I can't keep up, and I'm not just talking about competing in events anymore ... I can't even keep up with mountain biking updates at the moment.
Quite simply I think the number of events and the track development going on in Tasmania at the moment is stunning, and if you don't believe me check out the tassie trails events page and news updates to see for yourself.
Just last month we've seen the succesful launch of the Hollybank Trails (including the signature Juggernaut trail), the running of the Meehan Monster, the announcement of funding for another Mountain Biking Hub down in Zeehan, and the kicking off in earnest of the Latrobe-Kentish Mountain bike concept. Who can keep up with all that?
In what seems like old news we've had the Half Satan added to the Hellfire Cup line up (can you believe it's Hellfire Cup time already?), as well as the launch (return?) of the Mtn Trail Hillbilly 24 Hour at Kellevie, and the State's first Gravity Enduro race added to the Tasmania mountain biking race calendar.
This is on top of the LMBC/Cycle 2 - 6 Hour Enduro which will be run this month and the upcoming 3/6 Hour MTBNav Metro rogaine coming up on December 7 around Clarence.
We've also got the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club offering their mid-week Scrabble in the Gravel Series, Lanceston Mountain Bike Club has got both their Summer Twilight Series and their Sprung 2 Hour series (with CCMBC) up and running, and Dirt Devils and CCMBC are kicking off the Club Downhill Series of races.
I think it's also really cool that both LMBC and DD have skills sessions coming up for their members.
Finally, and although a bit outside the mountain biking world, the 2015 Nic's Cradle Challenge (road bike event) has also opened for entries, and I think is such a worthwhile event it deserves a mention (don't forget Sally's Ride as well coming up in the beginning of December).
The only dampener on all this good news was seeing both the Tullah Challenge and the Launceston Cataract Gorge Multi Sport events postponed this year, but let's hope that's just a blip on the radar.
All of these events, with links back to their sources, are available on the Tassie trails events calendar. If I've forgotten anything, or gotten anything wrong, then don't get frustrated - contact me and let me know and I'll fix it ASAP.
Remember there's no wrong turns, just alternate ways to get somewhere.
I can't keep up, and I'm not just talking about competing in events anymore ... I can't even keep up with mountain biking updates at the moment.
Rumour is that the cyclists are already lining up to get to Zeehan and ride these trails ... (OK, so maybe I'm trying to start that rumour).
Hobart City Council is seeking feedback on the proposal to replace the gravel track with an all-weather sealed surface. Click here to provide comments [link removed]. A successful grant from the Trails and Bikeways Program is funding some of the improvements. Last winter sections became wet and boggy and the lack of sunlight prevented it from drying out. The muddy surface makes it unpleasant for people using prams, on bicycles, mobility scooters or simply walking and combined with the slope from McKellar St, the slipperiness has safety issues for people riding or walking.
The first edition of a new newsletter highlighting what is happening with the Derby/ Blue Tier trails is now available. Perhaps the most exciting news for we locals is that the first trails are likely to be open before Christmas (though some may argue that the new toilet block is also pretty exciting news). There's lots of other great information in the newsletter including news that Hertz are getting on board and will be offering bike racks and trailers from Launceston. These are the small things that will make this whole concept work.
Construction of the skills park and pump track are well underway, and although it may take a few weeks for the trails to dry out, given the wet and wild weather we've experienced, the Hollybank MTB Trails will be officially opened on Saturday,4 October at 11am!.
The City of Hobart is proposing to convert the Old Farm Track, between Old Farm Fire Trail and Main Fire Trail from a shared use track, to a single use (bicycle only), single direction (downhill) track. The proposal includes a new ~70m section of track between Old Farm Track and Main Fire Trail, to separate riders from walkers at the Myrtle Gully Track junction.
The Meehan Ranges trail notes and maps have now been updated to include the full length of the cliff top track and the new switchbacks just before you come out onto the golden hill trail. The trail angels are monsters on steroids up there, but we're trying our best to keep up ...
The Tasmanain Trail Association is looking for more individuals who are prepared to help advise them on good trails for cyclists based on the Tasmanian Trail. They're also looking for cyclists who have ridden the trail to be part of an ABC programme on the Tasmanian Trail. These and more details are in the August 2014 Tasmanian Trail News - August 2014 update.
1. The Reserve Activity Assessment process has begun with Warrawee land manager Parks & Wildlife Service. This is a two-stage process. In Step 1, I have submitted a project proposal to Parks & Wildlife. It states (in general terms) what we want to do, where we want to do it, and how. They look at this proposal, and consider what issues may potentially arise (e.g. impact on flora and fauna, cultural heritage considerations, proximity to riparian environments, future land management and maintenance issues, future land tenure/lease arrangements). Parks then come back with a list of things we have to address, and how they want them addressed. They say they will take two months to assess it and will get back to us by the beginning of October. At that point, we will need specific trail design plans, so, it is time to have a site visit and develop a proposed trail map.
A DEDICATED group of volunteers has assisted the City of Hobart to reinstate the popular Tip Top mountain bike track in South Hobart.
