“I wonder what’s at the end of this valley?”
“How far could I get if I follow that road?”
Some weeks I gaze intently into a map and almost magically my friends and I are transported to that place several days later to answer my questions.
We started our adventure at Ropely State School – a place I’d never heard of until recently. Dodging friendly sheep and chickens we set off down the road towards Ingoldsby.
Last week, Becca and I had ridden out here with a few other friends to test out a few different roads. Mountain bikers prefer dirt over paved roads most of the time, and we wanted to minimize the amount of black-top that we would have to ride on.
As we pedaled up the gentle gradient of Ingoldsby Road, the hills slowly rose on either side of us.
Eventually we reached the end of the valley. I’d spoken to land owners Jim and Eileen a week earlier, and they kindly gave us permission to follow the road through their front gate and up the mountain.
Eileen met us while she was working in her stunning garden, and told us how Jim’s grandparents moved to this spot over a century ago. They built the original farmhouse out of Silky Oak trees which grew thickly along the banks of Wonga Creek which flows down the mountain here.
This is the start of the “Mistake Mountains” – a spur of mountains which runs south towards the Great Divide. Early explorers mistook these mountains for the Great Divide, climbed them only to discover they still hadn’t crossed the Great Dividing Range. Considering some parts of this range tower over 1,000 metres above sea level, that was quite a big mistake.
“Have I ridden in this bus before?” I asked myself.
What seemed like ages on the way up unwound in a frantic blur on the way back down.
As if they had been holding off until we were safe, the clouds slowly closed in, spraying us with a light drizzle.
Although we had climbed to over 850 metres and rolled back down again, we decided we weren’t done yet, and pointed our bikes up Zischke Road – another steep climb.
It was only half as high as our trip up the Mistake Mountains, but the road was steeper.
The rest of us followed some distance behind.
We had climbed this hill last week and got lost. This week I was determined not to leave the road reserve as we followed faint tyre tracks through the grass.
The final section of our ride followed Rockside Road back to our starting point at Ropely.
We climbed over 1,350 metres and I burned 2,800 kcal.
I’ll rate this ride 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. There are a few steep bits, and some challenging descents.
Thanks Becca, Darb, Russel and Jason for another fun adventure on wheels.
Thanks also to Jim and Eileen for letting us ride through your gorgeous property.