Sunday, 25 June 2006

Sunday 25 June - Mooney and "the Bucket"

[note from your editors: much of what follows has at least a passing resemblance to the truth, but readers are advised to exercise caution in their review... Also attending were: Doug, Brian, Joe, Rees, Ed, T-Bone and Stephe - not that it's obvious from Ed's review below!]

G'Day bike enthusiasts, Ed here posting my first entry, for those that don't know me I'm the one with the cute bum.

What a spectacular day it was at Mooney. Couple of hiccups as per usual. We'd started out looking strong and all of us were psyched for a big ride.

Unfortunately smartarse creek was not going to be accommodating today with a number of us having problems. T-Bone did fantastically well considering he was breaking in new shoes and pedals and not being accustomed to them found he was unable to disengage himself at crucial moments (crashing headfirst into Smartarse being just one of them).

Truth be told he was not alone, I managed a spectacular dismount which left me feeling slightly deflated.

Got to the bridge at the next creek when T-Bone realised he'd forgotten to do his nails or some such thing which meant a detour back to the car for me and a drive into Gosford and back to procure the necessary item.

Upon our return 35 mins later we found our bikes abandoned and the rest of the guys goneskis!!

T-Bone was pissed... he'd gone to a lot of trouble to get his nails looking great and was looking forward to showing them off to the boys. The Boneman and I resumed the ride with vigour and thought we would catch them up in no time, (cause truth be told they're all a bunch of

We got to the water tower with no sight of the callous, insensitive bastards and decided, "F**k it, lets do the Bucket".

It had been some time since my last visit to the fabled location, and truth be known it seems to have taken on mythic proportions amongst the group, with us frequently being reminded by Doug of how many times he has achieved the climb out without a single touch, (Doug likes to talk himself be fair he's about three times as fit as the rest of us).

Getting to the top of the long (looooooooong) climb up before the drop down to the bucket was a great feeling, kind of feel further away from things up here, and there are some gorgeous views of the distant ranges. T-Bone and I took the drop at speed, enthusiastically negotiating the many tight corners and just loving that feeling of freedom that a high speed descent affords.

A quick lunch break and we were into the climb back out.

We heard Stephe long before he got to us. Apparently the boys had been amusing themselves in the bushes when we got back to the bikes much earlier.....not quite sure what they were doing? Of course they tried to blame us and say that we had abandoned them....unbelievable!

The best thing about the ride back was the two long descents, lots and lots of fun was had by all and I'm pretty wrecked right now.

I did manage to get to the bottom of the issue from last week that meant we did Redhill rather than Mooney, apparently it was all Doug's fault.

Photos, GPS, and multiple satellite shots here. Here is the GPS track set up to load in Google Maps, and here is the .kmz file for Google Earth.

Some highlights, below - but check out some of the sillier shots of Ed, and the *fantastic* profile on the albums page:

Sunday, 18 June 2006

Sunday 18 June (afternoon) - Oxford Falls / Deep Creek

For those unlucky enough not to be able to get out in the morning, but not still burdened by oppressive work obligations (sorry Brian), there was *yet another* trip to Redhill and Oxford Falls in the afternoon on Sunday.

Whisperer and Stephe met at Morgan Road at 2.15pm -which seemed to be a popular idea, given that there were about 50 bikes there in total when we arrived!

We rolled down the hill to Lizard Rock and rode through the playground to the car park at the bottom of the hill. Although I confess that we didn't do the big jump, there are a couple of other sections in there that still caused us some tension! A great little blast to start the ride off...

We then rode back up the singles track to the main road to the Aerodrome (yet again failing to climb the small rock ledge in the first third of the track, ah well!), and then across the cross country track to the Road to Nowhere. Great, good clean riding fun.

We then took on the drop into Deep Creek from the Road to Nowhere, with spectacular results - including, Stephe is pleased to say, completing the final drop into the creek with appropriate poise and elegance! Fantastic. Again!

Feeling adventurous, we climbed out of Deep Creek (a good ride, that we'd never attempted before) and took the sandy firetrail up the big hills to the top of the chute that leads back to Wakehurst Parkway. Although there were a couple of dabs on the way down, it's fair to say that we thought the chute was nowhere near as scary as it appeared to be last time we dropped down it...? Perhaps that's the "Deep Creek drop" effect kicking in!

We then blasted back back along Deep Creek the 'wrong' way (in time to see a couple of downhill lads also just finishing their way down the northern drop), and then back up onto the firetrail, up Little Moab to the moon rock area, and back to the cars at the top of Morgan Road.

Another short one (16kms) but very much worth the visit.

Tragically, again, in the absence of Doug no photos and no GPS...

Sunday 18 June (morning) - Redhill / Oxford Falls / Deep Creek

The morning started with a calculated, callous, malicious attempt by an un-named ex riding buddy to disrupt the ride (you know who you are) a result the Mooney/Bucket plan had to be abandoned.

