Category Archives: Trails

Mt Porepunkah Road Loop

Continuing my vow to post some interesting rides, here’s a local loop out of Porepunkah or Bright which is a pleasant couple of hours out on gravel – good for an MTB and also excellent if you happen to have a gravel grinder or CX bike in the stable.

The embedded strava ride starts out of Porepunkah, which is home, and takes the Rail Trail towards Roberts Creek Road, a slight uphill that features in the Tour of Bright TT course. It continues over the bridge and along a short stretch of gravel to a short, sharp tarmac climb up towards the crest at the start of the Apex walking track and the junction with Mt Porepunkah Road.

There’s a nicer start to this, if there’s no logging or maintenance activity, taking Tom Briggs road over the shoulder, which brings you out at the same spot – the foot of the Apex walking track. If there’s logging or maintenance activity going on, I’d strongly advise staying off that trail though. If you’re coming from Bright, you can get to the same spot via a steep road climb, ending on gravel, by turning off Back Germantown road at Mt Porepunkah Road.

At this point, you head Northeast and downhill along Mt Porepunkah Road for maybe a kilometre before the climbing starts. From here it’s a fairly constant 15km climb through the backcountry. There are no real pinches or challenges, but the climbing is fairly constant. Eventually you’ll pass a signposted junction with Smart Creek Track, which would take you down to Kancoona Road and offers a possible return route to Tawonga Gap – a ride I’ve got my eye on for later.

At about 11.5km from the Apex Track junction, you get a sharp, signposted left turn that continues upwards, and at about 14km from Apex, another left turn allows you to head either up to the bushfire lookout tower, or head downhill to the finish. I’d advise heading up to the tower, because there’s a lovely view across to the Mt Buffalo plateau and a good spot for a break and a bit of a munch (you did bring some food, right?).

From here, retrace your steps back to the junction, where you turn left and start down a good old fashioned rocky downhill. On my first expedition, I met with a couple of 4WD vehicles on this descent, so take care with who you meet and how you ride – don’t go blind into corners, because this road is used by vehicles, especially in the summer months. Eventually you’ll pop out of the trees onto One Mile Creek road, which heads down and meets the Great Alpine Road and the Rail Trail.

If you turn right here, you’ll find Boynton’s Winery. If you turn left, Ringer Reef winery – both are great places for a post-ride snack and a glass of wine – and thence to Porepunkah, completing the loop.

This is a splendid little afternoon out on the gravel – not too challenging, not too long and not so far from civilisation that you’ll need to pack a ton of kit. If you’ve got a few hours free and feel like some firetrail rolling, I’d say check it out.

Riding Update Jan 2017: It’s a biggie

So, it appears I haven’t blogged here for nearly a year. Doesn’t time fly? I guess it’s about time I posted an update.

When last I blogged, I was still trying to find my feet again after some time off the bike. I had officially declared I was quitting road riding, and was working with a psychologist to try and mitigate some of the worst effects and try to get back on the Mountain Bike at least.

It worked, partly. I rode one MTB race (retired) and did a few Zwift races, but there wasn’t enough momentum. I was still not where I wanted to be, though I was in a better place than I had been when I declared my retirement

As things turned out, mid-year I was offered a new job – and this proved to be the turning point I needed. This particular job offered remote working options, and so a plan began to form. A cunning plan. A plan so cunning, you could pin a tail on it and call it Mr Fox.

In October, it all came together, and I left Sydney altogether, and moved into the glorious Ovens Valley, NE Victoria.

Yes, I now live at the foot of Mount Buffalo, right in the middle of 7 Peaks country. Specifically in Porepunkah, a dormitory village for the neighbouring town of Bright, the famed cycling and tourist mecca.

Since I got settled in, I’ve been riding more often, in more scenic surroundings, with safer roads and nary an argument. I’ve had the grand total of one moderately close pass from a driver but – get this – it didn’t bother me in the least.

I haven’t hit the mountain roads in earnest yet (notwithstanding one ill-prepared, spur of the moment assault on Buffalo), but I’ve been riding the MTB on some amazing trails and doing a lot of flat-to-rolling road. I’ve been up and down the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail enough that I know every bump and ripple between here and Gapsted. I’ve thrown my hardtail down the one-of-a-kind Hero Trail, encountered snakes, magpies, kangaroos and wombats and generally had a great time of it. I’m slowly dropping the weight back off, and transitioning (again) from couch-potato-who-used-to-ride-bikes-a-few-years-back to masters racer and MTB explorer.

You might say I’m back.

Not being much of an early bird, I haven’t yet managed to get out for the famous 6am Bright bunchies, but it’s a new year and the mornings are clear, so that’s going to happen soon. I’ve met a few of the locals, I’m getting familiar with Mystic MTB Park and I’m planning lots of rides on the long local mountain trails, some sensible, some on the adventurous side.

And the blog? Well, I might blog a few local routes, and maybe get some picks at the upcoming Audax Alpine Classic, but I’ve also got a new project in the works, which I’ll announce here soon.

Lastly, for those readers who I know in person – I know some of you exist. Yes, I have spare rooms. Come on down!

 

I’m hoping Yellomundee survives the bushfires OK

Yellomundee, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, is my MTB club’s track. It’s currently closed due to the fires raging in the Springwood area, partly because of fire danger and partly because the heavy helicopter traffic in the area is likely to cause falling branches and downwash. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’ll survive the fires without too much damage, because a little later in the summer, I’m hoping to race in this

I don’t rate my chances of victory too highly – Yellomundee might be my club’s track but I don’t ride there all that much – but I think the series will be a great set of races. There’s a lower profile than the Chocolate Foot and Rocky Trail events I’ve been racing so far this year, so there should be an even more casual feel – though I don’t doubt there’ll be some guns smashing out hot laps too.

Hope to see you there…

Race season must wait another two weeks

My racing intentions for this year seemed clear back in October 2012. My plan was to race the entire Real Insurance XCM series (slated at the time to be seven 100km+ events), and fill gaps in the calendar with a few other races – some shorter XC, some enduro/all-mountain and perhaps some timed endurance.And another crack at Kanangra.

Oh, how that all fell apart. The XCM Series itself is now a non-starter, though the individual events remain. I’m racing Capital Punishment on March 16th, but am not confirmed for any other of the former XCMs. I am, however, confirmed for Round one of the Shimano MTB GP, which is what I’ve been stressing about for the last few weeks.

I get obsessive in race leadups. Continue Reading →