Guest blog by Libby Hurley Pushbikes/Giant Ambassador
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited on a multi-day mountain bike trip on The Old Ghost Road with "The Richards" and their MTB mates. It’s safe to say that last weekend was an experience I will never forget, for more reasons than one. By the end of the trail, I didn’t know whether to cry or smile or both. It was just one of those moments when you know you’ve personally put yourself through more than you could handle and you’ve come out the other side. Glad to be there in that moment, but also glad that you've achieved something that seemed out of reach at times throughout the journey.
Parts of the terrain were extremely challenging, but the views, scenery and surroundings were absolutely breathtaking. It is evident that many volunteers have worked for endless hours to form the track. You can see that people have put their hearts into creating a trail along a route they believe to be a place that everyone should experience. The places the trail takes you are just incredible.
The trail itself is overall very technical, they aren’t kidding when they say there are areas of Grade 5 in there. There is a section called "Skyline Steps" between Ghost Lake Hut and Stern Valley Hut which had to be walked, as well some very tight switch backs. For the most part, the trail, while challenging, was ridable and very enjoyable.
Lyell to Ghost Lake Hut was manageable for most mountain bikers. Some lovely trail through forest to begin and the day ended with a short walkable piece of rough trail and a nice downhill to the hut.
As you can imagine, there was a lot of banter and acting the goat throughout the whole trip. A few "what happens on tour, stays on tour" moments, and a whole lot of laughs. Aside from the jokes, the bunch were amazing company. What I loved and appreciated most about the group was the way they all looked out for each other. Everyone knew who to hassle for a laugh and who to look out for when they needed a hand. The camaraderie was hilarious, and it’s even better when the fire in the DOC hut is cranking and there’s no cell phone reception or contact with the outside world.
When we departed from Ghost Lake Hut early morning, we very quickly came to the most technical part of the track which consisted of some tight downhill switch backs and a few obstacles you’d rather not go over the handle bars for. Before meeting the hardouts of the group at Stern Valley Hut, we went through what was one of the most enjoyable pieces of the track, through the forest just easy going with lots of downhill.
It involved all sorts; just imagine every type of trail you could ride and put it all together into a day. Crossing swing bridges, navigating chunky rocks, steep uphill and downhill, gravel, smooth track, slips, roots, forest, tight corners, wide and narrow track, small rises, big climbs, water crossings, steep banks at the edge of the track, views, mud, fog – everything!
After a well-deserved break at the Seddonville Pub, it was time to unwillingly get back on the saddle for 20km and make our way to Miners on Sea in Granity. (Top notch accommodation and food - would highly recommend this place if you’re heading to the Coast.
Day 3 was completed with a 95km road ride from Granity back to Lyell to pick up the cars, which would not have been made possible without the use of gurney-goo or bum-butter.
I ended up taking a few spills due to a lack of experience on the mountain bike, but at the same time, I learnt more than I ever thought possible over two days. It proves being thrown in the deep end can pay off if you’re willing to pick yourself up and learn every time you make a mistake.
Thank you so much, Hayley and Pete, for the opportunity!