Every so often I get caught up in the competitive side of cycling and forget the reasons I got into it. I start negatively comparing myself to everyone I know, get obsessed with Strava, and start stalking people’s rides to compare every point where they performed better than me.

I get stuck in this extremely negative mindset and I find it really hard to pull myself out, shake myself and say hang on, I’m not a serious racer, I don’t care about being the fastest up a hill, or riding the most every week. What I care about is exploring, seeing new things, spending time with friends and taking photographs – which are all reasons I’ve fallen in love with cycling. When a friend sent out a group message saying she was going to camp in Kuitpo the night before she raced a MTB race and that a group of us should come down and camp as well, I could hardly say no! Another friend who has a reputation of planning great rides came up with the plan of giving someone our camping gear and then riding our CX bikes there along the Heysen and Kidman trails - I was instantly hooked on the idea.

One weekend 3 of us dropped off our camping gear to those driving, and set off on our CX bikes. Beginning with the Women’s Pioneer Trail and Bullock Track we then weaved our way through the Adelaide Hills mostly taking the Heysen Trail – a walking trail dotted with no bikes signs (shhhh). What we expected to be a 3-4 hour ride turned into 6, with multiple bridges ridden under, a creek crossing, sections that were completely unrideable forcing us to hike our bikes up steep paths, wrong turns, a small amount of time spent on private property and only one moment of hitting the wall finally during the final hour of the ride on particularly undulating fire tracks.

We arrived perfectly in time just as the sun started lowering, and encountered our first (and only!) flat of the adventure in the last 2km. We reunited with the others, set up camp, and finished the day off by enjoying giant bowls of pasta around the fire. On the Sunday, we packed up and headed further south to watch the beginning of the MTB race, taking fire tracks to get there. The homeward journey was via a mix of dirt roads and the Kidman Trail - a shared use horse riding and hiking trail (this time bikes were officially allowed). After refuelling with coffee, lunch, and more coffee in Hahndorf and spending a ridiculous amount of time just soaking up the sunshine, we decided to end our ride with another part of the Heysen Trail- this time linking up to Horsnell Gully Conservation Park and popping out on Old Norton Summit Rd.

Every aspect of the weekend led to the best I’ve had in a while – brilliant company, amazing tracks, endless views and constant adventure. Sometimes it's worth everything to just let go of all the aspects of the ‘sport’ of cycling, and embrace the adventure and freedom it brings. I can’t wait till the next one, and that time I’ll be hauling the camping stuff with me to add to the adventure.

Lana is the newest staff member at Treadly, and we can't wait to show you more of her photography and adventures - she's not only talented but also has the most free time of all of us!