If you’re looking for the latest mountain bike escape, the recently announced Reef to Reef might be just what you’re after. The 4 day mountain bike stage race is set to land in Tropical North Queensland in August, with four days of vaired riding and racing across the varied terrain between Cairns and Port Douglas.

With four stages between 9 – 12 August 2018, the choice is yours: race full gas or ride at a more relaxed pace to enjoy the trails, scenery and hospitality in our tropical north. “Cairns has invested a lot in mountain biking,” says Ironman Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche. “The trails up around Cairns are world-class, we saw that with the recent World Championships.

Cairns has proven itself time and time again.

The new event coincides with the iconic Triple-R (formerly the RRR), the longest running mountain bike race in Australia.

Reef to Reef is set to follow in the footsteps of the amazingly popular Cape to Cape and Port to Port, but with it’s own unique character and mix of trails and terrain. Falling in early August, it also fills a gap in winter where many Australian mountain bikers often had to look overseas to get their racing fix.

Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

“The time of year is great for heading to Tropical North Queensland, as the depths of winter set in for riders from southern climes,” explained Dave Beeche regarding the timing of the race. And we agree – winter is also the dry season in the tropics so you are just about guaranteed fantastic weather. This is the perfect opportunity to build a bit of a winter getaway around a bike trip, and visit the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest – two World Heritage Listed areas.

Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

Reef to Reef brings the popular pairs format as an option to this 4 day mountain bike stage race. That’s the same format as global events like The Pioneer, Cape Epic, Swiss Epic and more. We have never had many pairs races in Australia – but the fun of sharing the highs and lows of a mountain bike race with a mate cannot be under-estimated. If you’re racing, it’s a new challenge as you can use your partnership to your advantage, especially racing against other teams. If you’re taking a more leisurely pace, it’s way more fun to share a joke and a laugh for the whole event – all the way to a relaxing drink after the stage.

Racing in pairs is really rewarding. The tactics, camaraderie, banter... Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith

“I think a pairs stage race is a great experience. But watching the finish of The Pioneer in 2016, where solo riders in the 3 day event were finishing at the same time as the pairs in the 7 day event, the difference was immense. The strength of emotion and camaraderie of those teams who had got through the race together, and completed the journey as a team, was completely different to those who finished the solo race,” explained Dave Beeche, regarding the option to race as a pair. We think it’s a great step – and hope to see more events adopt the popular format.

But – you can enter solo as well. In fact you can enter the 4 day race solo or as a team, or still just enter the RRR for the 35 or 70km race as a standalone event.

Tell me more about the teams

Teams must ride the whole race together and not more than two minutes apart, this is the same as any other pairs race around the world. Riders in the teams category are eligible for 10 qualifying spots for the world famous ABSA Cape Epic, an eight-day adventure through the Western Cape region of South Africa.

Riding with mates is good - and so is racing with them in a pair. Photo: Tim Bardsley-Smith