Could CQ be Australia’s mountain biking capital?
CENTRAL Queensland is perfectly positioned to claim the mantle of Australia's mountain biking capital, according to Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.
She is speaking from firsthand experience after making her first foray into the sport on the trails at Rockhampton's First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve in the foothills of the Berserker Range.
"The trails are an amazing asset," she said.
"I knew that they were before but now having the experience of riding them I definitely can see that we have so much potential already but also future potential.
"Central Queensland could absolutely be the mountain bike capital of Australia and the world.
"We have some world-class potential in and around Mt Archer. That's really exciting and we need to seize on that."
Ms Lauga said she had always supported the development of sport and recreational facilities, and the region had a strong sports tourism sector which would be further enhanced by growing the mountain biking market.
First Turkey boasts more than 30km of mountain bike trails, which cater for all levels of riders.
They are fast gaining a reputation as some of the best in the country and in 2017 were the venue for a round of the national enduro series.
For the past three years, Rockhampton has been chosen to host a round of the state enduro series though the 2020 event, which was to be on April 19, was postponed due to COVID-19.
Ms Lauga did 8km on her maiden outing last Sunday.
She had long wanted to take on the trails and had constantly heard her constituents "rave" about the quality of what was on offer at First Turkey.
She decided to take the plunge and bought a bike several weeks ago.
"I thought I've got this right on my doorstep, I should be taking advantage of it," she said.
"I didn't know what to expect. I was really surprised at how challenging it was but also how liberating it was.
"There were really tough bits but there were really enjoyable parts as well.
"The rain started to come down just as I was descending the Hanging Rock trail. It was euphoric, it was just this beautiful experience of mountain biking in our natural environment.
"It was really wonderful and it was a great stress relief as well."
Ms Lauga said she "couldn't resist", hitting the trails again on Monday.
"From the first challenging turns to then be able to come down berms and across technical parts was really exciting," she said.
"To grow in confidence from that first ride to my next was really fulfilling."
The best access to First Turkey's mountain bike trails is from the car park at the corner of Sunset Dr and German St.
Maps have just been erected there which people can follow of they can use the Trailforks app to navigate around.
The two routes into the reserve are along Sunset Trails which deliver riders across Moores Creek to the more beginner-friendly trails, Lower Wild Pig and Finley's (beginner) and Whipsnake (intermediate).
Horseshoe takes riders to Jackhammer and Two-Up which climb to Ant's Nest Hub where people can descend Megatron (intermediate) or K9 and Smokescreen (advanced).