The track was originally built in 2007 by a group of local mountain bikers, however unsustainable construction techniques led to the track's erosion and it was eventually closed in 2009.
The restoration project engaged with volunteers and mountain bike riders over four weekends to improve the track's sustainability and it also provided an opportunity for riders to design a track that was tailored to their needs. The collaboration has resulted in a high grade construction with extra care taken to harmonise the track with the local environment.
The Tip Top track plays an important role connecting riders between kunanyi/Mount Wellington and South Hobart and it also connects with a number of other tracks within the area. The City of Hobart is grateful for the volunteers' efforts, collectively donating more than 200 hours of their time to complete this community project.
To find out more about City of Hobart tracks and trails visit hobartcity.com.au/Recreation
Source: Hobart City Council Capital City News August 2014
Did anyone manage to keep up with all the event and track updates in July?
Let's see ... the Pickles Hill MTB Enduro on 31 August seemed to come out of nowhere, including a new Dirt Devils Adventure Ride on the 10th August to check out the course, and of course entries are now open to the Meehan Monster.
The Ben Lomond Descent got pushed back to August 17 due to the wild weather, and the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club has annouced their first event for the season - a four hour enduro at Stubbs Road on 12 September, and LMBC have another social ride on August 24 out to the Dazzler Range.
There's also more trail building going on than I can keep track of ... It's like some magic dwarfs have moved into the Meehan Ranges with track construction happening so quickly I can't keep the website up to date. I also see that Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club have got a track building session coming up on August 5, and who isn't salivating over the Dirt Art photos showing the work going on up at Hollybank. Can't wait for those trails to open.
I'm sure there's more that I've missed, but that's just because I can't keep up.
You can see all the events I know of over on Tassie Trails ... and it's in an all new format. I'd love to say this is a planned improvement, but the truth is that the old events software I'm using has been discontinued so this has been forced on me. The bad news with the new software I'm using is it only shows events in date order (not in a calendar format). The good news is that anyone can now register and add their own events, so if you have an event you want to advertise - feel free to give it a try. Soon I will be releasing a new module which will allow anyone to display the events calendar on their own websites like is shown on the left hand side of the tassie trails home page ...which could be cool if anyone uses it.
Finally, if it's escaped your notice. It's winter. On the awesome side of things this means there are snowy trails out there to be ridden, on the less than awesome side of things, it also means regular closures are going on (especially in Trevallyn and Kate Reed). Frustrating, yes, but respect the trail closures as they are there so the trails can survive.
Just when I thought news for mountain biking in Tasmania couldn't get much better, another trail plan has popped up from a group of riders quietly working away developing a plan for a new Latrobe-Kentish mountain bike trail with not one, but two, mountain bike parks included.
The plan involves a road side pathway from Devonport to Latrobe along the river road, then to Shale road where a MTB park would be created with easy to ride trails through the hill alongside the Warrawee reserve. From there the trail would cross the river to Railton, then to Sheffield where a more advanced park would be built with down hill runs included (Yes, if you're wondering this does sound like it follows the current Tasmanian Trail route). From there a trail across the top of the Badgers will take riders back towards Devonport and onto the Devonport's cycle way.
If you're interested in tracking this one more closely, then a facebook group has been set up titled "Latrobe-Kentish Mountain Bike Trail Network". Expect to see more updates on tassietrails.org for this one as well.
Who else is cranky with the Dirt Devils MTB club? imagine running the first cyclocross race down south last month with practically no notice or advertising! Shame. Shame. Shame.
But I'm quick to forgive ... largely because the dates (if not the venues) for the next three races are now up on their website, with the next one being held on July 20 at St Virgils. It's in my diary so hope to see you there.
The big news of the month has to be around the Meehan Ranges ... I'm just not sure if the big news is (a) the announcement of the Meehan Monster MTB Race on October 26 (Hobart Show Day weekend), (b) the opening up of the new Golden Hill single track (brilliant work guys) or (c) the committment by Clarence City Council to fund a months professional trail building to get the Draft Meehan Range Strategic Trail Plan underway (source: Dirt Art FB). Heck it's all big news.
Getting back to events, there's not much competitive stuff going on, but on the social riding front this month you've got Dirt Devils tanagara trail adventure ride (July 6), Launceston Mountain Bike Club's Mt Stronach ride (July 20) and TBug's Kate Reed ride (27 July) and rolling over into August there's a similar offering from the clubs plus the Ben Lomond Descent (multi sport) on August 3 which for those of you pinning for the loss of the Winter Challenge could be the way to get your winter multisport fix.
Looking out into the future, there's been a few additions to the "mud running" calendar with another Tas Mud Run event scheduled near Evandale (Sept 21) and a new venue (Baskerville railway) with two new dates for the Raw Challenge down south. Entries to the Cranky Penguin MTB race are also now open ... a race that sold out pretty darn quickly last year.
