The 2022 BPS 600 and Recap of 2021 BPS Hunt 600
The team at the Bike Pack Shop are super excited to announce we are hosting another bike packing ride in early July 2022. The BPS 600 is for riders wanting to be challenged. It’s steep, technical and rugged and not for the feint-hearted. But the good news is, if that’s not your thing, we have you covered. We’re preparing a shorter 400km route (same-same but sans the Bunya Mountains) if you want a slightly easier route.
The ride is in the gorgeous South East Queensland region’s best gravel riding area.
As a teaser for the July 22 event – read on to discover a wheel by wheel account of my experience in our last ride – the BPS Hunt 600. Hope you enjoy!
This is shot from our inaugural BPS Hunt 600 ride in December 21 (yeeeouhh Brendan and Josh!). Looking fresh faced after the first 50k. Yep, that changed soon after.
We had a pretty decent turnout with about 35 riders registering for the trip! Personally, I was so excited to ride some new gravel, but I was also using this as an opportunity to train for other events I knew were coming up.
Day 1 – Start to Woodford
The 4:30am alarm went off on Thursday morning – it was go time! I made sure my stomach was full of food and hopped on my bike. Josh Amberger, Brendan Boyce and I rocked up at the 7/11 shop at The Gap (a suburb in inner west Brisbane) with another rider, Tom Storey. Tom is an endurance rider and all round major nice guy. Josh is a legendary pro triathlete and Brendan is a a total machine that doesn’t switch off – never gives up. Off we go! The ride started off with the Mt Nebo hill climb, with a quick turn left down Dundas/ Goodes Road. This is a techy fireroad descent and about this time I got a flat. I fixed the flat and then tackled the first hard climb – England Creek Road. Josh and I road our way up there together. We were so lucky that one of the other participants had arranged for his mate to set up a water resupply point at the top. Couldn’t have been more thankful! Josh and I waited up the top for the others.
Josh and I continued our ride along Range Road where the climbing got harder and harder. We made our way up towards The Gantry – an old timber logging thing in the middle of nowhere. There’s a water tap, bar-b-que and picnic area. At this point Josh and I had passed a few riders and we were powering on towards Woodford. Most people who are going to quit, will quit around here. The ones who get past this point will finish the ride. As Josh put it the descents are like “rocky hell-holes” and the climbs not much better. But along comes the bitumen and I have to tell you that rolling off the dirt after Range Road felt like heaven. It was the only flat sealed road we had ridden for the past nine hours and was such a reprieve. It was a nice roll into Woodford by about 5.30pm where we raided the local Woolies and Bottle’o. We decided to keep riding for a bit past Woodford – we didn’t want any excuses for our bodies to pull out the next day.
Day 1 – The first night in Belthorpe National Park
After some Salami and Olive sandwiches (I know, right) and a few Black Hops we carried on our journey past the D’aguilar National Park towards the Belthorpe National Park. By this time it was around 6pm and the sun was already setting. To make matters a bit more challenging, the road started to incline again at about 10-15%. We had already mentally switched off, and I was lugging around a 4kg bag of grocery’s on my back (2.5k coke, ravioli family pack, 500g salami, tubs of everything you can imagine!). We decided to ditch any idea of riding the entire hill at this point for obvious reasons. We saw the best spot with a view but it was too close to someone’s property so we continued on a bit.
We made quick work of finding another campsite and found a clearing on top of a bank just next to the road. It was a good little spot, although it was absolutely infested with mozzies. Note to self – don’t forget the Aerogard, like ever again!
After a few hours of chit chat and dinner, we decided to hit the hay. Everything was quiet and still. Pitch black at night time. I was half asleep in my bivvy, super comfy. Until… I heard a crunching noise that completely woke me up. We both sat bolt upright and stared at each other wide eyed. Josh started screaming out stuff and then I started screaming things I can’t remember. We then saw a big bright beam of light that looked like it was wandering its way up the road. So we (courageously) ran down the road towards it, to investigate. Lucky for us, it seemed to be a rider. We didn’t know what to say so we just screamed out ‘Bike Pack Shop!’, “oh hey’, a familiar voice replied. It was Brendan! Brendan thankfully had some mozzie spray so we doused ourselves from head to toe and all three of us finally got some sleep.
Day 2 – Morning – Heading Towards Jimna
After a broken three hours of trying to get to sleep (really needed my Alton Goods sleep set up which I didn’t have), we woke up at about 5.30am and headed off towards Jimna. The riding we did between about 6am and 9am here was so super scenic and pretty. And soooooo much smoother than yesterday.
The sun started to make its way up at about 9am. It became hot and humid and I was still lugging around this cumbersome bag of groceries. Josh, Brendan and I pushed on towards Jimna where we had a lovely bacon and egg roll made by a local at the Jimna history center.
