The route will utilise the existing dirt trails and tracks that run alongside (and/or in close proximity to) the broad-gauge branch-line between Castlemaine and Maldon.
The race begins with a speedy exit from the Old Castlemaine Gaol and left onto Bowden Street before encountering a short sharp climb up Forest Street to get the legs and lungs burning. This effort is rewarded with a fast descent down Reckleben St and Chapmans Rd before the bitumen runs out and the dirt trails begin.
The course rapidly approaches the Walmer State Forest where, for those brave enough to enter the "Long Course" category, you will be diverted off the main route onto some sweet singletrack behind the KR Castlemaine Factory before reconnecting with the main race near Sawmill Road. Consider it Part A of your race handicap!
The remaining Short Course entrants stay on the main course as it skirts the edge of the Walmer State Forest before turning onto Sawmill Road and passing under the Prison Farm Bridge. From Sawmill Road the course climbs gradually for about 1km before descending for 4kms into Muckleford Station.
Before this descent however, the Long Course riders will be diverted a second time into Muckleford Bushland Reserve for an additional section of singletrack and Part B of your race handicap! Long Course riders will rejoin the main route at Pipeline Track and have the added challenge of making your way through the rest of the field and hopefully not loosing sight of the Train along the way.
At Muckleford Station riders will encounter the first of the two railway crossings (where the Train has priority) so all effort should be made to arrive here before the train to ensure your journey isn’t impeded.
Muckleford Creek is the next obstacle at the 10.5km mark where the weather will dictate if your socks are wet for the next 7kms.
From Muckleford Creek riders will commence a steady climb all the way to Maldon with only a few sections of downhill relief in the Maldon Historic Reserve.
The train will be breathing down your neck as you near the finish so you’ll need to empty the tank if you want to get to the finish line first!
The course will be marked with arrows and additional warning signage will be erected at danger points or where key messages need to be communicated. Eg: Railway Crossings.