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jethro's picture

Mt Joyce MTB Winter Adventure

I took a day off and went over to Mt Joyce for a day of Mountain Biking. Ok so there was 4 hours of driving and only 2 of riding but that was an excellent 2 hours!

Situated at the beautiful Wyaralong dam the Mt Joyce MTB tracks are a world class facility with graded trails from beginner to Extreme Downhill.

An easy roll down and up the bottom of the dam leads to the trail head on the western side of the dam wall where there is a map.


I took the advice of some other riders and rode up the fire trail. Ok I said rode, but there was a lot of walking involved as it is stupidly steep in places – more like a stair master than a fire trail.


This is a view from the steepest part looking back over the dam – you can just see the track below the handlebars.

Once at the top of the fire trail you get to this map.


I chose to ride Big Bertha, then Tuna Chunks dropping into Bovine Groove.

Big Bertha is a lot of tight bermed switchbacks with massive drops down the side of a cliff – that was a lot of fun!. Tuna Chunks was a bit more easy – there’s a bit of a video here – very wobbly as i did it with my phone while riding one handed though occasionally needing the front brakes!

This is a very fun descent – its not too hard and there was only one spot I had to dab. Its mostly gentle rolling and nice berms. pretty cruisy really. I finished up at the Tunnel vision pipe back onto the fire trail about half way down where I dropped into a nice down hill called escape that drops down to the lake side and secret valley. Once again lots of bermed corners and a gentle rolling ride. It finishes with a big banked wooden bermed wall – but i saw it too late and didn’t have enough speed up to ride it.


From Secret Valley where i saw this sign i decided to ride up the Grass Tree Trail and then do the Black Rock Downhill and finish with Pork Chops. Those trails are more visible on the lower scale map above.


Grass tree trail was steep but only in patches – i managed to ride a fair bit of it. there were lots of grass trees or black boys as they are known here.


I did take a rest part way up and look back over the track.


These three photos attempt to show the steepness of the last section. Here the Downhill Track is running alongside the fireroad so you can get some idea of what to expect. It is a black diamond track so advanced riders only should be attempting this.


At the top there are two signs. the first identifies a rim track that circles around to the other spur i rode up first. effectively the Mt Joyce summit is above us her and the two trail heads are on the spurs of parallel ridges with a big valley in between. the ridgeline track circles around between the two spurs. a trip for another day!


Today i was only interested in the downhill so black rock got hammered – i loved this downhill. There were only two sections I stopped and checked before just nailing it down them – next time I’ll know the ideal line to take.

After Black Rock I dropped left onto Pork chops and then right out into the secret valley and back to the picnic area there.

From there I rode the shoreline and back out to the dam wall and back to the car. Small video here of the shoreline heading to grasstree and then heading back to the dam.


The eastern side of the dam is a lovely spot with viewing platforms and picnic areas and a large carpark.


A nice day’s ride and only about a 4 on Neils tough-o-meter – but a 8.5 on the downhill fun factor!

Here is my Garmin data.



jethro's picture

In the moment

Like most people I have lots of little stressors, things to think about and do, tasks and responsibilities. Nothing exciting there.

So its really nice when i can escape the morass of dealing with life and go and experience moments of full immersion in the outdoors. Today was one of those days. I was conscious of completely ignoring email, phone calls, clients, finances, staff and other things. I was completely in the moment, struggling with the pain in my legs, exulting in the adrenalin, revelling in the speed, the control and the fun of pelting downhill flat out, the detail of the tyre tracks on the ground in front of me, even the bluish green shine to large pieces of animal dung.

Today I joined a ride that was supposed to be a 68km round trio from Beerburrum to Woodford and back through the Glasshouse mountains. I didn’t make it back because i suffered some mild heat issues, and some major cramping. Didn’t stop me riding the first half though. and I loved every minute of not being in my home office.

Right now I’m loving being in the office with the aircon running and a cold drink at hand!

Here are some pics i got with the mobile while on the ride.



And a little video of the steepest uphill climb.

Glashouse Lookout Climb


And finally here is the map and data from Strava.


jethro's picture

Running the Israel National Trail

Sometimes you get to meet the most amazing ordinary blokes. Richard Bowles is one of those quiet types, doesn't push himself forward, not brash or loud, yet there’s a quiet air of forcefulness and purpose about him. I guess running 84km a day for 12 days straight as he’s planning to do needs that.

I first met Richard last year as he was 2,500km into his running of the 5,330km Australian Bicentennial National Trail, or the BNT. He completed that in an amazing 5.5 months. First to do it. Raised awareness for SANE Australia charity.

2013-03-01 Rich Bowles 002I went out to the closest point on the trail to where I lived at Blackbutt and met Rich and Vicky, spent a lovely morning with them photographing them and sharing in their adventures for half a day. You can read that story here.

