Simon and I had an awesome ride today through Brisbane Forest Park.
We rode from Lawnton to Samford, up the Goat Track to Mt Nebo, down South Boundary Road fire road to The Gap, up Highvale Road to Mt Cooth-Tha, and then along the Coronation Drive Bikeway into the City.
All up, just over 70km, and 1,500m of climbing.
We rocketed down some amazingly fast dirt roads, climbed some mountainous steep hills, saw some beautiful sights, and met some great people.
I cycled through the Blue Tiers in North Eastern Tasmania today. The day started beautifully at the small town of Weldborough, but the weather quickly deteriorated and I ended up doing most of the 35km in cold rain. I’ve never ridden in such cold conditions (3 – 4 C) before, and it was satisfying to know I could do a tough ride in such difficult conditions.
The route was east out of Weldborough, up the mountain, then down a dirt road to Lottah, up to the Blue Tier camping ground at Poimena, and then down the “Descent” trail back into Weldborough.
As I rode into Lottah, it was pouring with rain and freezing, so I waited a while at this little caravan and shelter. No one was there, and the door was unlocked. I went in, and there was a guest book on the table, so I signed it.
What a welcome sight to a cold, wet traveler! I celebrated by eating Snickers bar. I was amazed at how quickly the chocolate and nuts warmed me up. Which way to go? I had a pretty basic map and I tried to follow all the signs. Even so, there were still a few times I thought I had gone the wrong way.
I got sick of battling to climb all the rock gardens on foot, so I stopped and did a quick video 🙂
This is where I started and ended my ride. I was so glad to arrive there 90 minutes late at the end of the ride.
It was built in the 1880’s and is pretty spartan inside. So I had a Ham Pot Roast and a cup of tea as I sat by the warm fireplace.
That meal was better than any I have had at a fancy restaurant. It warmed me to my core.
All up, it was a total ascent of about 1,000m. The climb up was steep and I worked hard, but it was much more difficult coming down the mountain. There were some very rocky descents, and quite a few freezing flooded creeks that I had to cross.
I couldn’t take many photos because it rained so much, so I couldn’t get the phone out to take photos because it would get wet.
I’d say this was the hardest ride I’ve done todate because I did it alone, so I had to be extra careful, and because of the unfamiliar conditions – very cold and very tricky downhills.
Because my phone conked out I don’t have a complete log, so I’m basing the profile and map on the manual route I worked out before the ride. I actually rode an extra 5km in the middle of the ride at Poimena because I made a mistake and got onto the descent trail the “long” way instead of the short way.
<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/magictyger/4871487906/” title=”Lottah Caravan by Neil Ennis, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4136/4871487906_e2c5b838d3.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Lottah Caravan” /></a>
I plan to ride a mountain bike through the Blue Tiers in Tasmania this Sunday. It’s a picturesque, remote alpine area of north-eastern Tasmania that is supposed to be well worth the effort.
The only problem is that I’ll probably be riding it alone, and I’ve never been there before.
So to be on the safe side, I’m publishing my proposed route here, with some checkpoints along the way, and I’ll update my twitter feed with a photo from those checkpoints so that (if you’re interested) you can keep an eye on where I’m up to. If I fall off the bike, or get abducted by aliens, at least you’ll know how far I got and where I plan to go.
I’ll be leaving the Weldborough Hotel at about 10.30am and aim to be back by about 3pm.
The checkpoints are:
Weldborough Hotel. 0km. 10:30am
Lotta Rd Turnoff. 6.4km. 11:00am
Town of Lotta. 14.2km. 11:45am
Poimena School Site. 17.8km. 12:30pm
Emu Road. 22.4km. 1:30pm
Weldborough Hotel. 30km. 2:30pm
Here’s the map
I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to share some great photos.
I had been searching google maps for days trying to work out a good route west of Coolum to explore on the bike. The idea was to ride along some old tracks by a creek, then onto a quiet gravel road, and eventually across the Maroochy River via an old cane “lift bridge” and on to Bli Bli.
That was the plan….
The first track by a cane field looked perfect. I rode down it for a few km until it got muddier, the grass got higher, and ….
I ended up in a pretty thick Tea Tree (or Ti Tree) swamp. Tea Trees are amazing in that they can live happily in swampy ground with their roots submerged most of the time. They have beautiful papery bark, and can grow in a thick inpenetrable scrub, which is impossible to ride through on a bike.
So I backtracked….
I eventually came out on an old gravel road with some rickety old bridges. When I saw the bridge I realized I’d found the right track after going down a few wrong ones….
I came across what I was looking for. The local council described it as a sugar cane “lift bridge”. I figured I could squeeze myself and the bike through the gap in the bars and cross the river…
Crossing an old railway bridge while pushing a bike (I wasn’t crazy enough to RIDE across!) required a bit of care, but the bridge was solid, and I wasn’t in any danger…..
Arrrgggg! So THIS is what a “lift bridge” is! A section of the bridge lifts up to allow boats to pass under. Unfortunately the last “lift” happened years ago. There was no way I was going to cross that bridge!
So I turned around and rode home.
But it highlights what is an underlying theme for me when riding a mountain bike. The destination isn’t really the point. Yes, it’s nice to arrive, or achieve an objective, but when you really think about it, it’s all about the journey.
I wanted to climb the Toowoomba range via single track and fire trails, so I found a quiet back road out the back of Withcott, followed it to the end, jumped a few gates, and ended up in the middle of nowhere.
After climbing a few monster hills that ended (sadly) in dead-ends, I finally found a fire break and followed it.
But what was supposed to be a 60 minute adventure ended up taking three hours.
I eventually found my way home, up a couple more amazingly steep hills, but (alas) I only managed to get one photo. Light was fading quickly in the late autumn afternoon, and I didn’t want to stop too long.
The total ascent was about 720m, total descent, about 380m.
The next day, Paul and I rode along some of the fire trails along the escarpment below Picnic Point. These are mostly steep rocky walking tracks, so attacking them with a mountain bike was a bit “adventurous”. Still not being totally comfortable with my clip-in pedals I fell off a few times, luckily with no damage. The view out to Tabletop Mountain is spectacular. We also had a quick look out to the North towards Prince Henry Heights at some of the hills where I managed to get a bit lost the day before:
We did an epic ride around Mt Glorious again today – this time with some amazing mountain bikers from MTBDirt.com.au.
This involved some tough climbs to Mount Glorious, and then a bone jarring steep downhill ride down the Lepidozamia Track. This track has to be seen to be believed with some incredibly steep sections, strewn with rocks, sticks and logs. It was doubly difficult for me this time as it was my first serious bash on dirt using my new clip-in pedals which still occasionally refuse to free my feet when I need them, which results in some humiliating “gumby stacks” where I come to a stop and just fall sideways for no apparent reason.
I was impressed with the skill of the other riders – powerful hill climbers and amazingly nimble over some of the more rocky sections. Despite this, they were patient with me, waiting for me when I dropped behind, and never complaining about it.
The view at the top was breathtaking.
Some of the spiders on this track are huge. Here’s one that hitched a ride part-way down: