The Mountain

When asked why we have come to Tasmania, the honest answer is for the food and mountain biking. Really? Ya, really.  So it has been nearly two weeks and we have already made two lamb dinners which have been amazing (the lamb is waaaay cheaper here which is nice because everything else costs an arm and a leg), and found tons of artisan food producers from cheese to honey to whisky.  So you get the gist of the food scene now lets talk about the mountain biking.

I have touched a bit about our local trail in our backyard, Knocklofty park, but lets talk about the endless network of trails in Mt Wellington and our first encounter of this beast. Locals refer to Mt Wellington simply as “The Mountain,” and for good reason.

It is a big sucker.

Last week Paige and I took a look at the trail map and decide its time for a climb up the beast. There is a brand new trail, the North-South trail, that connects a mountain bike park (about 10k away) and the Mt Wellington trail system and it is getting a lot of hype. Specifically designed with mountain bikers in mind it has dedicated features (obstacles) for mountain bikers and lots of switchbacks to keep it interesting. We both had seen a couple of videos of the North-South trail on youtube and were excited to test it out.  Here’s how it went:

The amazing view of the Cascade Brewery and “The Mountain”.

It is pretty flat until we hit Old Farm Rd then we start the grinding climb. We pass a lot of country homes with a few lambs in each front yard. We finally make it to the trail system and we are both in awe of how well everything is marked. There are about 4 trails to choose from two that are marked “difficult” and two that are marked “intermediate”.  And no, there were none marked “beginner.” From our map the easiest way to get to the North-South trail is on one of the “Difficult” trails so we try it for a while. No way, way too steep. We turn around tails between our legs and get on the “intermediate” trail which will snake around the mountain more adding more miles but hopefully wont be so difficult to climb. At this point we have gone close to 1000ft in elevation and we are still feeling strong and energetic. From here on we just climb, and climb, and climb. The “intermediate” trail now says “difficult”, WTF!!!! Really, no joke they just changed the sign. We have been climbing for about 2 hours now and we are feeling it. Because the trail we chose snakes a bit around there are a lot of long rolling sections that are steep.

Take a look at how steep this section looks.

Paige pissed that she has to climb that thing. It was super steep.

We descend down a nice little single track and reach a creek crossing. It was beautiful and much needed since we were both getting pretty frustrated from the up hill battle we have endured for the last two hours.

Paige crossing the creek on the lush part of Mt Wellington.

The map tells us we are close to Junction Cabin which is a halfway point of the North-South trail and we can make our way home downhill once we get to it. After a snack  of fruit and honey I give Paige an encouraging hug. After a few more steep climbs and some swear words we make it to Junction Cabin. At this point we are both exhausted and just want to go home and take a warm shower. We start on the North-South trail and it is as expected, an amazing flowy trail that is well maintained and fun. Because of our fatigue we are not enjoying it as much as we should but we are definitely appreciating it.  Looking back, it was a great trail and perfect for Paige because it was not too technical– just a fun track.

Our first encounter of “The Mountain” lasted about five hours and was very very humbling. We have a lot of training to do to be able to complete rides like this with a smile on our face. So Tasmania does have the goods that were promised and it’s time to start training. The route details using strava here.

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