When people talk about Mt Buller, they usually talk about going there to ski or snowboard. However, a mate of mine has been working for World Trail, a company run by a Glen Jacobs, a quite famous identity in the mountain biking scene, responsible for an Australian TV show called the Chosen Line.
Working for World Trail has meant going around Australia, creating and restoring mountain bike tracks and Bike Buller, the project to turn Buller into a Whistler-of-Australia location has been in the progress for some time now.
Whilst I’m quite a novice with the mountain bike, what better time ‘have a go’ than when my expert mate is in town.
So the plan – go up on Saturday morning, do a run in the afternoon, do some runs on Sunday morning and return Sunday afternoon. Easy!
Whilst there are so many tracks up there, the ones which my mate selected are:
- Stonefly – a 10km ‘advanced endurance’ (I did not know this detail at the time of riding) single track going up Mt Sterling
- Copperhead – a short, flow down trail near the Buller centre
- Delatite River Trail – a 9km downhill trail
The plan was to get some exercise on the Stonefly, then enjoy the flow and downhill sections of Copperhead and Delatite.
So.. how did I fare?
Stonefly… Let me just begin by going to the end. The end being back at the Bike Buller Lodge (the Merrijig ski lodge, being run at the time by a guy called Petri), sitting around with the other riders who were up there. Conversion went like this…
“Hey, so what trails did you hit out this afternoon?”
“My mate and I did Stonefly”
“Stonefly?? You must love pain. I mean, you must like whipping yourself with a cat-o-nine-tails, rolling in razor wire then pouring vinegar all over your back for 2 hours…”
And you know what? After I don’t know how many stacks I had but I can see what he means, especially for a novice. That being said, I’m sure if you were a more experienced rider, the pain would be much less! But I did it and once you get to the top of Mt Sterling, it was definitely well worth it!
Going down was another experience in itself! Plenty of narrow sections, rocks, fast corners, sharp hairpins… It was fantastically frightening!
After dinner, we decided that you can’t go to Buller without actually going up Buller, so off to the top we went!
The next day was a run down the Delatite River Trail. Now this was awesome. High speed sections, rocks to dodge, log crossings, and most importantly, down hill (except for 1 small hill near the end). Also had a go on my mate’s downhill bike with some ridiculously expensive front forks (RS BoXXers?) and the confidence you get on that bike on a track like this is amazing.
Also managed to do Copperhead 4 times. Each time just got better. For me, the start of the track can really put a smile on your face as you pull your bike around the highly cambered corners. The middle rock crossing sections of the mountain is slows things down right before you hit the trees once more, with opportunities to jump corners (I didn’t do this… too chicken) before you hit the final run where you can slalom down the hill to the bottom, reaching one of the carparks. Normally, early in Summer, the chair lift is running which allows you to get back to the top, but when we were there, the only mode of transport is if you pay for a shuttle ride. As we had two vehicles, we’d just park one down the bottom and one at the top.
All in all, a fantastic weekend. Can’t wait to get back here!
Note: I brought my Panasonic camera for the trip, but stupidly forgot to put the memory card in before I left. Therefore all photos were taken with my Blackberry at the time.