Sunday 20 November 2005

Sunday 20 November – Old North Road (South) – the mountain biker’s mountain bike ride!

It was beautiful out this morning. No question. The sun shone, despite the oft threatened rain. We arrived punctually, and Brian didn’t even consume too much of our valuable (and limited) riding time with his inevitable Sunday morning maintenance requests (on this occasion, we had to remove his cluster to clean out the damaged plastic ring from three rides ago and then replace a pedal… ah, Brian).

The track was dry, indeed – perhaps even a little too dry - some of the loose sand and gravel gave rise to amusing (because no-one was hurt) excursions off the track and off the bike (Stephe executed a graceful somersault off the bike very early in the ride, while Brian took to the drain beside the road when he lost control at high speed on the final drop – even funnier given that he was trying to take Whisperer at the time).

Not many photos – we had no Old North Road novices, so rode fairly solidly – which, of course, meant the whole thing turned into a fair test of fitness (which a couple of us failed). We explored a side track near the Wiseman’s Ferry end, which looks promising for the next ride, but unfortunately going up and down it took even more of our limited energy. Still had some puff left for the drop into the switchback (always fun, even if the photos don’t show just how tough we all are!).

A flat on the way out (surprisingly, Brian didn’t have a spare tube…(!)), and a flat for Richard on the way back, which required a couple of stops for further repair, were the key delays, on what turned out to be quite a long ride. As we were flagging on the way back (with Doug continuing to set a tough pace, just to show that he could), Whisperer decided to go up the second switchback the hard way – again, just to show he could. Fairly dispiriting, and behaviour that will be banned in future!

There was a bit of traffic out there (some fairly taciturn groups of three and four, and two dudes who were just out to check out the ride), but the only time it mattered was the drop into Ten Mile Hollow, when the speed differential (us coming down, and them grinding up) was a little scary…

Lots of good skills development and a fair bit of fun meant that the Old North Road again lived up to its reputation as the premier ride around Sydney.

Photos, maps and profile here (disturbingly out of order, but such is life), and some highlights below:


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