Gears and Beers 2018

WAGGA WAGGA, NSW – SEPT 29 – OCT 1, 2018

This year Ben, Jaeryl, Binglin, Jay, and I took part in Gears and Beers, Wagga Wagga’s annual cycling and craft beer festival. The event itself consists of 5 road races and 2 gravel races all of varying distances. We took part in the “Filthy 50” which is the shorter of the gravel races at 50km.

Day 1:

After a quick meet up early lunch at the Old Canberra Inn and picking up some quality snags from Lyneham butcher, we prepared for the trip up to Wagga Wagga. The cars were packed to the bim, the bikes where strapped to the back and were on our way. The drive was pretty uneventful, Jay, Binglin, and Ben in one car Jaeryl and I in another.

After a few stuff-arounds with forgetting things and needing to buy ice for the esky, Jaeryl and I met the others at our campsite. We all set up our tents before unloading the bikes and hitting up the Thirsty Crow Brewery for a beer and to check out the bicycle showcases on display. Once we got back to camp we set up the BBQ for a smorgasbord of award-winning sausages and an early night to prep for the next morning of cycling fun.

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Day 2:

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The day of the event I whipped up some bacon and egg rolls on the BBQ and the five of us head down to the starting line for the launch of the Filthy 50.

The weather was amazing that day, not a single cloud in the sky. There was a nice cool breeze pumping that fresh air into the lungs and the scenery along the dirt roads was stunning.

It was a bit lonely though. Jaeryl and I lost the others at the starting line and then I lost Jaeryl up the first hill. So the following two hours it was me, myself and I pedaling along, enjoying the ride, talking to other riders and pushing my limits. Which was good, but next time I want to try and stick with the group a bit more.

After the ride, we all gathered together and went to enjoy the festivities. I didn’t get many photos of this, as I was too busy drinking beer and enjoying the festival food. That’s a sign of a good festival right?

Some beers of note were a lamington stout and vanilla milk stout from the local brewery, Thirsty Crow. Their summer ale was also pretty great and well welcomed after the bike ride.

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Day 3:

Day 3 was a nice,  chill public holiday day. We took a beautiful, albeit slightly sketchy, early morning bike ride along the Murrumbidgee and a quick jaunt around town before having breakfast, packing up, and heading home to crash on the couch.

 

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We had a fantastic adventure riding around Wagga Wagga and taking in the sights. So much so, that we have already booked tickets for next years challenge, pushing ourselves to complete the Dirty 130, 130km in one day of sealed and unsealed roads.

Anyone wanting to hit us up and come join in the adventures is welcome.

Article by Eddy L
Photos by Eddy, Gears and Beers Photographers, OAUS

Editing Alex

 

Charlottes Pass to Mt Kosciuszko

In January, my friend Shell and I hiked the Main Range at Kosciuszko National Park. It was my friend’s first attempt at self-sustained hiking-camping and I was there as I had previous experience.

We registered at the Jindabyne Visitors Centre and hired a personal life beacon (PLB).  The rangers at the centre warned us of a cold front closing in that evening. We decided to continue, but with caution and contingency plans in mind.

We parked at Charlotte Pass, and there a ranger approached us.  He (She?) advised us that track to Blue Lake via the Snowy River  became impassable from the previous night’s heavy rainfall. With the ranger’s help we took an alternative route; backtracking towards Wilkinson’s Creek, passing Seaman’s Hut, which we could use if things turned bad.

For three hours we hired before reaching the hut.  Upon entering the hut, we met a group of dishevelled men stoking the fire to dry their clothes.  They had camped their from the night before, beginning their hike at 9pm and were caught in the downpour.  They were not prepared as most wore only running gear with nothing for the rain. The group have been friends for nearly twenty years and catch up annually to hike.  As unprepared as they were, they needed to make their way back, even if their clothes were damp. Shell and I told them of the ranger at the base of the mountain, if they needed the help.

Across the valley, you could see the low-laying clouds roll down the hills and across the track in thick blankets.  Shell said it was like the scenes from Game of Thrones, when the white walkers attack. Laughing, we kept joking about white walkers.

The hike was an easy 8km flat path to Mouth Kosciuszko, stopping frequently to snap photos of the spectacular views the National Park offered.

