Sunday afternoon en route back from Dubbo, I planned a stopover Â . This is about 2.5-3 hours from CBR. Â There is a large state forest south of Parkes and it is heavily developed with ST (single track). A 2 x50km lap race is run once a year here. Â I arrived late, about 4pm. Â From the main road and juggling maps and GPS I managed to spot one of the single track entrances.. there are no signs, just the odd faded flagging tape. I pulled out my trusty old Garmin E-trex hiker GPS and took a position fix at the car. This was my insurance policy. I didn’t take any photos of the gnarly Â and difficult sections as there isn’t enough contrast to get a good photo, so I took pics of the nice defined smooth bits only :
Got going into one of the designated race laps which was fast furious Â ST by open grasslands. The trails are quite narrow , some in the long grass require some anticipation/guesswork of where it is going but in those cases the trail is smooth and you don’t need to fret too much about what you can’t see. I see other ST Â going off in various directions. There are gradual climbs and descents- gradual- so this is a fast course that will have you working hard to keep a high pace.
3km in down Â the east end, I turned into a completely different section of winding ST through shrubs and scrub and young forest . This has been clear felled perhaps 15 years ago. Â The corners are open but narrow with a soft, well worn line that is about 20cm into the dirt. Drop into the line and hold on. The surface is best described as soft . Guess depends on how much rain its had in the last year. Â Lots of soil, leaves, the odd small rock but very nice flowing condix. A pleasure to ride fast. Some sandy sections of black and white soil.
The trails wind around into the forest .. there is seemingly ENDLESS ST.. There are many options and routes….and you need to negotiate plenty of mild logs, and some double logs but they ain’t too serious. Best to jump the pair Â with the high speed you will be carrying. Â A couple of Â log jumps made a funny noise and I realised the wheel was falling out of the dropouts in the jump and going back in,. stopped and fixed that. amazing it didn’t come out.. A stick had dislodged the QRÂ . Sticks are aplenty ! Â I would describe the hazards as sticks and logs and the small shrubs everywhere require a little dodging and weaving but it can be done fast by planning ahead a bit, and the trail is worn and obvious. Read my lips :Watch out for sticks.
If you don’t like big hills, this is your trail .. There was only one hill I found that causes any slipping and grief and rockyness.
So…. about 1 hour in I stopped after crossing a dipper to figure out how close I was to the car. Â Looking at my gps track, I was about 4km from where I thought I was and the sun was 20 minutes from sunset. Eeeeekkk. Easy to go off track with so many ST exits and forks and options…. Can I ride ST fast ? Well this time I had to, rode lke the wind back to my last point of reference, then back on the track I thought was my original track. NOPE. off trail again. Â fu3k! Sun going down FAST. Â Now almost need lights. .ahhh back in the grasslands… OK Â Saw a 6 foot tall BLACK kangaroo. wtf never seen one that colour. Â Kangaroos are coming out I need to find my way back… sh1t… I am close but where am I ? I pull out with the gps in hand and following my GOTO FIX Â arrow… Back.. in the near dark ….. Â Lucky I took the insurance policy otherwise I’d be a cold night out in nix.
There must be 20-30km of ST in there…. the race route is one a small fraction of the trails. There are pretty good maps on line of the trails. Â Do it on your smartphone and click on the kml which will overlay the trails on your phone screen.
I’m amazed how much trail work has ben done. It’s huge for a remote spot..
Tires : Dry : Small block 8, Cross Mark. Â Wet : something with sparse knobs that clears red soil mud out.
Gears: bigger rather than smaller, it is a fast course with winding fast and smooth flat fast sections. SSers will not have a big enough gear to enjoy what is on offer.
The race is in September. Majority Â of it is ST, with linking fire roads. I’ll be there.