I’ve ridden to Walloon a few times in the last year, and had been planning a return visit for the last couple of months. The only problem is that we’ve had heavy rain which made some of the tracks difficult to ride.
Thankfully, we’ve had a lot of sun over the last few days, so the tracks had a chance to dry out. The only fly in the ointment was that my camera got water damaged when I fell in the creek last week, so I only had my mobile phone to take photos. Darb got some video, so I’ll add that when it becomes available.
Aaron and I started from my place in Lawnton, meeting Darb at Leitches Crossing (still flooded). We then made our way to Bunyaville to meet Neil B. From there we made our way to Ironbark Gully, and on to the Lanita Road Rail Trail.
We then followed the pony trails through the back of Samford to the Goat Track. This road has slowly deteriorated since it was closed over a year ago from heavy rain. It’s very rutted, with several nasty looking holes close to a sheer drop near the edge of the road. It’s a fun road to ride up, and is still the easiest way to get up the D’Aguilar Range to Mount Nebo, but since it’s no longer being maintained by the council, and since bits of it keep falling off, it’s getting more dangerous.
Once we reached Mount Nebo, we then headed down Dundas Road. This enjoyable trail starts behind the Mt Nebo Rubbish Dump and heads a couple of kilometres westward and downhill to a water tank and camping ground. I stopped to take a few photos, only to discover my camera wasn’t working, so I had to quickly get my mobile phone out to get these photos. You can’t see it in the picture, but the guys were going pretty fast down this hill, and whizzed by me with only a couple of inches to spare.
After the camping ground, the road gets considerably steeper, turning into “Whoa Boy” break. Originally I thought it was called this because when you get to the top and look down, you say to yourself “Whoa Boy”. But actually, it’s named after all the water bars on the track. A water bar is a hump of dirt that crosses a steep track. The hump stops rain water from eroding the track. It also makes the track a lot of fun to ride down – more daring riders use the humps as a jump, and launch into the air. It also makes the track a lot more diabolical to ride up – it’s hard work riding up a steep hill anyway, but then having to ride up the back of an extra steep hump makes it even more difficult.
Another name for a water bar is a “Whoa Boy” which is what the old drovers used to call them because they’d slow their horses down as the cart went over the hump, often saying to the horse “Whoa Boy”.
Mountain Bikers don’t say that. They usually just give a “Whoop” and fly over the hump.
But…. this hill is so steep, and so long, and I used my brakes so much that they over heated. And suddenly they were gone. I pulled the brake lever, and nothing happened. Worse than that, the lever just squeezed right into the handlebars. It’s a horrible feeling. I’m very fortunate that this happened near the bottom of the descent, and that I still had my front brakes. After stopping the bike for a few minutes the brakes came back, and we were able to continue the journey.
Once we got down the other side of the D’Aguilar Range we headed west along Banks Creek Road. The road crosses Banks Creek several times, and there was enough water flowing at the crossings for us to get our feet wet. But the major surprise was Savages Crossing. This is where we had to cross the Brisbane River. But the river was swollen after recent rain, and had covered the causeway by about 30cm (knee height). A couple of the guys rode across the 50 metre causeway. I’m sure it was safe, but I didn’t want to risk damaging the bike, so I waded across, carrying the bike.
From there we stopped at the Fernvale Bakery for lunch, and followed the Brisbane Valley Railtrail and soem quiet gravel roads southwards to Walloon.
One of Walloons major assets is its wonderful pub, where we stopped for a few beers, before hopping on the train and heading home.
All up we rode about 85km. I burned about 4,500kcal in just under 6 hours of riding (excluding breaks). I’ll give this one 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. The weather was perfect – perhaps a little warm, and the major descent required a lot of concentration. I’d also recommend this as a winter ride when the weather is drier, and the creeks / rivers are lower.