DAY 1 - Port Stephens
DESCRIPTION OF THE 2017 COURSE
Start: d'Albora Marinas Nelson Bay
Finish: d'Albora Marinas Nelson Bay
Start Time: 11:30am
Riders will start the 2017 Port to Port MTB within the surrounds of the Nelson Bay Marina. Riders will again start with a controlled rollout behind the lead vehicle along Nelson Bay Road, allowing the spectacular views of the ocean to be taken in before the pace is turned up. Sharpen your elbows and stick them out because once the lead vehicle pulls away it is racing for sheep stations in an uphill tarmac sprint before negotiating a tight hair pin in to the first piece of loose singletrack that is sure to offer some fun and spectacular views of Shoal Bay.
A series of short steep climbs will sort out the pecking order ahead of the rocky and rutted Box Beach descent, followed by another tricky climb. A quick blast along the Marine Drive bike path will bring riders to Fingal Bay, where a lap of the area on the tarmac will provide some respite and some great views of the beautiful bay area before getting stuck into the offroad tracks in Tomaree National Park.
Leaving the tarmac, riders will spend the next 20km zig zagging through the various trails of Tomaree National Park. Beginning with a tough climb, riders will hit a fast firm firetrail for 4km through to Gan Gan Road. This is where the easy speed ends, as next up is the now infamous Three Bears under the powerlines; three very steep and ugly loose shale climbs. While the first one looks big, that is only Baby Bear, wait until you see Papa Bear! Last year this section of Stage 1 shook up the field with even the elite riders at the pointy end of the field struggling to stay upright on these climbs.
The reward for conquering the Three Bears is the descent down the other side as the course doubles back and takes in a mixture of trails back out towards Fingal Bay. The course then peels off and heads down a fast smooth run behind the golf course, followed by a final rough rooty descent down Government Hill with the tarmac roads coming into sight to take you to the finish line.
Popping out of Tomaree National Park with only 4km to go, riders cross town on the tarmac for a look at the water, then dart through the stunning maze of singletrack in Fly Point Park. A final quick sprint along Victoria Parade will see riders return to the Marina to pass under the finish arch and complete the stage.
At less than 35km Stage 1 is on the shorter side compared to the big days to come, but ask anyone who has ridden this stage in the past and they will tell you it is anything but easy!
STAGE HIGHLIGHT: The loose gravel and sandstone and washouts as you conquer the climbs up The Three Bears; definitely one of the most challenging sections of the whole Port to Port!
Just an easy 2 1/2 hours drive north of Sydney with a choice of 26 beautiful beaches, Port Stephens is the perfect holiday destination with crystal clear water, gourmet restaurants, boutique shopping, whale & dolphin watching and much much more.... there's something for everyone in Port Stephens.
Port Stephens has a vibrant events calendar with a number of activities taking place across the year. There’s something for everyone in Port Stephens – with the region providing a diverse spread of event venues that play host to festivals and sporting events, some of which are highlighted here http://www.portstephens.org.au/whats-on
On Thursday 25th May some changes to road conditions will occur between the hours of 11.00am – 2.00pm
Victoria Parade will be closed from the intersection of Victoria Parade and Beach Road, Nelson Bay from 11.15am – 11.45am approx.
Nelson Bay Road and Gan Gan Road will see managed traffic and will not disrupt road users
Please be aware of cyclists.