Shrugging this off, Ed, Rees, T-Bone and Doug enjoyed a short but very enjoyable "standard" RedHill and Aerodrome loop. The absence of prima donnas meant that the group was burdened only by the weight of all the food we carried (which was meant to fuel a Bucket ride), so the lap time seemed short. Ed shone (as only Ed can), T-Bone showed flair and his usual casual boy-ish control, while Rees's enduring optimism, inner peace and an increasingly enthusiastic attitude to hill charging was, as always, an inspiration.

Photos, GPS, Satellite (and a couple of short movies, with Ed and T-Bone looking gooood!).

Ed being Ed (3mb)

Saturday, 17 June 2006

Saturday 17 June - Redhill / Oxford Falls / Deep Creek


One of the best technical rides ever executed... We met this morning at the Academy of Sport, with Ben coming along for his first ride with us, and only his second ever mountain bike ride. Matt was there bright and early, and Paul arrived in his standard 'fashionably late' manner!

The silliness looked like it would be kept in check, once we had climbed up the rocks behind the Academy of Sport and Stephe tried scooting down the red rock drop and encouraging the others to join in - with no success. Unfortunately, that was the last time that maturity won out.

We hit the Redhill technical rocks, amid a bunch of hooting, hollering and wheelie drops over the ledges, and then started the long process of playing on each stage and egging each other on. What Ben made of this nonsense wasn't clear, because he maintained a dignified presence throughout, with no sign that we were boring him stiff given that we weren't doing much riding!

The real start of the fair dinkum nonsense was the end of the first set of technical ledges at Redhill when Paul decided we would take the direct route down. For Stephe, at least, not only had he never taken that route - he'd never even contemplated it as possible.

The next thing you knew, we had pulled off an ugly execution from Stephe, a fearsome shot from Matt, and a beautiful descent from Paul. It was on...

We played around a bit on the rest of the Redhill side (including a quick drop down the rock face that Doug wouldn't let us do last time, and lots of wheelie drops and the like), and then hiked across to Oxford Falls. While we're hanging about on the rock at the top of the singles track (which was great, as ever), Paul proposed that we do the Northern drop into Deep Creek at the end of the Road to Nowhere.

So, off we went - a great ride to get there (marred yet again by Stephe dropping into the coffin and stuffing it up, and causing Paul to have nowhere to go), and then we were down over the precipice into the drop to Deep Creek.

We each managed to nail the various sections on the way down, although Stephe had a fairly embarrassing debacle at the end of the drop just as we made it to the creek (and Matt was mildly cautious at a mid section which was at least 40% easier than the stuff he'd done just two minutes before!).

Paul was an absolute model of poise and elegance for the entire drop, and looked like a legend. Scary!

Finished the ride with playing along the Deep Creek run - with a fair bit of it being ridden rather than walked, and some great work on the big rocks in the middle. It definitely looks possible to pull of a very small number of touches to do the entire run...

Mountain bike riding is VERY, VERY GOOD and there should be more of it!

No photos or GPS given the absence of Doug, although it may be that Ben has captured a couple of the sillier moments on his phone (I'll get them up here if he has).

We look forward to a report from our Sunday colleagues...

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Sunday 11 June - Old North Ride + Spiders!

It was absolutely washing down rain from the heavens this morning, but for some reason all planned participants thought we were still on and got organised... We drove through the rain to pick up T-Bone at Hornsby, and then through the rain to get to Mangrove Mountain. Then, we arrived at the pumping station, the rain stopped, and the sun came out.

A perfect start to yet another demonstration of just how good mountain bike riding is! It was a great, great, great ride.

The standard long warm up from the pumping station to Ten Mile Hollow, and the further hill to the junction of the Wisemans Ferry singles track with the Western Commission track were knocked off in record time with everyone keen to kick on. We stopped for a quick group photo (Doug, T-Bone, Rees, Brian and Stephe), and a short conversation with some of the famous Fat Boys Mountain Bike team - big shout out to Anthony Drury and the lads - and we were on our way again.

The singles track across the ridge line was a blast (other than Brian losing a spoke in the first ten metres), and much jumping, hopping and general fun was being had by all. We arrived at the first real technical challenge (the two stage rock ledge climb), and only one rider managed the task, although Doug made it almost to the top of stage two but dropped his foot out at the last second. Brian (who was otherwise looking dangerously on form) failed miserably and was forbidden by a tetchy Doug from making a *third* attempt at the climb, but seemed to manage to channel his disappointment into more very impressive riding afterwards anyway.

T-Bone was loving the downhill sections and Rees was running like a truck up anything that even slightly resembled a slope.

