Saturday, 30 November 2013

Mount Stronach and the North

If you missed it, Summer started this weekend ...


I kicked summer festivities off a bit early on Friday night by going along to a two hour presentation by Tim Stredwick about his and Lynne's recent paddle trip around Ireland and Scotland.

If you haven't seen Tim's presentation, then you've really missed out.  I was cancelling my holiday plans for next year and planning my own adventure in Scotland instead by the end of the show.  Though to be honest, I don't think I'd get far past the third slide where Tim showed how he cut his double kayak into four pieces for transport on the plane.

I think at this point my presentation would go something like ... "Here's where I cut up my sea kayak ... here's where it sank on it's test voyage on the Derwent after I put it back together and here's me having a lovely cycling holiday in Canada as originally planned"

Anyway, after just five hours sleep and a missed breakfast at Campbell Town (because the cook hadn't turned up at my usual breakfast stop) I found myself in Launceston by 8.00am Saturday morning unloading my bike at the Youngtown Regional Park for a short explore of the trails there.







Although the circuit is only 2.6kms long, it's still a lovely little park for younger or beginner riders and I can't believe I hadn't found my way there before.  Trail notes will be going up on tassietrails.org soon.

I managed to catch up on my missed breakfast at Scottsdale, and then it was onto the main reason for this weekend's sojourn north: Mount Stronach ...



















Despite the initial steep climb and one too many snakes, I instantly fell in love with this trail.

It has superb riding once you're up the initial little push (and most fit riders will be able to enjoy that climb), it has lots of variety, some nice little intermediate technical stuff and even a bit of stone to play on  ... plus the views to boot.

Then after making your way to the top you have a descent that is to die for (though I recommend you don't).  It's as good as down-hilling gets when it isn't custom designed with lots of nice little jumps and ruts for those who know what they're doing.  Even I got air several times ... and that's saying something.

In summary: what's not to love about this ride?  It's going up on tassietrails.org soon as well.

Now there were three things which drew me North this weekend - the first was Mount Stronach which had been playing on my mind for a few months, the second was the potential to go for a ride on the new cycle way out to Low Head with a TBug group, and the third (and clincher) was that I had been sent a heap of new mountain bike maps from Peter Bird of Forestry Tasmania after we caught up at the Hellfire Cup and I just had to, I say had to, get up and have a first look.

Seriously, can you even begin to imagine how excited I was to receive an email from Peter with not one, but seven new trails attached to it ... all of them legal to ride.

Suffice to say that when I went cap in hand to Kim just three days after the Hellfire Cup to see if I could have another weekend pass to go explore, she could pretty much have put any conditions on it she wanted and I would have agreed.  Fortunately for me, she only asked that I be back on Sunday afternoon to put up the Xmas tree with the monsters.

So that's why I was up here, but back to the actual being here.

After fueling up with iced coffee and coke back at Scottsdale I headed out for a leisurely afternoon of scouting (in my car).  I explored a backroad alternative for the Dorset Rail Trail, and I have to say that despite the introduction of a lot of climbing by this route, this too will be going up as an option on tassietrails.org, I mean look at it ...






Then I headed further afield checking out what I could (which was not much) of two more routes, one out around Mt Cameron and the other near Oxberry Road.

Don't they look enticing ...



Kim and I will be back over Xmas to check these out a bit more (just thought you might want to know that Kim).

It was getting on towards 5.00pm at this point, so I finally headed to Bridport to explore the Bridport Walking Track which I'd heard you could now ride around ...

Unfortunately this turned out to not be 100% true. with pushbikes prohibited for at least a 2.2km section of it.


However, if (like me) you're prepared to do a bit of walking with the bike (I couldn't see that doing any harm) you'll find yourself on one of the nicest little riding circuits (for a slow speed (<10km/hr)  cruisy ride) I've found in Tasmania ...




















14 hours after it started, the day ended for me with fish and chips and an ice cream down by the beach as I watched the sun set at the start of the St Albans Bay 4WD track (yep, was scouting that one for a future route as well).

... and that's where I'll pick up from on my next blog.