Day 2 – Night – Jimna onwards to Yarraman Pub and beyond
With stomachs full from Jimna, Josh, Brendan and I had a riding reprieve for a while as the route started to descend into farmland along Monsildale Road. This part of the ride was really enjoyable even though the temps were high.
Monsildale Road offers a great section of smooth easy riding gravel. Not long after, we took a right hand turn towards Linville. We even got to stop at a few waterholes where we dived in the fast running streams to cool off. The water was so cold – like an ice bath, but it was exactly what the doctor ordered! Actually, this next 20km had two dozen or so Creek crossings with super sandy entry and exit points. Although it was a constant stop-start to battle through them, it was fun. Our bikes were covered in sand, and were becoming loud and squeaky. The dirt road finally became sealed as we rode the rest of the way to Linville.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Linville is about 3/4 of the way along the BVRT (Brisbane Valley Rail Trail). The next 42km we rode along the BVRT with a gradual incline all the way to Yarraman. We punched it along here and lost Brendan the machine.
At Yarraman we stopped for a quick beer (or two?) haha. After that we got back on the road feeling a bit dizzy as we neglected the fact that we hadn’t had any food. Ouch. It was about 6pm, but we weren’t too keen on stopping at Yarraman that night so we dug deep (like, really deep) and rode another 70km west to Kumbia. Nothing much happened over those few hours riding, except that we found a lost rider, Tom, just past South Nanango. His GPS broke and he ended up in the middle of Tarong State Forest completely lost. That forest area was thick scrub and trees for miles! He saw our bike lights and we saw his and we regrouped and rode our wrecked bodies to the Kumbia Caravan Park where we stayed for the night and ate. It was basically a shelter and a loo.
Day 3 – Day – The Bunyas
Just to recap our Day 2 experience, it’s hard to physically and mentally get over such a huge 215km/ 4000m slog but we made good use of the hot showers in Kumbia. Even though Kumbia was really just a toilet block, it was (to us) a great spot to set up camp. Mozzie-free and all. We all had an awesome 6ish hour sleep. My first great sleep. We woke up semi-refreshed and eager to hit the Bunya Mountains on the 3rd day.
The Bunya Mountains climb wasn’t as bad as we had expected – it was quite ridable but steep. The drop in temperature towards the top of the mountain was also very nice after the 40+ temps yesterday. After a good filling lunch at a Bunya cafe, we dropped down the fun and windy descent and started the next five hours of road riding. This is where things heated up and although not much happened on day 3 it became quite a hot and sweaty ride. We stopped for an hour or so at Crows Nest to refuel.
We finally made it to our first bit of dirt for the day after riding 170km up to Esk. It was a huge ride but we rode straight through it and continued riding along the BVRT to Lowood.
Day 3 – Night at Lowood Hotel (thanks Tom – We love you)
Tom was so appreciate we found him the night before, that he shouted us a room and a meal. We rolled straight into the Lowood Hotel. A big 400g rump & cider sat in front of me as we had a yarn about our big 210km day. I must also give a big shout out to Tom for buying us a room in the Hotel for the night. What a legend!
It was great that we had that good sleep and food because what we faced the final day was grueling.
Day 4 – the final 60kms to the finish line was techy, steep and every muscle in our bodies was aching and screaming out for us to stop. I don’t think we even spoke much the entire 60km!
I rode straight home, got changed and freshened up and hit the afterparty which was at Ascent Cycles. Thanks to Ryan for having us there. Pizza’s and beer on BPS for all the riders who tackled this incredibly challenging ride.
A big congrats to all the riders who attempted or finished the ride. This was no easy feat. The BPS Hunt 600 course is a beautiful monster. As hard as it was, we all still had an awesome time and were able to share some low lows and high highs.
Thanks to Josh, Tom and Brendan for your great company all the way through, I couldn’t have continued on without you.
Stay tuned for further updates on the BPS 600 coming up in June/July 2022 and all other events that @bikepackshop will be hosting in the future. We are so glad to have you as part of our community.
Josh’s Setup – Oveja Negra Bike Bags
I had the privilege of riding with Josh Amberger, a pro Ironman triathlete new to bike packing. Josh isn’t inexperienced with riding long distances. Not only does Josh have a big engine in the legs, but he’s also a great bloke to talk to.
Josh, being a new bike packer had to get a full suite of bike bags, so we decked him out with a full set of our Oveja Negra bags. How sweet does the set up look! Not only was Josh super stoked on the functionality of Oveja Negras bags, but he was also super stoked with the design and colour variety the bags came in.
Max’s Setup – Miss Grape Bike Bags
I’ve been privileged enough to ride with a number of different bag brands. One brand that has stood out the most to me is the Italian made Miss Grape range of ultralight racing spec bike bags. Made out of a passion for adventure and bike packing.
For the BPS 600, I used the MG Cluster 13 Adventure, MG Node 2H Adventure and MG Bud Adventure. Miss Grape is available from BPS!