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2022 in the rear view mirror and 2023 ... bring it on!


DATE: Saturday 11 March 2023

START TIME: 6:00am could be later if there’s a lot of riders in which case I’ll move the start out of town and put the time back an hour or so. Monday is a public holiday in ACT, Vic and Tas.


REGISTRATIONS: January 1 2023 the link is on the website homepage

In recent years the 500k Prologue has attracted a wide range of riders, bikes and abilities. Some going hard core solo for the 500k with finishing times in the 24-30 hour range, then the snooze pack, those taking a 4-5 hour nap and finishing on day two through into the late evening. Day three arrivals curate their ride time to ensure they’re back at the Bent Spoke Brewing Co at Braddon to finish in beer time often arriving in small Groupettos sharing the companionship and satisfaction of their finishing achievement..... it's your choice, the 'rules' are the same for all. As always it’s solo and unsupported, no drafting, no outside assistance other than commercial services available to any other rider. This website has more detail on the RULES.

The proposed course for 2023 is yet to be finalised however will combine all the challenges of the super fast gravel roads that abound around Canberra and the SE regions of Australia. The loose plan is west out of Canberra, across to Jugiong, Harden, Boorowa and back south to Canberra. Plenty of day food options, an evening pub bed if that’s your preference…. 500+k and maybe 6,000Vm.


DATE: Good Friday 7 April 2023

START TIME: 6:00am [yes, two hours earlier than in the past]

COURSE: Clockwise... links below

REGISTRATIONS: January 1 2023 the link is on the website homepage

The Monaro Cloudride, now in its tenth year is undergoing some changes for the 2023 edition. With only five riders on the start list for 2022 there are questions about the longer term appeal for this style of back country bikepacking racing. Further impetus for change is that in recent years land ownership changes that the Monaro Cloudride has historically traveled through have become problematic. These include Meringo Nature Reserve between Bombala and Delegate, Crooks Racecourse above Snowy Plain, the public road through the commercial orchard out of Batlow. In addition the continued closure of The Hume and Hovel trail along the Blowering Dam and State Forest closures in the same area now block access between Batlow and Tumut.

Taking account of these constraints and with a view to opening up the Cloudride to a wider cohort of riders I have removed most of the major challenging rough technical XC fire trails. The Tingaringy Wilderness section will remain as an ALTERNATE OF CHOICE 25k and 940Vm. The main race route will now go via McKillop's Bridge as it did this year because of the flodded Snowy River.

This is a great ride but at 85k and 1866Vm compared to the Tingaringy crossing, it comes at a price. The other major re-route will be out of Jindabyne where the route will now link across to Eucumbene village on Snowy Hydro service roads and up on to Happy Jacks Rd that takes riders on formed roads all the way across the KNP high country to Tooma Rd and on to Manjar Trail. Batlow - Tumut will be on the main between town connect road. From Tumut riders will travel down Wee Jasper Road and back to Canberra via Sawyers Gully Rd and Uriarra Crossing. The upshot of these changes will be significantly faster ride times and a course suitable for a wider range of bike choice and rider ability. With towns falling at Cooma 200k, Delegate 400k, Jindabyne 600k, Batlow 800k riders can flash-pack or bike-pack it. All of the major highlights of this great race route remain, just more faster fun sections.



DATE: 1 September 2023

START TIME: 6:00am

COURSE: Cape York Qld to Wilsons Promontory Vic

REGISTRATIONS: January 1 2023 the link is on the website homepage

There’s no sweet talk on this one … just get out there and do it. It’s not hard, just a long way. You need to prepare your bike, your body, put your head space into an envelope and post it down to the finish where you can retrieve it and rejoin the real world.

I’ve done a re-cap below on how this years race unfolded and eventually folded for future reference purposes. There’s also a link at the end to David Waugh’s race report and plenty of great pic’s from his ride. Thanks Dave! As of within weeks of finishing Meredith Quinlan and Taylor Herron are both determinedly processing what went wrong and planning on a fault free run in 2023.

Wichard van Osterbosch made the call to switch from racing to touring before Cooktown and continued touring down the east coast skirting Brisbane then off and on the course before heading west from Taree via the Bylong Valley, calling through Canberra and eventually arriving Wilsons Prom on October 18. Great riding from Wichard @ 62 years young totaling just shy of 5,400klm for his ride.

2022 Terra Australis Bike Epic… another epic fail?

epic; an exceptionally long and arduous task or activity.

