‘It just goes straight through you, literally like shit’
An apt description of our pre race nutrition plan.
The description highlighted a number of things,
1. The Hume Hwy is void of any quality food outlets, as you run the gauntlet of fast food, truck stop bain-marie or the service station lucky dip, and;
2. That pre-race quantity fast food will (not surprisingly), go through you like you just opened a sewer pipe.
Despite the rough start, it is always a pleasure arriving in the North East Victorian town of Bright, especially when it involves riding in perfect 27-degree, blue sky conditions. We (a team of 3) travelled from Melbourne and were in much better condition than previous years and excited of the prospect of riding the mtb trails at Bright.
It has been 12 months since I was last in town and it seemed like there was regeneration of sorts, happening in the town. New business’s opening, last year’s new outlets thriving and Bright Brewery expanding its footprint, all embracing riders that have come to this event, the Gravity 12 Hour.
While the name is misleading for international visitors, the event is a classic 12 hour XC/Endurance event. Not to be confused with a European gravity style ride (eg Mega Avalanche) or an AM Enduro race (eg TransProvence).
As a side note , local rider Ben Watkins has recently created a AM series, utilising the North East trails, known as the Yeti Elevation All Mountain Victorian Series – capitalising on the increased global interest on this type of riding and event. Let’s hope the organisers have a successful start to the new venture and race format.
The course was slightly longer that last year, but from all accounts it was well received and featured some of the best trails that Bright has to offer. The event also acts as a tasting plate, if you will, of the potential that Bright has as an attractive town for mountain bike tourism. And given the whispers on the day, there are big plans to take Bright as a mountain bike destination, to the next level. With talk of Forrest style trail network, capturing all levels of riders with easy access to the town and linking into the current crop of singletrack trails, , Bright is one place to watch over the next 12-18 months.
The rider numbers were up on last year and the decision last year to move this event to Bright and utilise the caravan park in the centre of town, as the race village, was a smart move by the organisers. This convenience and access to the town services, accommodation and restaurants is a major attraction for riders and finding that place that offers a great mix options, acts as a catalyst for future visits throughout the year.
I believe that the North East of Victoria has some of the most exciting mountain biking options available. With Beechworth, Mt Beauty, Bright, Mt Buller and trail building underway at Falls Creek, riders now have a variety of options to choose from. Proactive investment from both public and private enterprises will only improve the offer for riders, with increased volume of trails, quality trail building and customised services aimed squarely at mountain bikers.
A recent conversation with Glen Jacobs from World Trail indicated that we are only at the tip of the iceberg with regards to trail building and development in Australia. Over the next 10 years we are going to be seeing some exciting developments unfold, as the wider community, councils and planners begin to see, understand and implement a cycle tourism plan, with mountain bikers well catered for.
If you are keen to ride the trails in Bright, head to the local bike shop, Cyclepath to get directions to some of the gems on offer. The lack of a detailed trail map and clear signage is Bright’s downfall; however once this is sorted, you can expect to see many more riders to on the Bright mtb trails.