We were approached by rangers and the police if we had seen a group of young women wearing summer clothing during our walk.  We told them we hadn’t, but would keep an eye for them. It is common on nature reserves where extreme conditions occur and some travellers have not given enough research or preparation.  And when this happens, they need to be rescued.

After summiting the highest peak, Shell and I headed back down to Wilkinson’s Creek to find a place set up camp.  We found a beautiful location that overlooked the river, with large rocks to shelter the tents from the strong winds.  But after some dinner, the weather deteriorated. Shell agreed that we should make for Seaman’s hut. As we packed down our camp, the wind increased (later reported to be seventy kilometres per hour), then rain poured down, then hail, and then snow.  When we were about halfway there, a thick fog smothered us, and we were only able to see two metres in front of us.

At last light, we reached the hut.  We quickly built a fire in the draughty stove and hung everything up to dry.  We tried to sleep, but the wind howled through through the night, rattling windows and doors and screaming through the wood burner chimney.

The next morning, we could see snow on the doors and windows.  Exhausted from the stressful night, and finding the day in a snowstorm, we returned to car, instead of risking completing the circuit.

We we returned to the Visitor’s Centre to return the PLB, we heard that another group of hikers were rescued after their tents failed in the storm.

In the end, it didn’t go as planned, but Shell got some camping experience and I learned a new way to build a fire in draughty conditions. And we got to see some beautiful country with good company.

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Gibraltar Peak

Gibraltar Peak hike, a 17km day hike clockwise from the Tidbinbilla Visitor’s centre including circumnavigation of Mt Eliza, the Congwarra trail, and unintentional 2 bonus hills. The first of many Jay and Shell adventures.

Using the Avenza maps app, which didn’t show some of the walking tracks, and the Visitor’s Centre brochure that didn’t show topography other than rivers, we went east from the Visitor’s Centre to bonus hill 1 (760m above sea level). After getting back on the right track we climbed to the saddle between Mt Eliza and Gibraltar Peak and had morning tea at a really unique picnic table made from local trees.

Climbing up to Gibraltar Peak (1040m) there were lots of granite tors to climb, ranging in size from car to house sized. They were rounded and weathered, and hollow sounding in some places. The peak is a sacred Aboriginal site where men would gather to teach and share cultural lore. The top was rocky, with views of the Tidbinbilla range partially hidden by fog, and a short tunnel between rocks on the very top.

Down, then west to the Dalsetta carpark, through peppermint gums, grasslands, and kangaroos. Thanks to misleading signage we ended up on bonus hill 2, Turkey Hill (760m). Retracing our steps, we took the Congwarra trail along the river. June is the best time to find fungi in the area, and we saw lots of unusual fungi that looked like everything from cauliflower to dried leaves.

Kangaroos bounded ahead along the track, and scattered into the (shallow) river and the bush. We returned to the Visitor’s Centre by going east along the foot of Mt Eliza, where there were even more kangaroos. Overall it was a challenging hike through beautiful country with lots to discover and climb.

Written by Shell from streamgenerator.com

Honeysuckle campground to Booroomba Rocks hike

Honeysuckle campground to Booroomba Rocks hike, 10-11km return. Another Jay and Shell adventure.

Starting from the Honeysuckle campground, we walked along part of the Australian Alps Walking Track to the Booroomba Rocks carpark. This section of the track meandered through damp eucalypt forest with lots of moss and lichen. Lots of the lichen and small plants were frozen and distorted, and there was frost in the shade.

July is a magical time to do this hike. We saw needle ice on the track, which is formed by frozen water pushing up through the dirt. About two-thirds of the way to the Booroomba Rocks carpark was a huge granite slab, dotted with pools of ice. These, and the needle ice, were fun to play with and walk on.

Up until Booroomba Rocks carpark we hadn’t seen anyone else on the track. The climb from the carpark to Booroomba Rocks was very popular, and the top was covered with people. We bush-bashed through scrub and rocks to the iconic rocky top. Eventually we found an unoccupied flat lunch spot with views towards Black Mountain. Here, at the very top of Booroomba Rocks, it was still sunny and warm enough for plants to flower, even though the wind was a bit too cold for us.

The climb down was fun, we really tested the limits of our hiking poles and descended fast. The icy pools at the granite slab were still mostly frozen in the afternoon, though starting to thaw around the edges. Overall a great adventure in a beautiful and frosty playground.

Written by Shell from streamgenerator.com