Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, Australia, has long been known as a tourism destination. It’s on the map for grey nomads, backpackers, and 4WD enthusiasts alike. Plenty of Australian mountain bikers have known about it as well, thanks to the Central Australia Bike Challenge, that became the Red Centre Enduro and now the Ingkerreke Commerical MTB Enduro (run by Rapid Ascent). All these races have used the ever expanding, yet unofficial singletrack network that surrounds Alice Springs.
Now with a push from Tourism NT, the parks association, indigenous land owners and almost countless other groups, the trails have been sign posted, mapped, and had a few re-alignments done to bring them upto IMBA standards. Trails that were great, are now brilliant!
The trails were opened on Monday 14th April, and the Lasseters Easter in the Alice MTB Muster started on Saturday 19th April – ready to showcase the trail network to those who travelled to the centre. With four stages over three days, all based right out of Alice Springs, the event was action packed. A time trial, night race, 40km and 80km stage can’t be viewed through marathon distance eyes until you have ridden out here. It’s rough and twisty, with a lot of pedalling – it wears you out!
The three days of racing were done under a clear, deep blue sky, and any time from early April seems to be the best time for Alice Springs riding – we raced in temperatures around the low 20’s, with minimal wind, and not a cloud in the sky. Recent rains had brought lots of vegetation up, making the desert awash with green.
The race really did cater for everyone, with open categories, paired teams, fat bikes, singlespeed, and age groups including juniors. With race director John Pyper running the junior program for Central Australia Rough Riders (the club that hosts the event) it’s no surprise he made sure there was something for young riders.
One of the most notable things about the race was the friendly vibe – not just from one rider to another, but all volunteers and supporters were in high spirits. Lots of local businesses were behind the event, providing excellent services to all who came. The Lasseters Easter in the Alice has really proven to be a great showcase for all the hardwork countless people have put into the mountain bike scene here in Alice. From the trail builders, the bike shop owners, the club members, and the people who support them all.
I was really happy to race against some friends and end up in the front due to some good luck, and with Imogen Smith winning the women’s race it was a nice double win for the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com team – complete with some Alice Springs rock to take home!
This race is one for 2015, or make sure you come out for the ICME or just a bike based holiday. There’s plenty to do in the red centre.
Full results are available on the event website.