I've discovered that aching legs and loudly singing football holigans (yes they even exist in Sheffield, Tasmania) don't make a winning combination for a good nights sleep. Add the daylight savings change last night, and I didn't wake up in the bubbliest of moods this morning, so my early ride from the hotel was abandoned in favour of the lazier option of driving to the trail, and then this further expanded to "well, my backsides sore, so it won't really hurt to drive those sections of the trail which are on gravel roads" and thus a planned 20km out and back ride before breakfast, turned into a more sedate 10km out and back ride.
This means given that that they're about to log my favourite sections of the trail on White Timber Trail and near Pillies Road, this is my new favourite section of the trail.
This last section first circles around Stoodley Plantation, then along a creek and across farmland in Sheffield. It is all flat, easy riding, and with the grasses all lush and green, a farmer out feeding his stock, dew on the grass and even a bit of early morning mist, I fell in love with this section, stopping what seemed like every 50 metre to take another photo of something else that had grabbed my eye. To think I almost skipped this section because of my gate phobia.
The guide (3rd edition) had suggested I could drive in about 2kms along this road, then I'd hit a boom gate, and I planned to ride from there. Except there was no boom gate. Instead I found myself driving through all sorts of warning signs about active logging operations (none said turn around, just lots of warnings) and I think I passed through some sort of selective logging operation, before re-entering the bush and having a quite enjoyable drive out as far as Gregory's Road.
Shortly after turning onto Gregory's Rd however I saw more warning signs about active logging operations (they should have been bigger) as I emerged into one of the largest contiguos clearfell areas I've been in. The next 4 to 5kms of the trail just passed through a series of recently harvested pine plantations. There were log stacks and equipment everywhere and I really felt like I shouldn't be there. However, the Tas Trail markers continued and there were also firewood collector signs so I figured that it must be open to the public.
Just to finish the day off, after lunch in Deloraine, I headed out to cycle the short section along Montana Falls Track, but once again, when I got there, the Tas Trail signs at the start of this section from Long Ridge Road indicated that this off road section has been bypassed and now just followed the road. At this point I had had enough, and decided to just head home to Hobart.
All up, it was still a great weekend, but as much as I want the Tasmanian Trail to be great, it just seems to be falling apart at the seams. It is to be quite frank an embarresment. If any cyclist came to Tasmania to ride this trail they would be bitterly disappointed, and I say that as someone who has cycled on nearly every continent on this planet and has seen the goodness of riches which is out there for touring cyclists.