10 Years of Bikepacking racing and more in 24!
Greetings to all and best wishes for this festive season, stay safe and I hope we can catch up if and when you hit the race trails in 2024.
The 2024 program for Breathtaking Events will celebrate 10 years of bikepacking racing since the inaugural Monaro Cloudride 1000k won by the New Zealander legend in his own lifetime Ollie Whaley. Ollie’s been pretty selective with his bikepacking race choices … winning the 2012 Tour Divide, 2014 Monaro Cloudride, 2016 Tour Aotearoa [DQ’d for finishing inside the mandated 10+ days] and the inaugural Tour Te Waipounamu …. and along the way popping out a family.
Ollie heading out in 2014
Hyperbole isn’t my strong point and so when you’re in the race to the bottom to be in the game to stage the ‘THE WOLD'S TOUGHEST BIKE RACE’ it’s time to take “a cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down”. The simple truth is that all bikepacking races are difficult … the weather, the resupply, the emotional head space add layers to the challenge over and above the physical distance, the accumulation of the vertical climbing and hours in the saddle each day. The toughest race in your world is the one you’re doing in the moment. Only you have the answer to meet that challenge. I’m just setting the course. Don’t look at me to provide a solution … look at yourself in the mirror.
Bottom line with all of these races is that they are solo and unsupported. They are not freestyle please yourself navigation. If you ride off course that’s where your race will end. The Breathtaking Events website provides more detail on general race rules and the concept of policing your own ride.
MONARO CLOUDRIDE 1000k
START: Good Friday 6:00am Friday 29 March 2024
REGISTRATIONS OPEN: 1 January 2024
To celebrate this milestone the 2024 Monaro Cloudride will include the [optional] full hard core Tingaringy Wilderness crossing that was part of the initial race route back in 2014 and again in 2015 when US rider Calvin Decker was the winner. As the 2024 race will be counter-clockwise it will be he first time this section has been traversed west to east. If you like your bikepacking tough … your time has come.
Ollie Whaley “if I could have found a cliff to throw my bike off I’d be done with this insanity”
Calvin Decker “So steep … dragging your bike up, holding the brakes while you progress your feet, so the bike doesn’t roll backwards. Your shoes will be destroyed, your achilles will ache, your motivation to live, let alone proceed will shrivel to mere desire not to die alone….”
No great recommendations there … and they don’t send me Christmas cards.
Meanwhile the remainder of the route will remain largely unchanged from 2023. The Hume and Hovel hiking trail after Tumut along the Blowering Dam shoreline remains closed. As with the 2023 race route all private property sections that I’ve previously gained permission to access have been removed. Unfortunately with the laissez-faire approach from random bikepackers following the race route at a time that suits them or ‘it’s on Strava heat map’ isn’t conducive to longer term relationships with landholders nor for the long term sustainability of the Cloudride as a race and or touring route.
Riders can sign up for the Monaro Cloudride and keep their route options open until they arrive at the Snowy River crossing at the bottom of Barry Way before choosing the socks dry option of McKilllops Bridge, the single climb over the Tingaringy Wilderness down to Tubbut or the full crossing via the Laurie Track through to and up Mt Tingaringy to exit out on to Hobbs Rd … just 45k and 2,500Vm. Some 4WD vid here … and a few others on YTube
CLOUDRIDE PROLOGUE 500k
START: Canberra Day Holiday Weekend - 8:00am Saturday 9 March 2024
REGISTRATIONS OPEN: 1 January 2024
The 2023 route will have some recalibration from recent years with more grunt 9,000Vm and variable terrain. It’s mostly a reprint of the south coast flood abandoned route proposed for 2022. The Araluen Road from Moruya has now reopened and following a drive over most of the route last month I can report that in general the south coast roads are in fine flowing order.
As an added attraction the race route will take in some of the new $4.3m Narooma mountain bike trails funded through the 20/21 Fire/Flood recovery program.
Choose your own bike, dually, hard tail, gravel some where along the route you’re going to be on the right bike and be in your happy space.
Subject to rider numbers the start will be at Tharwa at the southern end of Canberra so as to clear the Canberra ‘burbs before heading off. Some re-supply off route at Michelageo otherwise it’s the pub at Cobargo if you can make the 8:00pm kitchen cut-off. Then plenty of accommodation and re-supply up the coast at Bermagui, Narooma, Bodalla, Moruya, Braidwood, Bungendore then through to the finish at Bent Spoke, Braddon.
TERRA AUSTRALIS BIKE EPIC
START: 6:00am Sunday 1 September 2024
REGISTRATIONS OPEN: 1 January 2024
Terra Australis is now clearly moving into realm of the impossible dream. The years roll on and the wait continues for someone else just to finish! The accumulation of DNF’s by the repeat offenders over recent years will end as each puts a final line through their name …. NEVER again!
That said Taylor Herron [DNF 2022] rolled through Canberra recently on a training ride with a new pimped up Salsa Cutthroat and declared his intent to be on the start line in September 2024. Just who else is out there remains to be seen.
As in the past aspirants are welcome to lodge an expression of interest so you can have a very clear understanding of the logistics and preparation you need to undertake to get to the start line and execute a ride plan…email me!
1. The Breathtaking Events website is powered via Wix [part of the Google empire]. The cost is probably now four times what I originally signed on for…. it’s a money milking machine once you’re locked in. More recently Wix introduced a significant monthly subscription fee to send out eMails [essentially my occasional Blog Posts] which I’m not prepared to participate in. I’ve wrangled my 1,500 email list off Wix over to gMail and split it into smaller groups for distribution. Hopefully the intro page I email out links back to the Blog Page on the website for my posts and doesn’t cause too much grief with your spam settings.
2. The Registration Portal ‘Register Now’ that I’ve used over the past decade have shut up shop, or sold out. I have linked up with Race Roster to process registrations for the upcoming year so be aware it will look different. I hope it works smoothly for you. As in the past I’ve required riders to register and ride under their birth names and will continue to do so. It’s particularly important I capture your correct details, address, phone, next of kin contacts [in confidence] etc so that I can have a coherent conversation with emergency services if the need arises. With the increased concern for our personal ID Data I will be classifying riders on the race tracker in 5 year age brackets [eg: M45] and limiting location address to local shires or regions [Syd.Nthn Beaches, Illawarra etc].