The growing popularity of bikepacking races like the Tour Divide, Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail Race are spurring local riders to peruse maps, scheme, then trail blaze some routes here in Oz. After all, we certainly have the land area for it, if not quite the 14 000ft mountains. No problem though, as the organisers just run you up and down the hills a number of times!
|Photo courtesy of CTR site.|
Seriously though, planning and mapping these routes really is a labour of love. Ex Brisbane-ite and seriously talented MTBer, Ryan Hawson is the organiser of a race/ride along the Great Dividing Trail in Victoria's goldfields area.
|Photo courtesy of Tour Divide site|
These "races" are just a line on a map. Apart from turning up at a designated start point at a designated time, you do everything else on your own. There is no outside support. From an organiser's point of view this keeps the logistics and hopefully, liabilitiy to an absolute minimum and from a racers point of view it means no entry fee(or prizes), just the satisfaction of covering the nominated distance in the best time that you can, while sourcing all of your needs from the countryside and communities that you pass through.
Here is the route as hosted on the track leaders website.
It is about 384km (240mi) with 9000m (29 500ft) of climbing. Not bad for a flat country! From 7am Eastern Daylight Savings Time on the 9th of March, you will be able to watch the progress of racers/riders on this map thanks to the Spot trackers they will be carrying.
I am hoping to be one of those dots crawling across your screen but clearly I need to get out there and do some riding! Realistically there isn't much I can do to improve my fitness in the next 18 days, so some long slow rides to get the backside used to the saddle is probably the best preparation I can do at this late stage.
Oh, and pray for a roster that gives me the time off to have a go!