Words: Chris Panozzo

Trans Tasmania is on, and like reading from a Hollywood script, its brought to you by the same people that have done Trans BC and Trans NZ! Does a 5-day multi venue stage race across the best bits of Tasmania during summer seem too good to be true? Well it nearly was! With multiple delays for obvious reasons, the event is back on from the 30th of January 2022 to the 5th of February. Let's break down what this event is, and what to expect should you find yourself on the start line.

The trails

It's hard to imagine a better riding destination than what is on offer over 5 days in Tassie. Day 1 and 2 start off in gravity focussed Maydena Bike Park which has some of the best terrain in all of Australia, with a scene not replicated anywhere else you’ll be challenged by the layout, steepness, tree roots and even in January, the weather.

Sandwiched in between the already well known meccas of Maydena and Derby, Queenstown is an exciting wildcard that has the potential to steal the thunder from the big names. Open views above tree lines and a rocky landscape will provide the backdrop to what sounds like multiple black diamond trails. Get excited for these.

Well, what else is there left to say about Derby? The last two days are finishing on a well-established playground that has seen everything from Marathons to Enduro World Series events. With the EWS postponed, there aren’t that many opportunities to race in Derby, so make use of it when the chance comes around!

Event Format

What is blind racing? Well, its normal racing against the clock, but with no sighting laps. You have all the time in the world to get to the start line, much like state enduro races and once you start descending the clock starts. Aggregate time over the 5 days decides results, and over 5 days you will be bound to make the odd mistake, and so will everyone else so no stress, you’ll have plenty of time to make it up. Keep an out for coloured markers on trail to give you a heads up if there is anything you need to look out for, but everything is ridable first go. Want to know more about track details, everyone does, but do you need to know more? Nope, that’s half the fun!

How to prepare for a mult-day Enduro race

The vibe

Going on a supported 5 day stage race is a must. With like-minded riders challenging themselves then catching up each evening around the best locations in Tassie, do I need to say more? Well ok, you know that feeling Monday morning when you were wishing you were back at the races, or thinking of the weekend hanging out with all your mates shuttling? That doesn’t happen. Because guess what, you’re not back at the office!

Although the week-long trip is structured around a timed format, it’s essentially like a 5-day weekend with mates riding the best trails. The vibe can be laid back because someone else is taking on all the responsibility, you’re not making meals, you’re not figuring out where to go, you’re not trying to herd everyone in the group to get moving. Its all done, you just need to get on your bike and ride.

Event structure

There are two options available, self-supported and all inclusive. The best option by far is all inclusive if you’re from any state other than Tasmania. With cheap flights on offer, it makes it easier to fly into Hobart, from there all worries are taken care of. Transfers from the airport to Maydena, and to every venue during the event, plus the transfer back to Hobart airport afterwards. Accommodation isn’t in a tent, you’re put up in airbnb’s, lodges or hotel rooms.

READ: Vanlife on a budget

With all meals looked after and based on the Trans BC event I raced a few years ago, the meals are mountain bike rider worthy: tasty and big! The other option of self-supported is just that, you are looking after yourself. If you have a well setup camper and are taking the boat across, it would be a great way to spend a week, but if you’re thinking of hiring a rental car for a week in tassie at the moment? Good luck!

What rider does Trans Tas suit?

Who does this event suit? I think everyone with a moderate amount of skills and fitness can complete this if they have the right mindset. Weaselling out of things is important to learn; it’s what separates us from the animals, except the weasel. If you’re an XC racer hoping to weasel your way out of going, think again.

In saying that, you will definitely need a proper enduro bike. You are riding very technical trails, 4 to 5 hours a day for 5 days! The pace isn’t a factor, the endurance side of things is, so if you can winch yourself to the top of a mountain multiple times a day for 5 days, and safely get back down. You’re in. Come and join the party.

Things to consider

- Tasmania is set to open on the 15th of December, and fingers crossed their reopening plan goes smoothly, but with an option to get a full refund, Trans Tas is good value with flights being as cheap as they are at the moment.

- You don’t need a full face to race but given the terrain and the nature of the event, I’d highly recommend one.

TESTED: Specialized Gambit 640g full-face helmet

- Bike bags and boxes are transported for you, along with a 23kg separate piece of luggage.

- Bike support during the event, pumps, lubes etc will be supported by Shimano, with anything major looked after by Maydena Bike Park's bike shop, then Sprung for days 3 to 5. Plus, you have the Derby shops that are regularly servicing the busy little village.

- What else is there to consider? Life’s short?

Head to the event website for full details.