TheGo was fortunate to get an exclusive tour of the region’s latest mountain bike track in the making – Smedley’s Hill – last week, which is nearing 50% complete and on-track to be finished by October (woot woot!).
This new Pallarenda-based track will ultimately add 6.6km to the popular 10.1km Under the Radar MTB trail and is designed for an intermediate level (the same as UTR); but there are some more advanced B lines in there for more experienced riders. Being a National Parks’ track, it’s also going to provide another nice challenging route for local trail runners to tackle (in addition to the neighbouring 5.7km Many Peaks/Mount Marlow track).
The first thing that strikes me is the view. Getting out of principal ranger Marty McLaughlin’s car at the top of the ridge above Shelley Beach, you can see the northern beaches one way (now christened ‘Bohlewood’) and Magnetic Island the other – it’s close to a 360 degree vista of twinkling tropical ocean. Not a bad place to ride and definitely a must-do for visiting rider/runner friends.
Also, another notable aspect is the history. If anyone reading this has more information on the use of Pallarenda during WWII give us a buzz and we’ll expand on these details; but the trail builders (a team led by principal contractor TM-Payne Contractors, including Rockwheelers president Peter McLean) have encountered lots of war-time sangars (different from a foxhole as they are built out of the ground using loose rocks). They are designed to be camouflaged, but you won’t be able to miss the six or so of them as you ride around Smedley’s – some have trees growing out of them, while others provide spectacular views from their cliff-side watch. We understand the plan is to install informative signage around the track eventually, which would be great for satisfying curiosity.
Now onto the trail features…
Here are some photos that we took on Friday, September 5 of the work in progress (plus a couple that were supplied):
If you don’t want to come off the rock on the A or B lines, you can take a detour to continue a bit further and come down this steep rock feature (or ride up it coming the other way if you’re good enough!). Trail building contractor Tim Payne says it’s nearly a black diamond feature to give advanced riders a challenge, but the intermediates and beginners can admire it safely pedalling past.
It took four guys two-and-a-half days to sculpt these rock-armoured corners: one day to collect the 40 tonne of rock from the hill and transport it in with a little dumper and one-and-a-half days to construct.
Made from fibreglass and recycled plastics, this bridge means riders can still get from Under The Radar to Smedley’s Hill even during king tides and following wet season downpours (once the track reopens).
Smedley’s Hill will be opened to the public on October 20, 2014. We can’t wait to get out and ride it! Let us know when you do and what your thoughts are in the comments section below. See the track first-hand here in Rockwheelers’ YouTube video.