Entries welcomed for this BSCC MTBA race $55www.thebrackenbury.com.au
Really it is more of an adventure than a race
The course we have is going to become one of those iconic Victorian locations, sitting astride the Goldfields track. Bring the whole family for a weekend of riding and community events
Brackenbury Mountain Epic
Sleep in, enjoy your buffet breakfast, it’s Sunday after all! Let those roadies go out and smash themselves over the Great Divide while you stay warm and dry. For now...
Then roll down to the Hammon Park: the scene of yesterday’s festivities. The coffee van will still be there for a morning heart-starter.
Today is an auspicious occasion: the inaugural Brackenbury Mountain Epic. Creswick has hosted 23 Brackenbury fun runs; but this is new. And it’s epic! And you and I know that mountain biking is where it’s really at!
The race briefing is at 10.20am and the mass start at 10.30am. We head straight into the historic School of Forestry. This Melbourne University Campus is one of Australia’s oldest and celebrates the work of John LaGerche who came to the district in the 1880s as a park warden. The forests had been gutted by the gold rush and the soil was stripped away. Over the next 20 years LaGerche planted over 100,000 trees!
You’ll need that fresh O2 in your lungs because we have a killer hill to sort out the field.
Now we head into the ParksVic LaGerche reserve and ride in the shade of the 130 year old oaks and redwoods. Many have been damaged by the recent drought, and then the floods which ran 2m deep through here only this year! While you’re gasping, spare a thought for the people of Creswick who’ve had their homes flooded not once but twice and who you support by riding this epic. It’s a win: win!
Then it’s out onto forestry roads and time to settle into position and grab a drink. Soon enough we’re back into native forest where you should look out for echidnas, grey kangaroos and swamp wallabies. We ride on a mix of firetracks before a fast descent back down Sawpit Gully.
Then another climb and descent to the edge of St Georges Lake – pristine enough for platypus to hide and you’re only an hour and a half from Melbourne. At the back of the dam we join the iconic Great Divide Trail (GDT). This 200km trail (you don’t have to do it all!) from Ballarat to Bendigo is probably Australia’s first IMBA classic. Then we ride sweet single track carved into the hill above the creek. And when we say ‘sweet single track’ we mean sweet enough to make any self-respecting New Zealander weep with envy. Just you wait!
The GDT heads alongside the pines again then, to pass the ruins of W.G. Spence’s hut. Spence was a prominent unionist in the 1890s and foundation member of the Australian Labor Party. Enjoy the winding climb up to Davey Road, then skirt the edge of the forest and head down, down, down to cross the creek under some magnificent tall stringybarks peppered with some white-trunked Manna gums, manna from heaven for koalas. Watch out for Drop Bears.
We’re thrilled to have access to the water reserve around the head of Cosgrave’s reservoir. Huge thanks to Central Highlands Water, we hope they have the bridge in, or we’ll all get wet feet crossing Adekate Creek. Storms over the summer smashed the reserve here - check it out. Then more sweet single track through the pines and out along the dam to the third marshalling point. Fuel up on your gels before we swing low along more sweet single track coming for to carry us home.
And now we’re following a water race made by the Eaton brothers in the gold rush. Then, water was delivered from the huge earthen dam to thirsty miners and even thirstier gold cradles. At a profit, of course. When the dam burst 50 years later Creswick flooded.
In homage to those tough days gone by, this track is technical and rocky. It’ll test your skills and fortitude, but how is the flow? Holler and hoot! It’s all good.
When you are spat out back out at St George’s Lake you’ll know you’re near the cheers of family and friends. Just how could you better spend your Sunday? You tell us – but this is how we’ll be spending ours.
Epic? Not until you have done another lap.
Oh yeah. But you’ll be sorry when it’s over. And a tiny bit relieved.