Walking the Tasmania Trail - Three old blokes tackle the Tasmania Trail - CycleBlaze

March 21, 2022

Walking the Tasmania Trail

New Norfolk to Judbury

We knew today was going to be a tough day with the 2nd highest climb of the trail and reports that the track wasn’t in great condition. First breakfast. Our B and B served a full breakfast that we selected the night before. We ticked every option available and it was worth it! We rolled out by 8.30 and faffed  around in New Norfolk topping up on provision as the next shop was 2 days riding away.

Coffee time! We’re starting to look a bit dishevelled.
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Cherie McLeanNot bad for three old blokes!
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8 months ago

The first half hour we spend rolling down the valley to Lachlan before turning off onto a dirt road that meandered for a while before pitching up into the hills. We climbed for about an hour and found a shady verge on a hairpin bend for morning tea. So far so good. The road is really smooth, steep in parts but we figured we were half way up the climb and it was only 11am. We should make Judbury by 2pm and for once get in early to camp.

Rolling into Lachlan
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Thinking wistfully.
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As we were packing  up an old guy in a beaten up Daihatsu Charade with a plastic sheet instead of a back window pulled over and asked us if we’d ridden this road before. He smiled when we answered and said ‘good luck’. His place was just around the corner and not far past that the road turned from a smooth tarmac to a rocky bumpy track. It was still rideable, but much slower going. Then 2 forestry guys came walking down the hill towards us checking on their plantation. They’d walked 8ks and left their 4 wheel drive up the hill as it was un-drivable. Two corners later we could see why.

Just one pothole too many.
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For the next hour we were on and off the bikes at regular intervals before spying a grassy knoll just below the road and stopping for lunch. The 4 wheel drive brigade have made this track an absolute dogs breakfast. And there’s a lot of litter mainly consisting of energy drink and beer cans. But the environment is stunning. It is what I’d imagined the Tasmanian wilderness to be like.

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The track continues to deteriorate so we’re mainly walking, trying to get past lakes in the road and scrambling up steep rocky pitches. It’s now 3pm and we’re still climbing although a couple of wrong turns and wasted effort backtracking didn’t help.

My phone finally pings with Optus reception signalling the top. My first message is that Cherie’s landed in Hobart. In that flight time of 90 minutes I think we might have covered 3 kilometres.

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Going down was somewhat easier. The steeper pitches were unridable but at least gravity was on our side. The brakes were on all the time and you needed to stop to prevent the discs overheating and to give your fingers a rest. One section was like a dry riverbed with loose round pebbles that bounced the front wheel around wickedly. One of my water bottles bounced out somewhere never to be seen again.

And down we go!
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The road slowly improved as we descended further and there were longer gaps between dismounting until we crossed a stream and joined a regular mildly corrugated dirt road. It felt like a velodrome!

The last 10 ks were a breeze as we followed a gently undulating road along the river valley to Judbury. After another wrong turn and another unnecessary hill climb we found the rec ground and set up camp behind the oval.

There’s no showers here and we’re caked in mud but a dip in the chilly Huon river makes us half respectable.

It was a memorable days riding and probably the worst road I’ve ever ridden on in all my touring adventures. It’s great to do it with mates. To top off a special day we all got 3 in Wordle.

Today's ride: 52 km (32 miles)
Total: 617 km (383 miles)

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