Sunday 19 February 2006

Sunday 19 February – Menai

Well, well, well. Another weekend, another discovery of yet another brilliant place to ride a mountain bike!

I believe the initial impetus for Menai came from (a) a desire *not* to climb the hills at Bulli (!), and (b) a reference to the track from the “FatBoys”, with supporting comments from everyone we mentioned it to… In any case, we cancelled Bulli and set out early Sunday morning for Menai. Found the place pretty easily (despite the fact that *every* road in Menai is apparently called “Old Illawarra Road”).

After the obligatory group shot, we wandered off on what we thought was the trail set by the FatBoys (here is a comparison of the two tracks, demonstrating our propensity to meander off and check out what’s interesting, rather than follow a specific path!). The first stage was fun, fairly comparable to Ourimbah, but with more of a feeling of being out and about rather than constantly doubling back on yourself. We then crossed over the road to Lucas Heights, and did a small loop which dropped us into a classic teenager playground – lots of jumps and ramps, almost all of which spelled certain death! We played on the easy bits, then headed back off in search of the main track.

Came across a bunch of riders returning from an even earlier start, and got tips on where to go next. After a truly excellent long section, generally down, and with occasional challenges thrown in, we came across a bunch of motorcycle riders, who then gave us the next direction suggestion (future tip – where we dropped down at this point was fun (it’s very clear on the profile), but the climb up the other side was really hard (and hot!). It would be worth seeing whether we could come back the other way - dropping down the hill we climbed, and having an easier climb up the other way).
It was hot, very hot. We had a bite to eat, came across another couple of motorcycle riders and got yet another tip on where to go next. Just before taking that path, we checked out the opposite direction, which was great – a loop of relatively open fire trail on the whole, but some great climbing challenges thrown in regularly to keep us on our toes. Finally, we set off on the return journey – but it took a long, long time during which we all pretty well finished off our water – meaning we were a wee bit distracted for bits of the return.

The run to the finish was a blast – as good as anything Ourimbah has to offer, with speed, obstructions and lots of sandy berms for fun!

Edited to add, link to Google Map here.

Photos up here (again, with a couple of videos):


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