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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a fortnight ago, a number of hardy riders made their way from various corners of the country to meet in Canberra for the first official Australian MTBR gathering. While we didn't quite get the numbers we were hoping for, those that turned up had a blast and rode what may well be some of the best single track trails in Australia.

A big shout out goes to everyone who helped organise things, especially the guys and girls at CORC, Ivan for taking all of the photos over the weekend, and Francois, Gregg, Shiggy and Trevor here on MTBR. Thanks guys! :thumbsup:

Great people, awesome trails and a good time. What more could you ask for?!

The following is a rough report on a great weekend. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Dave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The first day saw us meeting up in Canberra at lunchtime, and after a brief introduction and putting some faces to the names, we hit the trails for a ride. The destination was Majura Pines, an extremely popular trail network nestled in the foot hills of Mount Majura just on the edge of town. This little beauty is the main "local" for many riders in Canberra, and caters for riders of all levels.

With trail names like "52 Girls", "New Years Resoloution", "Mudhoneys" and "Sniggle Track", fun is guaranteed. The trails were fast, flowed well, and were a joy to ride. John hit up a nice gap jump over a small creek, and we all found sections of trail to hone our skills on. To get to some of the black diamond trails that we were after, we had to hike up an incredibly steep and rocky fire trail. It confuses me how this trail was created in the first place! The hard work was worth it though, as we were greeted to a nice steep and rocky descent back down to the bottom. All up we spent a few hours rolling around the tails in between stops and conversation, before calling it a day and heading down to the pub.

After a bit of food and a couple of beers we turned in for an early night. It was probably a good thing, as the following day was going to be a huge one.


Arriving at the destination.


John spreads his wings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
After a great breakfast put on by Ivan and John, we decided to head out of town and check out Sparrow Hill, which is a part of the Kowen Forest. All of the single track trails out here are hand crafted by some very hard working locals, and it flows beautifully. It is honestly just a pleasure and a thrill to ride. Majura Pines seems to be better known among Aussie riders and it's a great trail, but I have to say I think Sparrow Hill is even better.

Eager to get off the entrance fire trail and onto the single track, we followed our noses and rode the first trail we came across. Even though we soon realised that we were riding up "Spaghetti Western" rather then down it like obviously intended, we pushed on checking the map often to make sure that we were linking all of the tasty sections together. :D

Trails like "Bobsled", "Dog Stirred", "Sidewinder", "More Boar" and "Rigour Mortis" were favourites among us all, but almost all of the trails flowed and contained plenty of technical features to keep us entertained. It was immediately apparent that these trails were well designed, they felt great in both directions with effortless climbs and magic downhills. Personally I thought "Sparrow Loop" was one of the best trails at Sparrow Hill. It was the only trail that was marked as a directional trail, and it had everything from flowing twisty descents, nice rock drops, technical rocky climbs, and everything in between.

After riding for a few hours we rolled back to the car park to take on some more food and water, and John fixed a broken shock mount bolt on the 'goose. We then climbed back onto the trails to ride a few that we had missed earlier on in the day, and rolled down "Bobsled" and "Spaghetti Western" to finish up. We were all pretty wrecked by this stage, but on a high from the days riding. It's definitely a sweet little spot to ride. :thumbsup:

After a bit of rest and some food we decided a night ride around town was in order. After we got tired of rolling around town jumping stairs and clowning around in the city centre, we thought it would be a good idea to head out to parliament house for a look. The security guard that greeted us didn't seem to think so, but we still managed to have a bit of a look about.

Without doubt the highlight of the night was when we found some rabbits to chase around. After many failed attempts to steer them towards the lake that divides Canberra, we continued cruising around town before making our way back to the campsite and called it a night.


Would you let this man cook your food?




Trail goodness.







 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)

This is what happens to newbie's if you don't have a map…


Who's up for some scotch? Me, Me!




Well prepared?


Where has the ground gone?





 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)







Ninja, Hair Man, and Dopey at Parliament house.


