Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Holiday mode, Snowies style

2013 kicked off with a trip from Jindabyne to the south coast, Tathra to be exact, where we caught up with some of Anita's friends, caught some waves, and dabbled in some of the excellent local single track.  Well I managed to at least.  Anita was still nursing sore ribs from 2012 so was restricted to culinary pursuits - cheeses, crackers, oysters etc.  She was anxious to get back on the 2-wheeled horse, so we headed back to Jindy for some 3peaks preparation.

Jan 3rd we drove up to Thredbo and had a good 20 km plus walk from the village up Crackenback, then on to the summit of Kosciuszko and back, with an excellent weissbier at the eagles nest priming the legs for the descent.   Half way up/down also provides a good spot to marvel at the gravity hounds taking air on the downhill track.  Not sure I'll ever graduate to this body-armour format of 2 wheels.  Man's gotta know his limitations.

Jan 4th we awoke early and shortly after 7 am were trundling out of Jindy (alt 920m) direction Charlotte's Pass and beyond (2100 m).  Good thing we left early as the heat was forecast to be in the high 30s.  The 15 km from the Thredbo river to past Sawpit creek were particularly tough and unrelenting.  Although mtbs are not as speedy as roadies, they do allow one to kick on from Charlotte's Pass (1850m) along the gravel road to Rawson's Pass, just shy of the final spiral kilometre to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko.  I don't know how long NPWS have permitted bikes to ride this 10 km sector, but anyone who has spent 2 hrs walking each way will likely agree it is a particularly dreary trudge.  Well worth using the fat wheeled option if possible.  The return trip was mostly downhill, although there are at least three sizable uphill grinds to be negotiated.  For the record it took us 5 hrs 50 min to cover the 97 km return trip.  Cold milk never tasted so good.  After raiding the bakery at Jindy we threw the bikes on the roof and aimed for the Thredbo river where we spent a few hours in a cycle of swimming, reading and relaxing in the precious shade, followed by another Jindabyne meal that couldn't-be-beat, and another early night.  In this respect Jindabyne really is the bees.  Excellent choice of restaurants and a leafy atmosphere and now a far cry from the bleak windswept paddock of my childhood memories. 

We were not alone in the alpine cycle caper.  Hundreds of others, although on road bikes, were up to similar activities (not to mention an equal number of gravity hounds). Quite a few Randi-Bots, and the more conspicuous BRATS and Eastern Suburbs mob were present (with Fr-aaank calling the show).  Most perplexing were the mobs of riders out in the heat of the day, or running in the mid afternoon.   Madness.  One rider I chatted with had just come up from Bright (VIC alps), where the cycling craze appears to be on another level altogether, with literally thousands swarming the Victorian high country.

Jan 5th followed a similar pattern.  Rolling at 7 in the hope of stealing a start on an even hotter day.  This time destination Thredbo (1430 m) return.  It was a tough grind of 2 hr 10 min one way, in part due to the heat, and in equal part due to the block headwind which established its intentions early.  Tough 35 km!  An uncomfortable saddle prompted Anita to hoist the flag, so after a quick refreshment i headed back down to Jindabyne alone to recover the car.  One hour 6 min later i rolled into the nuggets complex and was soon sucking down another milk and pie at the bakery.  Top speed was 83 km/hr, a record for me on the mtb, albeit wind assisted.  Once again the hottest part of the day (40 degrees in nearby Cooma) was spent bathing by the Thredbo river, trying to avoid both heat and sunburn, whilst adding to the trip birdlist (another  century logged), and significantly aiding my quest to re-read the hobbit. In the afternoon we caught up with my family who had just arrived for a stint at perisher, where another day of bike-free R and R would be spent before heading back to the big smoke where the true grind of 2013 would commence.

Bird of the trip was black-chinned honeyeater, which Anita spied at the excellent Brungle bridge crossing of the Tumut river just east of Gundagai on the road home, a bona-fide new tick for both of us.


  1. Nice, have often thought of heading that way in summer, though preferably when it's not quite so hot :-)

    Hope to see you guys soon!


  2. Yep, just either side of summer probably the best (and cheapest) option. Hope to catch you and Michelle soon.