Sunday, 26 June 2005

Sunday 26 June 2005 – Old North Road – heading North!

After the obligatory phone calls at 6.15am (“please tell me Doug has rung to cancel, given the cold / the rain / the time / the whatever”), we actually got going on time… Richard rang, and struggling for a credible excuse, actually pretended to be coming for a while. Then, once we’d made it to Calga, he rang again to advise that he couldn’t find his bike shoes, and pulled the pin. Ah well. His bad, as they say.

We arrived at the pumping station at Mangrove Mountain at around 8am. Cold, a little damp, but not raining. We then climbed the hill to the Wat Budda Dama – and hung a quick right at the Ten Mile Hollow road sign. Following the road over the bridges, we headed off into the ‘wilderness’. It was very jolly beautiful up there today, lots of mist hanging around the valleys, but not too wet or slippery. We got up a good pace on occasion, and Jeff went from quiet achiever, to aggressive pursuer, to challenger for the lead. The sun even popped out now and then for entertainment.

We passed around 30 (yes, lots!) of bush walkers, all of whom had chosen last night as their camping night of the year (oh my gawd, how cold and wet can you get!), and they generally looked less happy then we did! Made it not quite to the Waterhole, turned around and come home. I was tired and off the pace on the way home, so don’t recall anything spectacular, but do recall the drop back to the pumping station. Gotta love it – every week, it’s a blinder! By the time we got back to the pumping station, the pent up rain that had not troubled us over the previous five hours let go, and we crossed the causeway in about two inches of torrential downpour…

Almost no photos, and no profile, but we did get the track (the few other photos are here):

Sunday, 19 June 2005

Sunday 19 June 2005 – Redhill / Oxford Falls

We had all forgotten just how good a ride Redhill is – what a blast!

We did the standard loop, with a bit extra at the top, starting at Sport & Rec at 7am (having received our warning about parking there in future!), and were back by around 10.30am (profile here).

We took off up the hill nice and cold (always good for fun, eh), fiddled about a bit on the Whisper’s singles track at the top, went down the rocks, across Wakehurst Parkway and along Oxford Falls Road to the dirt road, and up the singles track to morning tea (the most important part of the ride). We then rode across the top, played around for a while in the chute and some singles tracks up there, went down the track to the aerodrome, along the fire trail, down to Deep Creek, along the creek, and back along Wakehurst Parkway to Sport and Rec.

Although Ash “oops, did I forget to mention that I was the welter weight mountain bike riding champion of the world” Fenton did manage to blow us out of the water on each occasion that he was put to the test, we still had fun. More gets offs than we’ve had in some time, and Jeff came back from the dead to join us. Clear star of the proceedings was Matt (and this unfair shot), who managed to *not* trash Richard’s old bike despite Ed’s allegations that last week’s disaster was all the bike’s fault (and not his (Ed’s) underwhelming skill!). Thankfully, for those of us with limited skill and limited fitness, Jeff and Matt fell off the pace towards the end so we got to rest up at least a bit.

One of the highlights was Ed’s attempt at Brian’s collarbone rock – and we managed to do that without any more injuries!

Another highlight was the number of times that Ed, Brian or Stephe got in the way of Doug (being pushed hard by Ash), and stopped him getting up bits that were a doozy last week!

For entertainment, the singles tracks at the top have grown over a lot, so there was a lot of ‘cussing’ as folks got whipped savagely by well grown bush… Ah, the joys of mountain bike riding.

Brian racing around without gloves was amusing, and unfortunately contributed to his view that today was not to be his day – so he kept a generally fairly low profile (other than a series of pointless (but amusing) stacks on the way out!).

Some samples from the day (the rest are here):

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Sunday 12 June 2005 – Coba Point and The Valley!

Well, well, well. At Doug’s urging, rather than just a short Coba Point ride (which already had me knackered in the first 30 minutes, total round trip say, 20kms), we added the drop to Marramarra Creek, and the associated crawl back up! Total journey 37kms, the second part of which was straight down, then straight back up again. The profile is a joy to behold! All those who were supposed to be home by 12 noon were working on their 2pm excuses on the way home.

The ride is just beyond Galston Gorge / Arcadia, in the Marramarra National Park, and it’s a dead set beauty. We rode out along a nice gentle intro section with fog settling over the view down into Berowra Creek, and then watched as it cleared to a most magnificent day. All along the way, the sheer natural beauty had Doug “David Attenborough” Hoatson in awe (and we even managed to get some rare photos of Doug in action…). Unfortunately, Whisperer had control of the camera, so there were only limited chances to capture the currently fashionable nature shots.

Brian, yet again, proved to be a match for the circumstances – and, in particular, took the Whisperer on and overwhelmed him with his technical skills on the ridge part of the ride. The Whisperer got his own back, however, by blowing away Brian and the rest of the assembled masses on the ride back up from Marramarra Creek (have I mentioned that it’s a 230m drop down (fun enough, although the brake pad smell was pretty strong at the bottom!), but about 9,342m vertical metres on the ride back up? For some reason, this doesn’t appear to show up on the profile…).

Lunch at the Marramarra Creek edge, munching on the oranges from the overgrown orchard, was a necessary and enjoyable stop – and the sharing of water for the H2O impoverished amongst us was a very generous act (having decided it was winter, and a short ride, there was a general shortage of carried water!).

No injuries, very limited blood (Brian’s exit from the road over the edge on one of the last drops – at a time when just holding on to the brakes was proving difficult – was spectacular, but ultimately un-productive!).

There is apparently an interesting variation via Smuggler’s Creek off to one side, which will need to be explored in more detail soonish.

Some samples from the day (the rest are here):

Sunday, 5 June 2005

Sunday 5 June – Mooney

Well, it would have to be said that this was not our finest hour! Photos here.

We failed to meet the 6ft drop boys (see last entry – have you got a better reference to your website, dudes?) at the start of the ride at 7.45am (we're actually closer to 8am, for future reference! We did actually see the lads up at the water towers some hours later). Before leaving the start, we buggered about setting up pedals for Ed on the loaner bike from Richard (and so on, and so on). Finally got underway, and things began looking good. Brian on form (as ever). Mark turned out to be another of those legends who rode in on a Learsport (borrowed from Dad) with sandshoes - then went up (and down) everything we put in front of him.

Doug was quietly confident that we’d actually make it to the bucket and have fun… (lost the group photo at the beginning, Doug?).

Early signs of impending doom started with Ed demonstrating the good old chain suck for which Richard's old bike is famous (despite the huuuuge service I recently gave it). Things went worse when we broke Mark’s derailleur on the climb up from the small dam. He just wasn’t the same after that (which may, of course, also have had something to do with the 3kg lunch he had packed for him!). Then, when we finally looked like we might get going - down the track from the water tanks to the big dam, on the way to “the bucket”, Ed managed to turn Richard’s rear wheel into origami.

We spent the statutory 45 minutes trying to get it back into shape (congrats to Hep, for the days best idea of jumping up and down on it!), and then sadly crawled back up the hill to the water towers. Mark entertained us with (even more food, and) some cute front wheel wheelies, Brian and Stephe fell off the back of the bike trying standard wheelies, and then we meandered off home (although it wasn’t without its amusements!).

So, no great report, no great ride. Even with all this, the downhill was still a blast. Hmmm, better luck next week…

Some samples from the day: