Sunday, 12 March 2006

Sunday 12 March – Old North Road (North)

Well, ain’t life a funny thing. All this time, I’ve thought of Old North Road (North) as a boring “wanna be road ride”, and it turns out – with the right attitude – to be an entirely decent ride.

A number if mishaps marred the morning (power outage at Doug’s place mean the alarm didn’t wake him, no time to respond to Rees’ SMS, so Rees was planning to go back to bed, no Brian because he broke his fork / steering tube on Wednesday, etc). We arrived at Mangrove Mountain Pumping Station at 8.20am, to discover that Joe had actually arrived 20 minutes early at 7.40am – so was well prepared! We then spent at least half an hour trying to resolve Rees’ new brake pad issues, before finally setting off scarily close to 9am.

Weather was near perfect on the way out, although the heat had kicked in for the return – making the (near vertical!) 500m ride back up the bitumen road to the cars fairly challenging…

We were planning to do Old North Road (South), but as we approached the Wat Buddadama, figured this was our big chance to check out the North ride for a change – so we turned right at the camping ground before the Wat and started the long run. At least we got to show some new folk the old bridgework etc

With only a little bit of loose rock along the way, we had a fairly good pace out – stopping for lunch at the furthest point Stephe had previously made it to (although, in the interests of ensuring that we went further than Brian had ever been, we went on another 500m from there after lunch!). Rees has been on a fitness improvement regime for some weeks, and decided that yesterday would make a great day to do 40kms of interval training in Centennial Park, and the return journey showed up just how little recovery time he had given his legs… Upshot was that he managed to keep to his promise to keep Stephe company at the back, while Joe and Doug went ahead for some faster riding.

The trip back was great (albeit a little slow), and the final drop to the cars was – as ever – an absolute hoot. It even made the last bitumen section bearable – having the memory of such an excellent ride fresh in our minds.

All in all, it’s not as bad as I have previously alleged, but probably good that we’ve now done it and don’t need to bother again for some time. The profile says it all (although the map also tells a good story) – big climb, long flat ride (with some ups and downs, some of which are mildly challenging, but mainly long runs), and a big drop to finish. It was good that it was almost 46kms long, because it certainly felt like it!

Photos up here, some samples below:


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