Blue Derby Trail Openings
Over the last couple of years Derby in the North East of Tasmania has been undergoing a quiet revolution as $2.5 million dollars of federal money has been injected into the region to create a ‘world class’ MTB destination. However building 80 kilometres of new MTB specific trails doesn’t happen overnight, especially in terrain like this. So like the petulant children we are, we’ve been visiting the region whenever we can to ride the latest trails and constantly asking, ‘is it finished yet?’
Described as the ‘jewel in the crown’, the descent from Poimena to the Weldborough pub has always been home to the regional classic descent of the Blue Tier—we’ve never come across a trail finishing at a pub that we didn’t like! Depending on how you ride it, this boulder strewn backcountry adventure was either a blue or a black run.
Now World Trail has pulled out all their trickery to make a new and longer singletrack descent that runs parallel to the original the ride. Where the old Blue Tier was 12.3km long, descending 569m and climbing 218m, the new version is 20km long and offers 780 vertical metres of descending with 388m of climbing.
We lined up at the pub on the 7th October for the official opening. Pollies, media and trail builders all hooted and hollered as we took off down the trail. Almost two hours later mud splattered grins rolled into the pub. I think they might have to address the dress code at the front bar to include wet, muddy mountain bikers.
First impressions of the new trail? Well it doesn’t replace the old trail and it certainly offers a very different experience. We’d still rate the original finishing onto the new ‘Big Chook’ as a cracker ride. The new trail is pretty, very pretty giving a good line of sight and we were rarely surprised. It is an IMBA blue but it could easily be an IMBA green trail so even pollies who’d just been shown which button changed the gears had little trouble.
If you’re new to the area it is a must ride but with 400m of climbing in it, don’t be fooled into calling it a descent. If you’re a seasoned campaigner you’ll need to ride it at speed and seek out the large doubles either side of the track to extend yourself. Linking onto ‘Big Chook’ makes for a frenetic finish compared to the rest of the trail. The new trail complements the rest of the constructed network nicely making this a great holiday destination.
But wait there is more...
With people moving into town and new businesses starting up, the local politicians seem very happy with the results so far. So they were very pleased to announce that $1.6 million dollars of federal money has already been approved for stage two of this network, bringing a further 120km of trail. This will bring the official total for the network close to the 200km mark!
With stage two we’ll see some new trails that will pop up for the Enduro World Series next April and the rest of stage two will keep the builders busy for the next couple of years. The trail that has everyone excited is the proposed descent from the top of Mt Poimena (the start of the Blue Tier tracks). This one will head east and finish on Swimcart Beach in the stunning Bay of Fires area just south of St Helens. Once this 46km trail is complete, the choice from the top of Mt Poimena will be very attractive indeed. Beers or beach?