Tim Bach

The GDT 400 is a bike packing event which has been running for the past seven years. The route takes in the whole of the Great Dividing Trail Network (GDTN). It follows the Goldfields Track from Bendigo to Castlemaine, Daylesford, Creswick and Ballarat. From Ballarat, tfollows back roads from Ballarat to Bacchus Marsh and then follows the Lerderderg Track back to Daylesford. The event finishes at the Castlemaine Railway Station. Twenty to thirty participants are attracted to the gruelling event each year. Subject to COVID restrictions, the 2020 race will start at the Bendigo Railway Station at 9:30 am on October 31.

Lewis Ciddor, the event organiser said that the event, usually held in the autumn, is being held in spring for the first time. “We wanted to avoid some other endurance events that are held in autumn and we think the timing is good. The tracks should be firm in late October, the forests will be lush and green and the wildflowers will be out.”

Participants download a GPX file which defines the course. Progress is monitored for all entrants in the event by Spot Messenger or Garmin GPS tracking linked to a website where “spectators” can monitor progress of the cyclists.

The GDT 400 is an “unsupported” bike packing event which means that cyclists carry their own food, drink and camping equipment but are permitted to purchase food and beverages along the way. Clearly, the less a cyclist carries, the faster they can travel so participants need to plan carefully and assess their capability accurately to achieve an optimal result. Most participants require two to three days to complete the event but the race record is 22 hours and 48 minutes.

Lewis, who is also the race record holder, said, “When I did the event in 22 hours, I just took a space blanket in case I needed to have a rest along the way. People who plan to take two to three days obviously need to take more food and equipment which makes progress slower.”

“Bike packing is an endurance cycling event which is growing in popularity”, said  GDTN mountain bike Ambassador, Lisa Jacobs. “It’s awesome that cyclists in this event get a chance to explore the whole of the Great Dividing Trail Network.”

Entry to the event is free. For more information, particularly regarding travel restrictions and limitations on sporting events and group sizes as COVID restrictions are lifted, see the GDT 400 Facebook page.


This article was first published in the GDTA POST, the quarterly newsletter of the Great Dividing Trail Association. Reproduced with permission.