Here at MarathonMTB.com we have a soft spot for Alice Springs. With over a dozen visits between the whole Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team over the past decade, we are repeat offenders when it comes to visiting the Red Centre to ride (and race) our mountain bikes. We often get asked what draws us back, why go again when we have already been once?
The answer isn’t that simple, as it’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of elements that create lasting memories and unique experiences.
The climate in Alice Springs
With events like Easter in the Alice earlier in the year, and The Redback in August, Alice Springs offers two kinds of escape. If you’re from the southern states of Australia it will almost certainly offer warmer weather. But the other great change, especially for those from further north, is the absolute lack of humidity.
The dry air of Alice Springs means temperatures don’t feel as warm, bike clothing dries soon after you wash it, and in the desert the cool night temperatures mean you sleep well at night so you are well rested for the next day.
Best of all, there is a very, very low chance your trip to Alice Springs will be rained out. Even if it does rain – it will be spectacular.
The trails in Alice Springs
One might assume that trails in Alice Springs might be a mix of old roads used for Mad Max shoots, and trails ripped up by dirt bikes. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The trails in Alice Springs vary from old dirt roads and access trails, to hand-built singletrack that twists and turns over rocky outcroppings, to fast trails through the tall bush grass, built on the natural lines that wildlife have taken.
The only thing you can be certain of though is the variety of trails you will ride. We’ve heard reports there are 200km of trails, some say 300km, others say 400km. Either way, there’s a labyrinth of trails surrounding the town of Alice Springs, and it’s all easy to navigate if you’re not there for an event. As the MacDonnell Ranges aren’t going anywhere so you have a permanent landmark to orient yourself too.
Whether you find yourself on a twisting climb that is scaling a ridge, or rolling down rock slabs and into a gully, or blasting through sandy singletrack in tall bush grass, you can be sure that the trails in Alice Springs will force a smile onto your face. Don’t expect reverse gradient climbs, flow sections to cut your speed, and obstacles made to keep your speeds low. There is a raw, natural beauty to Alice Springs and surrounds, and the trails are no different.
Alice Springs mountain bike club
There are enough events around the country and the world run my huge companies that put on a truly great show. But, they do miss something. Mountain biking isn’t a huge sport like road cycling or triathlon, and more often than not mountain bike events involve passionate people investing their time and resources into their event.
The Easter in the Alice Stage Race in Alice Springs is no different. The race is run by the local club and powered by the mountain bikers who want to have a great 3 day stage race for their members, and attract riders from around Australia.
The community support is evident at registration, race starts, on-course marshalls and along the route itself. Any local business who can be involved make sure they are. From bike wash tokens to discounted accommodation or even airport pick ups. The locals and the club want you to come to Alice Springs, and they want you to have a great time while you’re there.
While Alice Springs might be equidistant to every good beach in Australia, it’s also very close to some sights and experiences that people travel around the world for. If you’ve never made the effort to go and see the sun set against Uluru, or take a tour through Kings Canyon, or even marvel the beauty of the MacDonnell Ranges while taking a quad bike tour of a cattle station – now is your opportunity.
Alice Springs is the perfect starting point for a holiday in the Red Centre, and a mountain bike stage race could just be the best way to start your holiday. With a couple of public holidays, taking a few more days of leave after Easter and getting a car or jumping on a tour might be the best decision you’ve made – beyond heading out there in the first place.
Australia’s indigenous history has a connection with the land that is very difficult to comprehend from a western background. But if you spend a night under the stars in Alice Springs, or race towards the ranges during an early race start as the sun rises, or even look to the horizon while sharing trail tales with friends after the race has finished, it’s hard to not feel a connection to the uniquely Australian landscape around Alice Springs.
So what’s stopping you? The next great event in Alice Springs is Lasseters Easter in the Alice. You can find out about all the stages online, and check out their accommodation offer with 20% off at Lasseters for racers. We think mountain biking in Alice Springs is a special experience – will we see you there?