Two sunny, clear and cold days — what a cracker of a start to Winter! You’ve just gotta get out there and enjoy the blue skies if you can as the next few months could just as well be grey, damp and bleak.
I guess I’m a bit of a rabid dog when it comes to seeking out new trails to ride. Roaming around by yourself for hours on end in areas you’re not familiar with and riding down everything that looks like a single track entry can be frustrating at times but when you finally find new trails, ride them for the first time and then piece the network together… it’s great fun.
With this in mind I headed down to the Wombat Track at Woodend, the mission being to track down the until now local’s only loop deep in the forest that will be used in the upcoming Mountain Challenge MTB Enduro Series.
I printed out a basic map with minimal markings on it before I left home, and once in the forest it took me a long while to realize the reason that nothing was where I thought it should be was due to me being 90 degrees out in how I was interpreting the map. Doh!
A small group of riders went past just as I was getting organized, down at the furtherest end of the Wombat Track. Are you guys doing the enduro loop? I asked, as I’d figured it past by here. Yeah they replied. Cha Chang I thought, too easy! A short while later I tagged onto the back of the group and realized they were just riding the regular loop. Dang, no biggie, I might as well do the regular loop first before looking for the enduro course.
The Wombat was in OK condition — maybe 60% dry, 20% damp and the remaining 20% slippery, greasy, muddy, water logged, dark colored goo. It’s funny at the start of a wet ride, you kind of slow down for the puddles, skirt around the deeper mud, in an effort to keep you and the bike clean I guess. At some point the clean battle is lost, and the wet and muddy ride becomes a lot more fun.
With the regular loop in the bag and the bike pretty well goo’d up I went in search of the enduro loop and it didn’t take long to find it once I’d spotted a few painted markings and tire tracks. What a sweet ride it is too! More change in elevation compared to most of the Wombat Track, some fast flowy sections especially across gullies, some structures and obstacles, idyllic thick green ferns and red clay that feels like you’re slipping and sliding in northern Qld rainforest. Tip: A balding Crossmark on the rear is probably not the grippiest tire option in these conditions 🙂
The loop should make for an excellent Mountain Challenge Enduro event, and a great addition to the regular Wombat Track circuit afterwards. Bunch of thanks to the Wombat MTB crew.
I get the feeling that many more MTB mysteries remain hidden in the Wombat Forest… looking forward to heading back and continuing the quest already!
Footnote: So at this stage I’m not sure how far it is back to the van and there isn’t much time left as I need to be back home to pick up my daughter from school and it’s close to an hour’s drive back to Castlemaine…
Lost in the forest, late for picking up your kids from school. Only one thing to do:
I made it back in time… just! 😛