The upcoming Castlemaine round of the Interwinter XC series is being held in the Walmer State Forest in a section of bush otherwise known as Baco, as it backs onto the Bacon Factory. Being only a couple of minutes from home I ride through Baco often on the way to the network of trails that run from Castlemaine out to Barkers Creek and back. It’s a handy and fun way to warm up for the ride ahead or cool down on the way home. The Baco terrain is all fairly gentle and outside of an event not really the type of terrain that n MTB enthusiast would travel from afar to ride, but it should make for a fast, fun XC race especially as the trails are almost completely mud free even during Winter.
I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll participate in the Castlemaine round. I’m not especially into the MTB race scene, never have been, and the intra and inter club politics aren’t particularly inspiring nor my idea of what riding is about. We’ll see — at least it wouldn’t be far to travel I guess!
Anyways, the cool thing was that today was a perfect blue sky Winter’s day and there was time for a ride. I was heading through Baco out towards Barkers Creek so took the GPS along as a couple of guys have asked about elevation changes. There are a bunch of trails in various conditions, but practically there are two ribbons of single track that see the most use and which I imagine will be used in the event, especially given the short connecting section of trail that has recently appeared.
The longer single track that crosses Baco is made up of one gentle and gradual fast-ish climb mainly on hard packed clay (I guess), followed by a fun length descent over varying surfaces (loose stones, sand, rocks, clay – pay attention) where you can pick up a fair chunk of speed. It flows pretty well and is good for a hoot, especially as the trail is quite narrow, passing between trees and tall undergrowth exaggerating the feeling of speed. The shorter single track has less change in elevation and is undulating in nature, but with the addition of the new little bit of connecting track manages to fit in a short descent towards the end. Both are enjoyable sections of trail, either in cruise or hammer mode, and connect the dots using other trails and you have yourself a fun loop. There are a smattering of rocks, not as intense as other areas around Castlemaine but enough to keep you paying attention.
One of my favorite things about Baco though is the bright green moss that grows here and there, especially along the edge of the shorter single track — it just looks so out of place in the dry bush.
Note: HUGE numbers of spiders LOVE the Baco trails in Summer 🙂