Almost to the end of the singles track along the ridge, we headed out North on the Spiders Single Track (pausing only for a quick sustenance break before setting off). With no spiders in evidence to slow us down, we hooted along the track, stopping for 'glamour shots' on the first couple of drops. Then it was down the big steep drop to the creek - what a blast!!!

Cruising along the creek was fun, and the pace was still pretty solid by the time we made it through duelling banjos country to the road transition stage (and, yet again, no farmers with shotguns, so perhaps we're having ourselves on).

The climb up Shepherd's Gully was just plain great, although it's fair to say that it knocked the stuffing out of "but all my muscle fibres are white short twitch versions!" T-Bone - putting him well on the back foot for the return trip.

A short stop at the top of Devine's Hill to recharge the nutrient levels, and we were off again for the blast home. Doug and Brian shifted into a higher plane, and by the time some other dudes arrived on the track our boys were warmed up and ready to see off the (perhaps imagined!) challenge. What looked like a victorious effort at holding off a couple of "roadies" for the majority of the track turned into a major league embarrassment when the interlopers absolutely steamed past our leaders towards the Western Commission track end of the ride, and were never to be seen again. Ah, boys, all that work and nothing to show for it!

Having knocked the stuffing out of themselves, Brian and Doug then had to wait about 15 minutes for Rees, T-Bone and Stephe to catch them - and were both feeling the pain from there to the finish... The ride home was, as ever, a complete blast - albeit with a bunch of *very* tired folk trying to get up the last 500m hill to the cars.

Ride Photos here, with some samples below (check out the profile and satellite picture - turns out to be a 52km loop, all of it fun!):

Saturday 10 June - Manly Dam

Just a quick late morning ride around Manly Dam with Brian and his son Joe, and Stephe.

It was a little wet, but not too bad once we were out - was a fun ride with Joe demonstrating yet again that anyone can have a great time on a mountain bike, even with only a couple of rides under their belt... Joe took all the downhills we threw at him, managing his first ever 'over the handlebars' stack right near the end of the loop back at the cars (and, got away with almost no injury as well!).

Bumped into quite a few folk on the trail (it seems a little busier later in the day), and we will continue to work on trying to link up Middle Cove with Forestville and then Manly Dam (any hints out there?).

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Sunday 4 June - Mooney

After a moderately slow start (no-one had told Whisperer that Brian wasn't coming, so we had to reorganise so that he could get his car sorted - and so he could collect T-Bone along the way), we set off for a Mooney ride. We (Whisperer, T-Bone, Doug and Stephe) met Richard and Ed on arrival, somewhat offsetting our sadness at not having Brian and Rees along for the ride.

After the standard, "gee why didn't I think of that last night" bike repairs (Richard, having not ridden in some time, wasn't fully aware that tyres needed to be able to retain air, for example), we set off.

Tragically, there's been a stack of clearing along the track, although it didn't seem to have harmed the scenery too much - just removed a number of the more interesting obstacles... With the freshly rain rinsed surface, it was actually a pretty good track to ride along and there were no real excuses for not making all the relevant challenges.

But, fair to say, fail the challenges we each did!

Doug had the best excuse - depending on your perspective as a boy or girl - he was either recovering from double pnuemonia with pleurisy, or the common cold... In any case, it was supposed to put him off his game, but it didn't in the least - he was first up the tricky hill on the initial track, leaving everyone else in his wake.

Doug also had a zero touch ride up the big hill once we passed the dam (go Doug!), and no-one else managed to claim that accolade this trip. T-Bone was doing handsomely as always, but seemed to be having traction problems putting him off his game.

Speaking of traction, lots of tyre grief today - Stephe is dumping his absolutely crap Hutchison, and Doug is planning to get rid of his rear Maxxis Larsen TT, with only Whisperer talking up his tyre (a Maxxis High Roller).

Ed was loud and silly (personally responsible for 76.8% of the accidents on the day), but at least managed to keep attention away from Richard, who was probably having fun but was so far back most of the time it was hard to tell...

Speaking of Richard, he very sensibly chose to walk down Rock Brian today, which was only funny because of the extent of his 'trash talk' at the beginning of the ride (ah, how the mighty have fallen!). Ed was far and away the happiest with his attempt (followed down the rock by Stephe, using *no* bad language at all (for a change)), and Whisperer and T-Bone were both also happy to claim a Rock Brian descent (Whisperer taking a right hand and then a centre line - looking to add a left hand descent next time!).

Doug managed to pull off an accident, on the track to the Oranges, only his third in living memory. Stephe did a hanger on the way out, and Richard did a hanger on the way back - thank goodness BHP managed to maintain commodity prices with China for the production of steel, so that we can continue to support the economies of both countries...

Apart from that, much fun had by all, and - finally - some photos of Doug!! Ride Photos (and two videos) here, with some samples below: