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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

Amazing Human Beings

The power of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me. But this last weekend I was treated to some pretty unusual displays of just how incredible humans can actually be.

I attended, photographed and even competed in an ultra running event, the 24 and 48 hour ultra event at I saw people run 280+km (175 miles). I saw records broken, i saw pain and suffering and individual determination and grit, and most importantly I saw the incredible power of encouragement. I saw friends and relatives camp over night in cold uncomfortable conditions in order to be able to get out on the track and walk a couple of laps with competitors and mentally assist them to over come the physical demands they were placing on their systems. i witnessed first hand the incredible power of transformation of a persons face from resigned grit and determination (or even pain) to sheer joy through a simple spoken word – a “you can do it”. I saw the camaraderie of those who shared the same trials, and for a brief 1.5 hours i was amongst it. As I churned out laps (more of a slow grind then a churn) I was guaranteed of numerous encouraging remarks from complete strangers on the sidelines, a “well done Tim” and “you are looking great” from other competitors who went flying past me, and the cheers from the crowd around the timing tent.

And at the end they were no longer strangers. Many of these runners I have seen and photographed (and run with) before, but as Tamyka put it – “you got to be friends with someone you shared the same physical space with for 48 hours!”

The ultra running community is a small tight knit friendly group of positive goal orientated cheerful people. I’m proud to be associated with such amazing human beings.

Here are some pics. More at

 2012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 5752012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 5772012-07-29 Cab 24-48 Event 578

Here are some videos I made also

jethro's picture

Getting in shape for Le Tour de France

Watching cycling in Australia is very much like riding. The time difference to the rest of the world forces us to adopt a lifestyle of late nights and bleary eyed mornings as us dedicated fans adapt to the rigours of the major events leading up to the pinnacle grand event, the Tour de France. The lead up events are all good training. So far I am not doing too well, but I’m starting to get my legs in as I build up for July.

2011-07-22 Col de Galibier 032Warning – mixed metaphors coming – substitution of riding and watching will happen randomly in the following post.
The Giro d’Italia was a poor event for me. After sleeping in at the hotel on the first day i missed the time trial and was booted from the event before it even started. I rode bits of it courtesy of the highlights packages for the minor days and thanks to my media centre i was able to ride the extended longer weekend stages in most cases in one go. Riding after the actual race day though meant a lot of the ambience and excitement wasn’t there. No live twitter feed to cheer me on and no sag wagon to support. No race directors forcing me to stay on course meant a few short cuts occurred and in some cases allowed parts of the stages to be ridden over two days. Towards the end I did put in a marathon three days ride in one early morning and caught up to he field to ride the final two days with the actual race.
This meant I couldn’t compete in the Tour of California which runs at the same time. I did however ride it solo later on. Once again skipping many kilometres but making sure I completed the main mountain stages and time trial.
All this was getting me in good stead for the big event by getting miles into my lounge chair. The tour curtain raiser is the Criterium du Dauphine. I’m ashamed to say I missed the first five stages. With no real excuse either. Just missed them. Stage six was started well but unfortunately i was dropped by the bunch when Wiggens launched off the front of the peloton to drive across to Cadel Evans group. My fault – missing those first 5 stages meant i had no staying power. The race was over when I awoke and I had to back up to where I had left off. Unfortunately this happened three more times in the next 25 kms before I finished the race.
I have two more stages left this weekend to get my legs in. My biorhythms are changing slowly. Come July I hope to be in great form and able to stay with the bunch all the way through. Surely those rest days wont come soon enough. But the excitement, the dedication of all the other fans cheering at their TV screens all around Australia in the dead of the night as our heroes do battle for ultimate glory culminating in the finish on the Champs Elysees three weeks later is just incomparable to any thing else.
This time last year i had no idea that in just a few short weeks i would actually be in France living an absolute dream thanks to HTC. This year unless a miracle happens again I’ll be doing it from my armchair along with all my mates from #sbstdf and #sagwagon.
See you in the peloton.

jethro's picture

Work Life Balance

We hear a lot about work life balance these days. ITs a big problem for a lot of people and its something i definitely struggle with also.

One of the main reasons i struggle with it is because my life is my work. I am passionate and excited about what i do – well most of it anyway, and as such my every waking moment and some of my sleeping ones are planning and thinking about work.

Slide1But what is my work? For me it includes web development, photography, sports coaching and software development (those dreams are nightmares usually). I have fun doing all those things, I love the interaction with clients customers and staff and I am passionate about my art.

My relax and off times are often found with a camera in hand having fun with my family. We go the beach, the park, fly a kite and i have two motives, one is to go and hang our with the girls and have fun and the other is to take some photos. I explore new ideas, try new techniques and still manage to interact with the girls.

My Spiritual side – my Christian life – is completely bound up in who I am and what I do. I am a member of the High Calling Website because i completely believe that my work is as much a part of my spiritual being as anything else. They are featuring a fair number of my photos there in their articles which is fantastic.

My sports and exercise are more than ever involved with my family now. I used to play sports that did not involve the family such as AFL football and Soccer and squash. three years ago i made a decision to quit football, not because i wasn’t excited about playing anymore but because i wanted to put that time into sports and exercise pursuits with my family. Now I run, cycle and exercise with all my family on a regular basis. I still do more extreme riding than the family is up to both on the road and mountain bike.

Slide2So – I reject this common expression of balance as an impossibility. No ones lives are segmented like that.

Instead I prefer an overlapping holistic view that to some extent allows separation but also shows the overlapping nature of life’s components.

How do you manage balance in your life? Do you have techniques or ideas that work for you? Comment below or on Facebook.

Here are some links from The High Calling about balance.

Work-Life Balance Doesn’t Exist

Keeping Your Life Balance