A mountain biking trilogy of 3 days riding through the Tasmanian wilderness. Each day is a mountain bike race stage with leaders expected to take 2-3 hours and the remainder of the field having up to approximately 6-8 hours to finish the route.
The course for Day 1 in 2023 has been updated!.
To reach the start line in Derby, all riders depart Branxholm and complete a 5km prologue to sort out their starting positions. A 5km transfer stage follows along the delightful double-width Valley Ponds trail to the start-line of Stage 1. This section of the course remains the same as 2021 and 2022.
From Derby, riders then start at 5-second intervals based on their prologue finish position and complete an extended loop through some of the best blue and green trails Derby has on offer. The intervals give everyone a little space as they head straight into incredible extended single track. The course is 35km long, with approximately 1000m of elevation gain and is expected to take the front runners close to 2 hours to complete.
Stage 1 begins with a hot lap around Chain Gang to the roar of watching spectators. Then into Axehead visiting Derby icons such as the Twisties and Trout Falls. Once you are warmed up it is time for your first climb of the day as you pedal up the full Long Shadows trail. Buckle up for a crowd favourite, a descent of Upper Flickity Sticks. Turn into the Great Race, a section of trail that follows an old water race and celebrates the mining history of Derby. Now things get serious. It is time for a 7km climb to the surreal and fascinating Mt Paris Dam. Most of this climb is along old fire trails with a sprinkle of single track. This section has lots of over taking opportunities and just enough flatter spots to keep your heart rate under control. Over the top, you will undulate a further 4 kms to the start of the mega iconic Atlas trail. An Aid station is located here for a quick rest of the legs, mental reset and fuel up before you hit the single track again on one of the best trails Derby has to offer. Atlas is an all out wilderness trail that descends through 10km of mossy Myrtle Beech forests on the sweetest single track around. The fun doesn’t stop as you blast for the finish on more Derby Classics including Dam Busters, Howler, Sawtooth, Turbo Chook, Derby Tunnel and Rusty Crusty. Yeow!
This is the longest and biggest day of the Dragon Trail, an epic 55km wilderness stage with something for everyone.
Your journey starts from the Weldborough Hotel which is approx 30mins away from the previous night’s camp. If you have your own car you will need to drive to the day’s start, or alternately book a bus transfer with your entry. You set off in groups of 20 riders (based on your finish time from the previous day – the fastest groups depart first to reduce congestion). This first 15km section begins with a short gravel road taking you to the perfect good morning trail – the lovely Little Chook. This cruisy 3km of single track passes through spectacular Myrtle Beech forests and winds its way through a maze of moss-covered mullock heaps from the old tin mining days.
Now it is time to tackle the biggest and toughest ascent of the entire race, the 400m vertical climb to the top of Blue Tier. This daunting route has been a classic amongst the old school riding fraternity and featured prominently in the pre-machine-built trail era of mountain biking in the region, admittedly, more often ridden in the opposite direction. It is an adventure and one not to be undertaken lightly.
The first half of the climb is scenic through some beautiful myrtle forest along the old and bumpy 4wd trail Emu Flat Road. At a high point at 580m, catch your breath and hold tight down a short and rough trail to a flatter area used by prospectors.
The second half of the Blue Tier Ascent is firmly in adventure territory and all riders will likely be on and off their bikes through the technical terrain. The ascent to the sub-alpine summit of “The Tier” begins up 3.5km of steep and rugged 4wd trail including large boulder gardens to navigate. The next 4km of this section is less steep but features a narrow and rocky single track and multiple crossings of crystal clear alpine streams. The final few kilometers take you to the old mining town of Poimena at 570m the much-earned Aid Station 1.
Once recovered, you return to a more modern groomed single track and follow the stunning Bay of Fires trail to the coast. The middle section is 18km to the second Aid Station and has two distinct sections.
The first 13kms (or Top 13 as locals call it) is possibly THE best flow descent in Tasmania, if not the world! It begins with a 2km traverse and has views down to the coast and to St Helens, where the camp is for the end of the day. The next 6km sees 400m of altitude loss down a fast flow trail ducking majestic myrtle trees and rolling around huge tree ferns. A short climb through Giant Ash trees leads you into the final 5kms of speedy descent, a perfect flow trail if ever there was one built.
Continue on the Bay of Fires trail for another 7kms of forestry roads – an opportunity to rest your brain and shake out your hands – as you leave the myrtle and transition to coastal forests. Aid Station 2.
The final 22km of the Bay of Fires trail is a masterpiece of single-track ascent. The trail weaves its way through a playground of granite monolith boulders with glimpses of the coast. The day concludes with a stunning 7km flowing descent to the finish line at Swimcart Beach at the famous Bay of Fires.
Riders have the option to ride to the campsite in St Helens or relax on one of the shuttles provided by the race.
To reach the start line at the St Helens Trailhead, all riders complete a compulsory non-timed 4km transfer stage up the cruisy Townlink Trail. The racing part of Day 3 is 42km in total, predominately following the Dreaming Pools wilderness trail. The first 13km climbs through open eucalypt forests traversing the side of Flagstaff hill, following Rock Lobster, Wedged In and Garnup trails. Aid Station 1.
Now onto the sublime Dreaming Pools Trail for the middle 20km of day 3. It starts with a descent of about 2km before a climb to the highest point of Day 3 at 418m. Strap in for the next 5km of down, a bit of undulation, and more down into Constable Creek and past the Dreaming Pools themselves. This section is fast!. The single track is relentless right through to Aid Station 2.
You get a breather on a short section of fire trail as you begin the final 9km of the entire race. Soon enough it is back to single track and a short switchback climb up the flank of Flagstaff Hill. A rolling descent down Wedged In, Rock Lobster, and to the finish at St Helens Trailhead
Dragon Trail is managed by Geocentric Pty Ltd. This project received grant funding from the Australian Government under the Recovery for Regional Tourism program, an initiative of the $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund[email protected] | +61 419427243