The North-east will have you wanting to talk dirty, that’s for sure…
(Remember not all tracks are open over Winter – make enquiries before you head off!)
Even though I am still new to the sport, one thing I love about mountain biking is the surprises. You never really know what’s in store, what’s around the corner… Friends own a rural property and for a long time they wondered who had abandoned a shopping trolley near their front gate, and why… They didn’t find out until down the track that it actually marked the beginning of a mountain bike area built by locals. They’d be driving past it day-in-day-out and had no idea.
The Dirty Dozen in Victoria’s north-east needs no shopping trolley markers! The name refers to 12 of the best mountain biking tracks in the north-east, spanning Bright, Mt Beauty, Falls Creek, Mt Buller and Beechworth. Some time ago stakeholders submitted applications of trails to make the dirty mix, and this was the batch ultimately selected.
Local mountain bike clubs specific to each area are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the trails, which cater to a range of skills and experience. So what’s on offer?
Mystic in Bright looks after the beginner right through to the experienced mountain biker. Trails are mostly handbuilt and take riders through plantation pines as well as echoes of the area’s gold mining legacy. Mystic is a mountain biker’s paradise, but it’s also a commercial pine plantation area, and is an example of different groups all working together to create an outcome looking after all interests.
Expect along the way exposed roots, dust, hard-pack, pine needles, rock, mud, tree cover, riverside tracks and some rough riding that will appeal to those who like it technical. Our Commonaero friends were all over Mystic when we visited – check out what they have to say.
Mt Beauty’s Big Hill Mountain Bike Park, would have to be one of the country’s best downhill and cross country areas. This place is home to many a race, including the National Championships. Test yourself on the State or National courses, or head into the myriad trails through the forest, National Park and High Plains. You are going to want to set aside some time to really get to know this Park – it’s totally worth it. Again, the Commonaeros soaked it all up – check out what they have to say here.
The purpose built tracks along Falls Creek are really going to get you fired up. Choose between three cross country or one downhill, which is set along the ski run. And get ready for a LOT more – Falls is expecting some 13 purpose built trails covering 40km of terrain come 2016/17. The Commonaeros are excited! Falls Creek is currently home to the Alpine Assault, a 100km MTB endurance challenge that takes off from above the snowline and drops down, over rivers and incorporating some of Big Hill’s features. Awesome.
Cool off with a craft brew at the Bright or Sweetwater Breweries
Say hello to mountain biking paradise. When it comes to Mt Buller, where do you begin? Probably with Epic, the first IMBA accredited trail in Australia. Incorporating Soul Revival, One Tree Hill, Gang Gangs, Picnic Trail, Cornhill Trail, Woolybutt and Stonefly, Epic is some 40km of Intermediate to Advanced MTB riding. Alternatively, consider trails independently – Copperhead is the first ever flow down trail in Australia, Delatite River Trail takes you over 13 river crosses, or head to the skills parks and Australia’s first modular pump track.
Last but not least, this neat pack of 12 is rounded off with rides located in Beechworth (around 45 minutes’ drive from Bright). Flame Trees is a fast and flowing track designed and built by Glen Jacobs from World Trail – it runs along the Rail Trail and is an awesome ride for the whole family. Alternatively if you’re after more challenges then go to the Beechworth Mountain Bike Park which, as local Ben Krause explains, will require plenty of concentration.
So what order do you do the Dirty Dozen? When’s the best time to ride? We find out from Ben (owner of the famed Bridge Rd Brewery) and get his thoughts on the Dirty Dozen and specifically mountain bike riding in Beechworth.