He backed up from the BNT with the Te Araroa national trail of NZ 3,054km of ruggedness that made the BNT look like a walk in the park – crocodiles not included. Record setting 64 days again.

And now he's off to do the Israel National Trail – with yet another record to be achieved. And this time its going to be an average of 84km a day for 12 days straight.

I interviewed Richard today over lunch and was really struck by the mans intensity, his purpose and his unquenchable desire to live in the moment, fully experience the surroundings and cast off the dross of life. To run on trails that are thousands of years old, where Jesus walked, that are steeped in history and meet all sorts of interesting people.

But as the video below will show there is a lot more work that goes on in the months leading up to the short 12 days of running that is a lot harder than running 84km a day for 12 days. Even just typing that hurts! Thinking about it hurts! Richard doesn’t shy away from the fact that it hurts either. But he’s a man that’s driven to succeed, and quitting just isn’t in his vocabulary.

The Interview

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 197So i went to have lunch with Richard as he was on a flying trip to Brisbane. Once I had picked him up and had him in the car I told him I was planning on interviewing him!

I recorded the interview on my phone and camera but not all of it got onto the video. So some of the questions and answers below are not in the video.

I asked Richard a bunch of really hard hitting serious questions, and got some equally serious (bulls&*t) answers.

I also trialled a new video technique where the person who is being interviewed has their thumb in focus but their face is half missing off in the distance. Fascinating watching their thumb talk. In part 2 I swapped this style for a more traditional (boring) “video the persons face” technique.


I interviewed Rich with tough questions like:

Dealing with fatigue and mental states

Q When you are fatigued, what does the tree look like?

A The tree is way more beautiful when you are fatigued.


Seriously though, its more about how when fatigued he focuses on what he's doing so much more intently, little droplets of water, trees, things around him take focus and how the other stuff in life becomes less. Richard really enjoys running in the bush, and out in the open spaces.

Equipment and safety

Q Was your GPS tracker tied to your hydration bladder?

A Obviously not – i lost it 25 km into the first day in NZ – no one noticed I was standing still for a long time.

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 175White water river crossings and high altitude

Q How do you cope with the dangerous river crossings?

A Crossed the Daintree waist deep with crocodiles – hoping they ate someone the day before and weren’t hungry.

Food and nutrition

Q What do you eat when running?

A Best thing I scored was a packet of Tim Tams in a rubbish bin at a hut.


Q Who's supporting you in Israel?

A “My Partner Vicki – that has lots of complications” breaks into nervous laughter and says “Love you!” suck up.

Language and Culture

Q Do you speak the same language?

A No she speaks shoes.


Ok so there’s more to it than than. Watch the video below.


Richard running circles around the Interviewer–literally

Oh not that one – that’s just silly

Here’s the real interview. Part 1

Will the real Richard Bowles please stand up

Part 2

yay its in focus

And here's the shoe collection and Richard posing a lot for the camera.

2012-07-02 Rich BNT 1122012-07-02 Rich BNT 2192012-07-02 Rich BNT 0662012-07-02 Rich BNT 194

jethro's picture

Allen the bike shop guy living out his faith

So I am in San Antonio. I want to go riding with Gordon. Reggie freakin Regan gave Gordon an old mountain bike but he had only ever ridden it on the road. I had a quick look. Its a decent bike. i pumped up the tyres and checked the brakes. Gordon jumped on for a test ride but the front gears were not working. My wife Judith had given me a list of bike shops here in SA before I left. She is good like that. So I opened them up in a browser and Gordon recognised one shop cyclelogic as being 2 miles away. We go there and the shop was crammed with bikes. Interestingly for me they were Marin dealers. My first bike was a Marin Pine Mountain. Here is a dodgy mobile phone pic of the new 29’er. Anyway we had a great chat, they fixed the gears on the spot and told us where to ride. Local 2012-11-07 16.16.33knowledge is always best. We organised to come back to get a small Issue with my brakes fixed after the ride.
Gordon got lost while we were riding but that is just par for the course with him. It took 30 minutes for me and 4 other riders to find him. I’m getting used to it. If I was Jeanene I would have had him fitted with a GPS tracker under his skin by now.

After a great ride  we headed back to the shop. I had noticed that they had a fish sign on the business card and a crown of thorns hanging above the counter. I said “hey we are Christians too” and asked about the crown of thorns.

Allen told us a story in the most humble way about how he had helped a blind girl who wanted to ride by getting her and her mother fixed up with a tandem bike and how they had hand made this crown and given it to him. They were so touched by the way he had helped when no other shop would.
While he was telling the story we were both fascinated and my gut feeling was that this guy was living out his High Calling in his shop. In fact he said what he does is help people and that his work place just looked like a bike shop. After telling him a bit about why we were here and www.thehighcalling.org website he recognised the radio broadcasts and said he listened to them each morning.
Allen is a real neat bloke. His shop is great. i can heartily recommend him.