Jindabyne time! – Charlotte Pass, plank bridges and not enough coffee!

To keep things fresh, this year we took a break from Bright, instead going to Jindabyne. Continuing the TMCC theme of big hills and big k’s, we took on Charlotte Pass first up, then added an extra loop onto the end to make it proper distance! Read on for loads of great pics and more!

With a break from tradition, this year instead of doing the usual Bright trip, we stayed in NSW, and headed to Jindabyne! We based ourselves at East Jindabyne staying at the Steelmakers Alpine club. It’s a bit out of town, and added a nice little climb to end pretty much every ride to finish off those weary legs!

A few of the crew got down days ahead of the main group, riding the trails in and around Thredbo, spending their days riding the chair lift up, bombing it down, and doing it all again until they’d had enough. With most of us arriving Thursday afternoon, we went for a cruisy ride towards Eucumbene Dam. As is often the case, the easy ride ended up hard, setting us all up nicely for the ‘hard’ rides in the days to follow!

Any riding trip to Jindabyne isn’t complete without a trip up Charlotte Pass. It’s the highest tarred road you can get to, and has some pretty cool scenery to look at while you’re on the way. In what is now traditional TMCC style, we handicapped the start, setting off in two groups. The climb itself is about 30km long, but only averages something like 2%, so it’s not exactly a climb the whole way.

Jindy to the end of the road up Charlotte Pass, back down to Jindy, then a loop around to Dalgety and back home via Berridale.
You don’t have to go far from the outskirts of Jindabyne before it starts going up and up! This is the very start of the Charlotte Pass climb.
Having already been down at Jindy for a few days, doing countless downhill runs at Thredbo, the big unit Chris Brown, was last seen here just after the tollgate before he dumped his gears, and made a sharp u-turn heading back to Jindy, saving his cookies for another day on the dirt!
Unlike the monster climbs in the Vic Alps, Charlotte Pass has a lot of flatter sections once you’ve got up the initial climb. This is one of them. The old chalet in the distance, this is just past the Guthega turn off. More climbing up ahead to get to Smiggins!
It was around this point that we started to get a little nervous about the weather. Storm clounds were rolling in, the sun disappeared, the the temperature was dropping! Standard alpine weather.
Not far from a brief stop at Perisher. It was looking grim up here! And still no sign of that first group. Looks like the handicapper may have been a bit off!
The remains of the 2nd group, coming into Perisher, still in the hunt for that first group.
“That way!” – grassy ski runs in the background. It’s an interesting but odd place in summer. Not a whole lot happening at all at Perisher when it’s not the snow season.
Eerie! Just inside the building that houses the ski tube one level below. Really just looks like everyone packed up and left in a mad rush.
Unlike Thredbo, Perisher doesn’t have a summer mountain bike scene, so their chairlifts come to a complete stop when the snow melts.
After a brief stop at Perisher, we pushed on, still wondering, both where the hell this other group was, and how wet were we going to get?
Owen in full flight with Charlotte Pass village in sight! By now we’d seen some of the guys in the early bunch heading back down. We’d find out shortly that it was pretty damn cold and windy at the top!

For the next 20 minutes, small groups slowly arrived at the summit, essentially a car park at the end of the road with Kosciusko in the distance.

Looking beyond the road, Kosciusko somewhere out there! With super gusts of pretty icy wind, we didn’t hang around for long. The plan was to head back down to Jindy, get some food, and for those who wanted to go longer, head out to Berridale via Dalgety.
Even going down to Jindy has uphill! This is just after Smiggins heading back to Jindabyne.
After a long arduous climb, some were smiling more than others!
Fast forward the rest of the descent back to Jindabyne. Both groups both reunited over pretty much the only coffee of the day, at Nuggets Crossing, the main shopping area in Jindabyne.
Team kit.. for everyone except the Rapha guys and James, a new addition to the family, by now well and truly worthy of donning the TMCC colours!
By now, everyone had around 90km on the clock, and based on previous trips where rides like the 3 peaks were considered standard, clearly, we needed to keep riding for a while before we could call it a day. Back in Jindy the heat was up, feeling around about the 30 degree mark, now a bit after midday, it was going to be a warm next leg of the ride! With a group a bit under 10 soldiering on, we headed back out of Jindy towards Dalgety. Out into the country, very different from the alps.
It was hot! Mitch and Ezio behind, with Ross and Elliot closest.
Middle of nowhere! All we knew is that there were some dodgy bridges out here, and eventually we’d get to Dalgety.
Now for the bad news. There are no photos of “that bridge” going into Dalgety. Very much a “pick a plank” style bridge, that could end quite badly if you picked the wrong plank, or managed to hit one of the gaps just big enough for a road tyre! Just around the corner, after we passed the pub, that tended to look like the only shop in town, we found this little do it all store/house. Probably sold more in 10 minutes than they did all week!
Something cold to drink was great. We had about another 20km to Berridale, and an additional 20km to get home back to Jindy!
With a change of direction, we now had consistent cross wind blowing at us. This is where things started to fall apart a bit. It became very challenging keep the group together.
More of the same. There wasn’t a lot around!
From this point onward, there aren’t much in the way of photos. The main reason for this is the photo below. That’s your photographer, and he was a bit over it! Everyone suffered on this ride. The heat and wind really took its toll.
“Even the big hitters were feeling it today.. #longhotandwindy @eamonnbell taking the opportunity to rest while puncture repairs were in progress”
We didn’t plan to stop in Berridale, but a conveniently timed flat tyre meant more time to lay around thinking about the final 20km… and about an ice cold beer and dinner tonight! That final 20km’s sucked. More hills, and wind, but thankfully a nice couple of kilometer descent back into Jindabyne. Easily one of the hardest 160km rides we’d done, felt like 200km to a lot of us.
1 comment
  1. Luke Meers says: December 18, 20149:07 am

    Great write up Eamonn and some top shots! The tales of suffering and that last pic of the big meal together make me regret even more not being able to make it. Next year!!

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