Sunday, 9 April 2006

Sunday 9 April – Forestville and Manly Dam

There’s something very peculiar about the fact that every Sunday morning seems to be perfect weather… How is it, exactly, that week after week the conditions are simply ideal for whatever mountain bike journey we have planned? [Perhaps it’s because no conditions are *not perfect* for mountain bike riding?] In any case, the day started off crisp and clear, and stayed that way – just what was needed for Forestville and Manly Dam.

We had planned a relatively short local ride, but didn’t count on an ongoing series of equipment failures. Both Brian and Stephe are waiting on complete drive trains to be shipped from the US for their bikes, and so there were a range of funny rattles to be heard from each of them at crucial gear changing moments. Ed returned to the track, with a bike that was last maintained in the early 14th century and – unfortunately – paid for it later in the ride (when the rear derailleur wrapped itself into the spokes, bending the hanger, breaking a spoke, shredding the control cable and generally messing up).

If only we all had Doug’s wisdom, patience and unlimited budget for bike maintenance!

In any case, we started at the Retirement Home on Cook Street, Roseville – dropped into the fire trail, and had a warm up drop into Bantry Bay with the climb back out getting us all into the groove. The Forestville loop over to Manly Dam is relatively short, but there’s still some interesting sections to get across and a few challenges to overcome. The drop into Manly Dam was fun, including the uphill fire trail section which is always a challenge. We captured Ed making a fool of himself on a mountain bike variant, and then had a race to the bottom of the Dam. It was on the climb back up to the golf course that Ed did his derailleur in, which meant we needed to lock him in a gear for the balance of the climb. By the time we got to the rocks overlooking the golf course, we figured we were only going to be good for one lap, and stopped for a quick snack (and checked out the fact that every other person riding around Manly Dam was doing so on a $12,000 bike – wow, there are a lot of flash bikes out there!).

As we set off again, we discovered Ed had by now managed a puncture (ah, the joys of a ride where things begin to go wrong and then stay that way). The rocks above the golf course were not as kind to us today, so Doug, Brian and Stephe settled in to making repeated runs at getting them right – fortunately (and ignoring multiple attempts) with each succeeding in putting together a bottom to top run.

Back over to Forestville for a fun and relatively uneventful ride home.

A good Sunday stroll – but not one that will live on in my memory particularly… Photos up here – check out the colour of that sky! - with some highlights below:

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