Trying to communicate with a boat full of drunken Karaoke stars…






Some history for you.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
After waking up stiff and sore from the huge day of riding we had done the day before, we thought a light roll around Mount Stromlo would be a great idea for an hour or so. If only we knew what we were in for…

Mount Stromlo is a little special, as a devastating bushfire in 2003 wiped out what the locals thought were some of the best trails in Australia. Not to be defeated, the MTB community got together and together with Glen Jacobs (one of Australia's best known and successful trail builders) and a hardy bunch of volunteers, many kilometres of quality singletrack is now being built. The government has got behind the project, and has committed a large amount of funding to help create a world class cycling facility, which is fantastic. These trails are still being built but are shaping up extremely well. All of those involved deserve a huge pat on the back. Thanks guys! :D

You can find out a little more about this project on the CORC website. Keep an eye out, because this is the trail system that will be used in the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships bid. I have no doubt that it will be a successful bid at that.

Anyway, back to the riding. After rolling through a few sections of singletrack we decided that climbing to the summit would be the best plan of attack. What we neglected to think about though was the fact that we had no shade as there was no tree cover… After a gruelling days riding the day before, we were all feeling a little average by the time we made it to the top. The flowing singletrack was a little tighter then Sparrow Hill, but a fair bit smoother in sections too. We were told that a different approach in design was taken with Stromlo so that it didn't end up the same as Sparrow Hill, and I think that's a good thing.

We rode a nice singletrack loop back down the side of the mountain, and looped back around the base to the car park where we said our goodbyes to finish what was an awesome weekend of riding. Thanks guys! :thumbsup:


A few goodies with breakfast.


I spy with my billion dollar eyes…


Old and new…


Fresh singletrack.


Ivan getting keen to keep rolling.






Huge 4X track in construction.



 

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Awesome weekend, Thanks for the riding guys. It'll be cool to see more riders there next year too.

Thanks to all those involved in getting it off the ground :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Images have been resized, the originals can be found in my gallery. I might even link them all later. Thanks to Ivan for the photos, I have a CD full of high resolution images from the weekend. :thumbsup:

EDIT: All photos are now linked. Click on them for a slightly bigger version. I had to shrink them down and compress them a fair bit, so they're nowhere near as good as Ivan's high resolution originals.

Dave.
 

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Kick ass!

Awesome gathering and post! Post of the day!

The first, forest ride looks like Bend, Oregon, and the later desert-looking ride looks like Phoenix, Arizona. My father-in-law recommends against visiting Oz because, "It looks just like here." LOL.

Keep it up, and you'll start getting visitors.
 

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Where's the kangaroos, and shouldn't you all be riding up-side-down?

-- jk --

Looks like fun for all in the best biker style. Keep the reports coming. :thumbsup:


.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It seems most of the Canberra boys enjoy building trails in Pine plantations. The riding is really quite varied from state to state in Australia, as I guess it is worldwide.

From my brief riding interstate (this was my first trip interstate with my bike), it seems NSW is pretty similar to the ACT, quite rocky with plenty of slick rock. It also appears to have a lot more general bushland riding rather than Pine plantations.

Tasmania which is my home state has a lot of damp forest riding, but also has plenty of Pine forests and general bushland too. Basically anything from hard pack fire trail to soft single track bliss. There’s something here in Australia for everyone.

We tired to take a few photos of us riding alongside some Kangaroos, but Skippy just would stay still! :D

Dave.
 

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Great thread Dave. Wish I coulda made it myself. I nominate Perth for the next gathering!

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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GREAT post Dave!!!!:thumbsup:

The pics just dont do the trails justice :D

Five and half hours riding around Sparrow Hill was worth every second of leg cramping I had as we drove back to town!

Big thanks to the MTBR team for providing some shwag and shipping it halfway around the world for us :thumbsup:

I'm looking forward to next years gathering!
 

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nice work

Dave, Ben & Damo it was great to meet you guys, and thanks for a great weekend of riding some of the slickest single trails you could wish for. Count me in for the next one. And thanks "Ivo" for the invite!:arf:
 
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