Misty Mountain Magic
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Misty Mountain Magic

The Byron Bay Hinterland in Far North NSW is rightly famous for its beautiful, secluded, and isolated patches of paradise. There are rainforest retreats, craggy mountainsides, lush grassland, and even a volcanic caldera in which to lose oneself.

The region known as Uki – not far from Mt Warning – has all of these, and as such is the perfect spot to stage either a MTB race or a trail run. So why not stage both?

That is exactly what event company Summer of Cycling does in the last weekend of August.

Saturday saw a range of mountain bike races of varying distances from 11km to 60km, and Sunday played host to trail runs from 5km to 50km. All the races were configured as loop courses, so if the distance became too much, a racer was never in danger of being stranded in the wilderness with dozens of kilometres left to traverse.

Riders and runners alike loved the picturesque and scenic course, and almost all commented on the two giant carpet snakes straddling the trail. Were they dead or alive? That was a point of conjecture as racers sipped on their post-race smoothies, thoughtfully provided by the organisers. Other unique touches included free inner tubes at registration, and high quality tyres along with engraved glassware as trophies. Even last-minute entries were welcomed, notably the runner who strolled in and casually entered the 30km, proceeding to come second before wandering off as abruptly as he arrived.

Accommodation was provided onsite if you didn’t mind camping out and not having phone or internet reception in this secluded retreat – usually an Outward Bound camp for school students. The hot water was plentiful if you remembered to stoke the boiler, and the silence was deafening.

It was definitely one of my nicest “offices”, and a memorable race full of friendly people, spectacular scenery, and tranquility.

Full results – Misty Mountain MTB, Misty Mountain Trail Run

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