In other news, the work on the holly bank trails continue apace with a likely opening date later this year, the Dorset Rail Trail group has recently announced a development application to extend the Dorset Rail Trail from Tonganah out to Scottsdale which will be a big step in making the trail more attractive in my opinion, and in other signs of how mountain biking is going from strength to strength, Tourism Northern Tasmania have just hosted a forum on the potenial of cycle tourism with many of the papers now available to view online.
All these events and more are on tassietrails event calendar.
I love following the blogs of people who explore the world and of course I love Tasmania which is why I was so pleased recently to find out about Anni May Jensen's blog in progress covering her walking adventure of the Tasmanian Trail.
Anni of course isn't the only one who has written about their adventures on the trail, and these stories are one of the best sources of information about what it is like out there.
For those considering riding the Tasmanian Trail there is an excellent video over on youtube of Ian Coles and Neil Thorburn's ride down the trail in February/March 2013. Anyone who has ridden the Caves Track section will particularly appreciate their epic ascent up this part of the ride.
The Tasmanian Trail website also has a a few user reports, including a report by Peter Hoskinson who ran the Tasmanian Trail in just five and a half days to celebrate his 50th birthday. I know Pete, but it still blows me away as it took me 8 days to ride the trail.
On my to do list is to write up a lot of the potential day trips that you can use the trail for, in the meantime there is still a menu on the left hand side of www.tassierambler.org of many day trips that I've ridden that you can follow ... or maybe like Anni you could just decide to get out there and ride the whole thing.
So just this week I see cheap airfares are available to New Zealand in August and I think "Hmmm ... mountain biking the heaphy track" ...
I was so devastated that I forgot to book my trip to New Zealand.
Fortunately, as I did this months events update, I was reminded that we've still got the Ben Lomond Descent (Aug 3 - get training), what looks like a revamped Freycinet Challenge on October 11-12, the Launceston Cataract Gorge Challenge on November 2, and although the date isn't released yet, the Tullah Challenge should be on November 8. I know, it's still not the Winter Challenge but it is a chance to try some new races.
Looking a bit further out, don't forget that entries to the Hellfire Cup are open and the event itself (which I'll sadly miss this year) will be here before we know it.
If you like to ride alone, Winter is (in my opinion) the perfect time to get on over to Maria Island and explore the brilliant trails over there. East Coast Cruises have announced that their free ferry trips are running again over winter, and with a winter discount rate of 25% applying to accommodation and camping on the island from 5/7/14 to 26/9/14 inclusive, winter is the time for a cheap weekend over on Maria. A write up of my trip their last winter is viewable here.
Finally, I can't finish this month's update without mention of how exciting things are looking trail wise for this coming summer with nearly 20kms of new trail nearing completion up at Hollybank. Although not on the same scale, down south new (and legal) local tracks are appearing at Pilchers Hill and there's ongoing work on new trails over in the Meehan Ranges and in South Hobart. The Meehan Trail Groomers and Hobart Trail Alliance are great facebook pages to keep up to date with trail happenings in the south (or if you're already following tassie trails on facebook I'll cross post anything I see of interest there).
As always, you can check out the full events calendar on Tassie Trails here. This calendar brings together all mountain biking events in Tasmania into a single calendar as well as listing major road riding, running and multisport events from 38 different websites around the state.
Which just leaves me with one final thought ... why, when there's so much good riding coming up here, is a bit of me still thinking about heading off to ride the Heaphy Track in New Zealand ...
Has anyone else noticed that winter's almost upon us?
But don't use that as an excuse to bunker down and hibernate (he says knowing full well he is about to fly out to Queensland) because there's still plenty of good riding on offer over winter and good reasons to stay fit after that.
Both the Hobart Dirt Devils and the Launceston Mountain Biking Club are offering up great social rides over the next few months, so if you're looking for an opportunity to be shown around some routes at something below a race pace, then I'd recommend getting along to some of these rides. I've brought together their offerings in the tassie trails events calendar with links off to more information on their websites.
Not to be outdone, The Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club have been running a great little series called "Scrabble in the Gravel" which mixes good old hard riding with a little bit of scrabble luck to decide the winner ... get on over to their website for more information as there is still one more event to go in the series which will be held on June 1 (venue tbd).
Personally, I'm also hoping for a good offernig of cyclocross events to be showing up soon (please, please, please) in both the north and south of the state, but no hint of any actual offerings yet.
If you've missed the announcements, a few of the big events have put up their dates, including the icebreaker multisport which has moved forward to May 25 (so just a few weeks). Sally's Ride has locked in on December 7 for their annual event (this is a great road ride and I'd highly recommend it) and it looks like the Cranky Penguin has moved out to February 1, 2015 which is the week before the Blue Dragon MTB event which is going to make for one heck of a double header for those willing to try it.
On the track building front, there's some great stuff happening out on the Tip Top Track in Hobart if you can get along to one of the build days, and there's also regular work happening over in the Meehan ranges and up in launceston.
In short there's still a stack of stuff going on, all of these events and more (major runs, multisports etc.) are all updated monthly on the events calendar ... the only hard decision is which one's to get involved in.