Three sunny and cool Winter days equaled an idyllic Queens Birthday long weekend in Central Victoria so when the chance came up to ride the Mt Franklin to Vaughan Springs section of the Great Dividing Trail (now called the Goldfields Track Victoria) I jumped on it, even though I last rode it a week ago and was still feeling pretty well beat up from a recent crash.

Leaving the letter boxes beside the Midland Highway the trail starts off with a fast open roll down the red clay of Saw Pit Gully Road, passing through bush and farmland on the eastern side of Mt Franklin. Gradually the road narrows to a track, then the trail turns off into single track. There’s a climb or two before descending down to the intersection of the GDT and Porcupine Ridge Road. From Porcupine Ridge Road to Vaughan Springs it’s grippy, flowy single track broken up by several climbs. Generally any time the trail leaves the gully and climbs it becomes increasingly rocky, so that’s something to look out for — there’s no escaping rocks in Central Victoria! A couple of gully crossings have steep drop in’s (you can opt to use the stairs) but all up the trail is 95-100% able to be ridden.

There are a few descents along the way that can be ridden at warp speed, and some loose marble sections are probably easier ridden that way. I guess the thing to remember especially when riding alone is that not many people use the trail i.e. it could take a long while for before help of any sort arrives if you have an off.

One recent change with the revamp of the Great Dividing Trail are revised sections where cyclists and walkers are separated. Generally walkers stay on the original trail and cyclists are routed away elsewhere. On the Mt Franklin to Vaughan Springs section this happens only once, just as you begin the descent into Vaughan.

The Mojo HD is running along smoothly. I finally got around to adding a little air to the rear shock to take into account the extra weight I’m carrying in the backpack these days. Good move! Still enjoying the 1×10 drivetrain too. You definitely motor up the short climbs along the GDT — no granny gear, no option to crawl up. The Crossmark 2.25 on the rear is pretty well worn these days, not much grip left though I guess the smooth center ridge makes it roll even better! Got some new tires on order, to be revealed 🙂

Great Dividing Trail, Take 2
Great Dividing Trail, Take 2

5 Responses

  1. Thanks another track added to my list!

    Being new to Vic MTBing I’m still trying to get my head around where half these tracks are… 😉

    BTW interested in seeing what tires you get. I’ve just gone with Schwalbe Knobby Nic and Fat Albert combo for my new ride, after what seemed like hours and hours of research! hehe.

  2. Heya thylaxene, would be happy to show you around the local trails any time! The Mt Franklin to Vaughan section of the GDT isn’t extreme or anything but definitely a fun must do ride for anyone living in Victoria.

    The huge range of choices in MTB tires drives me CRAZY. I really like the combination I’ve been running and could just as well replace them with the same again, but if nothing else it’ll be good to have something to compare them to on the same bike/same trails. Gone for a combo of Spesh tires, should be a lot lighter and roll at least as well without compromising much width though whether they’ll be as robust, will have to wait and see.

  3. Will take you up on that once I get out and on my new ride… if those bloody cone spanners ever turn up so I can convert my rear hub! Oh and I get some fitness back! 😉

    Sounds good and wise. But I guess in general you are dryer where you are? Up here on Mt Dandenong it is muddy more often then not on the trails. So I went with (I hope) good combo… but as usual after I put down the readies I read yet another magazine article suggesting Maxxis High Rollers as a good jack-of-all-trades!

  4. Yeah hardly any mud on the trails around Castlemaine even after prolonged rain, just so little topsoil left. The water drains off and the trails are good to go again. In some ways it’s a bummer (not even grass survives in our yard) but makes for good year round riding.

    I really like the High Roller on the front, never tried it on the back though I wonder how well it would roll compared to a tire with a tighter tread pattern.

  5. Well the magazine article (April MBR) seems to think the High Roller has fine rolling speed for front and back. Quote:

    “It might seem like this is too much tyre for trial riding or maybe it looks slow but it’s a real confidence tyre and easily deals with everything from trail-centre track to wet-root mud-plugging.”

    The wet-root got my attention. Lots of those up here. Snigger.

    Even goes on to say get a set of High Roller 2.35s and Specialized Storm Controls and you are set for year round riding! So from that I take that High Rollers are fine for everything except full on wet and very muddy conditions. That is reserved for the Storm Controls.

    So as has them pretty cheap might just order a set.

    Anyway enough tyre geeking. 🙂

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