It was pretty obvious from the outset that I wouldn’t be riding this epic alone. One mention of this legendary trail and friends came flocking. Who wouldn’t want to ride what is arguably our country’s greatest back-country trail? It’s not a matter of ‘who you gonna call’ but who wouldn’t you call.
So, after one postponement due to severe weather we teamed up to tackle the trail for a couple of days. While not my first overnight riding adventure, it would be one of my longest climbs hauling gear to the tops. I wondered as I packed if there are riding Sherpas out there anywhere, or is this what mates are for? These were my thoughts as I squeezed my weighty overnight gear and mapping equipment into drybags the night before the trip.
Arrival at the trailhead at Lyell saw us hooded up for shelter as the drizzly clag drifted through. If the misty rainforest was not scary enough, visiting the bush cemetery behind the trailhead was freakily spooky – spooky, but cool. The sandflies here are anything but cool, pass the repellent! After double-checking the tracking of my GPS units, we started the climb with our bikes fully laden for our overnight adventure.
The climb is impressive; it’s a bit of a gut-buster – a thousand metres primarily on old pack track to the sub-alpine tops. As we pass some big slips, the mist starts to dissipate letting warm sunbeams penetrate the forest canopy. A group of kākā spiralled, plummeted and screeched out of the mists. With our heads down, muscles taut, pedalling and sweating for the tops in the filtered light, this will be with me forever. Every moment was a biking blessing.