Dust off your bike and pull out your mountain bike gear, the Indigo Epic trail officially opens to ride in two short weeks from 12pm on Wednesday 15 March 2023.
We sat down with Callum from BCX Projects to gain insight on what goes into building this single track rollercoaster ride of berms, features and undulating climbs. Get ready for a truly epic ride experience…
What has been your favourite part of the trail to build?
Callum: “There’s two areas that stand out as quite technical to build, creating an incredible trail that’s different and will be very fun to ride. The Nine Mile Creek section that comes in from the Yackandandah side has a steep side slope making the trail build process quite tricky. It has come up unbelievably well and is a really awesome piece of trail. The other fun section that was unusual to build is the section that goes along Hurdle Creek, which is just outside of Beechworth below Lake Kerferd. The area had a whole bunch of existing sluiced and crushed rock that we’ve utilised to create this rollercoaster that runs along the river.”
It’s fantastic that you can choose your own adventure and ride the full trail, the Beechworth loop or the Yackandandah loop. What are the different route lengths?
Callum: “The trail was deliberately constructed as a figure of eight or helix loop shape so that you can ride the whole trail, the Beechworth loop or the Yackandandah loop to give you heaps of ride flexibility. The Yackandandah loop is the longest and is about 39km back to town. The small loop, which is the Beechworth loop, is about 17km. The full loop is an all day ride at 56km taking you to both Yackandandah and Beechworth and can be started at either town.”
We’ve heard that the trail has an amazing descent section. Was this section fun to build?
Callum: “Yes, so when you’re a trail builder you love building these types of trails as you get to test ride them! The Homeward Bound descent section is the jewel in the crown of the new flow sections on the trail for sure. It’s about 6km long so it’s actually quite long. It’s not a massively steep gradient but the type of dirt we have in the area is almost hero dirt allowing you to get up quite a bit of speed and some of the features along that track are heaps of fun.”
Do the descent and climbing sections of the trail take different techniques to build?
Callum: “There’s subtle differences for sure in climbing and descending. If you’re on a climbing gradient you don’t want it to be too steep as obviously you’re riding uphill, especially if it’s a long section, and you don’t want to be tired before taking on the fun descents. Also, uphill cornering tends to be a little tighter, although these days we make sure the corners are widened out because e-bikes are becoming a lot more common. When shaping descents you need to keep in mind the faster you’re going on the track the more spread out everything needs to allow for that speed.”
What’s your favourite feature on the trail?
Callum: “My favourite feature on the trail actually isn’t a jump feature. When you cross Nine Mile Creek there’s a beautiful cascading steep valley with a rock ledge feature where you can stop and take in the heritage settings and surrounding bushland. There’s also a mega left hand berm descending into Wombat Creek which is on a section called Ferny Gully that’s pretty awesome. It’s definitely something to watch out for.”
The Indigo Epic trail is made up of existing hand-cut and brand new machine-built trail. How do these different trail types compliment each other?
Callum: “It’s definitely different. The thing you notice most is probably the narrow width of the hand-cut trail. Hand-cut trail is always much narrower as you generally bench it just wide enough to ride whereas machine-built trail is generally a faster, flowy style of trail. The existing hand-cut trail that the local MTB club Yack Tracks have built is a lot of fun to ride with the Indigo Epic trail network using some of Yack Tracks oldest and most popular trails. The network of old school immersive natural trails takes you into places that you never thought you would go and then you get to a point where you switch into some flow trail which is also well worth the wait.”
Tell us about the different types of bushland the Indigo Epic takes you through…
Callum: “There’s quite a few different types. At the Beechworth end there’s some very tall Box Iron Bark type forest and steep dry eucalypt forest. Some of the hidden gems are when you’re in some quite steep gullies and shaded spots on the trail network. In those gullies you get this damp forest full of big ferns and it’s a lot wetter and cooler due to the cooling effect of the streams. Some of the best spots are as you come into Nine Mile Creek and also Wombat Creek. It’s got these huge ferns and you wouldn’t really expect them to be there.”
Finally, what do you think is most special about the Indigo Epic trail?
Callum: “Well, there’s not a lot of destination riding for mountain biking in Australia where you ride from one town to another town. It’s actually an unusual trail set-up which I think is great and I think we can probably do more of in Victoria’s High Country. But also just the immerservie nature of it, you’re riding in native bush. You’ve got incredible landscape experiences that you’re having access to and you’re also linking into key historic areas that exist in the region.”
It's EPIC, it links the townships of Beechworth and Yackandandah and it's coming in early 2023.
IndigoEPIC is 56km of world class single track and the first year round EPIC grade trail in Australia.