There’s a well held view that success is built upon failure and so as the creator of Terra Australis I’m comforted in the knowledge that the foundations for future success are being built on strong foundations.

Since 2018 we’ve had nineteen starters and just two finishers. To put it mildly, it’s been a chequered start for Terra Australis. There has been promise with some strong rider registrations only to fall by the wayside as covid cancellations eroded the momentum. I’ve still got five or six paid up riders since 2019 who have not taken up the offer of a refund … insisting ‘hold it over, I’ll do it one day!” It was with relief and expectation finally, that this year was a chance with five determined experienced riders on the start line September 1 to tackle this 6,250k monster and complete the course. Sadly it was not to be, with just over a third of the course completed the remaining three riders scratched within a few days of each other.

The September 1 start date at the northern tip of Australia with likely century temperature riding conditions can be challenging. Further down the course it’s the humidity of the tropical Daintree rain forests and later slogging over snow covered alpine trails at zero degrees underlies the sheer enormity of riding across a single continent. In between days of solitude, silence and frustration dealing with the weather, roads and challenges of ones mental and physical limitations and the inevitable accumulation of fatigue.

As race director and course planner I live with the doubts and uncertainties that maybe the whole idea of Terra Australis is just a challenge too far, too hard, too long, too remote.… should I cut out the tough bits, reduce the distance, deescalate the adventure… make it ‘inclusive’? Well no, that’s not what Terra Australis is about. It is exclusive. It’s an event that’s open exclusively to those who want to meet the 6,250 klm challenge to go far, to go hard to embrace the suck, to finish and so become one of an exclusive group of riders who have completed course and conquered the challenges.

Registrations will open for 2023 on January 1. Same start date, same course, same suck … get a life, get out there!

Following is a recap of how the 2022 race unfolded. Hopefully it will serve as an overview of the first two weeks of the challenge for anyone contemplating entering in the coming years and set some level of expectation for achieving success. Steve Halligan’s 2018 winning ride account is linked here..

To get to the start riders are provided with a decent set of notes and resources to assist them with travel, planning, safety and identifying water. The preparation from there is their responsibility… this is an unsupported event.

The scene for the opening week of 2022TA was set by some humid day temps with an occasional shower to dampen the usual red dust issue.

Further south the Daintree was experiencing an out of season rain event. The CREB track was closed and blocked with a tangle of 4WD’s and recovery vehicles unable to exit the track. The Daintree River crossing on the race route was a meter above safe vehicle crossing height and the resident local croc in cruise mode without the distraction of the usual 4WD cavalcade past his deep water hide hole..

Race morning, a 20 minute hike to the northern most point of Australia for a quick pic and a Le Mans style scamper back to the carpark to get down to the bike riding business. September is the beginning of the end of the 4WD seasonal pilgrimage to the tip and dirt Cape roads can be severely trashed by their volume and speed.

DAY 1. Thursday 1 Sept

Youngest rider Taylor Herron [pictured] who rode from Sydney to the tip in the preceding month had the benefit of some seasoned legs and intel on the multiple creek crossings along the Old Telegraph Track [OTT] that forms part of the opening day challenge. Taylor led through to the first resupply option Bramwell Roadhouse at 215k arriving at 11:00pm a 17 hour opening day. Slept [showered?] and was away at 6:00am an hour before the Roadhouse opened. By that time Meredith Quinlan had micro-napped and ridden through Bramwell around 2:00am and was arriving at the Moreton Telegraph Station for a brief sunrise stop. Remaining riders were on a more conventional sleep strategy and filtered through Bramwell in business hours. Noticeably Paul Lester had ridden off route to stay on the main vehicle road as an evacuation precaution after suffering a bad dose of intestinal disruption. This and a subsequent hip issue would ultimately result in his early withdrawal from the race.

DAY 2. Friday 2 Sept

By late afternoon Meredith pulled into Archer River Roadhouse 380k for a resupply and departed as Taylor and David Waugh arrived another hour apart and quickly headed off to Coen. All three arrived independently in Coen 447k within an hour of midnight. Meredith caught the Coen publican still up and grabbed a room. Taylor resupplied from the Pub vending machine and headed south into the night and early hours of day three. David Waugh took the strategic decision to find a sleep hide in town with a plan to re-supply at the Coen General Store at 7:00am opening hours in the morning. That plan was a fail as he was attacked by some town dogs at 3:00am leaving him shaken, sleepless and mauled fighting them off with his sleeping bag and mat. K