as possible, grab the brakes, and try not to fall off. There was no way you could stop the bike while skidding down those hills.
The smell of cooked brake pads permeated the air.
After rain the water in this creek flows quickly and is quite deep. We were lucky to cross the creek after a lot of dry weather.
Motor vehicles use many of the trails in this section of the national park. It’s a great spot for some 4WD adventures. If you’re riding a bike it’s important to keep an eye (and ear) out for traffic.
At the top of Byron Creek Road we had another break to cool off after the climb. The day was growing hotter and more humid. Most people didn’t have any deadlines so we took it easy and made sure everyone kept together.
On previous rides I have ridden out of the park down Chambers Road – a steep gravel road with some dangerous blind corners. Today, Paul suggested we follow a horse trail out instead. Paul had ridden it before and guaranteed we’d enjoy it.
I don’t know how anyone on horseback would ride this track – it climbed really sharply. Thankfully we were going down, so all we had to do was hang on.
Paul was spot-on. This was an awesome descent. The only problem was my brakes were totally cooked by the time I reached the bottom. Thankfully I was on flat ground when I squeezed the rear brake lever and nothing happened.
After leaving the national park it was a quiet undulating 10km ride back to the cars. The day was hot, the riders were tired, and we were relieved to finally get back.
But Glen had a pleasant surprise for us…
Icy cold watermelon. I couldn’t have have wished for a better after-ride snack.
Glen, you’re a legend, mate. Thank you!
All up we rode 40km in four and a half hours with about 1,200m of ascent.
With the high humidity and temperatures hovering around 30C, I’ll give this one 9 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thank you, everyone, for another fun adventure!
Max elevation: 548 m
Min elevation: 78 m
Total climbing: 1423 m
Total descent: -1407 m
Average speed: 17.91 km/h
Total Time: 04:30:12