The 2019 Port to Port MTB course has been released - this race just gets better with age!
The 2019 Port to Port is a combination of everything you love, plus some new bits. And that extends beyond just the announcement of the course, wtih updates that have been released this morning. This year, you now have the opportunity to race Port to Port in a pair. And as we already know, Port to Port is better with mates.
This brings Port to Port inline with The Pioneer and Reef to Reef, two other races in the Oceania Epic Series - and of course Cape to Cape will be run in the same format. Sure, you can ride solo, but there is a lot of fun when racing in pairs. You share the highs, the lows, the spills and the thrills. Plus you have a witness for any trail heroics.
But the big news today is updates to the stages for 2019. Port to Port has come a very long way since the first edition in 2014, and the race route just keeps getting better.
Stage 1 - Pokolbin
47km | 1160m climbing
Start: Audrey Wilkinson Winery
Finish: Spicers Retreat
Audrey Wilkinson Winery is back as a start venue, but what's new is a finish at Spicer's Retreat. But don't worry, it's just next door to the start.
As the numbers suggest, this is a hilly route. Infact Port to Port would be one of the hilliest stage races in Australia. Which is great! Uphill means downhill, and uphill before singletrack means way less bottlenecks. What's new after the first climb is a new section of trails, and we hear one section might even be reminiscent of the Rabbit Hole descent. The climb back our mixes singletrack with just about any kind of trail, before bombing Broken Back Road with some more trails to the finish.
Stage 2 - Killingworth
46km | 550m climbing
Start and Finish: Sugar Valley Golf Course
This stage was all new for 2018 and it returns with a fresh look. The stage still begins with a climb up toward Sugarloaf. Yes it is steep, yes it is loose. Yes, there could be swearing. But the big news is instead of the road to the top we hit a collection of fire roads and new singletrack to drop into Killingworth and Holmesville.
At this point, you need to hope your cornering is up to scratch. There have been small amendments to these trails to make sure they flow really well - all the way back to where you started.
Stage 3 - Awaba and the Watagans
60km | 1250m climbing
Start and Finish: Cooranbong Park
The Queen stage! This stage commences in Cooranbong and will see a very familiar route through Awaba and the Watagans. 2018 had a bit of an update taking out some road and putting us onto some hilly dirt earlier on - really breaking up the field.
The Hunter Mountain Bike Club have been maintaining the trails and making new additions to Awaba that will be included. After a loop there we climb up high before descending loose trails back to Cooranbong Park.
Stage 4 - Glenrock
39km | 540m climbing
Start: Belmont Golf Course
Finish: Dixon Park, Newcastle
There is a start line at Belmont Golf Course to cater for the larger field reducing the bottle neck into the singletrack. This is a good thing as the congestion in 2018 was pretty epic. But the race distance doesn't suffer, and the extra distances will be made up in the Redhead and Whitebridge trails, an area that just keeps getting better and better with each year.
A new trail down to Dudley beach is being explored, and it might even mean there isn't much time on the beach at all.
In the Glenrock trail network the old favourites are included along with some new inclusions to finish of 4 days of awesome riding. This is some of the best riding in NSW, and we get to race on it - not bad!
The beachside finish line at Dixon Park remains with the Eats’, Beats and Bikes Festival. Relax, refuel, take your prizes or watch those who did. And best of all, relive the highs and lows of the past four days with those around you.
Sound like something you're up for? Well entries are open - find a team mate and get into it!