Spring Events: A Sense of Adventure
Two of the most loved adventure races take part in the region this spring.
Name one other place in the country where you can ride your mountain bike for a couple of hours through sky high karri forests, sweeping vistas of farmland and undiscovered stretches of uninhabited beach. Did I mention you’ll finish your ride smack bang amongst rolling vineyards with your pick of world class wines, award winning restaurants and more craft breweries than you can shake a stick at? Michael ‘Brookesy’ Brookes has called Margaret River home for 21 years and agrees. “The Cape To Cape (C2C) is the ultimate mountain bike holiday. A trip to Margaret River is the best mountain biking destination Australia has to offer.”
And he would know. “The first C2C race started in 2008. They were marking courses behind my house in the bush near mammoth cave. Mountain biking is my life, so naturally I got talking to them and they invited me to the pub. Our friendship started that day and I’ve been a part of event team since. 2009 I actually rode my first C2C race – there weren’t many of us, just over 100 riders. I do a lot of the preparation of the trails; including the exploring and mapping of them. I’ve watched it grow to 200, 400, 800 riders…numbers are now at over 1400.”
The race itself is a four day, multi stage event. “It’s grown to become the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and with good reason. You ride 50-60km a day and can take anything from couple of hours to 5-6 hours. It’s doesn’t matter. You just have to get out there and have fun on your bike. The Cape to Cape is achievable for everybody. From a beginner right through to the fastest in Australia. The adventure on the bike in the morning becomes an adventure on a bike in the afternoon. It might be smashing pints with some of your mates, or sipping on a glass of chardonnay or eating some good food: we’ve got wonderful restaurants.”
It’s not just the number of riders that he has seen improve each year. “Each year the course just gets better and better; I help re-map it and change it. What makes a ride better? Visually it’s about bringing in as much of the environment as you can. I’m focused on eliminating the boring gravel roads and then bringing in more scenery. Long distance views of valleys and the ocean and forest, better routes through the vines; and connecting those in a 40-50km race loop. It’s so people get to soak in as much on the region in a half day ride and making sure it’s challenging enough for the pros, plus manageable for first timers. It’s about balancing elevation, distance, different trail types; and then clearing and marking them. There’s a lot of work. We roll out 200km of trail and there is lots of tidying up to do after the winter storms. Some of it is on private land and to open up those areas to people once a year is pretty special for riders.”
Bike riding isn’t enough you say? Think you’d like to run and paddle out on that water too? Then it’s your last chance to give the Augusta Adventure Fest this year. Event co-founder Sam Maffet shares, “This year is the best of the best! We have brought back the more popular bits of all courses to really showcase the region one final time. We’re also organising a party, live music and free beer at the finish line.” You’ll be able to mountain bike, run, kayak and swim your way through Augusta’s pristine natural beauty. “It’s unique in the fact that competitors of all abilities can compete side by side. From the best multiport athletes in Asia Pacific who race for a solo win through to families and teams of mates out for fun, they are all ‘having a crack’ and get into the spirit of the landscape and encouraging one another to achieve their goals no matter how fast/slow they are. There are so many highlights, but the start out at the lighthouse has always been a favourite.”
He adds, “The Western Australian crowds have always been the most enthusiastic and supportive of all the races we organise. The competitors love coming down to do the event and bring their enthusiasm, energy, friends and families with them which makes for a great race atmosphere. In addition, the Augusta community have always been very supportive. They say that the event has really ‘put them on the map’ as an adventure tourism destination. It has provided their kids with awareness and inspiration for outdoor sport and created a friendly, energetic and active community.”
It’s clear that there are many that will miss the annual event, but with such a following is it definitely gone for good after this year’s race? “We are currently working on some ideas for a new event in the South West that we are really excited about. Further details will be announced at the 2019 Augusta Adventure Fest.” Well, if that’s not enough of an incentive to make it to the finish line this November, then I don’t know what is. Lace up your sneakers, it’s time to start training.
Now you know what you’ll be doing, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Book now with one of our local experts.
Images provided by Cape to Cape MTB and Augusta Adventure Race event organisers