Thunderbolt’s Adventure – FAQ

Is it a race?

Yes. Well kind of. A few will race for line honours, but most will race themselves and just try to survive. But whether you are racing yourself or others there won’t be riders waiting at the top of the hills for you. You are on your own. This isn’t your Sunday bunch ride.

Is there support?

Plan to be self sufficient. You need to navigate and manage your own nutrition. There will be 2 opportunities to top up bottles.

  1. There is a water top up location at Moonan Brook pub.
  2. You will also be able to leave a couple of bottles which will be in a car 3/4 of the way through the ride.

Maybe you want to give $5 to the support drivers to help cover their fuel costs!

We will have a sweep car drive through after the event to make sure everyone is back safely, but you could be waiting a long time for this car to come through and it may not have space for you.

Who will be doing support?

Great question. We are looking for people to help out. Give us a shout if you know someone.

Are there checkpoints?

We will have a sign in check point at Moonan Brook Pub and 3/4 of the way through at the water stop. You will need to sign into both locations as you pass through so we know what section you are on should something go wrong.

What are the route options?

The big dog is the main event. It’s going to be 227 kms with over 5000 m of elevation. You’ll traverse the entire Barrington tops and return via a very remote road.

A shorter route may be available if there’s enough demand.

When will I get the route?

We will send you the route a couple of weeks before the event. We will send you a Strava route and GPX file. How you navigate is up to you. If you want cue cards, paper maps, topos etc that will be up to you to get. We expect every individual rider to be able to navigate the route. You may not be riding in a bunch and this is a bloody big remote area.

What do you mean by remote?

The majority of this event takes place a long way from anywhere. There is little to no traffic in section and no facilities. Except for Moonan Brook pub there are no shops along the route. There are very few residents to be able to assist you. You should have the attitude to you need to get yourself out and carry a PLB or SPOT Tracker.

Is there phone coverage?

No with rare exceptions near the start and end of the race.

Do I need a SPOT or PLB?

You are riding at your own risk. I’ll be taking a PLB for emergency use. If you have a SPOT Tracker that would also be adequate (but note that SPOTs are not as useful in an emergency as a PLB which will directly contact AUSAR). If you don’t have one, hire, borrow or buy one. Eg. or Blue Mountains Police Rescue and some NPWS.

What bike do I need to take?

The route is perfect for a gravel bike or CX. Please don’t bring your roadie, even if you have 28s on it. The Barrington Tops road is hard with large chunks of embedded rocks. A mountain bike would be fine, but it’s along way to ride on a MTB.

There are 2 big climbs. This first is around 1000 vm and the second about 800 vm which gets over 15 %. Low gears would be nice.

What is the quality of the roads

The roads are all good quality gravel roads with very limited bitumen. Barrington tops rd is very compacted gravel with large embedded gravel which can be tiring to ride. There is hero dirt and lots of smooth gravel as well as some more washed out gravel roads.

There are two sections where extra care should be taken. The descent on the western side of Barrington tops is smooth and fast. It also lack guard rails at many points. In addition these is a very steep and loose descent on the northern return section.

What spares do I need?

Everything to get you through the ride. Enough tubes for a few flats if you really have a bad day. Remember it’s remote.

What if I want to pull out of the race?

Don’t on anyone picking you up. We will have a deep vehicle, but there may not be space on it.

Do I need lights?

Yes. We don’t think you’ll likely be back before it gets dark.

Is this a sanctioned race?

No. You ride at your own risk. We highly suggest you have ambulance cover. The roads will not be closed. The route will not be marked. I’m sure other riders will do what they can to help you, but in the end you’re on your own, and responsible for yourself.

Is there a KOM?

There maybe a few sneaky segments out there with some prizes at the finish for various achievements. To be eligible you must log your ride on Strava (and have it uploaded by the time we have a beer in the pub).

Why is this free?

Outside is free. We want to share this brutal but amazing ride with our mates who love remote gravel riding.