If you keep tabs on mountain biking via print or social media, you’d know that the state of Tasmania is right at the front line of current Australian trail networks.
It feels as though every week brings a new development or a new announcement for the benefit of us all. The Apple Isle has always been a haven of indulgence for foodies and wine lovers, but this beautiful state has swiftly developed into a burgeoning MTB paradise.
Mountain Biking at the Blue Derby - Tasmania
The team from World Trail have had a hand in creating plenty of trails throughout Australia, and the crown jewel might just be Blue Derby in Tasmania’s northeast. With roughly forty kilometres of existing trail, there is ample variety to keep even the XC whippets satisfied. However, this isn’t just a bench-cut highway through the native forests, there are some seriously difficult lines available for the daredevils among us.
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The Atlas - Blue Derby
The latest masterpiece, ‘Atlas’, starts high above the existing trail network and is a ten-kilometre journey through at least three different types of forestry on an endless ribbon of fast, flowing single track. Although there is some climbing involved, the length of the track makes it feel like you are descending for an eternity.
As with all Word Trail designs, there is a certain comfort in the manner with which they build a trail and we had no hesitation in trying to lose each other on our first run.
Once you have the lay of the track sorted, there is a host of new possibilities opening up with hidden gaps, drops and technical lines to explore. This track will continue to deliver well into the future and we see this becoming one of Australia’s all time favourite trails.
The Black Dragon - Blue Derby
Even though ‘Atlas’ is a stunning piece of work, the significantly shorter ‘Black Dragon’ trail was the one we’ve been continually talking about since visiting.
There is always heated discussion around the lack of technical features on modern trails-this argument ends right here on the rock faces. Without being absolutely sure, I’d be pretty happy to bet the elite riders in the build crew decided to build a trail that challenges them and see how everyone else handles it.
After the shock of our initial ride through, there was zero hesitation in riding up and giving this trail another whirl. We were not prepared in the slightest for the steep and tight nature of ‘Black Dragon’ however, we wouldn’t change it for the world - we absolutely loved it!
Knowing the technical nature of the descent sent a few shivers through our spine, the climb back up is unquestionably the most technical ascent we’ve ever completed. Good luck with that.
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Is the Blue Derby only for advanced mountain bike riders?
Blue Derby appealed to us due to the technical aspect of the advanced trails, but don’t let this deter you from experiencing it all for yourself.
A beginner rider would comfortably clear 60-70% of the trails and the faster riders would enjoy them just as much with added speed.
There is a very natural progression through the network from blue trails up to the double black and you can plan a proper ride to cater for any skill level.
See also: The famous Cape to Cape
A final word on Mountain Biking through the Blue Derby
These trails are worthy of being a destination on their own! The abundance of trails throughout Tasmania means you should be hassling your buddies for a trip right away.