One of the good things about being a slightly successful cycling magazine writer, is that every once in a while I get the opportunity to do something really cool. A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a magazine editor asking me if I'd like to take part in a fully supported off-road ride through the South Australian outback. Obviously my answer was YES!!!!, and as a result in about 6 weeks I'm flying off to Adelaide to take part in the Bike SA Outback Odyssey. It's going to be an amazing adventure, however the prospect of putting in big days in the dirt is a little daunting at this point in time - basically since my bout of pleurisy late last year I've become as soft as a Caramello.
Accurate depiction of my toughness at this point in time.
Fortunately, it's not all terrible news. Since November last year I've been competing a lot in foot orienteering events, and have managed to work my way up to the hardest level of competition. This has managed to keep my fitness ticking along, it's just that that my bike handling skills, particularly in the dirt, could best be described as weak - powerful weak. With the Outback Odyssey departure date drawing ever closer, my intertia was finally overridden by my fear of failure in the South Australian outback, and I decided I needed to get bush to rebuild my skills and test out some new kit. Still too lazy to load up my car and drive somewhere, I decided to find the adventure right outside my front door, and explore more of the massively underrated southern section of the D'Aguilar National Park.
Here we go again
The boundary of D'Aguilar National Park is only about 10km or so west of the centre of Brisbane. However as it's largely undeveloped with no vehicular access, combined with steep trails, there are generally very few visitors on the trails on any given day. Having said that, some of the trails (particularly South Boundary Road), and popular with cross-country mountain bikers as a traffic-free off-road route to the top of Mt Nebo. There are number of bush camps and huts dotted around the mountainsides, which are also largely unused as the general public are mostly unaware of their existence. My destination today was the Light Line Road bush camp. A few years ago I tried unsuccessfully to reach the camp - however today I'd be travelling solo, taking an alternative route through Samford and up the fabled Goat Track, returning through the township of Mt Nebo, before a long undulating descent down South Boundary Rd into the north-western suburbs of Brisbane. I didn't have very far to ride (only about 40km from home to camp), and a whole day to do it in - so I decided to take the video camera along for the ride to try and get some footage.
The ride from my place to Samford Rd is usually a nightmare at any time, but on a loaded touring bike it's an outright hellscape. After taking much longer than necessary taking a convoluted series of backroads and bike paths I eventually I reached Ferny Grove train station, where my overnight adventure really began...