Sarah and Jesse recently packed their Big Kevs and headed for a warmer climate to recon this year’s Race to the Rock entrée route in sunny Queensland. After a change in race format last year, 2023 will see the return of the original finish line, Uluru.
As with every edition of Race to the Rock, riders must complete the route unsupported, carrying all they need to survive. Careful planning will be required to tackle long, remote sections without resupply points, and as the route heads closer to Uluru, the weather conditions can get hot, dry and arid, putting the rider's mental endurance to the test. As always, the race will be divided into two sections - the entrée and main course. The entrée leg is a great way to experience a taster adventure without commitment to completing the full route. It’s great for those new or curious about this style of racing.
Starting at Brisbane City Hall, it’s a 995 km haul to reach Rockhampton GPO, the finish point for the entrée leg.
You’d better pack your climbing legs with a massive 14,000 vm of rugged, rocky, steep gravel goodness to conquer. In just the first 150 km alone, riders must push through over 5,000 vm, putting their resupply skills to the test much earlier than in previous editions. With just a single resupply point between Brisbane and D’Aguilar, riders may get caught out with no water quickly on these rough, slow going stretches through D’Aguilar National Park.
The field will split quickly, making it some exciting dot-watching for sure.
Despite all the hard work on this year’s entrée route, riders will have plenty to keep them distracted and motivated to move forward. Below of our favourite highlights of the entrée included.
With all that climbing through D’Aguilar National Park, a waterhole on a hot day is just what you need. Rocky Hole is a stunning swimming hole etched into the natural contours of Mount Mee’s granite filled gullies. It's only 200 m off route so easily accessible for a dip!
Glass House Mountains
After a tough haul through the D’Aguilar National Park, you will get your first glimpses of the Glass House Mountains. These unique crafty peaks simply tower above the surrounding landscape. The route then weaves through the Glass House National Park. Bikes are welcome here on the trails, and the rocky single track is well-marked as you circle the main peak, Mount Beerburrum.
Sunday Creek Road
Just outside of Kenilworth, you’ll take a right turn onto Sunday Creek Road, starting the longest of the climbs on the entree route, up and over Mt Allan. Settle in as you’ll be climbing for around 24 km, the steepest section in the first half. The views start quickly here as you wind up through Conondale National Park, be sure to look back from time to time to take in the surroundings.
Wongi National Park
The terrain here can get a little sandy and rocky, with some short pinches that will require good traction and line selection. It's mostly dense eucalypt forest through here, offering welcomed shade if the temperatures rise. As you pop out the other side of the Wongi National Park, you'll get the first glimpse of Mount Walsh and its rocky peaks as you ride into Biggenden.
Mount Perry General Store.
Most small country towns have a general store, and Mount Perry took the win for us. There is a small range of groceries on offer, including fruit and veg; however, there is a huge cooked menu to look after every appetite and dietary need. We were excited when we could order a pizza with vegan cheese. All baked goods are freshly made, the staff are wonderful, and they are open daily from 7 am - 7 pm. The pumpkin & ginger cake was the bomb!
Boyne Burnett Rail Trail
Who doesn’t love a rail trail? A big highlight is the Boyne Burnett Rail Trail, where you’ll enjoy a ten-kilometre descent via sweeping curves through six old train tunnels and large impressive cuttings. Be sure to look out to your left here regularly for big scenic mountain views of the Boyne Valley.
Of course, there are many more highlights on this year's entree, and you don’t have to wait until September to explore this route yourself. The full GPX file is available for download: