Lizzies story on "fun in Forrest"


Liz’s Lady of Leisure Adventure Riding in Forrest


Being enticed by the promised amazing scenery and hills of the “road ride of a lifetime” I decided to spend a few days in Forrest with Jess and Norm. I thought, maybe I could get in a few mountain bike rides, do the mind-blowing road ride and have a relaxing time before I thought about possibly starting work next week.


Jess’s trust in the Bureau’s long range forecast was absolute so I booked in Friday to do the famed Lavers Hill, Apollo Bay ride. As I’m currently homeless I had to do some shuffling of my belongings that have been packed into storage, arrange to pick up the road bike from a friend and stuff two bikes and all my clothes for a month in the two door Lancer. Still, I couldn’t find my road shoes, so went to the shop to buy some more. All sorted, I made my way to Forrest.


As predicted, Wednesday was cold and a tad wet so it was decided a ride around Yaugher tracks with the Forrest locals, Norm, Jess and Matt was the go. Still grinning after the berms of Mariners Run we rode past that picnic table a number of times and then onto slap and tickle. It’s such a cool track, but by this time I had been riding for 2 hours so had taken off my arms and it doesn’t tickle – it stings! But who remembers the pain when the ride’s so much fun?


Back to the house to get warm, watch Norm’s tour highlights, have dinner then it was time to go out for the night ride. I remember I did a night ride once. I think it was the 2006 Scott 24 hour and I bought my lights then. So they’re old and handle bar mounted and yellow, not white. I’m no expert on lights, but these are not that bright especially when they haven’t been used in years, not charged properly and under the dark Forrest sky. So, the locals decided we needed to do the Red Carpet. I’ve only heard about the Red Carpet – never seen it, never ridden it in daylight, but it sounded like fun. I managed riding up the road with my dull lights, but as soon as we turned on the single track – wet, slippery, rooty and rutty – I started to doubt my ability to ride. I couldn’t see around corners. I couldn’t see the puddles. I couldn’t see how far the drop off dropped. But I could see Jess glowing in front of me and could hear her running commentary of the track. I managed to ride the Red Carpet very slowly, but stayed upright and was still grinning at the end.


Friday eventually arrived and I woke up excited about the prospect of riding 150km around the Otways. Looking out the window I was disappointed that it was almost snowing, gale force winds and I wouldn’t get to try out my new road shoes. No road riding today, but every day is perfect for mountain biking! Jess decided that we needed to go on Matt’s Adventurous Ride around Forrest. So, it was climbing up Number 2 track into the cloud cover, taking in the fresh air and looking at vegetation making it a fantastic climb. We finally got to the top and the quarry road and prepared for the “awesome, fully sick dude” descent. It was brilliant with mud flying up onto my glasses so I couldn’t see a thing, the trees getting lower and lower and narrower and narrower we felt like Alice in Wonderland until the bottom when the Australian flora took its revenge and the huge wattle tree slapped us in the face. Then onto the “oh my goodness, my brakes are smelling” decent in which there were many logs to walk over and trees hanging across the track, but still a fun way to end up at Lake Elizabeth and take in the spectacular views of the lake in the misty rain. We got to the creek crossing which Matt had built up to be a great little log bridge to ride across. With all the rain the creek was flowing and the bridge had been washed downstream, so into the freezing water we walked. Except Matt who decided that he could ride it…unsuccessfully, but he only got one foot wet! Then there was lots of muddy, rutted 4WD track to ride up and up then down, down, down. Do the smiles ever end on this ride? It was a fun three-hour adventure with just the right amount of uphills, mud, slipping, puddles, rain and downhills.


Every time I go to Forrest I am astonished at the grin factor of the tracks, the beauty of the Otways and the friendliness of the locals! I’ll be definitely be back for more very very soon. Oh, and I learnt how to chop wood!