The Clock2Clock Challenge was held at Woodend last weekend. Prior to the event there were regular rides of the course creating some buzz online about… The Chute. Julien and I headed to Woodend the other day, the general idea being to eat some of Bourkies Vanilla Slice, ride some or all of the Clock2Clock course, and experience The Chute for ourselves.
First job was to reserve Vanilla Slice as there can be none left by later in the day. Done. Sweet, just need to get back to the bakery before 4pm. The Clock2Clock course starts with a 5km’ish steady climb, initially heading up Mt Macedon on sealed road, something never at the top of the Exciting Things to do on your MTB list. Even with big tires on bitumen the HD makes climbing a snap. It was a good opportunity to enjoy the mountain air and lush green vegetation, much different to the bush around Castlemaine. Eventually the course turns to dirt, heads into the forest and the climb steepens a notch or two. If you’d pigged out before the ride it’d be a reasonable place to have a puke 😛
After a good climb there’s always the expectation of a downhill reward or two. The first downhill is none other than The Chute , so called as it is on Barbers Chute Track and is a steep chute, funny that! Apparently there was a clean-ish line down The Chute for the event but in the week since it looks like the motos have had a lot of fun, with rocks sprayed all over the place. It’s not really the kind of descent you can fang down which after the climb is a bit of a bummer. Brakes in good working order are a bonus in the chute, helping to keep things reasonably in control whilst sticking to the smoothest of the steep, loose and rocky lines. At the bottom of the chute the track heads back up as steeply as it came down, but not for long.
So having experienced and survived The Chute we continued the descent down across the side of Mt Macedon before arriving Mt Macedon Winery on Bawden Rd. You could fang down this section once you were familiar with the track. Rather than continue on the Clock2Clock course we rode the singletrack below Bawden Rd, which weren’t included in the event due to permit restrictions.
I’d ridden the singletrack below Bawden Rd a few times a couple of years ago on my mountain unicycles and the trails felt fast and challenging, a good length MUni ride in themselves, including a monthly MUni ride in August 2009. On a mountain bike the trails were still fun, but were short, easy and relatively low speed. Two wheels — big difference!
Another big difference was the forest regrowth — a couple of years a fuel reduction burn had just been done below Bawden Rd so it was a fairly bleak place to ride, but now it is lush green. I stopped a took a photo near the same burnt tree.
We started the ride late so after messing around for a while it was time to head back to Woodend to collect our vanilla slice bounty and a coffee before the bakery closed. Hope to get back down to Woodend sometime soon to ride the remainder of the course including the singletrack in the Pines.