Thursday, 26 January 2006

Thursday 26 January – Redhill / Oxford Falls / Cascades / Oxford Falls

Is it just me, or is mountain bike riding just getting better and better every day? What an absolute blast of a ride… with a bit of everything thrown in (technical climbs, technical / slow rocky drops, fast drops, singles tracks, open fire trail, bitumen transfer stages, a huge drop, a huge climb, and a beautiful Deep Creek finish).

On another perfect mountain bike riding day, we managed to get Joe, Matt (a first for us), Brian, Doug and Stephe out to the Academy of Sport at 7am. Some unnecessary fiddling around (maybe one day, Stephe will do his bike repairs at home, rather than at the beginning of the ride!), we headed off up the hill at the back of the Academy. A bit of a drudge, and a bit of a walk later, we were cruising across the top, down Whisperer’s singles track – where there were a couple of ultimately successful attempts at various challenges on the way – and then down the good old Redhill rocks. We were all on fire, although – since doing “Rock Brian” once more to get rid of the hoodoo – Brian has become much more mature suddenly: possibly the most tiresome aspect of the day!

We then investigated the alternate route from the rocks to the track leading to Wakehurst Parkway, and had a look at an entirely doable but very scary rock. Unfortunately, demonstrating that particular brand of psych that is mountain bike riding, Stephe managed to tear a big hole in his fancy new Nix, without actually even attempting to ride down the rock. Hmmmm.

A short blast across and down the hill to Wakehurst Parkway, and we were ready for the road crossing to Oxford Falls. The singles track up to the Aerodrome track was in excellent condition, and much fun was had – although the pace somehow got moved up a notch, causing grief for the tailenders. Matt had to take off early, and missed out on the trip out to the Cascades…

We then crossed Forest Way, and caught up with Lloyd, who was preparing to do the drop down to the Cascades. With a little bit of bravura that mature people are not meant to demonstrate, Brian tried to take the pace up to Lloyd, which proved successful only because he then stopped to chat (which was fortunate for him, because we showed him a better path down the singles track to the Cascades fire trail)! The drop down to the Cascades on the singles track (rather than the fire trail) was every bit as much fun as we recalled, and highlighted just how much good track you can squeeze into one tiny National Park!

Back up the long, long, long, long, long grind up the hill from the Cascades, then over to Oxford Falls again, where we farewelled Joe.
To finish, we dropped down into the Aerodrome, along the Deep Creek track, and then back out to Wakehurst Parkway for the road stage to the car (although Lloyd then continued on along the road to Manly).

A Very Much Fun ride, and one we need to do much more often (perhaps starting at Acron Oval, and adding in that drop / climb). Photos up, at this link (including Doug’s new fetish, lots of short videos, some showing competence, and others not! Also up is a really good satellite shot of the ride, and the profile which shows just how big that hill is!).

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