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Terra Australis Leg 4

BYRON BAY - CANBERRA 1470k 17,560Vm


Mt Werong - Canberra

After yesterday’s punishing 3,700Vm ‘it’s all downhill’ to Canberra for today’s ride target. Canberra heralds the arrival and end point for racers doing Leg 4 Byron Bay - Canberra. Total 1,463k and at out ride pace, in a little over six days for 246k per day….. possible for the focused and fit? Maybe 8 days for mid-pack and 10 for those on a more leisurely timetable. Just where riders doing the full 6,250k Terra Australis will be in this mix will be revealed come late September this year.

Mt Werong Camp Ground

​Away from the Mount Werong Camp Ground riders have a 50k ride through to Taralga. The first 25k on nice fire trail then shire roads into Taralga.

Tangled Vine Cafe Taralga

The Tangled Vine Cafe is the goto in town … and that’s it… it comes with recommendations from past racers!

A new backroad section through to Crookwell awaits this years riders and another refuel opportunity in this busy country town. A recent ride down through here revealed just how this country has transformed since the summer rains…. it’s now lush green pasture looking a million dollars after being bone dry and bare for the past half decade.

Wind Farms south of Crookwell

The hillside horizon lines give the game away after Crookewll …. massive wind farm towers adorn the countryside, a positive sign that there’s some wind about. Fortunately it’s mostly W, NW not perfect but better than straight ahead. A lot of this section from Crookwell through to Canberra is paved and generally descending so makes for good ride times through the day.

Over the Hume Highway at 149K there is more work to be done on the way up to Marked Tree Rd that rolls up and down for tired legs before finally a plummeting descent into Gundaroo. Here the local Community Showground promises a ‘free’ hot shower and overnight camping. Both our 2018 riders Steve Halligan and Brendan Corbin optioned for this stop with the purpose of hitting the bike shops in Canberra at opening hours for service work.

So ends our ride for the day. Canberra is the only major city on the Terra Australis route and offers plenty of cafes, accommodation and re-supply options in addition to bike shops, outdoor camping supplies etc. There’s some cold, tough, slow snow country ahead and riders will need to make serious strategic safety based decisions to cover contingencies through the next 2-3 days.

There are 3 or 4 riders who have lodged EOI’s planning on doing the final Canberra - Wilsons Prom Leg 5. heading out Sunday 27 September. Our ‘virtual’ ride is at Day 24 so the Thursday before their departure.




Glen Alice - Mount Werong

These are the days when the decisive moves are going to be made for riders doing the full Terra Australis and perhaps those just racing the ByronB-Canberra Leg. The capacity to push on a little further into the night or early hours of the next day and back up the next day with an equally grinding day in the saddle.

Today is one of those days after ….. either succumbing to the temptation of Sandy Camp Hut and an earlier stop, maybe a warming fireplace some sleep cover or pushing on in darkness through the technical 50k descent down to Glen Alice.

Our overnight choice to push through to Glen Alice puts us in the hard man basket and so it’s more punishment but perhaps closer to our 30 day race target?

From Glen Alice at sunrise it’s warming the legs for the immediate challenge for the day from 25k is to summit the Baal Bone Gorge.

BNT marker at the commencement of the Baal Bone climb

There are some savage one step at a time HAB sections on this climb that parallels an amazing still functioning early water line engineering masterpiece that once serviced mines down below the escarpment that we’re climbing. Magnificent sandstone escarpments present photo opps if you can get your vision up beyond your front wheel.

On arrival at the top of Baal Bone Gorge climb riders enter the splendour of the Gardens of Stone NP with stunning sandstone rock scapes and vistas … take it in, take some memorable pics keep riding. Plenty of technical sections through here for riders… take it carefully, safely and push on through to Lithgow for plenty of re-supply options.

Beyond Lithgow there are continuing magnificent vistas across the Megalong Valley from Hassan’s Wall and further on some unique snapshots on the transit through the Jenolan Caves.

Black Range Camp Ground where TA joins in the 6ft Track

The descent down the iconic 6ft track to the caves offers another challenge as it narrows to a rubble rock strewn single track in the final few kilometres to the tourist precinct.

Devistation of summer fire storms through the 6ft track

Jenolan Caves in normal times is a busy tourist destination and with attractive dining and some low cost Backpacker sleep options can be a fly trap for a tired racer bikepacker … again it’s an opportunity to push on.

Jenolan Caves vista

The immediate challenge is a brutal 3k and 400Vm climb to resume normal duties on the way through to this evenings destination at Mt Werong Camp Ground. Once on to Bastard Point Rd, despite the name things get better and there’s some good fast riding through shire and forest roads.

Mount Werong Camp Ground offers sleep cover, fire place, water and has been a popular staging point for past Terra Australis riders aiming to make it through to Canberra the next day.

Just 189k for the day but 3,730Vm in the bank is a good day.


Lyall Crek Rd - Glen Alice

Just a few short k’s of dirt from our overnight rough camp then it’s paved roads all the way through to Singleton at 40k and on to Widden Stud at 162k. First stop,

Open cut mining operations Hunter Valley

Singleton a busy service town and dormitory for the workforce for the surrounding open cut mining operations that scar the countryside. Plenty of services for resupply but no bike shop. Riders need to make a decision here to re-supply for the tough slow country ahead or chance catching the smaller General Store open in Denman a further 70k and a short way off route.

Once through the mining precincts the traffic volume drops appreciably and the countryside opens into horse country home to many famous thoroughbred nurseries.

Most famous of these is Widden Stud at the top of the Widden Valley. Here, in late afternoon from this morning’s start the one lane patchwork bitumen finishes as the race route continues on along an avenue of high fenced foaling paddocks.

Heading into Widden Valley

By late September, of an evening, these will be ablaze with floodlighting and monitored by Vets and stud staff expectantly awaiting arrival of new million dollar foals…. tomorrow’s champions.

Horse yards and ... water!

Top end of Widen Stud and last water opp.