Cross Country Trail at The Goat Farm
Making use of an ever so rare opportunity of both of us having Monday off work, we made our way with the bikes to the Goat Farm Mountain Bike Park bright and early. I wish I could hold onto the feeling of no work on a Monday, however that said it was just as difficult to wake up so early and in this instance, we brewed our large stovetop coffee maker.
Begin and End: Goat Farm car park
Route: Lap of the skills park and jump circuit. Lap of the cross country Blue Cruiser trail
Distance: 6 – 8 km
Trail Grade: this is interesting, I’ve seen reference to ‘all levels’ as well as ‘difficult’ – I’ll go with difficult as far as Western Australia trails go.
Highlights: Fast down hill sections, fun jump circuit, thrilling sections, nice views, rocky terrain, cross country, single track
We arrive at Greenmount National Park just after 7:00 am, the entrance into the mountain bike park is a picturesque one, and one that resembles a farm. Just like the trails in the park, the drive through is rocky, however okay for a 2wd car. We arrive to an empty car parking lot and as we later discover we would have the whole park to ourselves during the morning ride – how cool is that!?
We warm up with a lap of the skills park and jump circuit. The top of the jump park is a little exposed and the strong easterly wind hits us side on as we pedal into the jumps. Me, a jump beginner, I become a little hesitant after a couple of runs so I decide to watch Derek for a bit.
When we are done, instead of backtracking to the trail head closer to the toilets, we push the bikes up the hill finding an entry to the cross country Blue cruiser trail. This time around, I am prepared with a GPS map from Strava to assist us in completing the 5.78 km loop trail.
The trail snakes and gives us a longish ride around the mountain bike park, it is steep on the ascent as well as some of the descending sections. Beginning the downhill we are treated to a couple of fun and quick berms. The ground on the trail is constantly changing but is mostly dominated with rocks of all sorts and well developed ruts. The trails are not groomed but that is what makes it refreshingly fun. You could say it is a good trail to develop the skill of ‘pick your line’. The straight semi smooth sections feel fast and a couple of times I’m surprised at the speed I gain on what my eyes deceive me into thinking is a flat surface. It’s all good fun in the Australian bush.
The trail takes on a narrow width as the weeds fight for sunlight on either side. Occasionally I hear a rustle to my side, I am more than happy to swiftly keep on moving. I suspect we are the first riders for the day and stirred the local reptiles from the noise of the bikes and our voices. The trail takes us into an old quarry, mostly overgrown with weeds, but it provides a couple of cool rollable jumps in a circular manner before we exit out. With the warmer weather surfacing, the flies follow us. If I pick up speed, they disappear. The moment I stop they are all around my head causing some annoyance.
While generally I enjoy taking in the surroundings as I’m pedalling, this trail calls for focus. This means all eyes on the trail. I mentioned the rocks and the ruts. There are trees and shrubs and exposed roots to keep an eye out, as is the case with any trail in the bush. The ride remains exciting with the continual coiling of single track. I wouldn’t change a thing about it all though, it’s a nice change from riding straight forward firebreak tracks.
Once on the trail it is not easy to follow the winding loop, there are some sections where additional trails veer off and can cause a little confusion, particularly if you are a first timer. A few downhill trails run off Blue Cruiser too. Having an understanding of the surrounding area, like the nearby Railway Heritage Trail and the boundary of the park definitely helps with the orientation part. There are some good maps online from a quick google search. Following a GPS removes the second guessing, albeit a challenge to be following whilst navigating the rocky terrain but not a far reaching task. On the first run, I found myself stopping a bit to make sure I was still on the trail and even then, when I checked the GPS later in the day it showed we skipped a section and ended up back on the trail without even realising. So it’s good to know if you detour off the Blue Cruiser, it is possible to find the way back. That said, it’s fun exploring new places, who knows what you may find and the Goat Farm is best explored when lost!
During the ride Derek encounters a flat tyre. The $9.95 puncture repair kit and CO2 cylinder from the local bicycle store works a treat, he is up and pedalling within 15 or so minutes. We were all smiles knowing we avoided the disappointment of having to abandon the ride.
We’ve helped out a few riders with the nifty CO2 cylinder, this is the first time it has helped us. Wearing gloves avoids coming in contact with the freezing cold exterior.
The unexpected puncture gives us a few moments to spot the sensational view and glimpse of Perth’s CBD. We probably wouldn’t have noticed it rolling down this particular side of the hill.
If you want to chase views at Greenmount National Park (cyclists or not) I posted some info about the lookout accessible in the national park behind the Goat Farm here. It’s a decent climb from the car park and a good physical work out. I think you may be able to drive close to the look out as well, further up Great Eastern Highway.
Very close to the bottom of the park Blue Cruiser passes a push up trail to two large jumps on Dugite Bite. I watch for a bit while Derek excitably checks it out.
How did we go on Blue Cruiser at The Goat Farm?
Being the site for state cross country competitions and Enduro events, the trail landscape of the Goat Farm is set to skill test and excite through various technical and physically demanding sections. It’s great fun. I enjoyed the challenge and opportunity to conquer new riding conditions and some downhill sections along Blue Cruiser.
Finishing Blue Cruiser there’s a big happy feeling of accomplishment, it’s one of the reasons we both enjoy mountain biking is for that feeling. It’s a decent physical work out as much as a mental one and 100% rewarding.
We like that the Goat Farm presents a chance to progress to higher jumps on the black runs. Not forgetting the skills practice section and jump circuit, a great warm up or warm down following a ride.
Have you ridden the Blue Cruiser trail at The Goat Farm? What was you take on it?