Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rattlin' Bones

This was our first weekend away riding the Mawson Trail and we were introduced to the Rattler Trail. Rough, very rough.

Saturday 17 January - Sunday 18 January, 2009
Tanunda to Hamilton to Penwortham, 118km

The Rattler Trail from Riverton to Auburn is not part of the main Mawson Trail, but still part of the greater Mawson Trail network. On the success of the Riesling Trail, the community of Riverton extended the trail 19km south to Riverton, but couldn't afford to lay a trail surface. So the trail is nothing more than a cleared former railway track, most of it being covered in stoney railway track ballast, although the trail was recently cleared of long grass. So it was a bone-rattling 19km. The very start of the trail near Riverton is part Mawson Trail network originally created, so soft gravel has been laid over the former railway bed. The final 500m near Auburn is also quite good, but most of the trail is very rough. The actual Mawson Trail between Riverton and Auburn follows dirt roads, maybe one day it will be shifted to follow the Rattler Trail if funding is provided to upgrade that trail to something more cycling friendly.

On Saturday we rode from Gomersal Road, Tanunda, where I finished 2 years ago, and Graham recently caught up to. On a ride a couple of months ago we finished near Tanunda, but I didn't see the need to re-do the short section between. Nick joined us today, previously he has ridden a couple of days from the end of the trail at Blinman south to Wilpena. We rode through Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Kapunda to Hamilton. We had a nice lunch at a cafe in Kapunda and chatted to some locals. The last kilometre of so of riding was off the Mawson Trail when we rode back to our car in Hamilton. Hamilton is a Nothing Town, a few houses, a former shop, telephone box and a couple of churches. We drove the short distance to Marschalls Hut - a hiking hut on the Heysen Trail - and spent the night there. The hut is on one of the loop trails out of Riverton that form part of the Mawson Trail network, but we weren't keen to ride the necessary 77km to ride all the way to the hut. We sat on the verandah, shaded by a peppertree, as the sun set over Gilbert Valley.

On Sunday we resumed back near Hamilton, riding to Riverton, where we enjoyed a morning snack and coffee in a cafe. From here we rode on the Rattler Trail, geez what a mistake that was, and once we reached Auburn we ate lunch in a very nice cafe. We could easily get used to these gourmet cafes all along the route! Alas though, I think it will only be these two days that it happens. From Auburn we followed the Riesling Trail, another former railway but upgraded to a very good trail standard, to Penwortham. The trail extends to Clare, and we rode the entire uphill bit, next time we will ride the remaining 10km - all downhill - into Clare.

Download Google Earth KML file of Mawson Trail

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit:
The weekend's ride on the Mawson Trail
The Mawson Trail so far completed - Adelaide to Penwortham


Mawson Trail
Saturday Sunday
17/01/2009 18/01/2009
Tanunda to Hamilton Hamilton to Penwortham
Distance 64.1km 53.7km
Start Time 8.43am 9.46am
End Time 3.19pm 3.39pm
Moving Duration 4h11m 3h22m
Stationary Duration 2h25m 2h32m
Moving Average 15.3km/h 15.9km/h
Overall Average 9.7km/h 9.1km/h
Maximum Speed 44.5km 43.6km

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