Todays social ride was the culmination of several weeks work exploring some of the wonderful trails around Jimna. The ride was in two halves with the morning loop exploring the Timber history of Jimna, and the afternoon loop exploring the Gold Mining history.
Our first loop followed some single track south-west from Jimna though the forest up to Mile and a Quarter Road.
The road is about a Mile and a Quarter from Jimna, hence the unimaginitive name. But it boasts a wonderfully fast descent down the range towards Ponderosa Station.
Part way down we had some great views of the endless hoop pine forests stretching to the horizon.
We waited at the bottom for everyone to catch up while we said “G’Day” to a couple of friendly horses.
Our course led us from farmland to national park and back into plantation forest several times. The temperature changed abruptly with the various vegetation in one or two spots.
The forestry trail twisted through sections of trees all at different stages of their growth cycle from short saplings to towering giants.
We had several very strong riders with us who we afftionatlely dubbed the “Ninjas”. We sent them off on an extra hilly section while the rest of us mortals rode ahead. That way nobody got too far behind or in front.
The reset of enjoyed a relaxing ride our track slowly wound back up the range towards Jimna.
Back at the top we had a quick break at the fire tower as we waited for the stronger riders to catch up after their additional section.
I was amazed at the strength of the single-speed riders, Lassi and Glen, who rode those hills without the assistance of any gears. Lassi is a vegetarian from Denmark, which (I suppose) makes him a “Vegetarian Viking Ninja” Who would have thought radishes contained so much energy?
From there we enjoyed a scorching descent down Donkey Falls Road. I was amazed at how much speed we picked up, and was secretly relieved there were no vehicles coming in the opposite direction.
The forests around Jimna have one or two really fun downhill sections.
We all made our way down this treacherous section at our own pace. Some walked. Some raced. Others performed a half-controlled skid to the bottom.
Everyone had fun.
Back at Jimna, Dave Wright from the visitor centre had cooked up some perfect steak burgers.
“Can’t talk, eating” I heard someone say as I wolfed down the delicious meal. I don’t think it touched the sides.
After lunch we set off through the forest again past the weir to the gold fields.
I was quickly left behind by the stronger riders – perhaps the lunch was too good? Thankfully Darb, Mike and Tony stayed back and rode with me.
The roll down Gigher Road was thrilling. The trees closed in on either side, the track dropped, and whe rocketed through the undergrowth, a blur of green on either side.
We shot out of forest at the bottom of Gigher Road onto the bleak plains around Yielo Station.
This old farm has been here for over a century.
We followed the dirt road past brown fields and the occasional old Bunya back towards Jimna.
I love feeling of open space I get while riding through Yielo. The horizon seems a million miles away, and open plains make the sky feel like it’s huge.
Eventually we met up with Tungi Road and made our way back into Jimna about half an hour after everyone else.
I’m really grateful to the guys who hung back and rode with me.
UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of the ride:
All up we rode almost 65km in seven and a half hours, including breaks. We climbed almost 1,850 metres in vertical ascent, and I burned about 3,800 kcal.
I’ll rate this ride 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. You can split it in two if you like. The first loop by itself is about 35km, and rates about 7 out of 10 for toughness. The second loop by itself is about 30km, and rates 8.5 out of 10 for toughness.
Thanks everyone for a great day!