It just didn't feel right to start the Mawson Trail at the bridge where Gorge Road entered the gorge (at Montacute, just past Athelstone). It just seemed such an insignificant spot. So we decided to start our trail at the beach, where better? The Mawson Trail: 800kms from the beach at Adelaide to Blinman in the Flinders Ranges. Much better than The Mawson Trail: 800kms from an obscure weir in a gorge near at Adelaide to Blinman in the Flinders Ranges. Just doesn't work, does it? Nope. So we started not at the zero point of the trail, but at the minus 34km point: West Beach.
There were a few logistics to solve. One, as Julie kindly pointed the irony out to me, Alex, who offered to ride with me, didn't have a bike. Thanks to Tim for the borrow of a super light bike. Yes, I can really feel Kate's angst now, that her husband's bike is so ridiculously lighter than any other bike. That must be why, at the end of the day, having ridden 45km, I was struggling to make it back to Alex's house, and Alex, well, not so, he had to keep waiting for me. His bike was lighter. That had to have some effect.
We left a car at the railway station by the Entertainment Centre and caught the train to Grange. From there, we battled head winds to ride the 5kms along the beach esplanades to where the Torrens River meets the sea. The wind was tough - had some second thoughts about this whole ride-the-Mawson-Trail idea, riding seemed so much harder then I remembered. But seeing the number of people flying huge kites and kite-surfing at Henley was comforting, yes, the wind was strong today. I wonder where we will be riding next time we experience winds that strong...
We stopped to take our official start photo, then rode the relatively easy ride along the River Torrens Linear Park (no wind here!). We rode quick, passing many people, although one guy got the better of us. We rode the 34kms to where Linear Park enters the gorge of Gorge Road, where the trail peters out to nothing, stopping at the water pipe bridge. I didn't have the official Mawson Trail maps yet, BicycleSA had sold out of map 1, but I was told the trail officially started on the other side of this bridge, although it actually started several hundred metres further upstream at a weir, which might be why we couldn't find any signs.
I enjoyed riding along the Linear Park trail, always a nice ride. Good to ride through Athelstone, past one of my cool places, that really old homestead surrounded by a stone colonnade and stone walled yards, old machinery and old stone sheds. I love it, it is just so cool. Sorry, no photos, didn't stop to take any. We only stopped for two rests, plus one at either end of the trail.
Rode back down Gorge Road about 7km to Alex's house. Alex's butt was sore. He hadn't ridden a bike for a long time (hence the owning no bike!). The next ride? When the weather and our social calenders line up...
- Trail riding: 34 km
- Total riding: 47.3 km
- Riding Time: 02:26 hrs
- Average speed: 19.3 km/h
- Max speed: 43.5 km/h
- Temp: 22 degrees, sunny